In the soft folds of the husband’s robe, the Butcher awoke, eyes flipping open to the darkness of the room.
Outside the world was still sleeping, moonlight slipping over the windowsill onto the bed, illuminating the paisley print of the covers, making the orange flowers deepen and the yellow leaves turn lemon-colored. Ebony ringlets spilled over his chest, satin corkscrews he couldn’t resist touching smelling like apple pie and supper. Bringing a fistful of locks to his nose, taking a deep breath in, savoring the the fragrance, he was almost regretful that he had no time left.
Stretching out his lazy muscles, the Butcher threw off the covers; picked up his pants, put them on; scooped up his shirt and pulled it over his head, tugging at the sleeves and collars until properly adjusted. He felt for his keys in his pockets, murmuring silently at the answering jingle.
Looking back to the figure on the bed, he gave a sigh, stepping back to the edge of the mattress to lean down and bury his nose one more in the cloud of ringlets. His fingers ran inside the curve of the wife’s white neck, pausing at the pulse that grew calmer each passing second.
Taking out his pocket knife he snipped away a few strands at the nape, the point of his nose bumping a cold ear before he pressed a kiss to the crown and slipped from the room, counting his steps down the stairs and out the backdoor.
The door shut behind, bouncing back against what was left of the lock. The sound echoed like a fired shot, sending a few birds in nearby trees twittering.
Then he saw it, standing there at the base of the hill, staring back at him as he reached the bottom just as a familiar rickety pickup truck sounded its arrival in the driveway on the opposite side.