In his panic, in his surprise at being overcome by someone he thought to be his inferior, chaos erupted at his desk. His arms flailed about as blood gushed from his neck. Pencils and pens rolled off the desk, each one hitting the carpeted floor without injury. A stack of papers blew apart, the sheets performing free-fall maneuvers to where the pencils had landed. The man’s coffee cup – ‘World’s Greatest Nothing’ – tumbled along the surface of the desk, splashing coffee on nearly everything.
He wasn’t prepared for death, but the evening would take him regardless. That morning, he had kissed his wife and kids goodbye, drove two hours in traffic to a job he hated, and worked eleven hours in a high-rise office on enough paperwork to make his eyes bleed. Day in, day out, it was all he ever did. Kiss his wife. Kiss his two kids. Drive. Drive. Drive. Work. Work. Work.
There was to be no other ending.
You make a mess even in death, you filthy pig.
Andradesta watched the scene play out as she wiped down the blade of her dagger with the man’s cherry-red pocket kerchief. The bright color of the fancy adornment complimented the pomegranate shade she stained it with.
As life escaped his form, the man stretched his arms across the desk, as if reluctantly surrendering to his ill-gotten fate. Or maybe he was giving thanks that his debased life was finally at an end. He had ridden the rails to the end of the line, and only a messy death was to show for it.
The woman finished cleaning her weapon, slipped her hand up her black business skirt, and slid the dagger into the small sheath on her right thigh. She slid her aching feet out of her heels and came around behind the desk. She had to shove the man and the chair he was slumped over in to the side in order to open the top desk drawer.
She grabbed the envelope out of the drawer and ripped the top off it. She slid a set of photos and a single sheet of paper into her hands before tossing the folder off into the room somewhere.
The photos weren’t as important as the document, but Andradesta still found them interesting. One was of her, adorned in a plain black and white business outfit much like the one she wore now. In the photo, she was walking up the steps of the capitol building. It was daylight in the photo, and the lighting gave the otherwise amateurish photo a professional quality to it. It had been taken the same day she went to court for the custody hearing.
The other photo was of a little girl who looked eleven but was only seven. She was on a swing. The picture wasn’t centered, and the lighting was horrid, casting a monotone darkness over the swing set and the child, but even in the poor lighting Andradesta could make out the large bruise on the girl’s neck.
She folded the photos in half and shoved them into the waistline of her skirt, near the small of her back. She held the document in her slightly trembling hand. She had killed before, but this time was more personal. This wasn’t some hit job. This wasn’t an assassination – per say. This wasn’t a mercenary-for-hire type of deal.
The paper was basic stock printer paper. Bright white. Written on it, in brown ink, was one simple statement:
Kill them both before everything goes to shit.
She folded the paper and put it near her back with the photos. She heard the rumble of the heaters coming to life. She heard laughing from executives in the office on the other side of the wall. She heard honking from the traffic below.
The rest of the world was moving again. Her world was moving again. She wouldn’t have to fear the now-dead man slumped over in the chair any longer. His fists. His nails. His wood planks. His insults. His sexual depravity.
Andradesta slipped into her heels, adjusted her skirt – making sure the sheath and dagger were tight against her skin, and took a long last look at the dead man. He was only the first, but she knew a great deal of satisfaction would come after she killed the rest.
Time for everything to go to shit.