No ExcusesMature

Garith paused to allow the pain that arched up his arms from his burnt hands to subside.  Vivid images of the small coloured wires, broken, snaking, burning momentarily blotted out his vision.  They always came with the pain.  When it was gone he still did not move for a moment.  His own words rang through his mind, taunting him, “I fired myself.”  There were more ways than one to remove someone who was in the way.  There were less permanent ways.  He manually switched off the strange machine in his hands, enduring another jolt of pain.


When Sandra opened her car door, the weird light flickered and went out.  That was strange.  She walked across the dark asphalt, avoiding a fresh-looking spot dirty of gum.  Garith was waiting for in the shadow of the store.  He stood, leaning against the cold stone, his gloved hands loose by his side.  He was back in his black clothing again and could barely be seen.  She saw the familiar glint of metal about his waist as he raised his arm to push some stray hairs out of his face.  He seemed different somehow.  Although maybe it was just that her perceptions of him were changing. 

When she arrived before him, Sandra spoke quickly because she feared that after a few minutes with him, she wouldn’t be able to say what she wanted to say.

“Why are you doing this?  Why did you kill that person who owns the green car?  Why do you always have to kill?  Why did you get me involved again?  Who’s trying to kill me?  I want answers… not excuses.”

He took a deep breath and held it for a moment before releasing it.  In normal people, she might read that as exhaustion, but Garith never showed emotions the ways normal people did.

“For starters, the man’s not dead.  Just unconscious.”

“But the light…?”

“Yes, I know.  But I stopped—before.”


“And I didn’t mean to get you involved.  And they’re not trying to kill you, not right away.  Or they would have by now.”

“So what do they want?”

He did not respond for a moment, and then he sighed again, and said, “me, I think.”

‘I think’? she repeated his words in her mind.  Garith never thought—he knew.  And Garith never stood there like that, looking awkward and vulnerable.   even in his black as night clothes.

“Then why am I here?”

“Because,” he paused for a long moment, clearly contemplating his next words. “Because I need you.”

“Need?” she was genuinely shocked and had to strain her voice to keep it low.

“Yes.”  He reached out and took her wrist in his hand.  But there was not the iron grip she expected.

For a moment Sandra considered ripping off the glove and screaming at him, ‘I want answers!’ but she restrained herself.  That would never work.  It would just shut him down like a broken clock.  And she had just begun to allow herself to believe again that he might actually be different.  That he might actually have changed.

“Why do you need me?” She pulled her arm away and saw him wince as he took his hand back.  He never showed emotion—but she had seen him wince.

The End

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