“Striking First”

Image by Luis Royo

Striking First

406 words

She had managed to slice him with the knife, his thigh bleeding. “Shara,” he grabbed her wrist. “Stop,” he said calmly, quietly. She looked up into his deep brown eyes and stilled. She dropped the blade, sank to her knees and buried her head in her hands, her golden curls reaching the ground.

“I thought…” He cut her off. “I know. He’s gone.” He couldn’t blame her for her reaction. After all, Micah was his twin, nearly identical. In the soft evening light, she could easily have mistaken them, and after what Micah had done to her last time in he was in town, he couldn’t blame her for her reaction. She had nearly died then, recovering had taken months, learning to trust again even longer. He was proud of her, actually, to have the courage to strike out as she had, not to cower in fear or hide in desperation. She was a fighter, a survivor. He would not let her be hurt again.

After she fell asleep that night, he slipped out of the bed, quietly, not disturbing her. He padded across the cottage to his closet, slipped on a pair of loose pants and a shirt, dull to blend into the night. He knew where he could find Micah, at their dad’s cabin, the one he had not had the heart to sell but couldn’t bring himself to stay in.

He padded down the dock, loosed the rowboat and climbed in. He rowed across the smooth lake, knowing that the building was just beyond the curve, sure his brother wouldn’t be expecting him. He pulled the boat up to the dock and strode toward the house, not caring if Micah was alone or not. Inside, he slowly ascended the stairs, one step at a time. At the top, he could see into Micah’s bedroom where a lamp was still burning. Micah was in bed, alone, soundly sleeping. He pulled out his dagger and stepped closer, closer. No movement from the other man. At the bedside, he stooped down and understood. Micah was dead. No blood though, no signs of a struggle, only a half-full glass on the nightstand.

He left the house the same way he had come. He knew he would not mention the scene to Shara, not sure if it was to spare her knowing that he would have been a killer or to save himself from learning that she was.

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Dottie at Tink’s Place has a Monday Morning Flash Fiction challenge that I’m enjoying. Each Monday a new picture prompt will be posted and if you choose to participate you post your story on Friday – 350 words, give or take. I like the ending on this one, but I’m not sure about the rest.

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