What's Become of the Baby @cosmiccambion
What's Become of the Baby

It doesn’t stink the way he expects it to.

It doesn’t sting the way he expects it to either.

There’s just the slight metallic smell in the air, and an odd resignation settling on his shoulders.

No rush of fear.

No outburst of tears.

Just a dull, knowing ache and a trained sort of acceptance. It was always going to come to this.

It feels strangely disappointing, the lack of drama in the face of a pair of corpses.

More so considering the corpses belong to his father and mother. Not that they would be easily identified as such by any passerby with the way the exit wounds have inverted their faces. An uneasy sort of nausea boils up in Prosciutto’s throat- burning and acrid.

He swallows.

He picked his way carefully through the house, taking a mental survey of each room that became a slowly forming to-do list. Nothing taken. Nobody left waiting for him. And any blood seemed contained to the kitchen and living room. He toed his shoes off outside of his room to prevent even the possibility of tracking dirt or blood in.

It was all methodical. Practiced. Muscle memory formed over years of his parents' drills from the moment he’d been old enough to walk and follow instructions. The list played over in his mind as he went through it.

The suitcase was in the closet.

Fill with:

Everything from the safe under the bed- documents, emergency cash, fake ID, hand gun (unloaded, safety on, ammo in its own separate sealed box). Leave the safe empty but make sure to close it.

Clothes. Enough for a month, folded and rolled specially to take up the least space possible.

Clothes. Enough for a month, folded and rolled specially to take up the least space possible. An extra pair of shoes, never worn before.

Personal hygiene items.

The packed luggage was placed beside the door for now. There were other things to attend to first. Notably, the small piece of card stock left on the kitchen counter. It was distinctly free of blood, placed where it would be clearly seen by anyone entering the house. It looked to be covered by a thin layer of white-out, the previously printed advertisement for something or other trying to show through behind the scribbled addition of “you got lucky- clean up” above a string of numbers.Lucky. That was one way of putting it.

The packed luggage was placed beside the door for now. There were other things to attend to first. Notably, the small piece of card stock left on the kitchen counter. It was distinctly free of blood, placed where it would be clearly seen by anyone entering the house. It looked to be covered by a thin layer of white-out, the previously printed advertisement for something or other trying to show through behind the scribbled addition of “you got lucky- clean up” above a string of numbers.

Lucky. That was one way of putting it.

Picking up the phone he glanced at the small numbers written on the card as he dialed, mumbling the sequence to himself as he did.

“Eight, six, seven… Fifty-three… Zero… Nine."

He crumpled the paper in his fist as he listened to the dial tone, tossing it into the trash behind him. Another well rehearsed scene- though he had always wondered back then who exactly he’d ever have to call a cleaning crew for. Whatever, he had an answer now. This was the easy part. Just a matter of reciting the right code.

Click.“Hello? Who is this?”“Formentera.”“And the nature of your call?”“I’m reading the Book of Saturday.”The voice on the other line prompted him for information and he rattled off answers- name, address, how many dead.“That job is already assigned. It was deemed low priority. The team will arrive tomorrow. Is this urgent?”“Tomorrow is fine.”He returned the handset to its place on the plastic base of the telephone.Click.

Click.

“Hello? Who is this?”

“Formentera.”

“And the nature of your call?”

“I’m reading the Book of Saturday.”

The voice on the other line prompted him for information and he rattled off answers- name, address, how many dead.

“That job is already assigned. It was deemed low priority. The team will arrive tomorrow. Is this urgent?”

“Tomorrow is fine.”

He returned the handset to its place on the plastic base of the telephone.

Click.

He pulls his hair back, finding a sort of comfort in the slight strain on his scalp. A bit of physical pain to keep him grounded in reality. The record player is on, empty and waiting. A few of the albums are settled around it, pulled off the shelf in preparation. A few drops of blood decorate the edge of one. Aoxomoxoa. The first record he ever remembers hearing and one he still finds himself tongue-tied trying to pronounce.

It’s funny somehow, the idea of mafia members listening to psych rock. To hippie music. But then, they weren’t really members, were they? Just informants that got a little too nosy, shot off at the mouth a few too many times. And now they weren’t anything.

He carefully removed the record from its cover and set it into place. Needle slid into groove and the first few notes of St. Stephen became the first of his company for the evening.

His hands reek of bleach by the time he’s done scrubbing floors and walls and tables. He’d abandoned the rug, whoever came tomorrow would roll the entire thing up and out into the street and burn it as they left. The sun was dipping low on the horizon, casting strange shadows with what little light could get in through the curtains. He dug around in the junk drawer until he found the box of matches. The box of store-bought pastries had been sitting on the table since before he’d gone off to school that morning. A handful of candles sit next to them, waiting patiently.

It’s a stupid gesture- useless and wasteful and purely emotional- but he takes three of them onto plates and sets them in their proper places. He haphazardly shoves a couple of the candles into the cake slice in front of him, strikes a match, and lights them quickly before the flame catches his fingertips.

For a while he just watches. Colored wax dripping down onto cheap frosting in something vaguely resembling tears.

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