Artwork by Rhea Mehta
D A Y 4
The next morning Aditya watched Matthew go into work and operate business and usual. For the most part.
Aditya remembered thinking Matthew was a bit quitter than usual and now knew why. He felt a smidge of satisfaction in seeing that what he was going to do was at least weighing on him a bit.
That Monday wasn’t too busy. Aditya stayed home and Kurt only went to and from the restaurant. Nothing else for Matthew to do so they gave him the rest of the day off. Ironically, Aditya was facilitating his own murder.
Matthew took his half-day to plan the deed. He scoped out a street that wouldn’t be too busy when he was to drive Aditya and Kurt to brunch and then went back to Freddie to buy a suppressor.
“Matty, I don’t know what the fuck you’re up, to but I hope to god you’re gonna be careful.”
“I am Freddie, I am. Don’t worry about me.”
“It’s not you I’m worried about. I love you like a brother man, you know that? And those kids love you too. They’re gonna need their uncle, Matt.”
(Anne and Finn are his niece and nephew!)
“Their uncle needs them too, Fred. He’s going to be fine. Just tell me how much for the suppressor and I’ll be on my way.”
Freddie nodded and rang him up.
D A Y 5
Aditya awoke feeling agitated this time. And rightly so, for this was the day he was to die. This was the day that the man who’d been in his employment for five fucking years was going to kill him and his husband.
Aditya watched him do it. He watched him go into work as if everything was okay. He watched him hold a conversation with the neighbours over the fence while he waited, and he watched him greet himself and Kurt as if he wasn’t about the put a bullet in them both.
He watched him lie about the caved in road to get the car on that street he had scoped out. He watched him stop the car and turn around, gun in hand. And when the shots came, Aditya didn’t think it would hurt, but it hurt just the fucking same.
(Just the fucking same because I don’t need to feel my husband’s pain to experience it for myself. I don’t need to feel the blackness slowly creeping in, washing away any hope of life to know it’s there. I don’t need to fucking feel anything for it to hurt.)
And when it was done, Aditya watched him take the car to the scrapyard and hand it off. “It’s our problem now,” he watched Finney say when Matthew asked him how they were going to get rid of the bodies. Then Aditya watched as Matthew took his blood money and the terms of his employment.
“We’ve set up a bank account for you,” Finney said, handing Matthew a dusty brown folder. “You’ll be paid monthly, same as any other job, and we’ll contact you when you’re needed. For all official purposes, Hoffman Tressler’s is an insurance company. That folder also contains all the details about that side of the business that you would ever need to bother with and information on how to deal with the government and the HMRC and such.”
Aditya watched Matthew take the folder then shake Finney’s hand as if this was the same as any other job and he watched Finney drive away in his XJ and his muscle drive away in Aditya’s car. Once they were gone, Matthew said something that almost made Aditya feel sorry for him. Almost.
“Jesus, I used to kill people like Finney. Now I work for him?”
He looked to the sky and sighed. “Take care of them Ems, they’re good people.”
As Matthew walked back to King’s Cross and rode the tube home, his thoughts felt like a mixture of discomfort and hope, and Aditya was reminded of the old adage, the ends justify the means.
D A Y 6
Aditya woke this time feeling more annoyed than anything else. He so desperately wanted this cruel trick to be over.
When he woke this time, the body he was in was already awake. Much more than awake, in fact. The body was sitting at a large mahogany desk, far too big for one person. It was perfectly polished and had gold inlays running across its top. He was in an office of some kind, clearly belonging to someone high up and important.
This body felt different though. It felt as if he wasn’t merely an observer with this one. It got up and walked to a cabinet to the right of the table and Aditya caught the body’s reflection in the glass.
He brought out a glass and whiskey and poured himself some. He picked it up and walked slowly to a mirror hanging on the opposite wall and raised the glass at the mirror.
“The man of the hour. We meet at last.”
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