There are three.
The oldest one is the easiest to be found. He googles her and finds everything he needs to know. Her whereabouts is a small cottage one kilometer from the nearest village, on the edge of a coniferous forest.
He tries to be sober for the drive and packs only the necessities–a bottle of coke, his toolbox, a small flashlight.
He is smart enough not to ask anyone about the way or stop for lunch.
He gets there just before dusk–the shadows are getting longer and sharp as knives, the trees cowering under dark mantles. The lady is elderly and has closed eyes, sitting on a bench made from one large tree trunk. He stalks from behind the trees with a hammer at his hip and his lips tightened in a dark gash. He tries to stifle the coughing all the way to the cottage. He almost starts to run in front of the door and thrust his arm out behind his head in a parody of a wooden puppet on strings. Then he lets the anger flow through his veins, guiding his brain and leading the limbs. With every blow he mutters one syllable of the word, gritting it through his teeth like a kernel trough the millstone.
And then again.
The second one is, as it seems, the only one still doing this shameful profession. Besides that, she works as a regionally famous writer of romance, always using passion, fate and cliché-ridden love letters in her books printed on low-quality paper.
The book-signing event takes place in a small musty library. It is over in less than twenty minutes, including the awkward author´s speech larded with nervous smiles and lots of hand-wringing. The man waits for the moment when the writer excuses herself. He counts fifteen seconds, puts the empty gin bottle on the stained lino, then follows her. It is his first time at the ladies´ restroom but the right cubicle is easy to find and the paper-thin door lets in to the first kick. Instinct is the key here, again. The knife flits and flashes like a sewing-machine needle. He walks out with a red face and wheezing. The woman does not.
He calls the third one–the youngest–from a phone booth using the number he found on an erotic escort website. He cannot remember her voice but something tells him it is her.
Later, in the hotel lift he looks at her through his sunglasses and realizes that she ages differently than she should. She smiles at him and winks. He doesn’t smile back.
They enter a room with a wobbly number plate and reeking of cigarette smoke. The man takes out a large plastic bin bag from his back pocket, throws it over her head and pulls her down with the full weight of his body. He holds the twitching body, until it’s still. After that he lies next to her, looking at a spot on the faded carpet. He gasps for breath.
He does not care that he is going to get caught. He has a lot of other troubles and five months remaining alive.
Pancreatic cancer. Inherent alcoholism tendency. Serious asthma.
He would have never thought it would be so easy to find those who have corrupted and spoiled his life in such a way.
This mad revenge upon the Norns, the fate-weavers, will not save him but the feeling is intoxicatingly great.
Tom Hadrava is and aspiring Czech writer based in Prague, Czech republic, Europe, teaching English and constantly daydreaming during his lessons. His fiction has appeared in the XB-1 magazine, a Czech science-fiction magazine, and some anthologies from Czech writing competitions. In English, his flash fiction has been published in 365tomorrows and EveryDayFiction. He likes jogging (you can daydream while doing that, too) and playing invisible drums. He lives in a cosy flat with his charming wife and a curious baby son.
Image by Hernán Piñera