Bete Noir

I swayed back and forth in the wicker rocking chair, allowing my troubled mind to focus on the jarring metronome of its creaking. I was waiting. The greater part of me did not wish that waiting to end, for when it did, my life as I knew it would be over. Whatever followed, it would be ugly and short. Through the open doorway, I saw headlights pass across the hallway and disappear, accompanied by the sound of a slowing engine and gravel crunching in the driveway. Seconds later, a car door slammed shut and footsteps crunched a path to the door. The tinkle of breaking glass gave me hope. They had no key. Surely...surely, if it was one of them they would have a key. Perhaps I was about to shoot a complete stranger; some hired thug, not even a local.

More footsteps; in the hallway now. I sat motionless and wished I'd chosen a quieter seat. The figure in the doorway was tall. I hesitated in pulling the trigger; just long enough to the see firearm in his hand. I knew it would be there, but the shock came all the same. It was shock that pulled the trigger; shock that sent my brother lurching backwards, and down...down.

I had to step over him to leave the room. I think that was the hardest of all. I told myself not to look, but I never was one to listen. There was something unfamiliar in his countenance, something alien in that contorted expression that, in retrospect, helps me to distance the man I killed from the sibling I shared a childhood with.
 The police won't get involved. I can almost see the headline now - "Suicide of prominant local buisnessman". It'll be pushed into the background like a bad dream. But I won't, and now they know it.

The End

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