Justin looked down at the body that lay lying between the rubbish dumpster and the ladder which would have served as his escape route. It was pitch black outside still and if it weren’t for the growling cats on heat, nothing would have been heard. Not even cars rushing by. It was a peculiar night. A full moon always pre-empts something strange. Justin believed his ancestors’ belief to be true. And tonight it had become a reality.
Two hours ago he was standing there in the living room of his fourth-floor apartment drinking an Irish beer with his friend. “Friend”. He had just met him a week ago. How well can you get to know someone in such a short time? Even if you did spend an unusually large proportion of your time each day in their company?
Why? Because what they shared went beyond the ‘normal’. And the ‘legal’.
No, they weren’t smuggling, selling or growing drugs.
No, they were not into human trafficking.
No, they were not into something disgusting or perverted.
They were running around town all day, trying to do a good deed to change someone’s life.
They smiled at everyone in the street, no matter if they got sworn at or nearly hit in return. They truly believed that one single smile, one good deed, no matter how small, may one day save a life.
It was good karma if nothing else. And it certainly made them feel their day was worthwhile.
Until that moonlit night.
Justin remembered that they had even joked about the only thing missing from that “twilight” sky was a howling wolf.
It was ironic that a cat howled like a wolf when the body fell four stories down and crashed onto its tail.
He didn’t mean for it to happen. He never wished anything bad for anyone. Not even him.
It did not matter that he caught him stealing money from his wallet. He offered to give him more if he needed help.
But Justin did not understand why the aggravation and the change of tone all of a sudden. What was with this attitude? The person who said a smile would make anyone’s day now suddenly lost his own. Without reason or explanation. He didn’t use to be like this.
And then it happened. The irritation brought about a quarrel which turned bloody. And then, he asked Justin for some water. Those fatal drops of transparent liquid would seal his fate.
For as soon as Justin returned with the glass in his hand he barely managed to avert a dagger stained with blood flying towards him. And his “friend” was falling butt-first out the open window. As if he was diving in a water-park fun pool.
He just made sure he would seemingly signal the culprit.
Thirty minutes had gone by, with Justin playing the scene over and over in his head. The sirens had become louder now.
He drank the water, placed the dagger in the glass and hid it in his inside coat pocket. He would leave no trace.
An Italian gold carnival mask.
He was not known as the Harlequin for nothing.
The victim had after all smiled at his Colombina… And things, even a smile, are never what they seem…