The first drop landed right on top of his head. His closely cropped gray hair allowed him to know when it was raining just before most others knew. He slid his hand along his scalp and kept walking briskly along, hoping to make it home before the skies really opened up. He had almost forgotten what it felt like to be this anxious, but here it was. His heart pumped a little harder and his stomach did a little jump whenever he thought of what was coming next. She was waiting for him – well, not really waiting. She was there. That was enough.
The door closed a little too loudly behind him when he walked in. Excitable now, his heart practically thumped out of his chest. She was downstairs. He knew this with a certainty. It was quiet, but she was there. Had she fallen asleep?
His cheap black shoes landed heavily on each wooden step. The creaks echoed against the cinder block walls, reminding him how far his body had deteriorated. The door squealed open and he saw her there just as he had left her. Her hair was matted from sweat and her clothes soaked through. She had struggled, surely. But he had tied the knots well. Her chest heaved up and down. She was asleep, or passed out. He checked the ropes – thick and strong.
He pulled out the small leather pouch from his coat, set it on the small table in the corner and unrolled it. The knives caught the weak light from the table lamp. He hated this part, but it was necessary. She would understand. They all would.
A sudden lurching from the bed and he knew she was waking up, or coming to. It was important that she was awake for the next part. He picked up the short knife, ran his finger along the blade and slowly stepped toward her. Her eyes were open now and he could see the hate. He could almost feel it radiating from her. Her eyes were red. Not the whites, but her irises. They were a fire red. He had never understood why hate burned like that every time he had to do this, but there it was. He had somehow calmed himself. This wasn’t the first time, after all. There would be blood, of course. Screaming, perhaps. And death. But he knew he had to do it. There was nothing more important than what he was doing right here and now.
The hate never left her eyes. Not when he cut into her, not when he turned for the long knife… not until he was done.