When they come for you, you are not prepared. The door to the house gets kicked in and you scramble for some kind of weapon but it is too late. They are on you and you are the perpetual motion of limbs attempting to flee the inevitable. When they come for you, you have deluded yourself into believing you were not a suspect and that you erased every trace of you at the scene and that nobody would ever think to finger you. You forgot about your scent. You always forget about your scent. When I close my eyes as tight as they can go and I concentrate I can see your face on the floor with a leather boot pinning it down. Your eyes are a conflagration of every misdeed and you are pinned to the floor. I can hear the static from their radios and the garbled underworld patterns in speech that flows from their mouths. They are on you and your legs are trying to swim free but one of them drops his knees into your ready to spring or be sprung calves and you let out a howl and they let out the air of you. When they pick you up to carry you out you begin to shriek and spit, your gobs of venom falling to the carpet each one a hiss of things to come.
Your eyes are wild and free.
When they come for you and they have taken you one of them stays behind to ask me a series of questions that indicate your scent was not all that you left behind at the scene of the crime. You left your seed. You left your mark. You left whatever you could to show them the trail to hunt you and hunt you they did. The one that stays behind asks me over and over again if I knew what you were, if I knew what you could be. I close my eyes as tight as they can go and I see you standing in the doorway and I tell the one that stays behind that I only know you in your purest form and that I would never have known this part of you existed until they came for you.
This is a lie and we all know it.
You were born a killer. You told me this on our first night together when we sat on a bench in the park after you were sweet and buttery and kept on trying to get me to walk with you. You told me you were born a killer just like every other man with the same blood as you inside of them and that no matter how hard you tried you were always going to be a killer even when you weren’t killing. You were born a killer and you told me this on our first night together and every night thereafter and then there would be nights that you would come home with the sun with your clothes in a bag and no shoes on your feet and you would go out back and burn the bag of clothes and tell me you were a killer but I didn’t believe you until they came for you and then I just knew you were a killer.
I don’t tell the one who stays behind any of these things. I tell the one who stays behind what a wonderful and hard-working man you have been and about how you work and work yourself ragged every day to keep the lights on and the food on the table. I tell the one who stays behind that you don’t have it in you to put down a sick dog, let alone what they say you’ve done. The one who stays behind talks to me with a measured cadence and looks at me with eyes that tell me that if I wanted to -- if I just wanted to -- I could tell the one who stays behind everything. I don’t.
I don’t tell the one who stays behind about you telling me from the beginning that you are a killer and how you burned all those clothes or about how you would sometimes drive us around at night eating drive-thru food while you looked at all the women on the corners and gripped that wheel so tight you would get blisters. I don’t tell the one who stays behind a word of that. I don’t tell the one who stays behind about the trailer you keep out in the desert -- your workshop, as you call it -- and how that trailer is full of bags and in those bags are clothes -- women’s clothes -- and how you liked to go out to your workshop and think, sometimes for a whole weekend and when you would come home your fingernails would be black and you would stand in the shower for hours with the hot water turning your skin red. I don’t tell the one who stays behind about any of these things.
The radio the one who stays behind has on the table crackles and warbles and I can hear your name moving through the air from the car they have you in to the dispatcher and to the commanding officer who says your name three times fast and then says something about the death penalty. The one who stays behind looks at me for a moment and then puts his eyes away on the paper in front of him that he is writing on where he has put information that pertains to you and to me and to our life and to you being a killer. The one who stays behind tells me that if it shows to be true that I knew that you were a killer that I will be labeled an accomplice and accessory to the murders and then the one who stays behind looks at me again and he cannot look at me and the one who stays behind says something into his radio and three men in suits come in through the same door they dragged you out through and start to look around in our house. One of the suited men holds up a piece of paper and tells me that the paper in his hand is a warrant and that it might be best for me to leave the house while they search it for evidence that you are a killer.
I have nowhere to go.
I sit in my chair and try to push myself through it and into the ground because I do not want to leave our house and I do not want the suited men and the one who stays behind to go through our things and look into our life and I feel like everything I have ever done in this life has always led to this point and no matter what I say or do you are going to get the death penalty and I am going to be an accomplice and accessory to the murders and I will sit in prison and this life we had will be all I think about until I run out of days or I find some way to make them run out faster.
Sometimes when I close my eyes as tight as they can go I can still see you. You are standing in the doorway and the light is behind you, framing you like the ghost you have now become. I can make out the way your arms hold their tension. I can see the shape of your calves, ready to spring and be sprung. One hand casually at the top of the doorframe, the other on your hip.
You look like murder.
About the Author: Sean H. Doyle lives in Brooklyn, NY. He works hard every day to be a better person. Find him @ seanhdoyle.com.
Story Song: "Omens and Portents 1: The Driver" by Earth