Scambling along the ground, almost crawling, like an animal. The avenger was behind him somewhere, crowing in triumph. Not a good sound. How to escape? Run in a straight line? Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid! You should-
The machete gleamed in front of him, blood along its blade. The girl's blood. The girl he'd killed. Didn't know her name. Had never seen her face. Just her moving back. Just her scream.
the man with the gun
Alex snatched up his blade, ready to turn back, ready to cut down the man whose only sin was actually acting like the kind of hero Alex had claimed to be, ready-
And as he turned, he saw her. Sabrina Luz, cowering against a wall, clinging to cover. Sabrina Luz, looking at him with confusion and terror.
They are monsters preying on the weak. We will have to show them they chose the wrong prey.
Chose the wrong prey? Here a day, and his blade had already cut open some poor girl's back, after he had promised Sabrina Luz that they would do better.
And how had he atoned for his mistake? By pushing a shelf down on her. Desecrating her.
"Do you feel lucky?"
someone called, from an infinite distance away.
"No," Alex whispered, small and unsure. The hot pained haze was gone. He felt alone and young and his guilt might have drowned him except-
Except that he didn't want to die.
He took off at a run, as the gun fired like a starter's pistol. Machete and sword and hand in bag, running and running, running outside through the door he'd left open, running outside into a terribly bright day, a day that gave no indicate that the murderer Alex Tarquin had fled justice and left an innocent young woman dead behind him.
(Alex Tarquin EXIT: to now is the winter of our discontent