I want to say goodbye properly and in my own way but the chance is stolen from me, his eyes dimming to opaque glass the millisecond mine choose to blink. I feel cheated as my eyelids open back up while his lips slack apart in a final sour gasp. His bowels void silently, the stench an unexpected punch. I sit on the floor, the cold kitchen tiles chilling the back of my legs and watch the clock’s metal hand jerking from second to second until five full minutes go by. No calling the police, no pulling in the paramedics. Either will be useless; there is nothing they can do for him now.
My heart hurts with loss as his stills, the blood in his veins dribbling to a halt. I feel his wrist, the skin cooling like tepid bathwater. No pulse. By now oxygen is cut off from the brain. He’s gone, and bitter tears burn my cheeks because I wanted to be there when life left him and for him to know I watched it go.
Still, he is dead. That’s the main thing.
Why are my hands shaking, then? I wanted this moment to be one of triumph! Talk about an anti-climax. Panic squeezes my throat, the air around me thin and mean. I hadn’t thought much past this point and the smell coming from him makes my stomach turn. People don’t tell you, but blood stinks. I open my mouth and breathe through that but the air tastes like an old copper coin. With that and the smell of shit, I feel sick. He’d laugh at me if he could and tell me what a wimp I am. Hang on, I think. He can’t laugh at me now, can he?
The knife is stuck into him at an odd angle, upwards like a lever. I wipe it clean of me and lift his right hand, a dead weight. Dead! That’s funny! I try to laugh, but can’t. I wrap his palm around the knife handle and press his fingers down, firm and flat. Goodbye murder, hello suicide. I take a deep breath and suddenly can’t taste the blood and shit anymore.
Cath Bore is based in Liverpool, UK. She writes crime fiction and short stories about the things keeping her awake at night, and is published in the UK and US. Cath has an MA in Creative Writing from Liverpool John Moores University. Website https://cathbore.wordpress.com