I paused in the small apartment, gently cradling Andre’s soul in my arms. He was heavy with days unlived, the smoke of extinguished aspirations forming a gray nimbus around his head.
I’m sure you noticed by now I keep referring to my subject by his name, which is frowned upon in my line of work. For some reason, this particular assignment had struck a nerve. It wasn’t often that my subjects looked me in the eye while still inhabiting their fragile, earthbound shells.
It was the look in his eyes that haunted me. It wasn’t what I was expecting – fear. No. It was acquiescence. His eyes seemed to say, Take me. I’m ready.
As the paramedics picked up their supplies, I noticed that a small crowd had gathered in the doorway, gasping as they saw the paramedics wheel the covered corpse away.
The young woman from before was there, too. Her dark head was bowed with a grief too heavy for her to manage. I still held her lover in my arms.
As I turned to leave, she suddenly pulled her head up and looked right at me.