Craig nearly laughed from the absurdity. Instead he tried his best to pick himself up, focusing on his footing as a child taking first steps. His left arm burned, though it was numbing. Shock was setting in, he thought. The muscle had been ripped at, flesh exposed through his shirt, a bloody, raw red. The world felt so far away. Ten feet in front of him was Patrick, but Pat felt as if the ocean may as well separated them. “I noticed,” but the words were weak, not venom-laced as he’d hoped.
“You should give up. You’re dying. You can’t make it to me.”
It was probably true, but he stood up anyway, finally steady on both feet. Each step was burdened. Fatigue was taking its toll, making his head swim and split. His vision played with distance, making it look like Pat was a foot away, then a speck on the horizon. The ceiling was still rumbling, small debris and dust brought down with each shake. The first one, the explosion when Craig first saw Patrick in the underground corridor, brought chunks the size of a body down. Craig eyed the one that grazed his arm, a piece as large as a man’s head. It likely broke the fragile bone.
Several smaller pieces struck him as well: two in the back, one on his skull, another against his right calf. There was a lot of blood, and Craig wasn’t entirely sure how much time had passed when he was brought low. He just knows Patrick was kind enough to not finish what the falling concrete had started. “Have to try. You did something bad. Really bad.”
“Yes, it would seem that’s what they’ll say. I made your day bad, too. A shame, really. You’re a nice enough man.”
It was the first step on his impaired calf and the weight was more than he could take. The leg gave out and he put out his left arm. The numbness of shock was interrupted by the intense heat of his body landing on the mutilated muscle. It took less than a second for the pain to register, for the scream to shoot through his throat and past his lips. Patrick grinned.
Craig’s teeth pressed down on his tongue accidentally as he dealt with the pain. There was blood, but he couldn’t feel it. His body refused to acknowledge what he had done, putting all emphasis on his infirmed arm. In a few moments Craig was back up.
“I’m a bastard. I’m the bastard–” There was a pause while he took a deep breath, lifting himself up again to his feet. “I’m the bastard that’ll kill you.”
This caused laughter to echo through the concrete maintenance hallway. Another tremble struck as if in response. “I highly doubt this. You truly think you can reach me and kill me? With what? The concrete falling around us? Your best chance is to stall me until this entire foundation comes down on us. But I doubt my explosives were that strong.”
Craig took a few steps, limping and favoring his right leg. He wouldn’t fall again. As he shambled, he noted his left arm uselessly waving at his side. Finally he closed the gap, putting his good arm on Patrick. “That was a long walk.” Every breath burned. His throat was ragged, each wheezing inhale and exhale difficult. Though his arm was numb, he looked down and willed it to move. Fingers flexed and he smiled. “I’m going to–”
There was a sharp sensation in his right lung, where a dagger was protruding from his body. Patrick tsk’d Craig. “Going to what? Hold my knife? That was kind of you, but you’re quite bleeding on my fine suit. So if you don’t mind– What are you doing?”
The grip with Craig’s right arm was tight around the man’s shoulders. His left arm came up and pulled the knife out, causing him to cough and gasp. “Deep breaths. I ca do this.” Patrick had fear in his eyes, but the amusement of this quickly fled when blood filled Craig’s lungs rapidly, causing him to cough blood. “Shallow breaths.” He thought he said the words, but just as likely nothing came out. Then he shoved the knife through patrick’s spleen, liver, and lungs, or so he hoped. Every strike was a guess, using his eyes to pinpoint where his hand was moving and thrusting to adjust for the next strike. After the third strike, Patrick crumpled to the floor, Craig bleeding out on top of him.
“Told you. Would–” Craig’s eyes were heavy, but that was fine. Patrick was shuddering, his skin already going pale, his lips turning blue. It was okay to go to sleep. Patrick was already, though his eyes were open. Fogginess washed over what little thought was left, and Craig closed his eyes, embracing the fact he would never have to wake up again.
Category: FictionTags: absurdity, bleeding, blood, broken bone, broken bones, death, dying, injury, intense heat, kill, killed, killing, left arm, numbness, one shot, one shot story, pain, Short story, stabbed, stabbing, ten feet