Burden of Murder – Austin L. Wiggins

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The café was dim and cool and there was a slight breeze blowing through the front door. Two men entered the café; one was gangly and the other was more stout. The tall man’s name was Kevin and the short man was Jeff. They sat down in a booth, ordered, and then Kevin left to the restroom.

When Kevin returned the drinks had arrived and Jeff was sitting patiently with his face buried in his cell phone. His leg bounced rapidly.

“So why here?” Kevin asked.

“What do you mean?” Jeff asked, his tone giving away more than he wanted.

“You know what I mean.”

Jeff shrugged then sipped his coffee. It was so bitter that he winced. He looked to see if Kevin would drink his coffee.

“So that’s how you’re going to do it?”

“Couldn’t think of a more suiting way,” Jeff finally admitted.

Kevin’s shoulders sagged down now, and his body seemed to deflate. “So,” he started, “whose of yours did I kill? A relative? A lover?” He wanted to sound sinister, but the burden of murder weighed heavily on his conscious.

“Wife,” Jeff said.

“What makes you think I’ll drink this?”

“Because you want to die too.”

Kevin picked up his mug of coffee. It was hot and seared his hands a bit as he moved it to his mouth. His hands started to shake, causing the coffee to drip down his forearms. His eyes went glassy and tears began welling. Kevin took a long sip and tried to savor the taste of the last coffee he’d ever drink. He instantly started to spasm and foam at the mouth. Jeff acted panicked and shouted for someone to call the police.

All the other witnesses would see how weird Jeff had acted during the incident. He smiled the entire time even as he was trying to revive Kevin from unconsciousness.

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