He lays on the floor, slumped over like a broken doll. Foam froths on his lips and he makes deafening, gurgling noises; one last attempt to breathe in air. I was rooted to the spot. The revolver slowly inches out of my sweaty palms, and smacks onto the marble floor.
This isn’t me. This isn’t my life. I’m a florist, with a very successful business and a friend whom I would die for, Keres. Each morning I wake up at 4:30 am for the flowers from Joseph’s farm to be dropped off and I then pick the most wilted ones and start to make my creation. It takes a couple of hours, to weave the stems in and out of each other, and soon it is time to open up the shop. I love my little shop, settled in the very heart of the Evebrook community. I make myself a cup of tea: semi-skimmed milk and two sugars.
The bell rings at 8:00 am as Ms Halliday rushes in to pick up the very best carnations on her way to work. She never forgets. Don’t ask me who or what those flowers are for, I couldn’t tell you. As far as I know, Ms Halliday isn’t married and she seems to be somewhere in her fifties. Anyway, on a good day, the bell rings non-stop and I’m kept occupied until Keres arrives. She never fails to make an entrance.
On THAT day, she came bustling in, her silly scarves and pens flying all over the place. Her job at the office down the road takes up a lot of her time – the lines etched across her forehead say so- but somehow she always manages to make time for me.
We’ve been friends since she gave me a facial with the watercolours in nursery. We grew up together and although she went down the fancy business route at uni, and landed the huge role of assistant manager, she was still the same Keres.
She slammed the takeaway bag on the counter and we ate and laughed until her lunch hour was over. After Keres left, the day seemed to crawl by, as if it didn’t want me to close up the shop as soon as possible, and curl up in front of the TV. The sun dipped behind the huge rooftops, like a huge sinking stone, and I prepared myself for the sound of John’s familiar footsteps. They never came. I was slightly worried by the time 8pm had rolled around, but I pushed all the horrible, negative thoughts to the back of my head. The hours crept by, and I eventually forced myself to lock up and head home. I figured that John had gone back home with an important project or idea up his sleeve.
As I approached the house, I was surprised; the door was wide open, but the house was completely dark. I knew that something had happened, but I pushed the feeling back down. I walked around the house, calling his name. Then shouting. Then screaming. No reply. I searched every room but the bedroom. No John. I didn’t want to go into the bedroom, petrified of what might be inside. I slowly pushed open the door. The last thing I remember seeing, was the frothing foam on his lips.
The doctors said he had taken too many pills – I refused to believe it. John wasn’t like that. I knew there had been foul play. I ransacked all his documents. Nothing. And then it came to me – his phone. He had always been weirdly protective over his phone and never let me go through it, saying that he needed some privacy in his life. I spent days going through that phone and the things I discovered completely threw me off course. That phone uncovered the lie that had been my life.
John appeared to be some sort of gang member, or smuggler, with hundreds of texts sent to unknown numbers about drop-off and pick- up points. I realised that his death wasn’t as it seemed. It took me some months before I figured out that it wasn’t suicide. It was murder.
Although I was furious at John for letting me live a lie, there was a burning fire in my heart to avenge him. To find out who had cut his beautiful life so scarily short. To find who had killed him, and gotten away with it. The police were no help. I showed them the texts, but they dismissed the case as it had ‘no evidence or leads of any sort’. I was furious – it was then that I decided to take matters into my own hands. For months on end, I gathered information about the different gangs and their so-called rivalry. How I had been so oblivious, I do not know. I talked to people I would never have spoken to before and piece by piece, I found the man who had killed my husband. I seemed to dismiss that he was a human too and that if I followed through with my plan, I would be no better than him.
But my thirst for revenge was too strong. I enrolled in countless self-defence classes and taught myself how fight back. I learned how to fire a gun… and hit the target. All my preparation was complete and I formed the perfect plan. The fateful day rolled around. I had managed to lure the man into a hotel room and before he realised what was happening, the cold barrel of my revolver rested onto his forehead.
I couldn’t do it. All I had to do was pull the trigger- one tiny action and this would all be over. But I couldn’t do it. The room started to spin and then it went back. When I opened my eyes, the man wasn’t moving. The foam frothed on his lips.
I had to do it. I knew Sofia wasn’t strong enough to pull the trigger- so I pulled it myself. John was part of a gang and his whole life was fabricated. Well that makes two of us. On the outside, I look like your average businesswoman, not a person you would hire to kill others. No one knew about what I really did, including Sofia. It hurt me to keep this from her, but it was too dangerous for her to know. You may wonder why I killed the man.
Sofia and I have been inseparable for years. We laughed, we gossiped – I was maid of honour at her wedding. We had an underlying connection that you rarely ever find with someone; I love her like a sister. She had always been so carefree, buzzing with energy, her eyes twinkling with laughter.
When John passed away, so did the old Sofia. Her eyes were dull and lifeless and her love for life seemed to be stifled. My job is to kill the people who have been chosen by my superiors. But this was different. Sofia needed me and I would kill for her – our bond is too strong.