Belvedere Contrast

            The crescent moon peaked out from behind wispy clouds like a hook. It pierced the sky and tore the gray clouds to luminescent shreds. Upon darkening blue, it smiled.

            The shadowy silhouette of a shapely young woman stood upon a black-painted steel balcony of a fire-escape. She looked down upon the alley below with a wry simpering. From behind whetted shades, her eyes did not see. But she heard. And in hearing, she knew.

            It was the distant, overbearing sound of headphones playing with a volume that, to their bearer, was inevitably deafening. The lyrics and the jazz remained faint in the night.

            A stray cat meowed, disturbed, and stalked off behind a dumpster. And a mouse squeaked, somewhere in the distance.

            He stood at the mouth of the alley, looking up at the dark metal that clung to the edge of the buildings on either side. And then, his sight moved up to take in the dim stars that hung between the eternally parting clouds.

            Again, the cat mewed.

            The young man looked down at the shadow behind the dumpster. His hair was combed back in brown waves, as soft muddy water. It was always clean, and always groomed.

            "Meow!" Quick and poignant, begging him for food.

            Between the wires of his ear-bud headphones, a cross necklace hung with solemn grace. It was stout, brown and well-grained. From his ears, the voice of a blind songstress, Ginny Owens, hummed with faith. And he kept walking; quick, even strides and a heel-clicking gait.

            The feline crossed his path, darting towards the mouse. Its fur was a patchy black, exposing bare, pink skin.

            "You're late," she told him, as she heard the footsteps come to a halt in front of her. She had hairless legs that swung between a black skirt, upon the edge of the final ladder that descended towards the cold floor of the dark alley.

            His youthful face remained bland as he turned to her. A hand dug into the pocket of his brown leather jacket, and withdrew a pistol. He held her at gun point.

            She did not notice until she heard the sudden click of the firearm. And in hearing, she knew.

            "You're not going to shoot me, William!" she made sure to speak slowly and with confidence, deliberately condescending.

            His jaw clenched, and his head tilted to the side. Rapist.

            "You're too damned good to shoot me," and with both hands, she adjusted her top and brazier, while shifting her legs in a seductive feint.

            Not but a drop more of blood flowed to his loins. And with his free hand, William tapped the points of a cross upon his modest chest. And he sneered, baring beige teeth, knowing that she saw none of it clearly.

            "Silence does not befit you," she chided eloquently. Nor does a bullet in my head.

            The CD whirred to an audible stop in his MP3 player, and the music stopped.

The End

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