Alex did not look back as Michael spit his vitriol and fled. He did not look back as Jeremy gasped and breathed like he was hyperventilating, until his breathing slowed. Until he spoke words of calm command.
How lucky, to find a man who could be so calm and cool. How lucky, to find an earnest ally, who believed his bullshit.
He looked down at the blood from Michael's severed finger. He wondered where he had found the courage to commit such madness. But he knew. Nothing else remained to him. An accident had set him on this path. A moment's psychosis. Now he had to make it part of his character.
"Alright," Alex agreed. He moved to the corps, dug at the weapon pinning Conrad to the wall, felt bile rising in his throat again at the awful stench, at the sickening squelch
of blades and spikes in flesh. He fished it free, and lowered the rusting, bloodsoaked weapon to his side.
No, if he meant what he had said, he would have killed Crowe. But there was no time for that. And no spirit for that. He knew that about himself now. He had to kill in the heat of the moment. He could not kill coldly.
And now? Now Crowe had motivation. If he returned, it would be a proper conflict, a battle between them to decide who was stronger. To decide who was fit.
Alex had to create the narratives. If he was killed by some random asshole, it would mean nothing. But now? Now, if Crowe returned, minus a finger with axe in hand? If Luke Skywalker killed Darth Vader.
And Alex had taken that finger. He had done it confidently, easily. He had done it as though he were slicing a vegetable.
We are but meat the strong do eat.
You can't make this right, Alex. But then, the clock's counting down, isn't it? You could die any day, couldn't you?
He held the mancatcher in his hand. He stared down at the broken body of Conrad Herrod. He could smell the death and blood in this room. Most of it had been done by Isabel. Most, but not all.
He dropped his weapons. He finished what he'd begun: the can, and the string. To make sure he would know what was to come. To make sure he and Jeremy were never caught off-guard. To make sure the stage was his to command.
He finished his work, and stood up. He looked back to the door. He felt sick. He felt weak. His hands were trembling, though he concealed this fact by burying them in his pockets.
"Thank you," Alex said. "Let's go."
(EXIT: ALEX TARQUIN to Woof Woof, I'm a Dog. Kill your Friends.