He knelt down in the snow, the snowflakes gently stinging the contours of his face. He could hear the birds taking up their morning call. He looked down at his phone. His thumb moved slowly over the dial button, then retreated. What was he waiting for? He hoped they’d understand. It was over.
It was strange he felt completely alien to the situation, and yet, he knew exactly how he had gotten here, each moment playing like a sequence in the back of his mind.
“I had to, I had to, I had to…it’s done” he murmured.
He leaned forward, hands set firmly in the snow, his heavy breathing drowning out all other sounds. He knew he had no other choice, it was for the best, he knew this, or did he?
“It’ll be better now!” he thought aloud.
If that was the case, why couldn’t get the image out of his mind. It was so vivid; it was as if he were stepping through that red door all over again. He could remember it all; the bad lighting, the mismatching décor, how the photos hung so slightly lopsided on the walls, the peculiar smell every home has.
He remembered the anxious and clumsy greeting. How he had waited till his host turned his back to him. He thought about how oblivious the latter must have been. But how could he not have expected it? How didn’t he know that it was coming?
He could feel the clamminess of the blood that still clung to his hands, dampened by the snow. It made him feel dirty. He began to furiously try to wash it out , but there was no helping it. It just made him rub his hands even harder in the snow.
“Why hadn’t he understood?” he questioned. “How could he of all people not understand?”
He remembered grabbing his hosts head and smashing it into the doorpost, not one, but four times. He remembered the hollow thud the forehead made against the wooden frame, he remembered the sickening crunch of shattering teeth.
“He deserved it, I had to…” he whispered.
His entire being was now quilted in a thin layer of snowflakes. Oblivious to this he couldn’t help a shudder, scattering his frozen burden in one thousand directions. He couldn’t wipe the terrible vision of the fear in those time weary eyes that stared back at him. How the other’s voice quivered ever so slightly as he muttered those haunting words.
“Why are you doing this to me?” it gasped.
His eyes flashed!
“What did he mean why? He knew! He must!”
He smashed his fists deep into the snow! This had just made him beat him harder. He had tried to stop but he couldn’t. His arms kept flaying at him until the rawness of his knuckles finally made him stop.
“You fucking bastard!” he repeated over and over.
He had to do it, he had to. Tears were beginning to trickle down his face. He had taken everything from him, and it had never gotten better. He had taken his childhood! He was an animal! He remembered all the places he used to escape to during those nocturnal hours so long ago.
“It never got better” he muttered.
His clothes were soaked through now. The world was a better place without him, it had to be. He was sure they would all understand, I mean how couldn’t they? But then why did he feel this gnawing emptiness at the bottom of his gut. Was it because of what he had done? Was it because the old bastard had never admitted it? He still remembered his last words, just before he squeezed the trigger.
“God will recognize his own.”
“What the fuck didn’t he get!” he screamed.
Gradually, he was becoming ever more aware of the thing that was weighing down his right jacket pocket. His hands slid up, first from the ground to his upper thigh then on to the right side of his coat. His fingers clasped around the cold metal. With a jerk he threw the handgun with all his might. But it only landed no more than a few meters away from him.
“You fucking deserved it Richard” he croaked.
He was rocking back and forth in the snow; it was only a matter of time now. Someone must have heard the gunshot, they’d be coming for him. He gazed upwards. Dawn was breaking; casting an ethereal beam of light around the broken figure huddled in the snow. He could hear them now, the sirens were getting closer. He glanced at the gun.
“God will recognize his own.” He whispered.
Everything went silent, he was in pitch black. He could hear the rustling of the curtain being drawn. Then a roar rose up like a wave, the audience was on its feet, and he was once again awash in the radiance of the stage lights. The beginning of a smile began to form on his lips.
And he took his bow.