For almost two years I stared at the ceiling in my tiny flat, trapped by both fear and government regulations. All I could do was hope that I’d get the chance to see her again.
When the end of lockdown was in sight, I tried every trick I could to get the vaccine as soon as possible. Two years of pent-up feelings and dreams drove me on.
As soon as the needle was out my arm, I was in the car on my way to her house. I know vaccines don’t work like that, but I doubt impatience will be the sin that tips the divine judgement against me.
She lived alone in a four-bedroom house, a post-modern monstrosity surrounded by mature trees and walls twice my height.
I parked the car away from the house, then followed the pebble-dashed walls until I reached the small gate at the rear of the property.
I pressed the buzzer, knowing that deep inside the house a bell would be ringing, the lights coming on first in the master bedroom and then the hallway as she walked to the upstairs intercom.
The décor would be the same, I knew. The expensive furnishings, the gold fixtures, the rare artwork.
As I stood outside the gate I remembered creeping past them all as I made my way to her husband’s bedroom, adrenaline pumping, a plastic bag held out in front of me. I remembered pulling it over his head and squeezing and I remembered the frantic moments before he gave up and accepted his fate.
She never told me why she wanted her husband dead. She just smiled when it was done, punched in the code to her wall safe and passed me the money. In that moment, though, something else passed between us. Call it lust, call it mutual attraction, call it love.
As I waited for her to answer I wondered if this was going to be a massive misstep, if she’d think of the hours we spent together before lockdown as a mistake, something to be forgotten.
The intercom clicked.
“Hello?” Her voice was the same as before. Sultry, suggestive. My chest almost burst. For two years I’d been waiting for this.
“It’s me,” I said.
I imagined her putting her hand on her chest, surprised. Running her fingers through her hair, playing with the bejewelled necklace she wore to bed.
The pause seemed to take forever.
The last time I’d been on the property, I’d buried her husband under the hydrangeas, and we made love that very same night. I’d been thinking about her ever since.
“It’s OK,” I said, although I wasn’t sure she was still listening. “I’ve had my vaccination.”
Still no noise from the intercom.
I shuffled, ready to walk away. Disappointment flooded through me. It wasn’t to be, but I wasn’t going to push it. I wasn’t going to be one of those men. I’m not a good person, but I’m not that type of bad.
Then the electronic lock buzzed, and I pushed the gate open.
As I walked toward the house, I ran my finger over the blade of my knife in my pocket. There was a pinch of pain as it cut my finger, but it was soon gone as the adrenalin kicked in.
Lockdown was over and I was back to doing what I loved.
Phil Hurst is a Colchester, UK, based writer who creates dark stories with a playful twist.
His crime short fiction is published on Punk Noir and Bristol Noir and his first crime thriller novel is currently under consideration. His first sci fi novel The Unjudged, was published in 2018.
Find out more about his writing at philhurstwriter.co.uk