In the end, the bullet goes through the man’s heart. Without oxygen, the brain takes about five
minutes to die. As the man lies bleeding on the dirty pavement, his unmoving eyes must still be
able to see the killer looking down on him and to feel the killer’s hands on him. Does he
recognize the disguised face of the killer? No one on earth can possibly know the answer to this
question, and yet it would continue to plague the killer for years to come.
As for the killer, he would be obsessed to the point of almost seeing through the man’s dying
eyes. Sometimes he would wander the streets, being blown here and there like an apparition,
suffering from its consequences. Unlike the dead man, there would be no certainty for him; even
his own intention would later become doubtful—did he really mean to kill the man?
When it all began, Thomas Wilde was merely trying to rid his conscience of the guilt that had
followed him home from Iraq. It began when he caught glimpses of a woman around his office,
whose beauty was such that it gave him premonitions of a beautiful chaos. And wanting to give
her permanency in his idealized world, he called her Lady X.
He had seen this woman several times and always in passing. The first time, he was exiting an
elevator as she was entering, and he couldn’t help turning around to look at her. The second
time, a couple weeks later, he saw her walking down the hall and disappearing into a stairway.
Once at lunch time, he left his office and saw her near an exit, at the far end of a hallway. White
slacks above black high heels, a dark red jacket, and a white scarf around her neck—there
could be no mistake that it was she. He ran. He reached the exit, entered the stairway, and
raced down. In the lobby, he got to the front door and immediately bolted into the parking lot,
looking around. She was walking fast to a car with its engine running. She opened the car’s
door, and her hand was lifted high, resting on the rim of the door for just a second before she
stepped in. The car drove off. He stood still, looking on, until it turned onto the street and
merged into the rushing traffic.
He decided he must know her name.