The barrel sat still warm in his hand, still soothing and fluid within his grip. He clenched his knees together and pressed his toes firmly against the soles of his shoes. The blazing fire in the hearth disguised the stench of sweat and the acrid smell that rose about him. He lifted the gun to his face gently brushing the metal across his stubbled cheek, like a lover would her lips. Blood pulsed through his body, muscles tensed, and his ears rang. He sat on the edge of the bed, sheets crumpled and dirty, and he inhaled as if a cigarette hung from his mouth.
For a moment he basked, letting the excited tension that consumed him relax and allowing heady delight room in his mind. The gun settled on his thigh, resting with ease and the sense of a job well done.
He closed his eyes and exhaled, enjoying the moment as you would a long-awaited gulp of whisky. The fire crackled and spat and the bed beneath him shook.
His eyes sprang open and his head whirled, as if he’d forgotten his deed, as if he’d neglected the woman sitting wide-eyed and terrified at the top of the bed.
She sat upon the pillow, curled up tight beneath a cherry-stained, yellow-streaked sheet. Tears ran muddy rivers down her cheeks and pale, rigid fingers clutched the bed sheet up to her neck.
He gazed at her and her eyes stared like a rabbit’s right back. She shook like a leaf in a gale, uncontrollably and violently. The yellow puddle beneath her seeped through the sheets and he failed to supress his curled lip of disgust.
She refused to look away and his finger, resting on the gun, trembled. He looked to her side and his heart thumped, his excitement growing ever richer. Beside her, the black-haired body, the mound in the bed, blossomed red, wine red…blood red. He chuckled and his eye twitched.
She shrank against the wall, her skin stuck to it with the sweat of fear.
He lifted the gun again, stroking the barrel with quivering and calloused fingers, and watched her shaking body writhe. He shuddered in anticipation. She spoke, or at least words tried to leave her mouth.
“Didn’t get that, sweetheart?” he drawled.
“No one will love you, not ever, no one…” The words escaped with a vitriol he hadn’t expected from one so afraid for her life.
The gun brushed his arm, and he licked his lips, twitching again involuntarily.
“No one,” she repeated, suddenly forgetting her fear and leaning forward. “When they see what you did…you’ll have no one,” she hissed.
He lifted the weapon to his lips, but it was cold, the metal unforgiving, and his arousal vanished. The hate glistened in her eyes, black as night, and flashing crimson as demon against the red firelight roaring in the fireplace. Spittle frothed on her pale lips and revulsion spat. “They’ll hate you!”
Her intonation took only a split second to invade his fragile mind, to infect the deepest parts of him, to turn his rage inside out.
The gun gleamed in his hand, and the shivers that twisted down his spine grabbed at his heart. He shook the gun at his wife then turned the muzzle toward his face, caressing the beloved metal that threatened to curse him. It sang in his hand, whispered in his fevered mind and the kiss it offered burst like summer rain as his mind splattered across the bed and his unfaithful mate.