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Wrath pt. 1 by Ray Printer Friendly

Nothing feels right tonight. Things going on that are more than likely none of your business, or entirely too much your business, and I’m only involved in the equation because I took a job that I shouldn’t have ever taken.

I take full responsibility, don’t get me wrong. And looking back, I don’t think I would have done anything differently. What’s that say about a guy, huh? When he finds himself hiding in a dark corner with a broken piece of mirror sticking out of his stomach, and he says that he wouldn’t have made different decisions. My mom always told me I was a screw-up. Maybe so, but I’ve had a good run, and if I die on this warped linoleum floor with glass sticking out of me, I figure I can die relatively happy. I say ‘relatively’ because it’s never much fun to be faced with the prospect of dying, and it really sucks when you know you’re going to face a pretty horrible death.

“You still in here, Wrath?” His voice echoes up the stairs, down the hall, and it reverberates through my brain. Makes the hair on my arms stand up. He’s talking to me, but even if he wasn’t, his voice would scare me. I’m six-foot-three, I weigh three hundred and twenty pounds, and I’m not fat. They call me Wrath, for Pete’s sake. But this guy scares me.

Whatever, though. It’s too late to be scared now, I guess. I hear him shove open the door downstairs, I hear him lead in that…thing. I’m not trying to be dramatic or anything, I just don’t know what the hell it is. I’ve seen it in action once, and boy, that was plenty. He keeps it on a leash, but I think that that’s mostly for theatrics—if the thing wanted to get away, a leash wouldn’t stop it. It almost looked like a giant dog, but turned inside-out, and with hands. Not real hands, I guess, but maybe monkey hands. Mostly, the thing just looks like exposed muscle and fangs. Just seeing its shadow will give you nightmares for a week, unless you’re made of steel. Hell, I’m practically made of steel, and it still gave me nightmares.

I think about trying to hole up and hide, but I only think about it for a second—if he decides to let the thing track me, it will track me, and all the hiding in the world isn’t going to help. And with this glass sticking out of me, I’m not at my most mobile, if you catch my drift.

“I’m here,” I call down to him, and I hear the beast shift in the refuse. This old apartment building wasn’t in the best of shapes when this mini-war started, and it’s practically falling over by now. Amazing what a few grenades and concussion rounds will do to a place. Not to mention about three hours of gunfire. “How you doin’, Petey?”

“Not bad. How you doin’?”

“Not too well, I’m afraid. Pretty tore up.”

I hear him chuckle quietly. Sound travels like you wouldn’t believe in a hollowed out building. “You should be dead, Wrath.”

“Ma always said the same thing.”

He laughs out loud, and I hear a bit of plaster fall from the walls—he’s walking towards the stair well. I try to stand, and the flow of blood increases. I sit back down, and it slows. Not much, but it might keep me alive a little bit longer.

He pauses at the foot of the stairs, wondering what I’m up to. He doesn’t know that all my cards are already on the table, and—to stick with the analogy—that the table has been tossed out the window and splintered into toothpicks twenty stories down. So he’s down there, wondering what kind of traps I’ve set, wondering what kind of strategies I’ve been working on, and wondering how I’m planning on getting out of this thing alive. Right now, he doesn’t realize that there is no way of getting out of this thing alive.

So he’s taking his time, being careful, expecting the unexpected. Which means I have quite a long while to sit around and bleed.


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