If patterns held, Parkes knew that the snowflakes listing softly through the early twilight meant that the new neighbor -- if a neighbor can still be called “new” after three years in the building -- would wake up screaming that night.
Each winter had been the same since she moved in: every snowfall brought post-midnight shrieks reverberating up through the floor of 1404, and the resulting sleeplessness made Parkes consider coming out of retirement for one last, personal job.
Parkes knew the risks and would have to be extremely careful to make 1304’s death look like an accident, but he wasn’t about to spend another endless winter blinking owlishly over cup after cup of ineffective coffee.
Several years out of the business, many of his old contacts had disappeared and new technology had replaced earlier models, but he managed to get what he needed and set everything up while 1304 was out at work.
Parkes thought he knew what he was getting into, but was still mildly startled when he overheard 1304 on her newly bugged phone: “I keep seeing her blood on the floor, Heather -- and just knowing he’s out there, crunching through the snow, I can’t...I can’t…”
He couldn’t grow a conscience this late in the game and he was unwilling to endure insomnolence a moment longer than necessary, but after pondering all he’d overheard, Parkes decided he might meet his objective using a different approach.
A helpful librarian plunked Parkes down at a computer terminal and guided him through a wealth of information regarding the investigation and trial 1304 had endured, but he still had to track down his new target.
Infiltration was just as easy at it always had been, though Parkes ruefully thought that might owe more to his kindly aged countenance and less to his rusty skill set.
Parkes wondered if the bastard he was currently surveilling had been just as smug and unbearable before he had escaped justice on a technicality, but he figured that he probably had.
Parkes watched his mark die gasping on luxurious, pristine carpet, and conceded to himself that some jobs were still an absolute pleasure, even without the delights of proper wetwork.
He listened to the bugs in 1304 until he could be sure the news had reached her, and felt a quiet satisfaction when she said, “I know an accident isn’t the same as real justice -- nothing will ever bring her back -- but I have to admit that I don’t feel bad about knowing he’s dead.”
For the first time in three years, the residents of both 1304 and 1404 passed an uninterrupted snowy winter night and awoke refreshed and ready to meet the cold new day with a smile of triumph.
cc: @tvansantana @tablopublishing @ellowrites
From the prompt here.