His head crashes on the cement sidewalk and I hear his gun fall into the street and sounds like it hits metal… maybe a gutter. I didn’t recognize him farther away and I don’t know him now that I’m close up either. I don’t know who he is other than someone who attacked us.
Even as the metal slams into his skull, I don’t hear the gunshots stop. Even as the blood splatters onto my face, the heat of it nothing compared to the raging burn that flows through my own blood, I don’t hear Eli yelling for me.
I don’t stop, I can’t make myself stop pummeling his flesh with the butt of the gun. I can’t even see what I’m doing with the tears flowing down my face. I try punching him with the gun held in my hand and the metal clashes against the thin skin over my knuckles. It hurts, I know it does, but that only fuels me to do it again.
The footsteps are loud and they’re coming closer, but I can still feel the man beneath me shoving me away. His hands pushing against my chest, my face, anywhere until they stop to cover his face.
I pause for only a second and it’s a second too much as he reaches for the gun. Panicking, I lean forward, head-butting him and crashing my forehead against his nose. He screams out, but he doesn’t stop.
He’s still trying to reach for his gun and so I whip the butt of the gun in my hand down hard against his throat and his hot blood bubbles up from his lips as he coughs.
Strong hands grip my shoulders and then my arms, but I kick out, desperate to connect with the fucker who dared to wage war with men protecting me.
My left shoe hits his chin and his head snaps backward, bashing against the cement. Everything in my mind becomes a fog as Eli holds me close to him, telling me to calm down and dragging me away. All I can see is that man running away, getting away without any consequences while they escort me back, through the yards and straight back to where we came from.
It all happened so fast that I’m still breathing chaotically and shaking when Eli and another man, who helped him rip me away, bring me inside.
“Get her inside.” I hear Eli’s words, but they’re slurred as I struggle to breathe.
The air isn’t cold anymore. Nothing is cold. It’s all hot and I feel like I’m suffocating.
The second the bright light of the foyer hits me, I shove them away. I don’t want to be touched, I can’t be touched right now.
I refuse to talk to them, to listen to them telling me to stop and calm down.
Calm down? How can I calm down when this is what my life is?
“I’m tired of taking orders!” is all I can yell out, my voice raw from screaming. The memory of what I’ve done seeps in slowly as I rock on the floor. I was screaming. I didn’t realize it then, but I was screaming.
Every time I swallow, it hurts. My shoulders shudder and Eli tries to comfort me but I shove him away. Backing into the corner of the foyer, I’m only seeing the vision of me running after the man and fighting him.
Time passes slowly.
I steady my breathing and slowly calm down, watching my hands and willing them to stop shaking. There’s so much blood on them and I wipe them off on my pants, but that just spreads the blood.
I walk myself to my room, gripping on to the railing to keep me upright. Eli follows but stays a good distance behind. Carefully stripping out of the stained clothes, I step into the hot shower to wash the blood away, although my knuckles are raw and cut. It will take time for those to heal.
Maybe an hour passes, and I spend the entire time in the shower. When I’m clean, I walk downstairs and open the front door to the house to see Eli, the other man, and two others standing guard.
All I want to know is his name. I want the name of that man. I don’t know why it matters as much as it does, but I need to know his name.
I know I look foolish with wet hair that clings to my face and pajamas on, but still, I speak up.
“Who is it?” I ask Eli as I stand in the light of the foyer, and he stays on the other side of the doorway, bathed in darkness. “What’s the man’s name?”
“We’ll find out soon and I’ll tell you immediately,” he answers me, and it only makes me angrier. How can he not know? It still hurts when I swallow and hurts, even more, when I clench my hands into fists at my side.