He was foul, a true affliction to the eyes. He wore a black suit with a funny orange tie. I have been seeing this man for several days now. He appears randomly, as if from a misplaced memory, for a few short moments before disappearing again. His eyes are dark and worn. They seem to compliment his pale, dry skin. Sometimes he even licks his cracked lips in a sickly manner, as if they were diseased. Each time I spot this man, my eyes narrow at the familiarity of his face, and I try to recognize the aged facial features and his awkward gestures. He often smiles, not one of pleasantry mind you, but of desire; it is a dark smile. Iíve given in to the thought that I may be losing my mind. Maybe I've been working too hard, for too many hours. Maybe the lack of sleep has finally taken its toll. Who can say really? In addition to that, my better half, Celina, my darling wife, has been driven into what seems another world recently. Sheís become quite despondent as of late. It's like she's had a massive dose of hurt and melancholy injected straight into heart out of nowhere. She does not speak of it at all. After countless attempts, Iíve given up on the hope of trying to help her any longer. I can only pray she'll overcome this on her own, which is what she seems to desire. My failure to console Celina during her crying fits which erupt after long hours of silence have driven me to feel as quite useless.
A few weeks had gone by and Celina had started to become a little less secluded. She was talking again, which was good. Up to that point I was starting to think that she was going through some sort of mid-life crisis, considering weíre at that age now. Although it now appears it may have been something else. Whatever the reason, I was pleased to see her spirits lightened and hoped this meant good things; for me especially because after almost a month "Playboy", I was beginning to forget what the real thing was like. So I decided to take her out for dinner that evening, to this quaint restaurant just a few blocks from where we lived downtown. We used to go there every Thursday after work, because Friday seemed like such a common day to go for dinner. Also, neither of us enjoyed the hussle-and-bussle of Toronto on a Friday night, and it was our little was of avoiding the busy crowds the streets take in on the beginning of the weekend. It wasnít a fancy place that required any sort of formal attire, but I knew how much Celina enjoyed seeing me dressed up a bit. So a pair of pleated pants and a polo shirt would surely perk her up even more. I mean, all Iíve ever really been concerned about was making her happy; even if it meant I had to wear that necklace she gave me on our one-year anniversary; which I thought, for lack of a better word, was quite ugly.
It was almost four thirty which meant I had hardly any time to get myself ready before Celina came home from work. She arrived at the same time everyday, four fifty-two (that is if she wasn't stuck doing paperwork at nights or have to go out to dinner with her boss and colleagues). But on a rare occasion if she missed her first train, she would be home at four fifty-eight. She has a decent job, which is lucky for her considering she has no years of post secondary education. But working in a bank didnít really require any of that, except a few courses they bank offered to advance her position every once and a while. Unfortunately, I am not as lucky. I have been working in the same field since high school (Save the two years when I went to college: That is when I worked at the music store across campus; I couldnít stand to watch all those people waste so much money on music and movies when they could just get it all for free). But after I decided I was finished with school, I gave my old manager a call when I got back into town and ever since Iíve been working as the assistant manager in one of the bigger Wal-Mart located in downtown area. Itís not a bad job, but definitely not what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Celinaís voice rang through the front hall as I was struggling to fit my black three-buttoned polo over my head, then over my slightly protruding stomach. I used to be much heavier but ever since Celinaís decided to do the grocery shopping there have been a lot less of the sugary products I love. I guess she must have thought I was getting too plump.
"Vic." I heard her say as she poked her head out and turned around the corner. A smile emerged on her face as she walked up to me. She let out a slight sigh and placed her hand on my chest "I see you're all dressed up. Are we going out or something?"
I nodded and cast a glance at her. "You donít sound too pleased about that" I said, my hand falling to the seduction of her soft, chestnut hair. I enjoyed the way the small amount of light that peeked through the bedroom window flooded through her locks and created natural, shining highlights. "We donít have to go, if you don't feel like it. I just thought it would be nice to go out, help you get your mind off of things and have a nice night to relax."
She shook her head "No, you're right. I want to go." she said with a slight hesitation "Just give me a few minutes to get ready and weíll head out." A smile overtook her lips, but her eyes seemed to contrast it. I wasnít quite sure how much longer Iíd be able to live with the fact that she was not happy. I began to think it was me perhaps. That maybe she wanted to take a break and see other people or even get a divorce. I felt a surge of anger course through me but I allowed myself a moment to free those thoughts from my head; because with all that has been going on with me lately, I am not trusting my perception as much as I used to. I very well might be confused about this whole situation. Or even worse, I was imagining it.
It wasnít long before we arrived at the restaurant. We ended up sitting at the same table we always do, which was a nice start to the evening. Celinaís nose was rose-coloured from the cold weather that had been plaguing us recently. It was rather bothersome, because it was the middle of June. The weather should be getting warmer by now but unfortunately weíve been hit with a cold streak. Itís almost unnatural.
"I hope the spring weather comes soon." Celina said, as if reading my mind "Honestly, what happened to global warming? Summertime is around the corner and I'm wearing my winter jacket, what is with that?" She was pulling her arm out of her long black coat, which looked like leather from the rain.
I nodded in agreement, "I know, it's bullshit."
She smiled, then shrugged "But what can we doÖ" A typical line of hers. She always made herself seem so helpless when she said that. I hated it.
"Iím just going to go to the washroom real quick." I said, as I stood up from the leather bench and then headed down the stairs to the restroom. All the decorations were oriental and looked so delicate, from the paintings on the walls to the soap dishes in the washrooms. Iíve memorized all of it, I thought to myself, as I stepped into the restroom and walked over to the urinal. As I did I felt something strange. I turned my head around and saw that figure standing there, watching me. I arched my brow a bit then faced the wall once again and continued my duty, trying to remain calm. I felt his eyes burning (a hole) into my back just as I felt the heat flowing into the urinal. After a few moments I turned my head once again to see him still standing there. He licked his lips, and then scratched his stomach. He wasn't exactly staring at me, but he was definitely lingering around for some reason. Was this the sign that I was going insane? Or was this all just one big coincidence? I was simply too confused to try figure it out at that moment and I didn't want to speak to him either, for fear that it would have made this scenario even worse.
As I moved away towards the sink, he took a step back. Maybe he was waiting to use the urinal. Or was some kind of pervert. I just ignored him. If he wanted to be a sick bastard and watch me urinate then that was his problem. I washed my hands thoroughly, and then left a bit disoriented to join Celina at the table once again. He didnít follow me.
Fifteen minutes after ordering, our dinner arrived at our table and Celina dug in quickly as always. Even after coming here at least two-hundred times, she was still excited when the waitress came around the corner with our meal in her hands. And my mouth still salivated when I saw the bento box being laid down in front of us; six pieces of California rolls (fake crab, cucumber, avocado and caviar sprinkled in sesame seeds), twelve pieces of shrimp and vegetable tempura, Japanese style salad, miso soup, and teriyaki chicken. Itís a miracle I still enjoyed coming here after so long. Youíd imagine one would never want to see a deep fried vegetable again if they ate as much of them as I have.
Usually, during our meal Celina would pause for a few moments while eating so she didn't end up finishing her meal before me, because I am a very slow eater and I don't think she enjoyed sitting there with nothing to do. When I did finally finish the first course, she would normally place her soft elbows on the table, extending a slender hand to my pale cheek and look at me with her sparkling deep forest green eyes and tell me how she loved me. Every time it made the food in my stomach set fire. To build the passion more, Iíd gaze back only to lean over and give her a kiss that would foreshadow the rest of our evening together. Itís the feeling I always look forward to. But none of that happened. Tonight, our meal was three-quarters of the way through and she had barely even looked up at me at all. Instead her eyes were dark and hidden behind her bangs, that Iíve grown to love (but still secretly hated, just like the necklace she gave me). Her behavior was making me enraged now, I felt it surge through me once more but I contained it. Instead, Iíd wait until we got home to try and settle this. Bottom line though was that I couldnít take much more it. This bullshit had to end.
After we were done our meal, I waited a few minutes before calling the waitress over and getting the cheque. I tapped my fingers relentlessly against the table. Once the bill was paid, we gathered our things headed home. There was only silence in my head, despite the cars roared by in the cold night. She held my hand loosely which I didn't mind at this point because I could barely stand to touch her. I was so sick of this, so sick of her. Maybe fifteen years had been too long, maybe it was just time to call it quits. Sure we've had our ups and downs in the relationship over the years, but this is the worst it's ever been. By her persona at dinner today, I knew she had found someone else; I just wished sheíd get it over with and tell me. Why did she have to drag it on, why did she have to make me suffer so much more?
The apartment was dead quiet as we entered and with each and every step I resented her more. When she bent down to remove her shoes I even contemplated kicking her over and sending her head-first into the drywall, but it wasnít worth it.
"Dinner was nice, thank you." Celina said, a smile on her face as she leaned over to kiss my cheek, but I moved away.
"Whatís your problem?" I asked.
"What do you mean what's my problem?" she asked in a fake tone, some weak attempt to act like nothing was wrong.
"You know what I mean, Celina, you barely looked at me during dinner tonight! I might as well have been eating on my own." My voice was harsh as I began to let out my frustration. She opened her mouth to speak but I cut her off and kept going. "This was the first time weíve gone out together for almost a month now, and during that time all youíve been doing is crying and avoiding me. You fucking sleep on the other side of the bed at night, and sometimes I wake up in the morning and find you on the couch with a an empty bottle of booze and a mountain of Kleenex. I don't even remember the last time you even touched me." I paused and drew a deep breath before asking the question that has been embedded in my mind for a while now "Are you seeing someone else? Do you want a divorce?" She burst into tears. But that only made me angrier; I felt no sympathy for her now. "DO YOU!?" I shouted to emphasize how serious I was. ďJust tell me now Celina, I canít fucking take any more of this bullshit."
"Bullshit? What do you mean bullshit?" She screamed, her tears streaming down her face, ruining her well-done make up "How can you say all this? You donít even know what Iíve been going through this past month!"
"And whose fault is that? You havenít even tried talking to me for Christ's sake. And every time I try to get you to tell me what's been going on, all you do is start crying. Donít you understand where Iím coming from?"
"No, Victor, you donít understand." She said as she turned around and ran into the bedroom, slamming the door behind her.
"Well, make me then! I want to understand, so why don't you help me!?" I hollered at her as I went into the kitchen and poured myself a drink.
It had been almost an hour since I heard the echo of the door slam behind Celina. As I sat in the living room, I thought to myself that this was not how I pictured our marriage to end. Hell, I never wanted it to end in the first place, but if this is what she wanted, then so be it. I heard the door open quietly, but not the sound of her footsteps. After a few moments of silence, I heard a sniffle as her head poked around the corner once more. The next thing I knew she had taken a seat beside me trying to cuddle up to me. I was hesitant and just sat there, making no effort to indulge her advances.
"Iím sorryÖ" She said timidly, that was always her opener. I didnít say anything. "ÖFor the way Iíve been acting lately" She trailed off again, and paused for a minute as if choking on tears she was trying to hold back. ďItís justÖ something happened... but I was too scared to..." Her voice stopped, and she started to sob loudly. My was head down, my eyes were still staring blankly at the television screen, but inside panic immediately struck my heart like a thousand bolts of lightning. I wasn't sure what I was about to hear, but I was scared shitless. I tried hard to remain calm and just listen to what she she was about to say and hoped it was nothing too horrible. But she said nothing, she just continued to cry, harder and harder, unable to speak.
I looked over at her and put my arms around her to try and off some sort of comfort. Her eyes were glossy from the tears and the fluorescent lights from the television screen added to her look of vulnerability; and made me go soft inside. I held her tighter "Celina, baby, you have to tell me what happened." I said with an urgent tone.
She just gazed blankly at me, and even though she still had said nothing, that look told me that what I was about to hear was going to change my life as I knew it.
"Celina... please. I'm fucking dying here, tell me" I begged.
"Iím sorry," She said, over and over again as she tried to stop crying. "....something happened. But please, listen... I was too scared to tell you... or anyone, I didn't know what to do." She said in a quiet tone before starting to whimper and becoming unable to hold back her tears once again. She cried even harder now.
"It's ok, baby, don't worry... whatever it is, just tell me. I'm here for you, I love you... just tell me."
"Your boss? What do you mean your boss? Were you fired?"
"No, no," She said, still crying profusely "I wishÖ that bastard... that fucking bastard"
"Then what? Tell me, you have to fucking tell me" I pleaded with her, even though deep down I already knew what she was about to say, I was just waiting to hear it.
"HeÖ he... hurt me..."
"What?" I shouted, "What did he do? WHAT DID HE DO?!"
She finally said it, in an explosion of tears, "he raped me," she said in a broken voice.
"Oh god..." I said as my brain began to fire a million thoughts and my heart began to pound like an army of drums. The questions fired out of me, one after one.
"Are you ok?"
"Yes." She sobbed.
"The night when I went out to dinner with everyone from work ... we shared a cab to the bus station.... he was so drunk... he wouldn't listen"
"Fuck. Fuck. Why didn't you just tell me?"
She shook her head, shamefully.
"I don't know... I was so scared. And I felt like it was my fault... I shouldn't have gone with him..."
"NO! Don't say that... it's not your fault...but why would you make yourself go through this alone?"
"I don't know... but it's ok, let's just forget it, please"
"JUST FORGET IT?" I shouted as loud as I could. Õ was glad she was ok, but my I couldn't think straight. I felt the rage building and building, flowing through me, laced with my blood. I was breathing pure hatred. "HE'S FUCKING DEAD!" I could already picture in my head what I was going to do to this man, even though I had never actually met him. All I knew was he had money.
She began to plead and cry "You think this is helping me?? Itís not worth it. it's not worth it... just calm down, please." She exclaimed "Thatís why I didnít want to tell you! I knew youíd react this way. Just keep calm" she trailed off again. "Let's just call the police."
"And do what? File charges? What good will that do?" I ranted in my rage "Heís a rich man Celina, wake up! He can fucking hire a five-hundred dollar an hour lawyer to keep this case tied up in court for months, maybe even years... and then after all that suffering we'd have gone through he'll get off with a light sentence? End up in some minimum security fucking prison with weekend passes where he gets to go home and laugh it off in his mansion? Spit in our fucking faces? Then in a year be free to do this same thing again?" I was screaming in uncontrollable anger "I wonít let this fucking cockroach get away with this. He's not getting off that fucking easy, not even close. I'd rather die than live with this, knowing you have to suffer with what he did while that son of a bitch enjoys his life like nothing happened. You know me; you know what I am like when it comes to shit like this..."
She started to cry again. "Please, you're just making it worse for me. It's done and over with... I don't want you to go to jail for the rest of your life, I don't want you to throw you whole life away because of this. Please, listen to me. Just let me call the cops. I don't want to lose you."
"Are you not hearing me? I just fucking told you what would happen if the cops get involved. Besides, it's been over a month, he could have already arranged an alibi, there's just too much shit he could do to clear his name at this point." I said "Just don't worry about this anymore. Don't worry about me, I'm not going anywhere baby, trust me. Just let me handle this for you... please."
All she could do was cry.
I took her to the bedroom and I held her as she moaned and cried and I consoled her until she fell asleep. As I laid in bed, my eyes were fixed upon the ceiling. There was no way I would be able to sleep. The molten hatred that circulated through my body burned tirelessly within me, and was only quelled by the devilish thoughts that filled my head. I played out various scenes of what I was going to do over and over. I relished the visions of pure horror I planned to enact. I glanced at the clock to see what time it was and a silhouette figure caught my eye. There he was. That man, if he was indeed a man, was there standing in my home. I just watched him, as if he was some dark painting forged by my disillusion. I refused to acknowledge him as anything more. I couldn't allow myself to crack yet, I had to hold on, there was still much I had to do. The dawn came slowly as that mysterious man sat in the corner of our room. I continued to stare at him. He seldom drew breathe, but when he did inhale, it was shallow and made a horrid sound. A sort of hollow gargling noise. He made a few of his usual gestures also but for the most part he was completely still; his legs crossed. I just continued to ignore his presence as much as possible.
I simply laid there, Celina now on my chest. I tried counting the grains of stucco on the ceiling to help me forget. I got to about fifteen hundred before I decided to grab a glass of water. I arose quietly and slowly, as not to disturb Celina. I didn't know what would happen if she woke up and saw the man there, or even worse, if she saw no one. On my way out the door, the pale man in the corner jumped out from the shadows and grabbed my ankle tightly, but I immediately kicked loose. I rushed into the hallway. He followed me. I ran into the washroom and closed the door behind me to keep him out. I tried to catch my breath as I hunched over the sink, drawing water into my mouth and splashing some on my face with my hands. When I looked up, I saw his reddened face in the mirror, his blood shot eyes fixated on my reflection. He licked his lips as if to say something but nothing was spoken. I didnít say anything to him either, as much as I wanted to. If I did that would only prove my insanity; he wasnít there, I kept telling myself, this wasnít real. It must be from all the stress. He isn't real.
I had stayed on the couch for the remainder of the night. I was a bit sore but at least the morning was here. It was time to act. Celina didnít have to work today, and I tried my best not to wake her up as I moved about the apartment gathering up various items: plain black clothes, gloves, an old ski mask. Once I was done I sat a the kitchen table a while contemplating as I drank a cup of coffee, trying to recall any details I could possibly remember about my target. The light of the morning sun broke through the curtains. A few lone rays stabbed me in the eyes and I looked away in order to avoid being completely blinded. My sights immediately landed upon our china hutch. I had almost completely forgotten about this. I stood up and walked towards the cabinet. How could I have allowed myself to forget this, especially now? I kneeled down and slowly opened up the bottom drawer. I reached in and dug through all the junk we no longer used that was jumbled about. I pushed my hand deeper and towards the back of the drawer and then I felt it between my fingers. I withdrew my hand and pointed it towards the direction of the window. The warm sun touched the cold steel of my .38 caliber pistol, causing a metallic shimmer, almost like something out of a movie. I hated guns but this one served a purpose, at least potentially. I bought this one almost a year ago, when there was a bunch of home invasions and burglaries around our neighborhood and some of them had gotten extremely violent. Since I was working night shifts at that time Celina approached me and told me how vulnerable she felt with me gone and the conversation ended up at the point where she suggested purchasing a gun for safety. I didnít think we needed one, or that it was a good idea but if it helped her sleep better, then a hundred and seventy-five bucks was well worth the investment. I got it from a friend off the books who had some connections. Since I was never intending to use it I decided to save myself the hassle of going through the whole registration process all that other legal bullshit. I started putting the mess in the drawer back to a state where I would actually be able to close it. As I did, I found an old photograph of Celina and I, when we were younger. I saw the look of happiness and innocence on her face. That was one of the things I loved about her the most, her purity. She had never done anything bad in her whole life, to anyone. Why did this have to happen to her? This world is so fucked up. As I thought more and more, it lead to more anger and rage which lead to darker thoughts. I shook my head, and placed the pistol back into the draw, and closed it. This wasnít going to be quick. I wasn't going to hit my target from twenty feet away. I wanted to get up close and personal with this son of a bitch. I wanted him to feel my breathe on him as I held him down. I wanted to see the panic in his face. I wanted to watch his eyes go lifeless. If I was going to do this, it would be with my bare hands.
I walked back the bedroom and peeked in at Celina. I told myself I would return here in a little while and that things would be just as normal as they are now. Nothing was going to change because of this. Firmly reassured, I made my final move through the house to the bathroom and I changed into what I planned to wear. I put on two layers, the plain black jogging suite and some casual attire underneath it. I would shed the top layer afterwards and then disappear into the busy crowd. I tried to remember how she described him as I shoved the ski mask in my pocket, along with some sunglasses, and headed out the door, but nothing came to mind. All I knew was where he parked. I had seen it a few times when I picked her up at work, the bastard had his own space marked off. Everything was planned in my head; I knew for the most part how it would go down. I mean I knew there is always little things that happen and you must adapt to the, but other than that this was all set to go happen. After all, I had all night to think about it. I wasnít scared. I knew could get away with this if I was smart and kept my mouth shut. There are a lot of crimes in this city. Rapes, murders, robberies and a lot of them go unsolved. In fact many cases are solved by the fact that the perpetrator was too stupid to keep quiet and they told someone what they did, who in turn ratted them out to the cops to save their own ass when they got picked up for some other case. Or they left their fingerprints or DNA at the scene like a god damned amateur. So as long as I managed to avoid doing that, and burn the all evidence afterwards, I was in the clear.
The subway was packed tight as it was the morning rush, but I was so focused it felt like I was the only one there. I was absorbed in thought. I had already decided through my deep contemplation last night that to kill him, even though he deserved it, would be quite unjust. He had taken a part of Celina, but not her life, and it was only fair that I returned the favour. A very severe, crippling beating would be far worse to the sleazy prick anyhow. I doubt he ever had one damned thing go wrong for him in his life so spending the rest of his days rotting in a wheel chair was for him, in a sense, a fate worse than death. I kept going over the plan in my head, every little detail. How I would catch him by surprise and take him down quickly. How my fist would crush his nose as I pounded down on it relentlessly. How I would fill with delight as I watched the the horror in his eyes emerge, while I unleashed another merciless assault to his throat. I was in sheer ecstasy just thinking about how I was going to revel in the sight of him gasping for air and choking on his own blood. I wanted him to feel the pain he inflicted in Celina through my fists, I wanted him to suffer. I needed him to suffer. I brought a small crowbar just in case and tucked it into my sleeve. It was one of those miniature ones that had a lot of weight to, so it was easy to hide. Through all this planning I didn't even realize it was my stop. I exited the car quickly and headed up the stairs to ground level. The bank was nearby and prepared myself for the final time.
It was still early yet and I planned to catch him around back before he went into the building. I slipped into the alleyway and put on the ski mask. I took a place crouched up against the wall opposite of the rear of the bank and I watched his parking spot, A-5, with a keen eye. A few minutes later a brand new silver Mercedes with tinted windows pulled into the space. That rich prick. I waited for my chance as I slowly moved closer, staying crouched behind different objects as I closed in silently. His space was on the perfect angle that allowed me to get the jump on him with ease, this was panning out perfectly. As I had waited I noticed there was only one camera that pointed to the very entrance of the parking lot, and if I was lucky it didn't see this far back. It didn't matter anyways. This was going be over before anyone noticed anyhow. It was cloudy and dark, just like it had been the past few days, which set the tone for what was about to happen. I was in the kill zone now, a few feet away and still hidden as the bastard started to come out of the car. As he turned his back to me I made my move. I sprinted towards him and the sound of the wet gravel crunching beneath my feet filled the air. He was alerted and he glanced back and saw me but it was too late. I tackled him with all my might and took him to the ground. We tussled about for a few seconds on the cold cement before I overpowered him and got on top of him. I noticed he was already bleeding, from a gash on his forehead he must have gotten in the fall. The blood was flowing into his eyes somewhat which was yet another good omen, because it surely obscured his vision to some degree. He squirmed beneath me a bit more and I pinned his arms down as he tried calling for help. I threw a quick, hard jab into his throat before anything overly audible could have been produced. He was completely winded, gasping for air. He was mine now, at my mercy and he knew it. I could see it in his eyes, there was no more struggle, only acceptance of what was happening. He didn't know what was going on but he knew there was nothing he could do. He was like a rabbit in the forest, caught in the jaws of a wolf. I wish I could have seen his thoughts.
I layed into him something fierce: smashing his nose, busting his lips, pounding his eyes. Hell, I even knocked out a few teeth too. I was hitting him so hard that the gloves I was wearing split, and the skin on my knuckles did too. It was an unplanned event but I was already too far into this to care. Everything was happening so fast. I didn't even feel the crowbar rattling about violently in my sleeve as I beat him repeatedly. His body went limp. He was caked in blood now, mine and his own.
"How does it feel to be held down and have someone else have all control over you, you son of a bitch?" I thought to myself as brought my fist down on him again and again barbarically. I stopped my onslaught for a moment and took in the horrific sight. His face looked destroyed. I had said I wouldn't kill him, only cripple him for the rest of his days. It was time to shatter his kneecaps and then take off, enough was enough. As I shifted my weight to get up, I felt all the muscles in his body tighten beneath me and in an instant he pried his arm loose and jabbed me in the eye with great force, in some last attempt at self defense. It felt like his thumb popped the damned thing. Pain and terror flooded my brain. I was stunned and cried out in a short burst of agony. He fucking blinded me. I thought for sure my eye was gone. As I tried to regain my composure I felt him striking me and trying to get loose. In a rage, and without thought, I let the crowbar slip down my sleeve and into my hand. I raised it up and pummeled his shoulder and arm. He shouted out in anguish. I continued striking him savagely, at great length, in the shoulders and chest. He cried out even more. It was a horrid whimper really, in a tone that was begging for mercy. He wouldn't shut the fuck up! I brought the bloodied tool up one final time and viciously drove it into the side of his face. I felt his jawbone pulverize on impact. Like hitting a bag of dried spaghetti with a hammer. It was shattered for sure. The stinging pain in my eye coursed through my body and I could feel the socket starting to swell, I wasn't thinking clearly. As I went to get in some final licks I heard footsteps pounding the pavement from a distance, coming towards me fast. In a stern voice I heard the person shout over at me to stop. I didn't listen, and I didn't look up. Big mistake. I had time to land a final parting blow and I did just that. The sick bastard was still breathing, though he was a bloody, unconscious mess at this point. He did indeed look dead though, if not for the fact his chest was still rising up and down. I clobbered him one last time over the head and was about to take off and then I heard it.
A loud bang exploded into the air and reverberated off the brick walls that surrounded us. It echoed loudly and for a moment drowned out all other noises in the downtown area. I wasn't sure what it was at first, but it made me jump off him in a hurry. Once on my feet I caught a quick glimpse of the person who was approaching as they yelled once more. I could hear what he was saying, but the words wouldn't process... I was too busy focused the blue suite and badge he was wearing. It was a cop, his gun drawn and closing in on me. I turned around to run off and then it happened again. Another gunshot. He was actually shooting at me, I couldn't believe it. I took off down the alley, running as fast as I could. My heart felt like it was going to explode at any minute but I continued on. I guess he stopped to check on that son of a bitch for a minute because he was pretty far behind me when I glanced back and after a little while I lost him. But I knew that they would have other units on their way to the scene so I wasn't free yet, I had just bought myself a few minutes. I had a moment to realize that my eye was in fact still there, although I remained in a great deal of misery from the throbbing pain. I could not open my eye at all, so I slipped on the sunglasses I had brought, which surprisingly were not broken throughout all of this. I immediately stripped down to the clothes I was wearing beneath the black sweat suit, removed the ski mask and wrapped the crowbar up in the bundle of clothing. I saw an old barrel up against a dumpster, half filled with a rancid, dark fluid. It would have to do for now as a hiding place, I could come back later and get the stuff. I grabbed a piece of cinder block and stuck that in the clothes too and tossed them into the barrel and prayed it was weighted down enough to stay concealed until I could return. I then stuck the hand that was wounded into my pocket and walked casually onto the street, disappearing into the sea of people. I saw the cruisers driving up and down the street, sirens blaring and spotted several officers patrolling about but as long as I kept my hands in my pockets, I was no strange sight. Just another guy casually walking down the street. I had escaped, but my God, this was an insane morning.
It took me a while to find a street I recognized but once I did I made my way to the nearest subway station. The ride back to the apartment building was a long one, and I thanked God I survived this. I got off and walked around my neighbourhood for a long time thinking. All I could think of spending the rest of my life with Celina. Now that we both went through this event, this tragedy, this retribution... I wanted to put it all behind us and have a new start. As the hours passed and I made my journey home, I wasn't sure now if it had all been worth it in fact, but it was done. I had my closure, and so could Celina now. I hoped she'd understand. That son of a bitch wasn't dead, but it was going to take him a long time to recover. He was, after all, going to suffer just as I intended. Everything had worked out. All that was left was to go home, rest, and then double back to the scene later and get the clothing to burn it. Then there would be no traces linking me to the incident at all. I looked at the clock as I entered the building and I was astonished to see that it was already early afternoon. The time has passed quickly. I as walked up the stairs, I was trying to prepare myself for the different reactions Celina might have upon learning what had unfolded earlier. But nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.
The door to our apartment was unlocked. I walked in and went straight for the bedroom where I had last seen Celina. The bed sheets were tossed about and Celina was nowhere to be seen. I did a quick search throughout the house, and she wasn't there. As I was frantically going back and forth I noticed the china hutch drawer was open and all the contents were strewn about. I rushed over and fell to my knees, digging deep through the junk in a frenzy. The pistol was gone. Fear struck my heart but before I had a moment to think, I heard a noise out on the balcony. I bolted towards the sliding door and ran outside. There I saw Celina and she was a total mess. She didn't even look at me. Tears were pouring down her face, she was hysterical. It was obvious she was in a great deal of despair and agony. I didnít know what happened to have made her so upset, but I then I saw the gun in her hand and all thought processes failed.
"CELINA, WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?" I shouted at her in a panic.
She didn't reply, she didn't even look at me. She just raised the gun up to her head, finger on the trigger as she continued in her fit of crying and hysteria.
"CELINA!" I screamed at her once more as I darted towards her in an attempt to take the gun away.
She let out a terrible, heart-broken scream that was proceeded by a deafening percussive blast. She had shot herself in the head. Her body fell lifeless to the floor, along with the pistol, and blood began to pool quickly. My heart exploded.
"NO! OH MY GOD, NO!" I wailed as I dove down to her lifeless body. I grabbed her and shook her to get some sort of response, but I knew she was gone. Her skull wasn't even intact anymore, and pieces of her brain and chunks of bone spilled out onto the ground as I lifted her up in my arms.
"GOD!.... OH GOD!" I cried as I began to weep profusely. I was covered in someone else's blood for the second time today. My beloved's blood. The horror of what happened began to sink in.
"CELINA!" I laid her body down and shot up to my feet and scrambled through the door back into the apartment.
I almost slipped in her blood as I did. I was running on pure terror and adrenaline. I ran to where the phone should have been to call an ambulance but it was not there. I looked around in a frenzy and spotted it in pieces on the floor, pulled completely from the wall. I heard the sirens down the streets, getting louder and louder. Help was on the way. Someone else must have called. I moved over and collapsed onto the couch, and my head fell heavy into my lap. I couldn't breathe. I felt like I was dying. And then I heard it on the television. I looked up and saw the news report come on:
"As we previously reported, early this morning at a downtown financial institute a man was attacked and beaten severely in the parking lot as he arrived for work by a man dressed in black clothing and a mask. The grizzly assault lasted for several minutes before an officer who was scheduled to provide assistance with an armoured car delivery showed up on the scene. Witnesses say the suspect was told to cease the attack but did not comply and the officer was forced open fire on the man. The perpetrator was shot twice and pronounced dead on arrival. The victim was taken to a nearby hospital where he later died from his injuries. The names of the victim and the attacker have not yet been released. City TV will keep you updated as the events unfold in this matter. In other news, police raided a home in west end Toronto---"
Everything stopped. Everything went silent. As I sat upright on the couch, I wasn't sure what exactly what I had just heard. Maybe the shock of all this was enough to push me over the edge. Maybe I finally went crazy. It was impossible that what I had just heard was real. Or at least that's what I thought. I felt a hand on my shoulder. I figured it would be a police officer or a paramedic, but when I turned around I found out how wrong I was. It was him, the pale man. The figure I've been seeing for weeks now. He was wearing his black suit and funny orange tie with his dark smile painted on his sickly lips. It made sense now, I knew who he was supposed to be. Or what he was supposed to be rather. His cold, worn eyes gazed into mine as he spoke in a deep, raspy voice.
"It's time to go, Vic." he said quietly.
I stood up, and nodded, staying silent. I knew what was going to happen next. I was scared but, just like a rabbit in the jaws on a wolf, I accepted my fate. there was nothing I could do. This was it for me. Time to meet my maker. My eye was healed, my hand was healed and as he led me out towards the sky, I was filled with warmth and I couldn't help but remember one of my favourite Lynyrd Skynyrd quotes.
"Fly on proud bird, you're free at last"