Anger is a consuming thing, a burning takeover.
It sets up shop in your heart and head and murders anything else attempting to make its way in. Life becomes obsessed with it, clouded with it, engrossed in it. You justify the feeling with delusions that you’re owed retribution. You condone thoughts and vengeful acts, feeding yourself with the idea that it’s warranted.
But that nourishment comes at a price. It costs you pieces of your soul, your love, your worth. You disregard your beliefs, your conscience. You adopt apathy like it’s salvation because you know in your heart of hearts that you would deteriorate into nothing without it. Because you don’t want to let it go. It makes you feel powerful, that anger. It makes you feel important. So you will let it eat you alive, consume every part of you until all that’s left is hollow revenge.
And when revenge is finally yours?
The fog will clear and all you’ll have gained from it is the insanity of guilt and the blood on your hands.
“Ethan,” she warned.
He faced me, the most furious, most livid expression in his eyes, and when he spoke, his voice dropped menacingly.
“Spencer Blackwell, I warned you. I told you. Now I’m gonna get you...when you least expect it.”
He eerily turned from us and wordlessly walked to his truck. He got inside, started the engine, but before he drove off, he watched me.
His eyes promised a furious revenge.
Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.”
My chest burned with such intensity I could barely stomach it.
I glanced behind me. He was close. My eyes searched my surroundings. Pitch black and seemingly nowhere else to go. I caught sight of a small alley to my left about half a block ahead, ducked within it, and noticed piles of trash amassed against the edges of the buildings. The smell was atrocious, burning my nose.
I threw her onto the ground and tossed what I could over her.
“Don’t move,” I told her. “Don’t say a word. Don’t breathe.” I peered furiously over my shoulder. “And for the love of God, whatever you do, cover your ears and don’t look.”
Her eyes widened to an impossible breadth and she nodded. She obeyed me and faced the wall. I covered her face as best I could and waited.
My chest rose and fell violently. The rapid thump, thump, thump of my heart drummed frantically in my ears. Strapped to my sides rested two sharp blades I’d brought from home, the ones I’d always hunted with. I carefully unzipped my hoodie, crossed my arms, and palmed the knives’ handles.
“Đến đây!” I heard, making my pulse jump. My heart leapt into my throat. I crouched, bent my knees, readying for anything.
The speaker, the man chasing us, rushed around the edge of the building but came to a stop when he caught me standing. He smiled cruelly then spoke to me in Vietnamese, words I didn’t understand, and steadily made his way toward me. He stopped short once more. His head tilted to his right. His eyes narrowed.
“You messed up,” he said in English, realizing I hadn’t understood him before and made his way toward me once more.
I shook my head, my tongue too thick to speak.
He was big for a local. I suppose that’s why they hired him to do what he did, but no matter. I was taller and built better. I also had something he didn’t. I was trained to kill. Animals, yes, but to me he was just that. An animal.
My blood boiled in my veins and the anxious adrenaline was replaced with an absolute hatred, a fury so destructive it frightened me. My teeth gritted in my jaw and I reveled in the pressure.
I knew it the instant he’d made the decision, and all the breath I held whooshed from my lungs. A look of determination flitted across his face, and I could only smile, content in my malice. This visibly confused him, but he charged forward, regardless.
Two feet within striking distance, my short blades pealed with a beautiful ring, and it brought me such serenity. The gun strapped to his back was useless now and he knew it.
I plunged both blades into the sides of his ribs and his mouth opened in shock, his body leaning against mine in support. I held him up with the blades and bent into his ear.
“You messed up,” I said, stealing his words.
Blood curdled from his mouth and I removed my blades as he slid to the ground. I bent and wiped my knives on his jacket. His mouth opened and shut like a fish out of water, but I couldn’t conjure up any compassion for him. Instead, I stood over him and placed my boot over his heaving chest, pressing as much of my weight into him as possible.
“You will burn in fire so scorching you’ll beg for this moment over and over again.”
His last breath struggled from his lungs and his eyes went blank. I replaced my knives and kicked the corpse to the side, covering his body as much as I could with garbage. Hoping the smell would hide him and no one would find him for several days.
I turned back to her, fished her from her hiding place, and threw her over my shoulder. “Don’t look,” I ordered, and she nodded her head.
Three months earlier…
I heard a snap and the light cracked on, piercing through my closed lids. My head pounded and I groaned then rolled over, pulling my cover over my head to drown out the source of my pain.