She Screams Behind Me

She screams behind me as he forces the blade to my neck, the cold metal pressed firmly against my skin. His eyes are wild and dangerous, the look of a man who has lost all reason and rationality to that most demanding of mistresses: love. Sweat pours from his smooth dome, dripping down his taut cheeks as he begins to doubt himself. Her begging is like nails scraping across a chalk board to my ears, as I contemplate how I am going to disarm him. Each word infuriates him further and fuels his justifiable fury. His eyes return to meet mine as he pushes me backwards. I stumble slightly, my foot caught on the rug beneath me. As I do the blade pushes deeper against my skin, it burns as it cuts me gently releasing a trickle of sticky blood that drips down my chest. Now I accept that the danger is real. I am in serious trouble. This guy is tweaked and furious, wild and unpredictable. He pushes me further. My back hits the wall. His knife remains indented into my throat. I’m trapped, and she sits there next to me crying as if that is going to somehow miraculously save my life.

Light flickers off the shining six-inch blade and into my eyes. For a moment, I can’t see. The cut is widening with each extra pound of pressure he applies. If he pushes too hard he’ll sever my jugular. There is no way back from that. Once cut it cannot be sewn back up, it’ll just pour blood relentlessly until my body is dry. I can’t tell if he truly intends to cut me, but I can’t take the risk. She begins speaking of fonder times. Something strikes him, his attention is split at last. If he turns his head, then I will have a split second to act. Her whimpering voice is distorted from her flooding tears and fast, heavy breathing. The motel room is dark; the dim light is swinging slightly from his initial attack. I tell myself, “this is why you stay away from married women” but my pearls of wisdom have come four hours late.

She mentions their young son and he softens, but his enraged gaze does not shift from my face. He remains focused, too focused. He came here with the intention to kill me, probably her as well. Her breathing slows. She begins to regain control. He tightens his grip on the knife, his sweat pouring down his arm and onto his clammy hands. I am now as concerned he’ll slip and cut me further by accident as I am of him losing that modicum of restraint he is showing. She begins begging again, but not for me this time. Now she pleads for their son, a son who needs his father around and not locked in a cage for the next twenty years. His eyes flicker, a moment of realisation strikes him. Sweat glimmers on his skin, the light plays tricks as it reflects off him. He finally responds to her, his voice as desperate as hers. If he turns his head I will make my move, but his eyes remain locked on me. I wait patiently for my opportunity.

He asks her why, to which she retorts a list of his failures. She chooses right now, this moment, with my life hanging in the balance to chastise his husbandly flaws. He angers quickly. The knife digs into my throat further, blood now running like a slow tap down my naked, hair smattered chest. I feel a droplet land on the end of my penis and flinch at how vulnerable I am. They continue to talk. He wants answers, but he’s not going to like what he hears. Our betrayal would have been utterly inconceivable to him before finding us in our tryst. She tells him she loves him. His arm relaxes. The cut on my neck stings as the metal slips out of it. Knife still to my throat, he takes half a step back. I theorise how to disarm him, but putting that distance between us actually makes it harder while he focuses on me. All he has to do is flick the knife, and my world ends.

My stomach ties itself in knots, I have to fight with it to keep my bowels contents inside. He waves his free hand as she begins to stand up. She tells him she loves him, only him. She told me the same thing only fifteen minutes earlier. I don’t interrupt them. They share a touching realisation, an epiphany of the marital kind. He softens, pulling the knife away a mere inch, but enough for me to breathe a brief sigh of relief. He asks her something seemingly innocuous, I take little notice of it. She replies with a simple “yes” before dropping her head down. I watch her as she almost collapses onto the floor. He pushes me once more. My back hits the wall with a thud. The knife pushed against my throat yet again.

He misses the first incision he made but the pressure he applies quickly makes a new one. They cross over each other creating a mark of death in my skin painted blood red. He looks at her, his eyes stone cold as he decides what to do. I should have taken my chance to disarm him. I should have wrestled him to the ground or kicked him between the legs. I should have done something, anything, when I had the opportunity and the knife wasn’t pressed against me. His sweat pours down him. He looks like he has just walked out of a swimming pool. He glistens and shines, his bald head reflecting light all over the room. He calls me brother and seems to pull away. She gasps. I realise he has cut my throat fully. She screams as he lets go of me and I slide down the wall to the floor. Blood gushes out of me as I grip my throat. My efforts are futile. He turns, pointing the stained blade at her for the first time. I sit paralysed in pain and blood-loss. He calls her names. His feet edge closer to her. His blade wielding arm swinging wildly. He leans down to her and for me, everything goes black.

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