First Lines Are Hard

... so use someone else's.

Automatic Flowers - Our Lady Peace

"... and Sarah thinks she's died here once before."

I looked up from my newspaper slowly, not sure that I had heard Nathan correctly. He was leaning heavily against the wall across the room, staring out the window and watching the rain fall in sporadic drops to the pavement two floors below.

"What was that?" I asked after another minute passed in silence, the news from three days ago forgotten on my lap as it inched its way toward the floor. Shifting my weight to the right sent it fluttering the rest of the way down and caused the couch to release a new scent, one I didn’t care to identify.

"She says it happened in the kitchen. Paring knife in the neck." His words coalesced in warm puffs of air before the chill in the room tore them to shreds.

I managed to suppress a shudder, but only just. Pulling my threadbare coat tight, I stuffed my hands in my pockets. It was hard to pretend that I wasn’t disappointed to find no pack of cigarettes hiding in there.

"Who did it?" The radio I had placed on the coffee table between us crackled suddenly before regaining its signal. We both carried on as though neither of us had jumped.

"The attack came from behind." Nathan looked away from the window to gaze at the bedroom door. Sarah was sound asleep on the other side after her latest episode. Neither of us looked in the direction of the kitchen. "She never saw his face."

"Then how does she even know it's a he?" I didn’t mean to snap at him, but I was so tired. From lack of sleep. From spending every night in a different hotel room, each one more decrepit than the last. From always looking over my shoulder, forever expecting to see them closing in on us.

"Because it always is," Nathan said, just loud enough to be heard over the weather report coming from the radio. "It always is."

The End

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