She was hanging on a rope when I left… Her hair was flayed like tattered straw, ash like withering coal… You can go on hating me but I have found peace with God I do not need your pardon…

I smiled on seeing the look on Aunt Genevieve's face as she opened the door to her 1 million dollar per annum secluded pent house. She looked at me and said 'So you finally came?' I guessed she too had just returned from mass because she was still in her tight corsets and black gown. I thought just how black fitted her. She took me into the living room walking imperiously ahead.

'What would you have?' she asked setting tumblers and bringing out wine bottles with some snack.

'I would have the brandy.' I said.

She removed the pin from her gentle mass of dark hair… I remember sliding my little fingers through all that darkness.

'It's an amazing view you've got here.' I said looking out through the glass to the wintry haze of extraordinary landscape more than 300 feet below.

She shot at me a not so puzzled stare 'And would you have it any other way?' she said handing me a glass full with brandy.

'I was just wondering… don't you ever feel aerophobia, you know, the feeling you could fall?'

3 decades of Trial and 3 more of changing identities have not taken me down Aunt Genevieve declared 'I doubt this one can.'

'Hmm' I whispered 'but the neighbours often tell tales how the conniving old always lose it in the end.'

She smiled a wry smile as she led me on. This time we reclined on sofas stretched from each other.

I sipped 'Why are you here.' She finally asked.

I looked at her a bitter accusing stare in my eyes 'Because I haven't forgotten.'

'Oh!' She snorted.

'Oh?' I said

She played with her glass of whisky making it stronger with a mixture of spirit.

'I see you haven't changed.' She said.

'A man walks into your house points a gun at your dad and rapes your mum before your eyes…'

'Then assist to frame them up for a treasonable act they know nothing of,' Aunty Genevieve interrupted 'I know.'

'What would you do?' I asked looking for mist in her pupils: even now I thought that there was no remorse, no chance for repentance in those icy steel.

'I did the best I could for you Adrian.'

'You put me in Juvie! I was a child!'

'An evil one!' She laughed.

'I only wanted answers, you were with father's company you knew everything that happened, you could have saved him, you could have stopped that prosecution by saying the truth…'

'Call it saving your own skin.' She whispered.

My response stuck in my chest; it didn't even take an effort for her to say that.

She took out a pen knife which had been set out on the table and applied cheese on a serving. 'The wafers taste good don't they?' She said savouring her lips.

'My father did so much for you.' I said shifting on my seat and dropping back the snack I was sniffing.

'The enemy was too strong…' she replied.

'Stronger than the love and loyalty you should have felt for him?'

She took a shot of raw spirit and dropped the bottle on the side stool beside her 'Your father was a good man but he was no saint.'

'Saint?!' I asked 'like the men he tried to protect you from by doing the things mother begged him not to?'

Don't judge me! Aunty yelled 'what would you have me do?! The enemy was too strong

I laughed No aunty! You were the enemy from the very start.'

'Get out of my house! She ordered quickly rising to her feet 'Get out! I will call the police!'

'Police?' I said 'We both know you can't.'

She withdrew from the telephone at the desk, and went back to her former position on the sofa. She drew out a tiny mobile device from beneath the cushion which I knew had a masked identity and was directly linked to the FBI secret service network 'dare me.' She said

'I would leave…' I said rising up, 'but do not think that you and all those who cost me my life would get away with everything you have done, starting from today…'

'I have found peace with God,' She declared 'and he has forgiven me I do not need your pardon to live.' She put the phone back down in the sofa.

My hands were deep in my pockets as I strode. I stopped to caress the thin Victorian drapes of her window. They were silk and soft butt strong as leather with all its fineness.

'I will take your life aunty on this Sabbath day and God will forgive me too.'

I stared at her a melodic rhythm beating in my chest, she was shifting, shifting: the pen knife was just nearly six inches from her now.

2.

The next few minutes happened even faster than I had imagined… she grabbed the knife for her defence but I was quicker_ this was the chance at last, the definitive moment since that early spring when I was five and the hirelings stormed our house and I saw her face from the window looking treacherously in the rain. I played Hamlet for far too long. Hamlet! That shameless coward prince locked in meditation over his evil uncle, an usurper, the man who killed his father and married his mother, like him I have been crying, holding on to dried skulls, refusing to act, telling myself I could forgive…

We tipped over the tables in the fight, tipped over everything, the spirit poured over her hair cleaning the dye and revealing the ashen grey underneath… I did not care that she screamed and called the names of all the saints. I did not care that her eyes popped the same way Mum's did when she did the Barney dance. I did not care about her teeth biting deep in my skin, her fingers scratching madly, the stab from the broken glass nor the bitter bile tasting in my mouth from her saliva. Murder never felt so good.

She was still breathing… I pulled out and squeezed the drapes into one unbreakable bond.

When I left she was dangling on the rope somewhere high in the celling… Her hair flayed like tattered straw, ash like withering coal.

I did not remove my gloves even when I washed the cups. I poured the blue pills in her drawer all over the table together with the drinks and put some in her mouth then added spirit mixed with Xanax and ecstasy from my pocket. Experts know a single dose of this was enough to sending the ancient witch plunging after her shadow. But that was for those who had the time to investigate a two time convicted terrorist bitch living under witness protection.

3.

I am particularly happy this Sunday morning as the church bell tolls. I join the good folks filing from the patios into the citadel with lightness and gayness of spirit, feeling touches on the finger tip. The statue of blessed saints and angels looking down on us ever in rapture, ever benevolent and calm…

I dropped a cheque in the collection box as I proceeded to receive the communion: Ten thousand dollars and it is not my tithe.

The priest recited the uplifting canto 'El Pardone… Spiritu Sanctum…'

I mimed after him humble on my knees. The wafers, sorry, I mean communion was cold and sweet in my mouth.

The End