Three months was enough time to draw his plan down to a T.
Any longer and he would grow wary of the people noticing the unfamiliar face in town, perhaps even give a ring or two to the people after him.
Malachi had drawn up the perfect plan, the specific day, the particular time and which route would be taken.
He woke early, lingering on the makeshift bed in a basement he rented off of Craigslist.
Lying there, with the daily headache in the opaque air of his tomb jail edges his patience, but he knows he must persevere. It would all end that day.
Pulling on a pair of joggers and grey hoodie, he goes running, picking the usual path that winds on the town's outskirts and into the forest.
The path is thick with shrubs, a sign that no one but him usually uses it and for that he is grateful. It curves around the back of houses, passing by hers, in specific.
Halting, Malachi steps behind two trees and watches for her silhouette.
His Oliver is awake and moving downstairs, still dressed in pyjamas and eating a bowl of instant noodles -- which he loathes considering it is not real food.
Today is her day off from work, and she will be heading to the cinema at night, with her boyfriend.
That word turns to bile on his tongue and anger swathes him briefly. Amir, middle eastern with a chipped front tooth, tall but not as tall as Malachi, and wider.
He works as a part-time trainer in the local gym.
Their relationship was a kick to the teeth for Malachi but he did not worry, everything would go down accordingly tonight.
And by tomorrow, they would be home and dry.
There is nothing louder than an American cinema.
The clatter of the elevator's rusty doors -- some twenty yards northeast of Malachi's head but as clearly perceived as if it were inside his left temple -- alternated with the popping of corn,
whirring of slush machines and honking cars.
The cinema corridor brims with cheerful, resonant and inept exclamations ending in a volley of hey's and sup's.
Malachi leans by one random table, plum concentrated slushie in one hand, car keys in the other.
He twirls it expertly between slender fingers, lips sealed over the straw and sucking noiselessly. The cold burns his throat and nose but it is welcomed.
He stares at the teenagers and young adults moving like sheep in groups, girls in skimpy outfits, boys in sagging dark clothes -- humans undergoing the basic sets of puberty.
Occasionally, he would catch a lingering stare from the females and maybe one or two males. The quiet scrutiny, mild admiration, open gawking.
Malachi was well aware of his physical attributes; six feet six, lean swimmer's body, dark curls that rest short of his neck, bright silver eyes as a result of infant illness.
He was not blind, but the melanin in his eyes had faded.
Tucking the keys into his leather jacket, Malachi straightens at the sight of her.
Oliver walks in, hands clasped with Amir's.
She wears washed out jeans, a hoodie and converse. Wet curls, from the rain outside, held up and away.
She is laughing at something the boy says, corners of her eyes crinkling like a leaf held to flame.
His hands burn with desire to touch her.
And snap Amir's neck.
He moves towards the line of movies and glances up at the vague sign, 'Conjuring 3', a horror. He was not a fan of movies as they rarely brought him entertainment. But the ticket was needed.
A moment later he hears her voice directly behind as they join the queue.
"... possibly tomorrow morning, 'cause I have a lecture at nine."
"Do you?" Amir, "if your home is far, I don't mind if you sleep over."
Malachi's hands clench into vague fists, he cracks his knuckles and inhales a measured breath at the man's audacious words.
"Sure," Oliver, "I'll text my mum and let her know."
He wishes to turn and glimpse at her face, body so close he could almost outline with eyes firmly shut.
After a heartbeat of silence, Malachi feels her eyes on him, curious copper brown and deep as the earth.
He wonders what it would feel like to truly touch her -- warm brown hair brushing his collarbone, supple flesh trembling beneath his skimming hands.
The fantasy leaves him delirious, pupils dilating urgently. He shuts his eyes and inhales a lungful then expels the heat and steps forward.
Once he bought the ticket, Malachi walked into the cinema and found a seat at the back, highest vantage point then moved two rows closer once the couple sat.
He sees her figure in the darkness as she takes a bottle of cold Sprite from Amir, shadowy hand rising to her mouth and gulping down its contents gratefully,
her long eyelashes pointing downward, and then with an intimate gesture that carried more charm than any carnal caress, his Oliver wipes her lips against Amir's shoulder.
The boy chuckles and tilts his head down, meeting hers halfway.
Malachi lifts his eyes from the betraying sight and focuses on the dark screen that comes to life.
Throughout the movie, he does not concentrate. He stares at his Oliver, the curve of her head as she leans into the boy's shoulder, lips moving as she words the movie.
Not once does she jump during the frightful scenes.
He leans back and finishes the slurpee.
Just then, Amir shifts to stand. "... toilet." He murmurs and Oliver nods.
Malachi's smile is slow and unhurried, the plan was going accordingly. He waits for the boy to descend and exit, then counts to five and follows him out.
Stepping onto the partially empty hall, he beelines towards the male washroom and pushes the door open.
One man is bent over the tap washing his hands while Amir stands between a stall, urinating.
Malachi had practiced this moment over and over both physically and mentally. Casually, he approaches two stalls away from Amir and unzips his pants and proceeds to piss.
The man finishes with a grunt and exits the washroom, leaving both of them alone.
Malachi straights his zipper and approaches the sink. Amir follows suit, nonchalantly washing his hands. He finishes and tears three paper towels, dries his hands and tosses them into the trash.
Malachi stealthily follows close behind him, watching as he approaches the exit.
Just as Amir's hand closes around the doorknob, he strikes. Grabbing the side of his head, Malachi slams him sideways, the sound of his frontal cracking from the sharpened impact.
Darkness falls quickly for Amir.
Malachi drags him by the underarms into one of the toilet stalls and props him up onto the toilet then slides a hand into the pockets of his jeans, fishing for the phone.
Removing it, he lifts Amir's index finger onto the back-- pressing down the pad on print recognition. The phone unlocks. One text from Olive.
missing the good parts
For a moment, Malachi simply scrolls through their text conversations, a low growl of revulsion as semi-nude pictures from either of them appear.
He straightens and leans on the cubicle wall, contemplating on a message. One that can possibly lure her out of the cinema before it ends.
Hey, not feeling great. He pauses, cracking a knuckle and playing the casual message in his head, might have to head home early.
Her reply is almost immediate; shit, really? We can watch some other time, where are you? Car?
Malachi slips a hand into the boy's pockets, fingers curling around something cold. Keys.
Yeah, meet you there in ten? Wait in the car for me, I'll have it unlocked.
All he had to do was arrive there before her. Closing the bolt over the cubicle, he steps on Amir's thigh and hauls himself over the wall and onto the opposite end. Locked up and unconscious.
That would buy him more than enough time to complete the plan.
Exiting the bathroom, Malachi beelines straight for the parking lot and raises his hand, clicking the unlock button on random cars, waiting for the signal. The phone buzzes in his hand;
Alright, on my way.
He curses softly and rushes between parking lots, clicking the unlock button over and over until finally, one car reacts. Silver sedan.
Exhaling a sigh of relief, he opens the back seat and stealthily slides behind the co-passenger seat, pulling out leather gloves and wearing them, he does a quick scan of the semi-clean interior.
Duffel bag with sweaty gym clothes, backpack with a lightweight laptop and a box of spearmint gum.
Idly, Malachi tears open the packet of gum and picks two sticks, he unwraps and slides the gum in.
Olive appears from between two cars, hands shoved into the pockets of her jacket as she approaches. He slides down slightly, dissolving into the darkness.
She seems completely unaware of the environment, her cheekbones are flushed, full underlip glistening and slightly blue from the slushie.
Malachi's dissolution is near as the space between them closes.
Tentatively, he reaches into his pockets and removes the small brown bottle of concentrated Chloroform, and dabs it onto the handkerchief.
The moment he had been dying to finally settle, all at once, with a burst of forbidden glee, he sees her reaching for the door handle and pulls it open.
A gust of cold wind follows as she settles, hardly glancing onto the backseat.
Oh, my poor oblivious Olive.
Her nonchalance and false sense of security slightly annoyed him, but that would be dealt with on another day.
He waits just for a moment, relishing in the nearness of her body, familiar gestures as she scrolls through her phone.
She is typing something and he does not realize just what it is until the phone -- Amir's phone -- buzzes in his pocket.
Malachi reacts quickly just as she turns around. His hand latches onto her throat, pressing her back onto the seat, and slams the sedated cloth onto her mouth and nose.
She bucks wildly beneath his grip, hands rising and scratching his forearm and wrist.
The adrenaline reaction forces her lungs to expand, nostrils flaring as she inhales mouthfuls of the Chloroform.
He holds her firmly, bearing her down to the seat until her movements grow weak and unsteady.