The funeral procession was trailing down the road. Passengers in cars who were not participating watched with blank faces, waiting for the end to come so they could continue on to wherever they were going. But that was unimportant.
The clouds looked like they were going to open and pour the universe down upon everything in the cemetery. But not a drop of rain fell. The stitching on the clouds was not going to give, not today. The grass was dry and crunchy underneath mens’ dress shoes and women’s black suede pumps. It hadn’t rained in weeks and the dusty earth was crying out for whatever the sky would give. For the past three days the clouds crawled across the sky, full to bursting, but would not share the wealth with those who needed it below. The meteorologists kept saying the same thing: that we needed rain and we weren’t getting it and they can’t quite explain why. All that matters is that they’re wrong.
Everyone is wrong. All these people dressed up in black are here for the wrong reason. They think they’re here to see a good man buried beneath the dirt but they’re wrong. The widow is sobbing into the white kerchief, probably wondering why this happened to her. She does not yet realize she has been saved, and perhaps she never will. But that is not important.
The important thing is to stay focused. The mission is not yet complete.
The tan 1994 Honda Civic hummed along the curves of the suburbs as it made its way back toward the city. It parked in an alleyway that made for a decent driveway in the worn down area, trash littering the entrance. Inside the apartment, water marks on the ceiling seemed to paint pictures, swirling bubbles of brown toward the sky.
Everything was out in the open. Photos, emails, news articles, all of it. There was no need to hide anything. Hardly a need to clean either. Visitors were nonexistent, nor were they welcome. Killing the man had been the easy part. After all, he was ignorant enough to bring this upon himself.
He took out the picture of his wife that he always kept on his desk at home. After the cops had left their house that night, he sat at home grieving for the woman he once loved. He had reported her missing and gave the police all the information he had. A week later he brought that picture and a few other personal belongings that reminded him of her to his apartment in the city, where he had peace and quiet.
He held the picture in his hands, caressing the frame with his thumb. Her golden curls swirled around her shoulders, tumbling past the edge of the photo. Her brown eyes were round and bright, and her smile contained the memories of a happier time.
He put the picture back on the table amidst the messy paperwork. It had been 3 months since she’d gone missing. He leaned back in his chair and folded his hands behind his head, looking out the window as the sun was beginning to set. There was still no more information on the case compared to those 3 months ago. The cops were optimistic, but he knew they would never find her.
He sat forward in his chair again. He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out the paper of the sermon from the funeral and added it to the pile of paper on his table. It landed next to the stack of email records and a news article about his missing wife from 2 weeks after the incident. He stared at it for a minute before getting up from the table and going to the small kitchen to make himself a cup of coffee.