The blood was everywhere. He hadn’t noticed it at first, but then he hadn’t turned on the light until after he’d shut the door. It seemed like it was everywhere, but this was most likely a result of the rain diluting it and washing it further in to the house. What could have caused this was beyond his reckoning. The socks on his feet, once white but now turning to a dark red as they absorbed the liquid around them, tingled with a slight increase in temperature.
The blood was still warm; the one he loved was nowhere to be seen.
Panic, now, settling in slowly but increasing in intensity with every second that passed by. Straining, all he could hear was the constant monotonous tic, toc of the clock mounted on the kitchen wall, it’s collapsing letters motif almost mocking in its singular desire to disinterest the viewer with their requirement for time, with its dismissive “...whatever!” stencil. And then, another noise – almost completely muffled, but recognisable as the one he loved. It was coming from upstairs.
Suddenly alive with the adrenaline of a fight or flight situation, Pete resolved to fight, and bounded for the stairs. At their foot, he noticed, briefly, the lines of dark, clotted material that was plastered to the walls – more blood he supposed, although the only light was from the kitchen and he couldn’t be sure and at this moment in time had no interest in stopping for a thorough examination. Taking the steps two, three at a time, he quickly found himself on the upstairs landing, the socks on his feet serving him well for moving at speed whilst maintaining a low volume. Pausing to listen once again, he heard more noise, more commotion.
It was coming from their bedroom. The door was closed, but light shone through a small gap at its bottom. And then, a voice – no, more than a voice. A cry. A wail, which rose into a scream, more terrifying and heartbreaking than any noise he had ever heard. The one he loved was on the other side of that door, and she was in pain.
Pete hit the door at speed, shoulder first, almost ripping it from the hinges and certainly destroying the feeble lock that had held it closed. The suddenness of the light of the room caused him to blink as his eyes adjusted, and as soon as they did, he wished they hadn’t.
It was nearly dawn, and the cracks of sunlight peeking through the curtains were almost enough to bring tears to Pete’s eyes. He’d not slept, but then he hadn’t tried. Some nights he just knew there was no point in even attempting it. The single bed in the spare room was hardly comfortable anyway – and it’s not like he could sleep in their bedroom. They’d agreed that it was best to just shut the door to their room and walk away. For all intents and purposes, that room no longer existed.
Pushing himself to his feet, he almost immediately buckled over in pain as cramps tore their way through his stomach. It’d probably been days since he’d last eaten, days since he’d drank anything other than vodka. He knew he was probably going to become ill soon, and that if he persisted, death would follow, as surely as night had followed day after day since the Incident, but he didn’t care. Time, for him, was simply something to be endured, until such a point as he fell asleep and didn’t awaken.
The one he loved gazed at him with her eyes of brilliant green, and he wept, dry tears, and sobs that echoed in the silence.
The one he loved didn’t move to comfort to him. She just stared at him, sadness and emptiness resonant in her eyes.
The door clattered against the back wall, making a crashing sound even louder than the original impact on its closed form, and Pete stared at disbelief at the site before him.
Pete gulped air, trying to overcome the pain of the stomach cramps, and fell to his knees, scrambling on the floor for the bottle of vodka he just knew had to be nearby. This was it. He’d had enough. This pain was worse than anything he’d ever experienced.
The pain in his chest, the feeling of his heart being torn in two, was worse than anything he’d ever experienced. Moments passed, and the one he loved turned her head towards him, her face bruised and bleeding from multiple lacerations, her hair matted to the wounds, it’s beautiful golden curls stained deep red with her life as it drained away. Almost completely naked, save her knickers, Pete could see that the cuts continued down her neck, across her delicate breasts, and swirled into a maelstrom of visceral destruction around her navel.
It was now, finally, that he noticed the man.
Taking the vodka bottle, unscrewing the lid, and pouring the contents as close to his mouth as he could manage, Pete finished the bottle in a matter of seconds, and collapsed to one side, gasping. The pain wasn’t subsiding and there was only a certain amount that any man could take. Gripping the bottle as hard as he could muster, he swung it at the tiled surround of their antique fireplace –
- remembering the day they bought that fireplace, knowing how perfectly it would fit into the living room of the house he’d inherited from his Uncle, remembering the look of satisfaction on the face of the woman he loved for having found the exact design that she’d set out to find, and remembering the day it was finished, all of their work together, weeks of hard toil and devotion to a cause, remembering her frustration at trying to get the tiling to sit just right, laughing together at the paint in her hair –
- shattering the bottle, shards of glass scattering around him, taking the jagged edge of the remaining part and driving it deep into his wrist, feeling the pain in his stomach instantly recede, only to be replaced by the entirely different pain coming from his wrist, as the blood began to flow onto the fireplace.
He knew the figure was a man partially from the way he stood and partially from the way his penis protruded from the layers of his clothing, grasped firmly in his right hand. Dressed head to toe in black and wearing a mask of bright red plastic with dark, greasy-looking strands of hair erupting from behind, he was quite the sight as he charged full force at Pete, knocking him to the ground, and fled for the door. The man was almost a blur, the speed at which he moved.
Scrabbling upright once again, Pete’s first instinct was to give chase. The man lost his momentum changing direction at the top of the stairs, and Pete was on him at once, tearing at his long, dark hair and grabbing hold of the mask. The face that greeted him was not one he recognised, but it was one that struck fear and disgust into Pete’s heart nonetheless, the eyes of the man crazy and wild, with the menace of a thousand killers in their core. Without thinking, Pete began to throw his fists into the man’s face, again and again, and with each connecting fist came the sound of flesh squelching against flesh, bone splintering against bone.
But the man wasn’t fighting back – he had gone limp on the ground, but he wasn’t unconscious. Ceasing his attack for a moment, fists ruined and raw with the effort of his punches, one of the man’s teeth jutting from his knuckle, Pete panted and looked down at his handiwork, following the lines of his black clothing down his body, to his waist, where his hand tugged on his still exposed member as the unknown assailant pleasured himself at the ferocity of Pete’s vengeance.
Without realising what he was doing, Pete grabbed a lamp from where it had landed on the floor, removed from the nearby table during the altercation, and smashed it into the side of the man’s skull. With a sigh, he pleasured himself no more.