Gulping down the heavy air, I pushed my hand out to my side, forcing myself to continue the step forward as Toni’s warmth shot up through my fingers. The room was silent, the breath around me still, the air motionless, the only noise from my pounding blood. My eyes fixed on the gap, the smell of its liquor spiralling up my nose, my forward leap only held back by my curiosity of who the owner was.
Not bothering to listen out as I neared, all I could hear was the call everywhere but in my ears. Stepping around the door, I saw the light of the corridor and the start of the trail of scarlet coming from outside the gap’s angle. Reaching my fingers out to the door, I jumped, only just able to stop myself from pouncing as warm hands burnt at my shoulder. I saw the fear in her eyes, Toni’s step back, the pull away of her hands. I couldn’t stay in the room like this and turned, slapping my fingers against the steel, the door giving like it had no weight at all.
I was out into the corridor, leaping forward, I could hear the gasps from the room echoing. My eyes shot left, not lingering on the body of the soldier, scanning down to the far door, flipping around as the piercing scream came from behind. I took a moment. I was in another place; the shriek sending my body into itself. He wasn’t wearing his glasses or one of his many trademark checked shirts, but past his wide mouth and bared teeth, behind the dark clots and white sinew hanging from his short beard, the wide scarlet radiating down the hospital gown like a bloody napkin tucked in at the neck, I recognised his pale green eyes, saw that fleck of dark in his right just as the trigger was all the way back, his torso stuttering as the bullet slammed.
Still, I let the second round release, but it was Toni’s just after, shattering his skull. Hers hit in the centre of his forehead, my aim distracted with the arrival of her scent, catching him in the shoulder instead. He dropped like a rag doll, collapsing to the floor, my head was already elsewhere, searching behind him, beyond the body to the corridor and the bloody footsteps leading off, only to return. I forged forward, stepping around the body, not glancing back, knowing I would only drive myself closer to where I couldn’t be, where I never wanted to end up. I ignored the bullet as it went off, ignored the echo I barely heard. It wasn’t until I heard her soft voice from miles away I tried to listen to what my ears were telling me.
A name called from a great distance, repeated, the sharp tone reminding me of school, of a teacher telling me off, stopping my prank, forcing concentration. The name was mine and I turned only as I heard the click of a lighter, but found she wasn’t in the corridor. There was enough of me left to stop, to accept the order to wait, to stay my panting breath, to hold back my muscles itching for the hunt, my stomach growing as my eyes fixed on the soldier’s body by the door.
My view blocked. Toni through the door. In her hands was the carton of cigarettes, the soldier’s Glock in the other, a wisp of smoke trailing from the cigarette in her mouth. I saw the new pool of blood in the corridor, the soldier’s head flatter than when I passed, but my eyes returned to her, to the curl of her mouth. Oh my god. She understood. I almost broke down, the animal draining from me. Still, I pounced towards her, in my memory I was like a dog, jumping to her side, into her cloud, her taste potted with blank space. The cigarette was in my mouth, the blood in my veins already calming, replaced with a warmth, a gratitude she knew my plight, knew how to bring me back to myself. I heard her calm sweet words, crystal clear as she grabbed my hand and led me down the corridor.
“I know somewhere,” she said.
We twisted and turned, stepping over bodies, soldiers mostly, but civilians too, only one wore a gown, killed by a gun shot shattering his head open. I didn’t care that not once did she check for life before she pushed the gun to each head, setting the air alight with the noise. My only concern was with the pointless waste of bullets, or did she know something I didn’t and it wasn’t a waste?
Thanks for reading and if you enjoyed, like my Facebook page and drop me a message. Let me know if you like what you’re reading.
Reading out of sequence, here’s the rest of Season Two.
Not read Season One? Here it is.