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John Lowe was crouched, listening to the rapid beat of his own heart, waiting in anticipation. He needed to get out of Andy’s house before any one of the surrounding neighbors woke up and noticed something was off. It would be a misstep John could not afford. For that exact reason, to go absolutely unnoticed, he had kept the lights off, to not draw any attention to what was going on behind the closed doors of Andy’s duplex.

John carefully moved his ankle around in circular motions, the joints sore from being in the same crouched locus for too long. How much time had passed? How long had he sat aside the bed with the bloodied sheets? He didn’t quite remember. That was okay, though. Often times, John couldn’t recall certain memories, but they always came back to him, eventually. He was sure it would be same this time around.

Slowly, he stretched his neck to the left, then to the right, feeling the muscles tighten and his jaw ache from gritted teeth. When he opened his eyes, he was faced with the fearful expression plastered onto his deceased wife’s visage. Her eyes dilated wide open, a mix of surprise and terror amalgamated onto her face incessantly. Or at least, until the mortician would be able to work his magic. John didn’t have to be boy wonder to uncover why the expression on her face was any less than it was, of course. His now dearly deceased wife had no reason to anticipate his entrance, gun steady in his right hand. His aim was firm and unwavering, John knew it was. He was a police officer after all, it was a requirement. Alex confirmed what he already knew, when she had no time to scream, or apologize, or whatever else she intended on telling him. John frowned when he reflected upon his earlier conducts. He should’ve put a sound suppressor on the firearm he had been using, on second thought. He had to remember that for next time, maybe jot it down.

The detective exanimated the body of his wife nearer, like bacteria being scrutinized under a scientist’s microscope. Her jaw was slack, her face a paler shade of white than he had ever seen on her before. The blood surrounding the bullet imprint, perfectly positioned right in between her eyes, if he had to say so himself, had dried up a bit already. From what John could tell, rigor mortis had started taking root by the time he was inspecting her corpse, which had to mean he had been in Andy’s house for at least three hours.

Cautiously, he stood up, his kneecaps cracking and his joints popping. Now, lifted to his full height, he could see the body of his co-worker and previously well respected detective, Andy, lying next to John’s wife. In stark contrast to his wife’s mostly-in-tact body, there wasn’t much left of Andy’s face. Or his crotch, for that matter. John lowered his vision to check his bloodstained watch. 5:23 AM, it read. No one with a decent job was up yet, and he figured he could go home, take a steamy shower and wash up before heading to work. Carefully not to disturb the dead, John shuffled his way from the king size bed to the wooden bedroom door.

He had been prepared, for the most part. He had been wearing rubber gloves, stolen from his wife’s work bag, not to leave any fingerprints. John had used a gun, one he bought in cash from the streets, so the bullets couldn’t be traced back to his by law registered firearm, and had worn old clothes he’d usually not wear, just in case a neighbor had seen him sneak in. Furthermore, he had wiped down anything he had touched with sanitary wipes, even if he had merely touched it with his gloves. He had taken the public bus, so his car couldn’t be recognized by any passersby.

Looking back at the crime scene the Los Angeles based detective created, he smiled. The two of them had it coming. John’s suspicions of his wife’s infidelity had been gnawing at him before she ever even crossed that line. It all started with Andy’s dark roaming eyes over Alex’s dress clad body at office parties, but he had thought it was best to brush it off as simple flattery, and not to indulge in paranoia. After all, his wife was a smart, attractive woman, it would make sense for her to attract admirers. But she was his smart, attractive woman. Until she no longer was. John had figured Alex would be more vigilant while having an affair, especially with a husband that worked for the local police department. He was a detective, God damn it. Did she simply expect him not to check her phone, after going out night after night?! She couldn’t expect him to believe she had to work late every single night. Did she think that lowly of him, John wondered, or was she simply just not as smart as she thought herself to be? Simply wiping messages from her phone didn’t quite cut it for a husband that worked in the field. John could effortlessly flirt with his co-worker and have her check Alex’s phone, off records. With the deleted messages restored, John read all about the ways Andy would like to satisfy his wife, and in what ways she liked to be satisfied by him. Yes, they deserved exactly what happened to them.

John went through his stuff one more time before leaving the residence and never looking back. His phone was safely tucked in the back pocket of his jeans, his gun, box of gloves and sanitary wipes were securely placed in his black backpack. Zipping it up tooth by tooth, John took his time and seized one last one glance at the two dead bodies lying on the bed. He hadn’t planned on it to be them when March planted ideas in his head, but faith had funny ways of presenting opportunities.

Walking to the nearest bus stop, John felt a strange wave of relief washing over him, one that reminded him of the relief he felt after solving a case. He was more than pleased to be rid of his wife. She had a way of getting in his head, like when she blamed him for Holden’s disappearance. It hadn’t been his fault, of course, but she ensured that that single thought tried to consume him for hours on end, every time he desired to put his mind and body to rest. It was like a little disease she put in his brain.
That was the start of it. The first bug she implanted, scratching at his skull, running over his brain to get out. After that, it only got worse. The whole enchilada, she blamed all of it on him. John was certain that, had he confronted her with her affair, she was able to blame even that on him as well. And he’d believe her.

When John reached the bus stop, he questioned himself if it was best go straight home or go by the hotel Cortez to gloat about what he had done. What would March say, he marveled. If he had to guess, March would praise him for taking matters in his own hands. James hadn’t been honest with John, hadn’t straightforwardly told him what his great plans were for the broken alcoholic, but it didn’t take a genius to catch on to the breadcrumb trail of clues James had left behind for him to follow. This was what March had wanted all along, he just knew it.

John’s mind a bit hazy and chaotic, he regarded the bus schedule. He saw the letters swimming in front of his eyes, but could hardly make any sense of them. His mind was scattered all over the place, thoughts and memories getting whisked like raw eggs into the desired consistency. He tried his best to remember what exactly March had said about killing people that stood close to a person and the consequences, but like much else, he couldn’t quite remember.

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“Arrested?! But I had great plans for him!” James seemed furious to Liz. She took a drag from her almost burned out cigarette. A long cigarette ash residue rested on the tip, and it wouldn’t take much for it to break off and have the ashes fall to the ground. Liz didn’t considerably like interacting with James much, and tried avoiding him as much as it was possible for a hotel employee to avoid the big boss. Liz had, in her view point, a very valid reason. He was, after all, a man from the 1920s. His small-mindedness was nothing new to her, but it still got on her nerves. Unfortunately for her, Liz had to be the bearer of bad news. John Lowe had been arrested after only his first murder. Liz wondered if she could have done better herself.

“His cellphone records showed he was on the scene of the crime at the time of the murders. He was also seen taking public transport. He killed his wife and her paramour which also happened to be his co-detective,” Liz said matter of factly, the ashes of the cigarette in her hand had finally broken off and were slowly burning a hole in the carpet.

“Idiot cop,” James muttered under his breath, alongside some other nasty words. Liz could swear she saw his little moustache curl in rage. “How could he have been as daft as to murder his very own wife? I told him to stay away from anyone that could make for a lead to him!”

Liz huffed, finally rubbing the bottom of her stiletto heel over the burning ashes, putting the ashes out and saving the carpet of further decay. Then, she crushed her cigarette and looked James straight in the eye. “Looks like you have to find another successor, Clark Gable.”