Her Light Was Lit: A short story

I saw that her light was lit. Every night this week I had logged it. Dag had given the instruction; he was convinced that tonight she would pounce, pin down even devour her prey.

The table lamp shone ferociously in the grubby tenement room, 512A, the cramped container of her life since the break up. It had become a den of iniquitous doings- her nightly conquests, picked off for hard cash. But now, as Mitty rolled her pink nylons gently over her slender knees, her reasons for this night were more enticing than ever.

Despite the red, flamed glow, the walls of the room made cold; emptiness covered every square inch and partnered the resting chill. Only the cat, black, mysterious and curled tightly on the baize-green carpet offered any warmth.

The jeweller’s clock, above the shop door and across the street, struck the hour. Mitty moved into the semi-darkness of the corner and slid her arms gently into the deep, oak dresser drawer. Reaching back she fingered then clasped firmly at the lingerie-wrapped parcel. Three sheets of the New York Times and a soft, lint duster encloaked the Colt 45 pistol; its black, menacing shine glinted as cold blood, and in a terrifying moment of realisation Mitty knew that there was no going back. Under the shadowy fringe of the bed, the cat’s eyes glared knowingly. It was an affirming glance and she could take no more. Quickly parting the clasped jaws of her sleek crocodile handbag she gently lowered the weapon into the designer gullet, then snapped it tight back. The next three minutes would be crucial. Buttoning into her fitted Astrakhan coat was her last gesture. She flicked the lamp switch with trembling finger, opened the door, stepped into darker pitch and proceeded.

I had now to make my move. The flash of a salmon hem and silken fox collar modelled in a diffuse porch light ray, were my triggers.

I lurched instinctively hoping it would be Mitty; any mistake now would be costly.

The flash of fear in her eyes, I recall as my last recollection. A confirmation of identification cast in extreme and rare beauty, an image to hold and revisit.

The flash of fear in her eyes was her last moment.

It has been my lasting sentiment, but sentiment is not in my job description.

I gently pulled the trigger with the silencer now pushed hard into her temple. There was a dull thud, a thread of curling smoke, darkness, silence. I felt the brush of a damp foxtail across my cheek as I turned to leave, but I never looked down.