He wouldn’t hurt a fly. That’s how his neighbours would come to describe him in the police reports. He wouldn’t hurt a fly, they’d say, though the mosquito circling him as he argued in the kitchen was testing that theory for itself. He protested against the woman standing coolly before him. She utilised her verbal arsenal much less than he, and as such, seemed to be winning. He thought this was just another disagreement with more to come. There wouldn’t be. She had come here to murder him. The most he did to defend himself was gently wave away the mosquito.
The insect landed on the back of his neck, penetrated his skin and drank his rich warm blood. It was pregnant and was planning on drinking three times its weight to ensure healthy offspring. The man was too engrossed in the argument to notice.
The woman had worn a new plastic raincoat with the store tag hanging from the outside and the ‘flammable’ label peeking out at the collar. She had paid for it in cash.
The plan had been in place for weeks now, with the penultimate visit being merely recognisance. She needed to know that his fireplace was real, not decorative. The blood-speckled coat burned there after she made it look like he’d fallen on his kitchen knives. It had to be an accident. People knew him too well. Who could possibly make an enemy of him?
The mosquito watched from above the mantlepiece.
She mingled with the neighbours, performing concern over his absence at the book club that evening. She made sure to call the police immediately after Audrey. The one who calls it in is always a suspect, but if she as his next-door neighbour didn’t, that would also raise suspicion. The second of three phone calls. That was important.
The mosquito had yet to fill up entirely on blood.
She sat in her garden, two days later. The police – as far as she knew – had all but written it off as an accident; a few formalities left to rule out neighbours. It had worked but she questioned her morality briefly without seriousness. In this world there are predators and prey, and prey in the way of a predator is lunch. That’s all it is, she shrugged to herself under the warm summer sun. Nature.
She’d allow the officers access to her wardrobe. They had tests to conduct to eliminate foul play. She grinned as she considered this in the garden. She’d thought of it all.
Her nature, unlike his, was that of the predator, and now that the obstacle before her was gone, the only thing preventing this day for being perfect was the mosquito circling her.
Slap. The sound echoed as the mother-to-be – which landed briefly on the leg of her black shorts – ceased to exist. She wiped it off leaving nothing visible in its stead. After all, it was her nature.
The blood, his blood, was found days later.
Aled Owen is a Welsh writer and filmmaker. He studied at the Carmarthen School of Art and then later at the Northern Film School, Leeds Beckett University. His various film credits include Newton’s Third (2020), Iolyn (2019) and Argot (2018). Fly on the Wall is his first literary publication.
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