The Black Rose

Giovanni walked into his condo after a long day in the courtroom. Being a lawyer wasn’t easy, that’s for sure. He ripped his tie away from his body and threw it across the room. His lips in a grim line, he walked into the living room and turned on the television. He saw himself, rushing down the steps of the courthouse. Surrounded by reporters endless questions flying.

“Is the defense as guilty as you are portraying?”

“Was he really the mastermind behind the mob?”

Giovanni clenched the remote in his hand. He was tempted to throw it across the room. Instead, he threw it on the sofa. Those poor, blind sheep. He would like nothing more than to throw crime scene photos at their faces.

He walked into the kitchen and opened the freezer. A frozen lasagna. He pre-heated the oven and turned around. And stopped.

In the middle of the kitchen table, in a black vase, was a black rose. Bile rose in his throat. How did they get in his house. A sheen of sweat started on his forehead.

He reached behind him to the knife block on the counter. Silently, he slipped the largest knife out. Gripping it in his right hand, he crept forward.

Shadows danced on the walls from headlights passing. His stockinged feet made no noise on the carpet. Step by step he searched. He opened doors without creaking. His muscles tense, he finished his trace of the house. Nothing.

He heard the beep of the oven, telling him it was heated to the right temperature.

Still, Giovanni did not relax.

He made his way back to the kitchen, put the lasagna in the oven. He turned back around, and saw Joey sitting at his kitchen table. The man was dressed in a business suit, with black gloves. He cradled a gun, with a silencer. Giovanni didn’t know that much about guns, but he knew any kind could kill him. He also knew that he knew too much about this case. He had made himself collateral damage with this case. The fucking mob.

“No use goin’ fer that knife now,” the quiet, papery voice said.

Giovanni slumped against the counter, in despair. The fucking mob was the last thing he thought.

Then there was bits of brain and skull. Hair and blood. It stained Giovanni’s crisp, white shirt. It spread in a pool at his crumpled body.

The black rose, placed on his heart. The black vase, empty. And Joey, was never there.

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