Beads of sweat trickled down George’s forehead in his cold studio apartment. His trembling hand grasped the revolver that still had two empty shell casings inside. George’s quick, shallow breaths burst forth small clouds of vapor. The lamp on the nightstand flickered. A knock at the door made George leap from his folding chair, knocking it to the ground as he pressed his back up against the wall.
“Who is it?”
A female voice answered, “Are you okay, honey?”
The light stopped flickering, and the apartment grew warmer. George slid the gun into his front pocket and went to the front door. He fumbled with the deadbolt but finally got it to give way. He swung open the door, and Silvia lunged into his arms. They held one another tightly.
Silvia asked, “Is he?”
“Yea, it’s done.”
“Where’s the body?”
George released Silvia, looked up and down the apartment building’s walkway, and pulled her inside. He locked the door and picked up the chair before sitting down next to her on the bed.
George said, “You need to be careful what you say. Someone might have heard you.”
“Sorry. So, what happened?”
George pulled the revolver from his pocket. Silvia’s eyes grew wide as he put it on the nightstand.
He turned to answer her. “I contacted him like we planned and told him I had information about his wife. I offered to meet him at a gas station I knew would be closed. I watched his black Mercedes pull into the dark parking lot and approached from the rear. He wasn’t too keen on leaving that car until I fired a shot into the driver’s window. That wounded shoulder put him in a different mood. Then we took a little drive.”
“What about his car?”
“I burned it. The cops will find it in the morning, but there’s no fingerprints or a body. It’s foolproof. All you have to do is honestly answer the police when they come to question you.”
Silvia stood and started to pace, “You never said anything about me talking to the police.”
George stood and took Silvia in his arms, “Relax, honey. All you have to do is tell them John never came home last night. That’s all you know.”
She stepped out of his embrace and straightened her hair, “Yea, okay, I can do that.”
“We need to stay apart until this thing blows over.”
“I thought I’d stay here tonight.”
The lamp on the nightstand flickered.
George gave her a long, passionate kiss and let her go. He walked over and tapped on the lamp. It continued to flicker.
George turned to Silvia, “You need to stay strong. After all, we’re in this together. I’ve done my part. Now you need to do yours.”
Silvia opened her mink coat to reveal a thin black laced top against her pale skin, “Are you sure you don’t want me to stay just a little longer?”
A crooked smile formed on George’s lips, his eyes glanced at her shimmering two-carat diamond ring and then back to her negligee. An icy wind blew through the room. Silvia closed her coat and shivered. Something pushed George, and he almost fell. The lights went out.
Vapor escaped their lips, and they stared wide-eyed at one another. Silvia gasped and pointed over George’s shoulder. A mist hovered only inches behind him. Instinctively, George ran and stood behind Silvia. The mist disappeared. Silvia stepped forward and ran her hand around the air near the nightstand. Nothing was visible in the pale light streaming between the blinds from the streetlamps.
George’s mouth gaped in horror as an apparition began to form in front of him. Silvia screamed, grabbed the handgun off the nightstand, fumbled with it, and then fired.
The bullet passed through the translucent image and found its target in George’s skull with a loud crack. George’s body hit the floor with a deadened thud. Silvia dropped the gun and collapsed to the floor.
The ghostly figure disappeared, and the lights came back on. George’s lifeless eyes stared at the dirty ceiling.
Her husband’s familiar voice whispered in Silvia’s ear. “Two bodies. How many dead men are enough?”
Silvia burst into tears and stammered, “Only you, it was only supposed to be you?”
His voice seemed to echo in her head, “Now you have nothing, not even your freedom. Those are your fingerprints on the gun.”
Silvia took her coat and began to wipe off the revolver.
There was a knock on the door, a strange woman’s voice emitted from the other side, “George, it’s Denise. Is everything okay in there? I thought I heard a scream and a gunshot.”
Silvia held her breath, and a voice whispered in the air, “Oh my, a witness. Say goodbye to your freedom, dear.”
“George, are you in there? Are you still coming over later?”
Tears began to pour down Silvia’s cheeks.
Her husband’s accusing tone continued, “Oh dear, it appears you’re not the only cheater. What do you suppose he wanted?”
Denise knocked once more, peaked through a crack in the blinds, screamed, and ran off.
Mocking laughter sent a cold chill down Silvia’s spine, “It looks like you’ll have a long time to think about your little mistake. It’s a prison cell for you unless you make things right.”
Silvia sniffed, wiped the tears from her cheek, and put the gun to her temple. She blubbered at George’s lifeless body, “You bum. How could you? What did you want, my money? I fell for you, hook line and sinker.”
A gunshot echoed in the lifeless room.