‘I can’t believe you let me die in those clothes.’ Theodore and Victoria Stills stood on the shore, watching as the tide rolled closer and closer to their disposed bodies. Their feet made no imprints in the sand.
‘I told you to wear the black dress.’
‘The stockings, Teddy, the stockings!’
Theodore shrugged. It was too late. They were both wrapped up in a silver tarpaulin, party clothes ruined.
‘You might start a trend.’
Victoria rolled her eyes. Her makeup was running all over her face, a once perfect chignon hanging loose. Those lurid pink stockings were split and laddered, her knees bloody. A bright red line ran across her neck, the gold lamé dress that Theodore had bought for her birthday was stained dark with her own blood.
‘Brilliant.’ She inspected her ruined manicure, pulling off one of her loose fingernails and flicking it away.
‘Listen, I’m really sorry about – ’
Theodore took a deep breath. The first rays of sunlight were beginning to peek over the horizon. Inside that tarpaulin his Tom Ford suit was riddled with bullet holes.
When he reached his fingertips up to touch his face, they came away sticky, and he realised now that he was only looking out of one eye, the other too swollen and bruised to open. He was dying for a cigarette.
‘You’re dead, you can’t smoke.’
‘All the more reason.’
He found a pack of cigarillos in his pocket, a bullet hole right through the middle. They laughed. They stopped laughing. Theodore coughed up a bullet fragment.
‘I just wanted to go to a party.’ Victoria pulled at the loose thread on the shoulder of her dress. ‘Now I’m trussed up like Laura Palmer in last season’s Louboutins. Mum’s going to be furious.’
Theodore took a deep pull on the cigarillo, smoke leaking out of the holes in his chest. He tried to think of something comforting to say, but nothing came to him. Victoria nodded in the direction of a figure in the distance, the first jogger of the morning.
‘Here we go.’
They watched as the young woman drew closer. It was magnificent, the way she screamed, staggered, retched; ran away.
‘Well, we’ve missed the morning papers.’ Theodore tossed his cigarillo into the sand.
‘No – we’ll make a cover, we have to.’ Victoria held up her hands as if she were flattening out a poster. ‘Underworld Siblings Meet a Fateful End.’
‘In pink stockings.’
‘We’ll be like Evelyn McHale on that crunched up car. Tom Ford will have holey suits next season. Pink stockings all over the runway.’ Victoria grinned at her brother through her bloody teeth, one incisor missing. ‘Screw the papers, we’ll make magazine covers.’
‘Something classy, independent.’
Theodore put his hands in his pockets. He would have liked to have held her hand. Did they hold hands as children?
‘If you say so, darling.’