Ash wished he'd found his father's body earlier. He would've liked to have a final word with him before he passed away. However, by the time Ash had reached his father, lying on the ground with a gunshot wound in a dark alleyway, he had already whispered his last breath.

As Ash held bloody hands over the hole in his father's chest, he felt a sting of emotion. Why was that? His father had never truly cared for him, a feeling Ash shared. He had been a serial killer, a fact that should have erased all pain from his death. A mad man who had slipped through the fingers of law and punishment his entire life had finally met his end. However, that man was his father; and he should've had a chance in court before he was shot, even if he didn't deserve one.

He removed his clammy hands from the body; blood started to leak from the wound. With his back against the brick ally wall, Ash wiped a crimson hand across his forehead. I will not feel remorse over his death! He thought to himself. This was… justified. It was also his father.

His father's face looked at peace, something he had never known in life. His tan chin was scruffy, and had signs of razor burns. Thick black hair fell in mops on the hard alleyway. His clothes were worn, and had holes in them. Ash noticed the outfit. A long black trench coat, and a wide brimmed hat that had fallen of his head. He wore that coat with the high collar, and the hat with the large brim to hide his face; it was the clothing he wore when he was going to kill someone. However, despite his ghastly condition, Ash's father looked at peace; his crooked teeth were showcased in a relaxed smile, and his brow was at ease.

"What happened to you?" Ash said out loud.

The last time he had seen his father was eight years ago, when he ran away from home at the age of seventeen. He had thought of returning to his father many times in the past, to help him out financially. When he had left home, if you could call it one, Ash had done well for himself. He had thought that if he could help his father with his financial issues, maybe he would stop relying on the blood money. Probably not. As Ash had grown older, he had realized that the lives his father had taken were not just for the cash, but for his pleasure.

Ash stood up, and looked around the alleyway. I wonder who shot him? He pondered to himself. If it was the cops, it was handled poorly. They wouldn't have left the body lying there; it would have become a crime scene. Ash decided his father must have been shot by the man he was supposed to kill. His father must have gotten more than he bargained for.

Gazing down the alleyway to the open street, he decided to leave before he got tied to the murder. The street had been emptied of pedestrians for the last half hour, but he was not taking the chance of someone seeing him with the dead body. He looked at his father, felling torn between staying and leaving. He hated himself for wanting to stay, but not as much as he hated himself for wanting to leave. Damn you! Why couldn't you have been there for me, so I could have had the guts to stay here with you. Ash left, his head downcast in shame.

One week went by, and Ash tried his best to resume a normal life. The keyboard in his office cubicle clicked, and the once large pile of paperwork started to shrink. He worked best when his mind was in turmoil; a trait that had allowed him to get out of his father's house at an early age. His mind was bursting with activity.

Running a sweaty hand through his brown hair, he sat back in his chair. Standing up and glancing about the room, he saw a sea of people at work-place desks, their dull expressions glued at glowing computer screens. How can they look so lifeless? He thought. I feel so alive!

As he looked about the work place, he noticed a woman with silky brunet hair walking his way. Silently, he cursed her timing. Christie was an amazing woman, but the days she chose to talk to him were always terrible. In his current state he was able to concentrate on his work well; but talk to this beautiful, sharp minded woman? He would try to compose himself.

Christie's slim figure was accented by a tight grey skirt and white blouse, unbuttoned to show the perfect amount of work-appropriate cleavage. As she bent over and rested her elbows on his organized desk, he felt a tightness in his slacks. A sweet perfume filled his nostrils.

"I heard about your dad. I'm sorry Ash, you want to talk about it?" She asked.

Ash's father had been found the day before, and declared dead. There would be no case to find his killer, and no funeral to remember his life, according to Ash's wishes. He wanted the whole thing forgotten as quickly as possible.

"Nothing to be sorry about, I barely knew him. I'd rather not talk about it." Damn you! Ash was not sure if the curse was meant for himself or Christie.

She frowned in an understanding way. Her sharp jawline and bright eyes reminded him not to say anything he would regret.

"Ash," she always used his name in conversation. "I can understand if you don't want to talk about it right now. I may not know much about the relationship you had with your dad, but I know what it's like to lose someone." She put her small, smooth hand on his cheek. "If you don't want to talk about it that's fine. But you should not be alone right now. Have dinner with me tomorrow at seven, you pick the place."

After ruffling his hair, she walked off. He could not help but admire the gentle curve of her waist. She's too good for me. But she is interested.

He glanced at the clock. Five minutes till he could leave work. His stomach was a tornado of butterflies, so he reached for his coffee cup. His hands shook as he picked it up. Setting it down, he decided to make himself a chamomile tea when he got home. I'm already jittery, coffee is the last thing I need.

Ash completed nothing in those five minutes. Thoughts of Christie spun around in his head like a car losing control on an ice-covered street. Part of him thought about not showing up to dinner with her. That would destroy any chance he might have of being with her; something he was not going to let happen. Even though she could manipulate his thoughts with her very presence, he still cared for her. I'll go damn it! Someone liker her is rare, too rare.

A few minutes later, Ash found himself walking down the street; the wind tossing paper and plastic bags around, making his walk home seem like a picture of depression. The city lights gleamed of cars stuck in traffic. He winced as a bitter wind pulled cold rain into his face. Just perfect!

Normally he did not mind the weather, but currently it was too much in synch with his mood. His feelings about Christie, and the jumbled feelings about his father's death fought with each other like the wind played with the plastic bags, forcing them to fallow its will. It should have been easy for him to be with her; she brought so much joy to his life. However, the feelings that surrounded thoughts of his father always came in between, corrupting what was beautiful. Even in death you have influence over me father.

By the time he reached the door to his apartment, the wind and rain had become a savage storm. With his long coat pulled tight, and wet hair plastered to his forehead, he reached for the door handle. His hands were shaking; not from the cold, but from the darkness and turmoil within himself.