Continuing with genre prompts, this time it's mystery. A story in which one or more elements remain unknown or unexplained until the end of the story.
There was no moon and the night was one long dark shadow.
In my black attire I blended well with the soot-stained brickwork of the building. I cautiously made my way up the metal fire escape; any misstep, any noise, and my nefarious activities would be revealed.
When I reached the fourth floor I eased the window open, confident in my knowledge the apartment would be empty. In my daytime persona I had visited this apartment with the realtor, as just another prospective tenant.
I had wandered about, making all the appropriate responses, checking out the closet space and looking at the view out the window. When he was distracted I had quickly released the window latch in anticipation of my night time rendezvous.
Carefully, I climbed through the window and silently shut it behind me. In the dark, I stood and let my eyes adjust to a different darkness. A city night is never total black, but is made up of shades of grey from reflected light. I stepped into a room of deeper shadow and moved along the wall. Easily, I made my way to the inside door, for the layout was simple and there was no furniture to hamper my path.
My questions about building security had gleaned valuable information. There were cameras in the lobby, but the elevators and halls were lens free. I could move about freely, needing only to avoid the tenants, hoping they were safely tucked in their beds, asleep at this time of night.
They were not my concern, my only interest that night was one specific tenant. I left the apartment, making sure the door was left unlocked behind me, for I would need an exit that was as unseen and undetected as my entry.
With my back against the wall, alert, listening for the ping of the elevator or the opening of a door, I made my way to the stairwell and opened the door. I passed through to the landing, holding the door, closing it and releasing the handle in whisper silence. Quickly I made my way up the stairway, my footsteps making no sound on the concrete stairs. I paused on each successive landing to listen, always cautious.
At the eighth floor I stopped. Almost there, I thought, and took a deep calming breath when I could feel my heart beat faster in anticipation. Slowly, I released the handle on the door and eased it open, just enough to glance down the corridor to ensure my presence was still undetected.
I entered the empty hallway, easing the door shut behind me and crept down the passageway. The doors were staggered for the privacy of the tenants, each door opening to face the wall of the corridor rather than the door of another unit.
Wasn't that convenient I was thinking. My activity at the door to
apartment 802 would not be seen or heard
by the tenant in 803, whose door was further down the hall.
Drawing the key from my pocket, I inserted it in the lock, the click of its release sounding loud in the tense silence of the hall. Again I opened the door just enough to listen to the silence from within; there were no voices, no late night television, nothing but sleepy oblivion.
I made my way down the familiar hall to the bedroom, his bedroom, and stood in the doorway. I hesitated for just a moment, quickly shaking off any doubts.
As I approached, I could see his naked form spread across the queen size bed, the sheets barely covering him, and my heart broke once again with the surge of memories. No, I thought, I will not be deterred by emotion, it was not the time. Tonight it was to be cold and calculated. Later, when my job was done, I would let all these feelings loose.
I pulled the gun from the waist of my jeans, and used it to jab at his chest, over again and over again, until he was looking about for what had awakened him and saw me standing there. “Hello, Robert,” I said.
He would only suffer for that one moment of awareness, when he knew what was to come. He would not suffer, as I had suffered, but when it was done, I would have my retribution.
I quickly picked up a pillow off the bed, laid it across his chest and fired my gun into his heart. The sound was muffled and yet it seemed like an explosion of noise in my head. I turned my back on him and silently retraced my steps, locking his door behind me, and left the building as I had entered it, alone and undetected.
As I made my way along the city streets, heading towards home, I tossed the key and the gun down the sewer, and considered my night's work complete.
With his death I had my revenge.