I had qualms about it, sure, but she needed to be killed.
It wouldn’t be a murder as such, because there was no person in that body to die. The thing I thought of as Dorothy was just a collection of body parts and autonomous bodily functions. She had no thoughts, no aspirations, no memories and no soul. She was practically dead already.
Killing her made sense for all three of us: Dorothy, Victor and me; including Dave, it made sense for four of us.
The math was compelling.
The math alone was sufficient to justify the deed.
Plus, there were the other positives.
Dave’s Mum would be overjoyed. At least, she would be once she’d gotten over the shock.
The police would be pleased. They’d get a result. They’d be able to claim a positive outcome on the Dave Carrion murder case. It’d improve their clear-up rate and be good for their P.R.
I’d be freed from my guilt.
Yes, I was burdened with guilt, and it was getting to me.
That’s because I probably did him in on purpose.
When I’d gotten myself free of his grip at the top of the stairs, there was no need to push him.
He wasn’t threatening or chasing me.
And when I did push him, it was in the full knowledge that he was on the edge of a steep staircase with his back to it. I knew he’d fall down it backwards if I gave him a good shove.
And what did I do? I gave him a good shove.
I knew it’d hurt him real bad, thought it might possibly kill him.
So I had plenty to feel remorse about.
But there was something I could do to improve matters.
Bring Dave Carrion back from the dead.
I decided to do it.
The die was cast. There was no going back.
I now had to steel myself for the cold-blooded killing it’d entail.
And after that, I’d have to get down to the grim business of actually doing it.
There was one small snag: I needed to identify two people besides Dorothy I could kill with a clear conscience.
Was there anyone I could think of? Someone else in need of euthanasia, perhaps?
My thoughts on these matters were interrupted by the chime of the doorbell. It was Olly. He had his football with him.
“Do you want to play football, Kali?” He asked.
“Yes, why not.”
We went to the back lawn.
“This is fun isn’t it?” He said, as we kicked the ball to one another.
“Yes I’m enjoying it.”
“My dad’s been very poorly today,” he said.
“You must be terribly upset.”
He nodded in his precocious way.
“I am. He gets like that sometimes. He has good days and bad days, and today was a bad day.”
“Does he have many bad days?”
“He didn’t used to, but he’s getting them more and more often.”
He was on the verge of tears, but was trying manfully to hold them back. I held out my arms.
“Come here, Olly. You need a big hug.”
I pulled him close to me, and decided I had to do something to ease his suffering, and that of his father.
Later, when I saw Victor, I said:
“I’ve got something to tell you.”
He looked apprehensive.
“What is it?”
“It’s about your proposition. The answer is yes, I’ll do it.”
“You mean the mercy killing?”
“Yes, the mercy killing. I’ll do it.”
As he smiled, the light cast shadows in his eye sockets and cheeks, making his head resemble a grinning skull.
He took a packet of cigarettes from the pocket of his waistcoat and offered me one, which I gratefully accepted.
“I’m delighted to hear that,” he said, striking a match. “You don’t know how grateful I am. Dorothy will be thrilled.” For a moment he looked uncomfortable then he added: “That is, she would be thrilled, if she could understand anything, of course.”
He lit my cigarette, then his own.
“Wait a minute,” I said. “There’s a condition if I’m going to do this for you. There are two conditions, in fact.”
“Anything.” He waved the match around to extinguish the flame then dropped it into an ashtray. “Name your price. If I can afford it, it’s yours.”
“Okay, I need money. Don’t get the wrong idea. I don’t want you to pay me for doing the job. The reason I want it is I’m worried things could go wrong and the police could get involved. Then I’d have to go on the run and I’d need a lot of money.”
He took a thoughtful pull on his cigarette.
“I’ve already agreed to that. I’ll check what’s in my account and tell you how much I can afford. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. What’s the other condition?”
“I need you to help me get something.”
“Consider it done. Just let me know what it is..”
“You mustn’t ask any questions about it. You’ve got to help me get what I need, no questions asked.”
He tapped the ash from his cigarette into the ashtray he kept on the hall table.
“This is all very mysterious, Kali. But I’m sure it’s not going to be a problem. I’ll help you to get anything, so long as it doesn’t involve stealing. It doesn’t involve stealing, does it?”
I shook my head.
“No, it’s not stealing.”
“That’s a relief. What do you want me to do?”
I tapped some ash from the end of my cigarette and took a nervous drag on it.
“I think the usual term for it is body snatching.”
His eyebrows shot up creating multiple creases on his forehead.
“You want me to desecrate a grave?”
“No, the body’s in a mortuary.”
“All right, I’ll help you. We have a deal.”
He held out his hand and we shook on it.
“I must tell Dorothy the good news. We both must. Come with me.”
“I’d sooner pass on that if you don’t mind.”
“I do mind. You need to be with me when I tell Dorothy. She might not understand what’s going on, but the least we can do is treat her with respect.”
I sighed and stubbed out my cigarette.
“All right, if you insist I’ll go with you to let her know.”
We went into her bedroom.
“We have good news, Dorothy,” said Victor. “Young Kali here has agreed to help us. She says she’ll kill you.”
Dorothy remained impassive in spite of the good news.
“Don’t you think that’s bloody marvellous?” He added. “Let’s have a cigarette to celebrate.”
Raising Dave is © Copyright 2017 by Jack Strange. Permission to publish this story has been granted by the author.
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