Chapter 2

Written by: Anna Zhigareva

Two days in, I felt like hanging myself. Sitting in the dark gloom of my home, unable to switch on the light, unable to use the shower for an excessive time period in case anyone heard, unable to even peep outside, shift the curtain aside, tilt the window open and get a sniff of the comforting city air – I felt someone was suffocating me with that same deep hatred that filled my dreams every night.

 

I had no proof that Tom hadn’t done it, yet he, too, was on the search, hoping. I myself hoped with a steady unease, to avenge the death of my wife, a girl he dated back in high school and a girl who had chosen me to spend her whole life with. “Her whole life,” I thought bitterly, “if only.”

 

On the third day I heard steps at my door. They were so quiet I almost dismissed them. Yet in the middle of the night, someone stood on my porch and rang the bell. Either it was urgent or…I faltered at the thought. Perhaps “Angel” had been speaking the truth, perhaps she had known something important…until I… The doorbell rang again, this time sharp and intense, and I cursed under my breath, hoping the neighbours were away.

 

“What is it?” I muttered, loading my hunting rifle. Ralph was not a man of socialising, but he knew his business in all things detective and weaponry. The ammo he had gotten me turned out to be basic hunting rifle bullets - perfect. I did not want to think how he had found out I had a hunting rifle in my room, but then again, former hunters often hold their guns at home, for the comfort of old times.

 

Breathing in deep chunks of air, I stood by the door and tried to peep outside to see the unwanted visitor, but the dark curtains blinded all viewpoints. Another deep breath and I opened the door.

 

“Ralph-”

 

The breath was knocked right out of me as a strong figure clad in black leather pushed his whole weight into me and shut the door behind us, turning the key three times to lock us in, as if he knew the mechanism like the back of his own hand.

 

“Wha–”. Again, I got not a single word out.

 

“Be quiet. You’ve dug too deep. I told you to let me handle it. Now they’re coming for you.” His voice quivered as I’d never heard it before. For such a tall, burly man, it was uncharacteristic. I shut up.

 

“Tom?” I backed up against the well, my shallow breathing catching up to me as my head began to sway.

 

“I said they,” he growled, struggling into the main living room as if an injury was pulling him down. With no light in the house, I couldn’t see properly. “They are coming,” he turned abruptly and I almost crashed into his tough frame, “and you need to run.”