My hands are shaking.
The rubber mask clings to my face, a sauna of sour breath. I try to concentrate on why I’m here but every surface is shivering, distracting.
I squeeze my eyes shut and listen for footfalls on the other side of the door. My muscles tighten into painful coils, preparing for what’s to come. One set of steps slides closer. Time slows, and a dreadful clarity descends. The vibrations of the room reach a fever pitch. The door handle starts to twist, and I move.
Then there’s no time for thought. Each instant forms a snapshot of violence.
A face disappearing in a spray of blood as it connects with a bat.
A body crumpling, riddled with bullets.
Standing over a semi conscious body, preparing to crush the life out of it.
All their faces blend together, flat and featureless. Running together until it feels like I’m killing the same person over and over again. Then silence. Stillness. I try to slow my heart rate and swallow the rising bile. Walking back through each room to the car, I keep my eyes straight ahead. Don’t look at them. Don’t look down.
Outside the night air is calm, the chaos of the house cut off by a closing door.
I step away from the keyboard, and my hands are shaking.