He turned at me, gaping, his face losing all color as blood poured out his side. His white, ghostly visage stared at me, the old sinner speechless and confused. I cleaned the dripping blade before him, wiping a thin silken cloth over the dagger so his widening eyes would see. He collapsed, and I tossed the spotted handkerchief upon his corpse. The old, muddy snow beneath him turned red, his hot warm life pooling up over the icy ground. Wandering on, I left him as I went whistling through the fog. It was over, finally, and I had won. Dreaming, I wondered what I would do with my life. Go home? There was no more home. My family? They were gone. What was left now?
The old river, dark and foreboding, ran beside me. In its current, ice slowly drifted off to sea. On a clearer night, one might see the opposing bank, a city bright and beautiful. Tonight, a thick cloud hung, and no lamplight would shine for me across the way.
What were endings?
I whistled on, my feet growing numb in my boots. Nothing left, I thought, the job is over and done. Beside me ran the river out to sea, its cold breath rising in a sudden gust of air. I shivered, trotting through the snow.
The murder made the headlines and was the subject of much talk. A funeral was held for him, the miserly earth forced to open up and receive him. Many stood silently as he was lowered in; some women pretended to cry. In all, a solitary tear was shed for him by a maidservant who felt pity for the lonely, old cuss. It was the only tear of any real value. Searches were made, theories propounded, but no one guessed, no one noted, that taciturn new secretary who didn’t show up for work the next day, or any other. No one dreamed how the murderer got away, how his unfeeling feet, and a blinding fog, led to a precipitous fall, how the ocean received his corpse with winter’s broken chunks of ice.
In the end, spring returned, and the city moved on, the river flowing through it, washing all things out to sea.