The man in front of her cowered. Literally. When she visualized the word ‘cower’ she could see a person shaking, bowed head, on his knees, hands clasped in front, the body bent over with the burden of fear. This was the exact picture presented to her right now. But then, it was to be a tad expected: he had a gun lightly touching the area near his hairline. A soft-nosed bullet would spray the wall behind him with the innards of his skull, a hard nosed bullet would simply rip apart the head. Even moving very quickly, the cower-er would probably die. The safety-catch on the gun was on, she released it with a resounding click. For the person in front of her it was the first sound in 5 minutes, and probably had the effect of a thunderclap. The involuntary shudder was testament to this. The tip of the gun never wavered. The shudder was precursor to the first set of tears.
She did not touch him, and continued looking down at him. The man hunched over a little more as the tears flowed more freely. The body was racked with silent sobs; her only reaction was imperceptible: to release some of the tension in the arm wielding the gun. The after-effects of gunshot recoil can be pretty bad when you hold a taut arm while firing. She rolled her head from one side to the next, pondering the man who was fast turning into a wreck as she watched.
He looked up. Red eyes pulsated on a teary face contorted with emotion as he yelled “Why?!!” His eyes searched her face, her body, her stance for a reaction. Nothing. He opened his mouth to yell, and stopped before he started. The pointlessness of the exercise had been realized. He had also probably realized that he was going to die. Her finger curved around the trigger. One involuntary twitch and it would be done. Emotion was replaced by wariness. The question remained in the eyes. Why?
“Whatever I have done, is it worth killing me over?”
She remained impassive.
“I deserve at least a final word. Something.”
The questions in his eyes were gone now, they glazed over as memories came back. He would probably stem the tears, and smile ever-so-slightly as the good memories came back. Takes about 30 seconds of remembering. Bang on cue, he responded. She waited a while longer. She wasn’t cruel. Merely unemotional. A few minutes later, she rapped him on the head. His eyes re-focused on the gun, and the fear returned. His mind was racing now trying to put everything together. She gave him another 25 seconds, and opened her other hand which had been innocuously hanging by her side in a balled-up fist. Lying slightly off-centre her palm was a signet ring. He squinted while trying to stifle the indubitable fear and dread rising through his body. Expectedly his breathing grew harder, as he shuddered and clasped hands tighter in an effort to calm fear. The dread was unstoppable, and when he next raised his eyes to her face it was there. It was all that remained. He knew.
It was time for someone to say something.
His face now mirrored his sagging spirit. He remembered the times in university, the near-playfulness. At the time it was not something to worry about, only something that was done. Illegal enough, but also cool enough. As time went on, it was forgotten. Until now, when he had decided it was a part of him that he didn’t need. He was powerful enough to ensure that most of them disappeared. Most. Not a smart move, thinking that most meant all. Especially when it comes to a group of people. All she had to do was wait. There was no use trying to stop him. Or ‘out’ him. Terms such as ‘justice’ mean little to those who have the power to decide what forms ‘justice’ and ‘law’. Her waiting had paid off. Now, on the pinnacle of the ultimate seat of power, she had managed to get to him. And here he was. On his knees. A gun at his head.
She nearly opened her mouth. He never noticed, the thoughts running through his head had obviated everything else. His eyes slowly dropped back to the ring even as her hand closed it.
Nothing needed to be said.
She put the ring in her pocket. A decision was reached. His eyes went back to searching her face for a reaction, to know, to understand her final decision.
His shoulders sagged with relief. His hands unclasped and hit the floor palm down. He raised his face and looked her in the eye as she shot him point-blank in the centre of his forehead.
She watched him fall ever-so-slowly face first on the ground and his body twitch as muscular control was released. Blood and fluid intermingled and flowed out of the hole. Another shot, this time with the gun touching the centre of his head; skull and bone and brain and blood further splattering her and the ground below as his skull rapped against the floor in reaction. She dropped the gun while looking down at him.
After all this time, he had forgotten that she, his wife, was the first person he should have gotten rid of.
He would have always been the last person she would have taken care of, after all.