Sunday, 5 August 2012
Murder in the Dark
The whole thing took seconds. What, about seventy five or so years of life for the three of them together? Snuffed in less than seventy five seconds.
She stared down at the head, the dead man's open eyes still glinting in the flickering light. Dark blood spread evenly beneath it, light catching the pulsing of the liquid as it spurted unevenly.
Slowly, she lowered her hand from her mouth, placing it on her clammy neck.
"Oh," she said, closing her eyes. Dizziness came.
She swallowed. Failing, she swallowed again. Don't!
She opened her eyes again, focussing on Johann. He stood, panting. It was almost as if the heat in the room pulsed with his ragged intake of breath.
Her ears pounded, the sudden silence deafening.
Another attempt to swallow. Her throat was sore now. Nothing yet.
She felt Harbull leave her side. She closed her eyes again. The dizziness was still there. She reached out, clutching at the wall, her hand finding purchase on grainy brick. The dagger scraped against the wall, held in place by her weight leaning in, not by her open hand.
The image of the knife snicking Johann's face open flashed through her mind at that damning scrape.
You know what's coming. Put the knife away. Be safe, right?
Straghtening up, she turned the dagger in her hand, placing it slowly in its sheath. Slowly, she swallowed.
"Oh," she mumbled again. Lifting her hand from her neck, she swept her hair back, trying to cool down. She loosened her collar, fanning her moist skin. Moving away from the wall, Wanda walked towards the table and Kirsten. The dizziness was fading, - she was okay. Maybe she'd get through this after all.
Kirsten's slender figure straightened in the dark. Wanda heard the grunt as Kirsten struggled to wrench her blade free.
The grunt was fine.
It was the rasping gurgle of a dying man that brought the dizziness again. All the heat, all the sweat, all the noise, all the silence - all rushed in to claim her.
Swallow, dear! Swallow!
"I'm sorry," she gasped, before placing her hands on her knees and vomiting up all of the evil and violence she had just been exposed to. The man's head. Johann's blade hacking through his neck. Kirsten. Her foot resting on a dead man's face. She was covered in blood. Werner, covered in blood. The mangled corpses elsewhere in the sewer. The diseased man. With one arm. The other, separated from him like Johann just separated that man's head from his body.
She coughed and coughed, spluttering all of the asylum's vitriol from her body onto the floor.
So she had seen murder done. It seemed only one stepping stone remained on the dark path of the adventuress: she, too, must one day part a man's spirit from his body. But could she?