He felt no remorse. In fact, he felt very little. Perhaps slightly amused that the thick scarlet pool oozing from the wound resembled one of those blotter tests that wealthy doctors in plush leather seats asked you to interpret, in a condescending and all knowing air. Yes, definitely a butterfly! In spite of the violence of the preceding minutes, all was calm. His life was now forever changed. And he could care less.
Glancing down to search for the spent shell casing, he paused then thought better of it. What difference would it make? When they extracted the bullet from this mans head, they would know what sort of gun was used. As for identifying the firing pin and positively identifying the murder weapon, who cared? He certainly didn’t. The barrel felt warm as it slid between his belly and belt. The air was thick with the smell of burnt gun powder. While a sense of amusement seeped thru his soul.
Withdrawing cigarettes from his shirt pocket, he realized the absence of any tremors in his hands. He was calm. He lit one and drew a long haul, then turned his head to the starry summer skies and exhaled. Lowering to gaze once again upon his victim, childhood thoughts of Sunday school filled his head, Revenge is mine sayeth the lord. Well, that may be true, but not tonight. Tonight, the lord would have to take a back seat. As he turned to walk away, he stopped. Quickly turning on his heels his left foot kicked into the face of the dead man. Just for good measure. Then he walked slowly away, smoking and smiling.
The colour of bright pink through closed eyelids was his first awareness of a new day. He would have to open his eyes sooner or later but later was better. Breakfast would be great but whiskey would do. Anything at all that would numb the events of last night.
He fumbled around for the bottle, found it and raised it to his waiting mouth wincing as one drop hit his tongue, thick with last nights abuse. As his arm fell heavily back to the bed the bottle smashed, slashing through his pinky finger. The bodily assault continued all the while the bright sunrise deadened any possibility of arising without shock.
His eyes flew open with the realization of the gashing wound, yet a sense of serenity drew about him. Bathed in this warm golden hue, he allowed a moment of recall while the blood from his hand soaked the sheet beneath him. He tried, against all odds to find the butterfly but saw only blood. Blood. Contrary to all belief a bullet to the head is not always the clean and easy way. As the heart continues to beat, blood continues to spurt. Without a second quick shot, preferably back to front there is always the possibility of a corpse becoming a witness. His begging for mercy fell on deaf ears. He was dead and even this mornings hangover was cause to celebrate.
Drawing himself to a sitting position on the edge of the bed, he reached out for his cigarettes on the night table. Turning his head he gazed into the framed photo. Happier times. A time when his life had meaning. A time when he was happy to be a live. But all that was gone now. The smiling faces of his wife and daughter would only come to him in dreams. He lit a cigarette and let his eyes roam about the room. It was a pigsty. Since the funeral, he just didn’t care anymore. What was the use?
Sunbeams cascading through the half open drapes made it even more apparent that this house was in total neglect. He stared down at the blood dripping from his finger and then back to the bed. Light glinting on the revolver lying under the shards of broken glass brought him back to reality. He rose and made his way to the bathroom, leaving a small trail of blood behind him. As he turned the shower on, steam began to rise. Slowly undressing, he allowed his clothes to fall onto the cold tile floor. His thoughts mingling with the ever growing pool of blood dripping from his finger, he grabbed a dirty facecloth and bound it tightly, staunching the flow and pulled the shower curtains to one side.
The phone rang. It was ignored as he slipped into the hot stream of water. It felt good. He stood motionless, allowing the water to flow from his head down his body for what seemed like the longest time. The phone rang again. He turned his head slightly towards the annoying sound and mumbled an obscenity. Finishing the shower and once again bandaging the finger, he walked naked into the kitchen and turned on the coffee maker.
The phone rang….again! Who were these people? His senses smiled as he breathed in the aroma of coffee wafting its way thru the kitchen. He pulled a dirty coffee mug from the unwashed dishes lying in the sink, gave it a quick rinse under hot water, and poured himself one. As he raised the mug to savour the first sip, the phone began to ring and continued ringing! Incessantly, destroying all possibility of this mornings only respite from the pain and soreness.
A snarl curled his lip as he grabbed the phone, nearly ripping it off the wall and yelled into the mouthpiece, “What do you want!”
Obviously startled by this outburst, the caller meekly inquired “Good morning, Mr. Phillip Preston?”
Phillip realized that the caller was a young woman who was obviously shaken by his outburst, and he calmed his voice.
“I am sorry Miss, who ever you are, but this is not the time. There is nothing that you have that I would be interested in buying. Now you really must excuse me, but I am rather busy at the moment.”
As he removed the headpiece from his ear, he heard the woman’s voice speaking louder,
”But I am not selling anything sir. I simply would like to talk to you about last night!”
Phillip stared incredulously at the telephone and let the last statement fully sink in.
“Last night? What about last night?”
“Mr. Preston, I am at The Grind just down the street. Can I buy you a coffee and we can talk?”
Phillips head swirled. Who was this woman, and what did she know? Was she a cop? A black mailer? One thing was certain he would have to find out.
“Very well, give me ten minutes to dress.”
“No problem Mr. Preston, I will be here waiting.”
The line went dead. He suddenly realized that he had no idea what this person looked like. Was she some crazed lady, perhaps the wife or girlfriend of the man he had killed the night before? He walked back to the bedroom and started to dress. This day was starting very badly. He picked up the revolver and tucked it behind him in his belt. The cold muzzle sent a shiver through him and he walked out into the bright morning sun.