When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.
- Ernest Hemingway
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She was sitting on the porch, marvelling at the hues of red and purple of the dusk. It was her favourite time of the day, because the dark night followed it. The darkness held a special appeal for her, presenting her with the freedom of anonymity. She could do whatever, be whoever she wanted. The sun had set, so she should start thinking now, instead of soaking in nature’s beauty. She had done a small mistake last night and she needed to cover her tracks. She could not risk leaving behind anything. She was thankful to the new moon; the darkness provided her that opportunity with no one noticing. She looked at her reflection in the small puddle by the stairs. Her fair face looked pale in the dim yellow light that came out through the windows. Her auburn hair looked almost red. She caressed her soft curls as a plan slowly formed in her mind. She was unaware of what she was feeling, but it was definitely not fear. She waited till midnight before hopping into her old rusted car and driving off. As she turned into the 16th street, she could feel the adrenaline gushing through her veins. It was going to be a long night and she was determined not to make any mistake this time. She had been lucky most of the time, and to complete the work quickly, she had to be lucky tonight too. She checked the street for cops before pulling over a few blocks before the graveyard. Pulling the hood above her head, she walked, slightly hunching her tall frame, to the graveyard’s iron gate, opening it slowly so it won't creak and quickly stepped inside. The darkness made it difficult for her to find her way. After a while, she spotted the newly dug grave and knelt beside it, searching for something. It took her nearly an hour to find what she was looking for in the mud. She held a sapphire earring which shone bright in the pitch black night. It was one of its kind, passed on in her family for generations. The sight of her earring gave her some relief, but visiting that grave felt as if she’d seen that person again. She was reminded of his face when he had looked at her for the last time, that shock in his eyes as his hands struggled to stop the blood spurting out of his chest. That chisel still needed to be recovered before it was found, she thought and quickly walked out of the graveyard. It had been almost 5 days since that incident and the moonless night was perfect to dig out the chisel from its hiding place. She drove to her office, again parking a few blocks away and set in search of the place where she remembered burying the chisel. Identifying the big oak tree from afar, she sped up. As she reached the tree and looked down at the stones near its roots, she easily recognised the small pyramid shaped rock which covered her hiding place and started digging. It was there, her chisel. She took it out and replaced the soil with fallen leaves, while throwing away the stone as far as she could. Going back to her car, she drove off the empty street. Upon reaching home, she removed the blood soaked wooden part of the chisel and disposed it in the fireplace, and cleaned the metal with alcohol to remove all traces.
The man's face came before her eyes. Stephan Reed was her colleague, Martha’s boyfriend. Martha often complained about him being abusive. She had wanted to kill him ever since she had seen those bruises on Martha’s wrist. He was not her first victim though. Her first kill was a drug addict teenager who had harassed her one night on a dark street. Without a second thought, she had slit open his throat with her pocket knife that she always kept for safety. Looking at the blood gushing out of his slit throat, she had felt a thrill she didn't know she would get addicted to. Since that night, two years ago, she had killed five more. Men who were vile and abusive, men like Stephan. Stabbing him had been thrilling for her. She hadn’t felt that splatter of warm blood on her face since the last 8 months. Looking down at the cleaned chisel in her hand, she smiled with pride. It was her trophy for her justice. She had one for each of her kills. Each one had to be different because she wanted to remember each and every person that she killed. She took out her sapphire earrings and put it back in its box. It was meant to be worn when she visited the graves of her victims. Gathering information about the person before and visiting his grave gave her that much needed sense of accomplishment. “For a safer world,” she thought as she smiled to herself.