Episode XXXI – This wondrous invention does everything! It slices! It dices!

The back of the blade blurred as its edge burned and perforated my side. My instincts roared like ancient primal beasts. He actually was trying to kill me. Hot fresh life poured down my side. Millions of cells struggled in the changed atmosphere and cascaded with gravity to splash and fleck the floor. Behind the backdrop of my memories, the remaining audience encircled us silently as sound fled on the wings of violence. In the gap of heartbeats, the maniac steadied his aim, and moved to place my body on the stained floor still and silent, essence flowing out to cover the earlier holes in his design.

I staggered back and dodged his thrust, trailing fluids unevenly, painting the floor in my desperation. I gained some separation. I checked my wound. It was nasty; three inches long; but just a bleeder. The idiot had slashed me first. If he had stabbed, I would have had two inches of cold steel embedded fast in my ribcage draining my identity into the endless marble void of the universe. All things considered, I was well off, even though I was bleeding. My opponent caught his balance and wheeled back toward me with his altered glare of mindless determination.

Red overwhelming rage displaced the shock instantaneously. He had tried to kill me. It was no longer bad party amusing. It was not a laughing matter. Large sections of my brain switched off their twentieth century conventions and mores. My body crouched. My muscles tightened. He stumbled back across the ring, knife extended. He slashed wildly. I swept left and pinned his weapon wielding arm again my body with my right arm. My left backhanded his face savagely. Dimly, I felt his right arm go slack and drop the knife as he staggered back, stunned. I straightened up and delivered a crushing right hook to his unprotected face.

Strangely, he chose to keep standing and backpedaling, eyes wide with shock. Normally, I would have let the matter drop at this point. He was so high and dazed from the first two blows that he didn’t know where he was, or even how to defend himself. But this wasn’t normal. He had stabbed me, and my side was an aching, blood soaked mass. He had tried to kill me. I was going to make the frozen tableaux of the room watch as I shaped him like uncut marble. I was going to obliterate his mind, his very concept of leaving my body resting as a crimson still life on the floor. Left. Right. Left. I then delivered a thunderous punch with my right, and saw his feet go out, his face pulped.

I was about to step forward and although I didn’t know what exactly, I was going to do something because I was still enraged. A hand quickly slammed and clamped down on my back, and uttered the phrase:

“Police! Freeze! Put your hands in the air!”

My jaw dropped. I slowly turned, and the volume reappeared with a crash of reality. The booming base was gone. In its place were shouted commands and occasional screams, accompanied by the pounding of feet, sirens, and silence. Distantly, I remembered processing the sirens eons before, but I had been so focused on revenge that I had blocked everything out. I slowly raised my hands, and felt the inexorable and implacable pressure pushing me up against the nearest wall.