Shaking slightly, I hold up the knife, shining and reflective like precious silver, to the light; only to see his deadened features staring back at me, cold grey eyes boring into mine behind the spattered flecks of crimson. Only I know what those eyes have witnessed. Only I suffer the immeasurable guilt that should be his to bear.
He ebbs away as swiftly and as silently as he came, leaving me to cower over her body, tarnished and violated. I drop to my knees and clasp her hand in both of mine. It’s still warm. I try to revive her but all the while I know it is no use. Once that flame is blown out, there is no magic lighter. If only. Crying seems the most appropriate, yet no tears come. Sitting beside her delicate frame, my hands around my knees like an infant, I rock back and forth, back and forth. Any attempts to cry or scream are useless. Perhaps it is because I have shed all the tears it is possible for a man to weep in a lifetime. Perhaps I have screamed more than anyone thought possible. There is no response left in me now. Numbness is all the relief I can hope for.
I glance down once more at the beautiful creature laid on the cold, blue linoleum. Even in death she looks graceful.
But to him, a corpse, nothing but spare parts, nothing of the beautiful, fascinating young woman I saw. Yet she is merely another to add to the list. Just one more to join the growing pile of the dead, slain by his hand, This has been simply another incident where my conscience observed, powerless to intervene. A dull, grey sense of déjà vu envelops the searing pain coursing through my thoughts, encased in a thick shell of numbing ice.
But this time I will not allow history to repeat itself again. It seems there is only one way to stop that beast from returning, only one way to shield those innocent, potential victims of the future. Laying myself over her, I push the blade in deep, a crimson stain growing around the breast pocket on my pressed white shirt. Resting my head on her chest, I make no sound. Reality slowly drifting away, I can feel him fading with me. No one will suffer at his hands again. Finally I can breathe free.