I Did Right. (fiction)

(First Draft)

Wilson looked over the railing to the blue expanse of the Mediterranean below, the only witnesses being the eroded marble busts on the low pillars spaced between the rails gazing woefully at the terrace.
“The outcome?” Nakamoto asked.
“Terminal.”
“What’s the time frame?”
“It’s a priority.”
The young Asian in his tailored Italian suit projected an air of an artistically inclined playboy. Only a trained eye could have detected the faint remnants of his military demeanor.
He straightened his coat as he turned to leave.
“It will be done tonight.”
The man disappeared down the stone stairway that wound down to the sea.
Horrid business, Wilson thought, to be conducting under such a glorious sky.
He took a silver cigarette case out of his jacket, pulled out a slender cigar, Davidoff Exquisitos, and lit it, cupping his hand over the lighter against the breeze.
He took his time with the tobacco, taking in the scenery, before he finally crushed out the stub at the base of a marble bust, then walked back to his spacious hotel room on the other side of the compound.
It was a hot day and dry. He felt that he could have used a cold drink. He was about to ring for service when the concierge appeared at the door.
“Excuse me, sir.”
“Is it about the guests?”
“They have mostly left, sir, but your daughter would like to talk to you before she leaves for the honeymoon.”
“Show her in.”
He welcomed his daughter with a broad smile, his arms spread wide. It was a long walk from the door to the hug.
“It was a beautiful wedding daddy. Thank you so much.”
“I wanted to do it. Don’t worry.”
“Thank you. Thank you.”
“You have thanked me enough times. Now, be safe on your honeymoon. Don’t keep the good man waiting.”
“Thank you daddy.”
She walked to the door and turned before she left.
“See you soon.”
“See you soon, dear.”
“Will there be anything else, sir?” said the concierge.
“Yes, a beer. No, wine. Two bottles. The Burgundy we served last night should do.”
“I believe we still have a case, sir. It shall be up shortly.”
The concierge left.
He served himself some cold water and sat with it while he waited for the wine, and picked up a volume of Nabokov. He was half way through Invitation to a Beheading, a strange thing to read on his daughter’s wedding night, but the irony of it appealed to him.
She was his eighth child, by his third wife. All his children were independent now. All with legal, legitimate professions. Only two were even aware of the dark side of their father’s life. But all that was over now. Nakamoto had never failed him before.
He took a seat by the window. The view of the sea was not as good from here as it was from the terrace, but the light was just right for reading. He read a chapter and a half before the wine arrived. He poured himself a generous portion and continued to read.
It was a quiet afternoon.
He read unsteadily. He would put down his book and look out the window, conversing with the ghosts of his past, pick up the book again, put it down, nap a little, wake up, read again, sip some wine to wake himself up, and sip some wine to put the book down.
And then he awoke to find the room dark, the second bottle of wine half empty. He must have slept longer than he thought.
“Are you awake dear?” She glided into the center of the room, out of a dark corner.
“Natasha.” His first wife was as youthful as he remembered her, when Wilson was still Walenski.
“I think I am still asleep.”
“You have always been asleep.”
“I should wake up then.”
“Too late, I should think.”
“I did well. I did right.”
“Not with me.”
Her head exploded in a shower of blood and bone as a bullet hit her temple, and she dissolved into the darkness.
“It was not me! It was not my fault!”
But she was gone.
Wilson reached for his glass of wine and drank from the trembling glass.
“I did right.”
Clouds shifted in the night sky and half the room was filled with moonlight. It was clear that there was nobody there but himself.
“I am alone!” he said out loud, angrily defiant.
“Are you?” She sat across the small table from him, his second wife, wearing a hood over her head concealing her shriveled face long dead from cancer. She took his glass and lifted it to her thin dry lips.
“I shall accept your apology now.”
“I have nothing to apologize for.”
Upon those words she vanished.
“I have nothing to apologize for!” he screamed into the empty room.
There was silence. A dry silence of the sort you can only experience in the Mediterranean summer.The lint in the air was like chalk dust petrified into place. Even the wet sobs of the figure hugging her knees on the bed, a half naked girl just barely old enough to be called a woman, felt dry as the air.
“Why are you crying! You are always crying!” he shouted to his third wife. “I command you to stop crying!”
The girl looked up, her face swollen with tears.
“How much did my father owe you?”
“Shut up! I did right with you! I did right!”
He stood up in rage.
And that was when Nakamoto’s bullet pierced the window glass and entered his skull, accurately tearing through the pineal body, the hypocampus, and the amygdala, leaving his brain in shreds.
“I did right” were his last words.

(Second Draft)

Wilson looked over the railing to the blue expanse of the Mediterranean below, the only witnesses being the eroded marble busts on the low pillars spaced between the rails gazing at the terrace.
“The outcome?” Nakamoto asked.
“Terminal.”
“What’s the time frame?”
“It’s a priority.”
The young Asian in his tailored Italian suit projected an air of an artsy playboy. Only a trained eye could have detected the remnants of his military demeanor.
He straightened his coat as he turned to leave.
“It will be done tonight.”
The man disappeared down the stone stairway that wound down to the sea.
Horrid business, Wilson thought, to be conducting under such a glorious sky.
He took a silver cigarette case out of his jacket, pulled out a slender cigar, Davidoff Exquisitos, and lit it, cupping his hand over the lighter against the breeze.
He took his time with the tobacco, looking over the sea, before he crushed out the stub at the base of a marble bust, then walked back to his spacious hotel room on the other side of the compound.
It was a hot day and dry. He felt that he could have used a cold drink. He was about to ring for service when the concierge appeared at the door.
“Excuse me, sir.”
“Is it about the guests?”
“They have mostly left, sir, but your daughter would like to talk to you before she leaves for the honeymoon.”
“Show her in.”
He welcomed his daughter with a broad smile, his arms spread wide. It was a long walk from the door to the hug.
“It was a beautiful wedding daddy. Thank you so much.”
“I wanted to do it. Don’t worry.”
“Thank you. Thank you.”
“You have thanked me enough times. Now, be safe on your honeymoon. Don’t keep the good man waiting.”
“Thank you daddy.”
She walked to the door and turned before she left.
“See you soon.”
“See you soon, dear.”
“Will there be anything else, sir?” said the concierge.
“Yes, a beer. No, wine. Two bottles. The Burgundy we served last night should do.”
“I believe we still have a case, sir. It shall be up shortly.”
The concierge left.
He served himself some cold water and sat with it while he waited for the wine, and picked up a volume of Nabokov. He was half way through Invitation to a Beheading, a strange thing to read on his daughter’s wedding night, but the irony of it appealed to him.
She was his eighth child, by his third wife. All his children were independent now. All with legal, legitimate professions. Only two were even aware of the dark side of their father’s life. But that was over now. Nakamoto had never failed him before.
He took a seat by the window. The view of the sea was not as good from here as it was from the terrace, but the light was just right for reading. He read a chapter and a half before the wine arrived. He poured himself a generous portion and continued to read.
It was a quiet afternoon.
He read unsteadily. He would put down his book and look out the window, conversing with the ghosts of his past, pick up the book again, put it down, nap a little, wake up, read again, sip some wine to wake himself up, and sip some wine to put the book down.
And then he awoke to find the room dark, the second bottle of wine half empty. He must have slept longer than he thought.
“Are you awake dear?” She glided into the center of the room, out of a dark corner.
“Natasha.” His first wife was as youthful as he remembered her, when Wilson was still Walenski.
“I think I am still asleep.”
“You have always been asleep.”
“I should wake up then.”
“Too late, I should think.”
“I did well. I did right.”
“Not with me.”
Her head exploded in a shower of blood and bone as a bullet hit her temple, and she dissolved into the darkness.
“It was not me! It was not my fault!”
But she was gone.
Wilson reached for his glass of wine and drank from the trembling glass.
“I did right.”
Clouds shifted in the night sky and half the room was filled with moonlight. It was clear that there was nobody there but himself.
“I am alone!” he said out loud, defiant.
“Are you?” She sat across the small table from him, his second wife, wearing a hood over her head concealing her shriveled face long dead from cancer. She took his glass and lifted it to her thin dry lips.
“I shall accept your apology now.”
“I have nothing to apologize for.”
Upon those words she vanished.
“I have nothing to apologize for!” he screamed into the empty room.
There was silence. A dry silence of the sort you can only experience in the Mediterranean summer. The lint in the air was like chalk dust petrified into place. Even the wet sobs of the figure hugging her knees on the bed, a half naked girl just old enough to be called a woman, felt dry as the air.
“Why are you crying! You are always crying!” he shouted to his third wife. “I command you to stop crying!”
The girl looked up, her face swollen with tears.
“How much did my father owe you?”
“Shut up! I did right with you! I did right!”
He stood up in rage.
And that was when Nakamoto’s bullet pierced the window glass and entered his skull, tearing through the pineal body, the hypocampus, and the amygdala, leaving his brain in shreds.
“I did right” were his last words.

 

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