it was cold.

The light flickered on, casting hard shadows on the bare stone walls, then cut out again.

i shivered.

I coughed.

the light flickered on again.

He was sitting across from me.

he was there, sitting in front of me, looking angry. wrinkled suit, three day beard, dried blood on his purple knuckles.  his left hand was handcuffed to the metal folding chair he sat in.  i was in rotten shape as well, with my right hand handcuffed to my matching chair.  i reached up and touched the corner of my mouth with my free hand. it was split like his, sore and swollen.

The room was below ground.  I could tell.  The walls were bare stone of random sizes and odd shapes.  Some flat, some round.  There was dark line about two feet from the cement floor, the high water mark  from when the room had flooded in the past.  Now it was cold and it was dry.  The light, still sporadically flickering, a bare incandescent bulb that swung from a cord above his head.  It was yellow and dim and made him look worse than he probably was, but he was bad.

at first we talked over each other a bit.

“Fuck is going on?”

there were long periods of silence.

Silence, I’m not sure how long.


Sometimes staring at each other, sometimes avoiding it completely.

i’m not sure how long.

I’m not sure how long.

i don’t know when I noticed the gun.

There was a pistol on the floor between us. I think he saw it first, but I can’t be sure, the point is it was there and we both knew it. We stared at each other, then we stared at the gun. Then we stared at each other.

we may have noticed it at the same time, but we undoubtedly went for it together.  both chairs crashed to the floor as we lunged for the weapon. my wrist broke for certain, twisted backwards by the metal bracelets chaining me to the chair.  i don’t imagine he fared any better.

I heard the snap and felt the pain surge.  It raced through my arm.  My shoulder.  My chest and abdomen.  I closed my eyes and heavy tears squeezed out the corners.  My free hand fell with a thud in front of me.  My fingers tightened and I felt them close around the diamond texture of the pistol’s grip.

we wrestled ourselves away from one another.  On the dusty floor. We maneuvered to opposite sides of the room. We sat pressed against the wall.

Against the wall.

he stared at me.

I stared at him.

i had the gun pointed at his head.

He rocked and cried.

i pulled the hammer back.

The click was the loudest sound I’d ever heard.

until that moment.

I shook my head.

he begged.  he sobbed.  he swore and spat my name.

The trigger pull was silent.

the flash was bright and silent.




The doors swung open and the sun, hanging low in the sky, shown into the musty room.  It hung in droplets off of the dust in the air.  Heavy black boots fell carefully down the short run of rickety wooden stairs.  The three officers stared at the scene.  The rusty blood still wet on the stone wall.  The broken corpse of the man on the floor, handcuffed to a collapsed metal folding chair.  His free hand still gripping the small revolver.  The sadness on his face.  His open eyes staring at the mirror across the room.

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