A police car siren blares somewhere just south on Taylee, and everything changes. The sniper reacts instantly, pulling back from the edge, and I grab the conduit and dive back down over the side to avoid being seen.
I pull up short against the wall and peek back over. He kneels down and quickly pulls his gun apart in a few easy movements, then stuffs them in a duffle bag. The precision of it all chills me to the bone. Two seconds to turn and fire. Two seconds! And I thought I’d had a chance. Fuck. I am so lucky. He’d have killed me for sure.
Yeah, like I’m out of danger: he rises partially and starts backing toward me.
I’m such an idiot! It’s a flat roof of a one-story building, and I’m hanging onto the only way up or down! And it’s too late to drop now—he’ll hear me for sure.
I duck down beneath the edge.
So? What are you going to do, Tiergan?
The question seems so open. But there’s only one answer, and I know it.
Deal with it. You came here to kill him. That’s just what you’re going to have to do. Head in the game. Now.
He approaches. I can hear his footsteps in the gravel. Maybe ten more feet. I quickly shift my feet further up the wall, closer to my hands, and crouch in. I’m going to need all the spring I can get. I just hope he doesn’t look down before he steps over. Things are going to get a lot more difficult if he sees me while he still has his centre.
The image of Tara flashes before me again, lying on the ground, her blood pooling around her. But this time I cling to it.
He did that. And he enjoyed it.
He, doesn’t! get! to leave!
But what if he has another weapon?
I reach over and drive my fingernails into the damage on my right arm, and the pain erupts from dull ache to blazing fire. I grind my teeth as it races up my arm and into my skull, a brilliant white light that burns everything else away.
He killed Tara. Maybe Faolan. Maybe your whole family.
Rip his fucking throat out.
Two more steps.
He looks down and I laugh at the look of shock on his face as I launch upwards. I want to change, but I haven’t quite enough time.
I grab him around the waist instead, pinning the slow arm to his side as we fall backwards onto the roof. His quicker hand scrabbles for something behind him, but too late. He hits hard and his right hand is trapped beneath him. But that won’t last for long. The muscles under his clothes feel large, much larger than I had expected.
There’s no time to think. There’s no time to change. If he has a weapon, he’ll have it in the second it will take. If I lose the surprise, I lose my life.
I plant my feet and leap forward. With all my weight, I drive my left hand towards his nose, hoping to drive it into his brain, but he sees what’s coming and jerks his head back. I land the heel of my palm on his chin instead, driving it back, fully exposing his neck. I land my knees on his right shoulder and chest, and land my jaws around his trachea.
My human stomach rebels as it realizes what I’m doing, but it can’t be helped. I bite down and tear.
His blood rushes into my mouth, hot and metallic. The taste is disgusting to this form. My stomach heaves and I manage to spit out his throat just in time. The contents of my stomach follows, down and into the jagged hole in his neck.
He hasn’t even had time to scream. Air rushes ineffectually out the hole instead. He sucks in his own blood and my vomit on the return gasp, writhing in agony and sputtering horribly as the acidic mixture tears at his lungs. He grabs at me with his now free hand, but it’s no longer an attack. It’s a plea for mercy. And God! I would give it to him.
But there’s nothing I can do.
I pull away from him and my stomach heaves again. With my weight off of him, his back arches up from the ground, and he scrapes at the gravel with his hands. He must be trying to cough stuff out, but all he can manage is a sickening gurgle.
And all I want to do is run away.
It’s such a brave idea, this killing people. You’d think it would be just like killing a deer.
What a fucking lie.
The metallic taste of blood and the rotten butter taste of vomit linger stubbornly in my mouth. I heave again, but there’s nothing left. Tears burn my eyes, but I refuse to wipe them away.
I force myself still.
You did this, Tiergan! You did it because you had to. And you did it because you wanted to.
You will watch until it is over.
For both our sakes, I pray it won’t take long.