Aftermath. Short Story.

“Well shit.”
He looked down at her then pulled his phone from his pocket.
“Hi, I’ve got another one. Yeah. Same place.”
He hung up and put his phone away. They’d be here shortly. That was good at least. Matt carefully reached out and moved a strand of hair off her face, he didn’t know how it happened, she had been alive and then she wasn’t. He didn’t remember that part, he never did, but the blood and the dead body didn’t lie. At least it wasn’t too messy this time. There was some blood on her face from a split lip, a cut on her cheek, most likely caused by his ring, and a large hole in the side of her head. He knew how that one happened, he could see the gore that coated the bedpost, strands of her blood stained hair were still stuck to it. He looked down at his hands, there were some scratches on his knuckles, he must have punched her. There on the ring, blood and bits of what he assumed were skin. He shook his head and sat down at the small vanity. Why did this keep happening to him? Everything was fine, dinner had gone wonderfully, she had invited herself back to his place, and then they’d made their way to the bedroom, shedding jackets and shoes between heated kisses. He remembered pushing the bedroom door open, stepping inside and the lightweight feeling of falling as they collapsed onto the bed, still kissing, then there was only darkness. He could still taste her on his tongue, spicy almost, with an edge of sweet. His lips tasted bitter, like blood. He hoped he wouldn’t need a new mattress, though he suspected he would need a new bed frame at the very least. They were good, but he wasn’t sure if they were that good. It was better to be safer and just get rid of it. Someone banged on the front door. Matt stood and left the bedroom.

“Where is she this time?”
“The bedroom. On the bed.”
“Ok. You go into the kitchen. I’ll send someone in to clean you up.”

Matt sat at the kitchen table, solid mahogany, spot lights made the surface gleam. He wondered if the woman who sat across from his was frightened. If she was she didn’t show it. She dabbed as his knuckles carefully, the harsh tang of astringent in the air. When that was done she took out a piece of paper and laid it across the table, then she scraped underneath his fingernails. Afterwards she had him soak his fingers in some kind of solution. He didn’t know what it was, but it stung. Afterwards she made him strip in the kitchen, he showed no signs of embarrassment, nor did she. She took his clothes and put them into a bag. “Will you need these back?”
“No, there’s nothing of importance in there.”
“Are you happy that they be destroyed?”
“Yeah, sure.”
She stood over him as he washed his hands twice, then told him to go have a shower.

He stood under the hot water, letting it cascade over him, trying to piece the night together. What had been the trigger? What had set him off? Matt turned off the shower and after a moment, stepped out and wrapped himself in a towel. By the time he was dry and dressed in loose fitting pyjamas they were finishing up. There was no signs that anything had happened.
“There will be no trace that she was ever here. After dinner you dropped her home and after waiting for her to get inside you drove home. We’ve sent her a text saying you had a nice time and that you’d like to do it again sometime. Someone will find her body. There will be no traces of you on her. You kissed and nothing more.” Matt nodded and he left.

Matt sat on his bed, staring at the bedpost. Wondering just how it happened. Had she been expecting it? Was she frightened? Did she tremble in his grip as he smashed her head against the bedpost? He would probably never know. He shook his head, at least this one had been quick, some of the others had gone through much worse. Usually they weren’t women he knew, they were ladies of the evening, or women he met while out. Ones that couldn’t be traced to him. This was the first time he had screwed up so badly. She was last seen with him, they had been at a restaurant together, cameras would show them arriving and leaving together. He knew the company were good, but he hoped that they were good enough. He lay back on the bed, half expecting it to be still warm from her body, but it was icy. He slid under the covers and positioned himself over where she had been lying. He could feel her, he didn’t know what it was, a soul, essence, something. There was something of her still here, in his bed. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply, and he caught it, so faint, just a whiff over the tang over cleaning fluids, a hint of flowers and grass.

As he lay there he wondered what would be delivered to his home in the morning. They always sent furniture, well crafted but extremely overpriced. It always matched his décor, they had yet to send him something he didn’t like. He understood the need though, an excuse for the large payment to them. Over the years they had practically decorated his house. Anyone investigating the purchases would find a legitimate business that sold furniture at a high mark up. He knew that what ever it was, it would suit her. It would be a perfect match, they always did manage to do that somehow. The furniture always reminded him of the woman. Smiling, he drifted off, in the morning he would welcome Cindy back into his home, whether it was as a table, or a set of drawers, or even a new couch, she would stay with him and be a part of his home, forever.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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