Daylight was a thin orange line along the distant horizon pushing hard against the pressing weight of the departing night. The potent chill of yesterday’s sleep made me draw warmth from the thin blanket, a futile effort. Paula was deep in slumber; her tired body curled up protecting herself instinctively.
I knew they were coming even before I heard the rumble of their pick-up truck. They weren’t too worried about being careful, that showed misplaced confidence.
Three crept up the steps and the fourth stayed in the truck with the engine running. It was going to be an easy job, they figured. I kept an eye on sleeping Paula and tightened my grip on the only weapon available to me in that tiny room; a pair of scissors.
Blood scares people; pain kicks in shortly after; that’s a fact. When he poked his head through the door, I reached out and clipped off his left ear, it fell to the floor with a ‘plop’. It took him the whole of three seconds to realize what he’d lost. He grabbed the bloody stump where his ear was, felt the open softness of where his ear used to be and brought up something liquid to his nose to sniff, confirmed by the dim light of the landing what it was he was looking at was blood. That three seconds was sufficient for me shift from one side of the door to the other, where I kicked the door sharply against the side of his face. The axe fell from his hand with a loud thump. Paula turned in her sleep. I picked up the axe, raised my leg, placed my foot against his mid-section and kicked him back against his other two accomplices, at the same time pulling the door shut behind me. Paula did not need to see the subsequent carnage.
All three tumbled down the stairs like choreographed cartoon characters. Their stunned faces briefly made available to me by the small light bulb above us. The axe in my right hand came down between the eyes of intruder number one, and the scissors in my left hand punctured the neck of intruder number two. As for number three who was struggling beneath both his friends I lent my whole weight on his head snapping his neck as my foot bore down over the ledge of the third step.
The first blue of the morning was expanding over the horizon as I crept alongside the truck to the side of the getaway driver. He was sitting there, looking at the door where his three friends have failed to emerge from. I knocked on the window with the axe, slightly gleaming with the blood of his friend. He jumped and turned around, staring at me with impossibly large eyes. They seemed ready to pop out from his skull.
“Get out,” I said, holding up the axe.
Incredibly enough, he did. If it was me, I’d probably drive off, make a u-turn and run him down. But he wasn’t me. As he stepped out of the truck, I shouldered the door hard and caught both his legs at the sheen with a loud crunch. He screamed. I rammed the door again, and again then opened the door to let him fall out to the ground, the white of his eyes more visible than the black.
“Who sent you?” I asked him.
He gasped, grabbing hold of both his damaged legs. I dropped the axe on his face, cutting his screaming face diagonally. I didn’t need to find out either way.
By the time Paula woke up all three bodies were taken care of. I had piled them up at the back of the pick-up truck, drove it to the bridge, and then unloaded them one by one into the dark, deep waters below.
“Hungry?” I asked her, as she stretched her head from under the blankets. She nodded.
“Eggs on toast maybe?” I asked. She nodded, and smiled.
“Coffee,” she croaked. I smiled.
“Coming right up baby.”
She came down to the kitchen in my old Dark Castle Comic Con 2008 tee shirt, the large size covering her down to mid thigh. She sat at the table and took a sip of the coffee and smiled.
“Nice,” she said.
“You haven’t brushed your teeth, I know,” I said, “but I still love you.”
Outside the world was in full swing; the young raging sun lighting up the ground and the strong blue sky above cupping the world in an endless shade of forever. We drove over to the lake around lunchtime, carrying with us a small cassette player and two bottles of ice-cold ice lemon tea. We were looking for a big shady tree to settle down under and make love. It was our special day. And we had been planning for it for weeks. Paula found a good spot to lay the blanket; it was beneath a big old acorn tree, full of dark green leaves and strong sturdy branches.
“Who were those men this morning?” she asked me, as she settled down in my arms.
“Business associates. Ex.”
“I thought you were asleep.”
“I was at first, and then …”
“Lets not,” I said.
“I’m not so light and fragile as you think I am, baby,” she said, turning around so that she could fix her beautiful eyes on mine.
“I have certain capabilities too, you know,” she continued.
“I’m sure you do,” I said, “but for now, it’s me that’s taking care of you.”
She stared at me for the longest time.
“You know I love you, and I won’t let anyone hurt you,” she said finally.
“I know baby,” I said.
I woke up suddenly. The searing pain shooting up both my legs jolted me into consciousness. I was in a sitting position, both my arms locked down on the armrest. My feet seemed stuck to the floor. I peered over edge of the seat to see two large nails pounded in.
“If you’re wondering what happened to your slut wife, we raped, killed then burned her. We kept a trophy though, just to let you know we don’t fuck around.” The bald fat man I recognized from my previous past was naked from the waist up, his sloping man tits shivered as he hoisted Paula’s head and held it in front of my face.
“She died screaming. Pity. She was a good fuck.” This remark by baldy caused the other two men in the small room to chuckle.
“Tino here took her from behind. You shoulda heard her scream,” he continued. I shook my head, trying to keep my head clear. My mouth was gagged, but I was screaming.
“Goto here did the cutting.” As if on cue, a hirsute man with a scar running from the left side of his face to the bottom right of his mouth raised his hand and nodded, smiling broadly.
“Me, I don’t really like violence. Especially violence to women. No, not me. Not my style,” sloping man tits said.
“I’m old school that way. I shoot people in the head. Neat, clean, fast. I don’t like to linger over death.”
He grabbed my hair and pulled my head back.
“But you, for you, I’m a changed man. I’m going to enjoy causing you pain.” He turned around and reached out his hand, a crow bar was placed in it.
“I’m going to take out your teeth one by one. How’s that for starters? Then I’m gong to rip your tongue out with my bare hands. And then I’m going to work on the ears. Snip –snip.” He pulled aside the gag and jammed the crowbar in my mouth, taking with it two of my front teeth.
“Not very handsome now are we?” he asked. He stepped back, and backhanded me across the face with his closed fist.
“Go it,” he told the other men. They took turns snapping my head left to right, back to front with their gloved fists. By the time they were through, my head was a pulpy mess.
“You don’t have kids, do you?” he asked.
“Looks like you won’t be having any, that’s for sure.”
It was the same pair of scissors I had used on his men. He held it in front of my eyes, snapping it open and close.
“Guys, remove his pants please,” he said, keeping his eyes on me.
My soaking pants were pulled down to my ankles.
“His boxers too,” he said. They came off.
“Keep your eyes on the scissors, will you?” he said.
I kept my eyes on the blades. Watched it glimmer briefly against the darker sun outside. How many hours was I out? Four? Five hours maybe? Last memory I had was a sudden chill followed by a shadow as Paula and me and fell asleep beneath the tree.
“This will hurt. Castration. Will hurt like a bitch from hell.”
It was really happening.
There was a cough. Fatty baldy looked up.
Tito looked around.
Goto looked puzzled, then screamed as Paula’s head he was holding coughed again. He dropped it to the floor and stumbled backwards and tripped over his feet.
“Let him go,” Paula whispered, her head resting to a stop on the stump.
“Holy shit!” baldy screamed.
“Let him go,” Paula repeated.
Tito, backed up to the door, opened it and ran. Goto did the same, leaving just the three of us in the small room.
“Baby?” I said.
“I love you,” Paula said, her face a mask of sadness.
“Holy shit! You’re talking to her!” Fatty man said.
“Let him go,” she said.
Baldy was quick to recover.
“Or what? What can you do? Bite me?”
“Look behind you,” she said.
Baldy spun around, and screamed as the burnt, headless body of my wife limped towards him, dragging along a damaged foot that was twisted backwards. Her blackened body was caked in crusted blood, but her fingers were still intact and strong looking, stretched out in front of her; the stump of her neck gurgling with blood.
“Kill,” Paula whispered. The burnt body lunged at fatso. He screamed and released a stream of hot piss down his pants as he struggled to get away. The strong and very capable hands dug into fatty’s folds of fat around his neck, puncturing it deep with the sharp and red nails. Light blood streamed from his neck.
“Let him go,” Paula said, her eyes never leaving her body.
The hands released the fat man briefly.
“Now,” Paula said. Fatty-bald shook violently as he untied me.
“Now do the feet,” Paula said. The nails were dug out and my hands were released from the bindings. That was enough for me. I grabbed the nails from his trembling hands, gripped them and thumped them into his unbelieving eyes, slamming them home with the base of my hand. Rivers of blood flowed from his sockets; he screamed.
It was easy looking for Tito and Goto. They were hiding in the backseat of the pickup truck. I took man tit’s gun and put two in each of their heads at the nape of the neck.
Paula smiled before the remainder of her life fizzled out. She looked sad, her body lay slump on the ground unmoving. I was crying as I carried her head in my hands. The energy that kept her going was quickly dissipating, like the hissing air escaping an opened balloon. I cried and cried, bringing my face to hers, as she smiled her last smile and slipped away.