Author : Perry McDaid (Falcon)
Revelation did not come as a rosy warm feeling of wonder, but a rending, ripping divestment of accepted resentment. It left a vacuum: a void greater than that between his adopted planet and the existence into which he had first … ‘been born’. This space would admit new love, but it was an icy cold void nonetheless.
Dizzying. There had been no great love affair; only need, deception and delusion. He’d been hanging on to those to hide from the shame and injured pride of having wasted precious years, and fear that there was no time for rebuilding.
“It’s cold.” It was that time of year. His eyes watered.
In the dream she’d told him that she was a different person. In the dream a tsunami had separated them and her life had been saved by another. He had tried to tell her that he still loved her despite being human: that she couldn’t have changed so much, but the unspoken words rang hollow even there.
He had tried to deny the hate he’d felt for anyone who touched her, anyone who had stepped between them, but those words too carried their own echoing falsehood.
Her accusations of sending threatening letters were hurtful in their ludicrousness, and he hated whoever had fabricated these lies.
He got out of bed and shuffled along the landing to the bathroom, did his ablutions and stepped into the shower.
The water was at the perfect temperature to counteract any sort of chill. He felt his muscles relax and the miasma of the emotional nightmare slough from his body.
“Damn, forgot a towel.”
He turned the shower off and stepped out, leaving wet footprints on the non-slip tiling and dripping on the landing carpet as he retraced his steps to the bedroom, stopping short of the beckoning bed to open the wardrobe: side-stepping the PGM 338 rifle case as it sought to crush his toes.
He pushed the deadly weapon back into its nook, berating himself for not having stored it more carefully. He grabbed a shirt and pair of trousers from the hangers and clean briefs and socks from the shelves and drawers respectively. An accidentally displaced woolly jumper revealed his old Walther.
“So that’s where you got to,” he admonished the matt black piece of craftsmanship. He loved the brutal brashness of Earth weapons.
The frequent trips to the secluded forest seemed fruitless now. The whole appeal of blending with the winter’s night the following week to snag another trophy dissolved in the face of aimlessness.
The image of mocha and a pack of chocolate digestives before a roaring fire shouldered their way in. The smile was a crack across his reptilian face.
It burned that he had gone to such expense and effort to become the marksman he was, only to have the driving anger expunged in but a dream.
Revenge had kept him company through the lonely decades, and now – like some fickle lover – had left him hanging. The wry grimace at the ludicrous vision of gunning down anthropomorphised Revenge proved an easier facial expression to manage.
Knock. He buttoned the shirt and opened the door.
“How do you feel about plushies?” the squirrel costume asked in a muffled version of her voice.
The dream came back to him. A different ‘person’? He imagined a ‘Psssst’ coming from the Walther cupboard.
On the dinette table, the wick on the Molotov cocktail he had fixed earlier to flush out targets wagged like a disapproving finger in the draught of the air-conditioner.
He was a hunter.