I stood at the pathway leading to the quaint little mansion, silhouetted against the night sky, mocking me to raid it. I paused a bit, the little pause that I always took before entering any quarry, making my mind and focusing it on the task ahead. It was pure luck that had pointed me, a newbie to the town, to this quarry. Just last night during a ravenous bout of drinks at a local waterhole, brimming with masters, jacks and kings of my trade, good fortune had presented itself to me. A local legend had begun, from the lips of a drunk, of this lonely heiress who lived by herself in this mansion of hers with vast riches, very reclusive, seldom seen outside her house, an everlasting beauty, and….. And there had been something else, something dark and sinister, something that had escaped me, for by this time I had taken a plummet from sobriety in to the realms of drunkenness and had indeed lost the rest of the story, but for a piece of paper handed to me by some Joe. Incredibly the piece of paper stayed with me, throughout the night and drunken revelry, up until the next day when light and consciousness returned, the address miraculously preserved in my hands…
Hmmm the pause, it had never been this long before. Maybe I should have taken that as a hint, a foreboding. But then I had to make a living. Firstly, I pushed the doubts out, then the fence door open and pulled out a master-key as I made it to the front door. It was around 11:45, the girl should be asleep by now. Within minutes I was inside the house standing in a dark foyer, leading to a small passageway that seemed to open in a big living room. Surprisingly a dim light was on in the living room.
“Daddy, please listen to me,” said a voice from the living room, it made me jump out of my skin. My hand rested on the reassuring bulge of the Beretta tucked inside my belt, as I ducked behind a huge horseman statue in the passageway. Not that I had ever shot the gun before, just flashing it had been sufficient to terrorize, but now a pang of anger and anxiety was slowly rising inside me. “Isn’t she supposed to be alone? Is her father just visiting her?”
The voice continued, “You have always dictated my life, ever since I can remember. You have never let me make any decisions, never ever. Now for once, please let me marry Michael.”
Just then a bolt of lightning struck outside and the sound of crashing rain drowned the conversation. Taking refuge in the cacophony, I inched closer to the living room, shielded by the wall. A young girl was sitting on the sofa facing the passageway, talking to someone on the love seat that was facing her. Anguish and frustration was clearly discernible on her face even in the dimly lit room. I couldn’t see who it was she was talking to, as the back of the huge bulky seat was towards me. On the table between them were two glasses.
The girl continued to plead, “Daddy, since mom passed away you never ever listened to what I wanted, and it was always you, you and you. Why Daddy why?”
The grandfather clock in the room struck twelve. Beads of perspiration ticked on my forehead. “Get a grip; it’s only an old hog and his daughter. You can handle them.”
Suddenly the girl got up and started shouting menacingly, “This is it Daddy. Enough is enough; this time I won’t let you drive my life. I have already died many times; I won’t let you kill my dreams, my love, and my life yet again”. The terror and anger in her voice was razor-sharp, very palpable and blood curdling; the transformation of the girl made my spine tingle.
This is it I thought; I need to step in before things get out of control. I pulled out the pistol and was about to step into the living room, when something heavy came crashing down behind me. I hit the ground tentatively, in an attempt to duck and wheeled around on the floor. It was the statue that I had hidden behind earlier, realizing this I quickly got to my feet and rushed into the room.
The girl had a shocked look on her face and was looking at the stairs that lead upstairs, the love seat was empty. I pointed the gun at her and shouted, “Stand still and don’t move! Where is your father?”
Slowly she turned her head towards me, her wide dazed eyes unable to comprehend my presence there. Just then a big noise echoed upstairs. A dark chill entered the girls eyes, something that started to even spook me out. A small grin formed on her lips, soon transforming into a sinister smirk. When she spoke it wasn’t the voice of a helpless cornered girl but that of a cold judgmental shrew, “You are a robber, aren’t you? What can you do for money? For lots of money, can you kill someone?” She gave a blood curdling laugh. “I will give you a million dollars if you kill my dad.” She shrugged pointing upstairs.
Now I was beginning to get it. This girl was mad, out of her mind, driven to the doldrums of insanity by her anarchical dictator father. There was no point in staying in this house anymore. But then the million dollars….
“Where is the money?” I asked pointing the gun at her.
“It’s upstairs in the safe. If you finish him off, you can have it and me as well.” She said in a teasing manner.
I said to myself; No focus, you can’t. Go upstairs grab the money, tie the man and the girl and just leave.
I ordered, “Let’s go upstairs. You lead the way”.
The girl’s eyes were now just hollow, very distant but the chilling hideous smile was still stuck on her face. What the fuck had I gotten myself into? Something dark and sinister? A million dollars? Oh well for once, it’s so close. Let’s just do it.
We had reached the upstairs floor and were soon in the first room. It was empty but for a bed and a chair. The girl laughed and shrugged. I pointed the gun towards her and motioned her to move out. The second room was more like a small study and had a small safe at the far end. At once my heart leaped with joy, the breeze of a million dollars seemed to sweep my hardships and fears away. I asked her to open the safe at which she just stared at me blankly.
“Open the safe”, I barked and pushed her. At once her eyes flashed a fleeting look of evil that chilled me to the bone. I flashed the gun…. The safe opened and I couldn’t believe it, there were bundles of green in it. I pulled out a thick trash bag from my pocket and ordered the girl to fill it up. The girl slowly and mechanically started filling the bag with the wads of money. Suddenly something fell from the safe, some papers, and some newspaper clippings, old with age. With much apprehension I grabbed one and hastily read it. “Business Tycoon Murdered, Surviving Daughter Kills Burglar-Murderer. My hazy eyes darted to the next: “Another Stray Burglar Killed by Lonely Heiress”. Instantly, with panic and terror gripping me, I cocked my gun and turned around towards the girl, just as she drove a knife into my guts, the cold deathly blade chilling my warm blood. Her eyes evil and dark, her face white, a sense of distant far way look pasted on her twisting face, as she pulled me towards her and asked in a maniac tone, “Where is my dad? What have you done to my dad?” With incomprehensible force and vehemence she took out the blade and drove it again with precision, drawing blood and life out of me. As I fell agonizingly to the floor, still clutching the gun, she knelt beside me and shouted, “Dad”. All of a sudden a look of compassion, care and pity passed over her. Her twisted face was now a façade of pure shock and her eyes moist with tears. The room was spinning, I could feel it, the end was very near, life was leaving me and she was taking it. She pulled the knife out, inspected it closely, and tossed it away and screamed, “How many times will I have to kill you dad, how many more…” And she sat motionless staring at me letting out a shrill long interminable wail.
The pain suddenly grew uncontrollable and I was cold. All my life till that point came flashing and crashing before my eyes right up to the pause…and then with a last twitch my body gave the final stop, and pulled the trigger.