Split.

The bullet ripped through the night. Even through the smoke and fire, the man could see himself reflected on the window across from him. From this angle, he was down the barrel. He looked nice. He was well dressed and clean shaven. He heard nothing. It was happening too fast.

Even after shooting hundreds of rounds, he still hadn’t gotten used to how fast bullets flew. It was magic. They ripped a hole through space and time and punched through the sound barrier. They changed everything. Lucky for him he’d never had to deal with the mess.

The bullet slammed into the other man’s skull before he’d even registered there was someone in the apartment. Lovely place, the man thought. Must’ve cost a fortune. Apartments on this side of the city couldn’t have been cheap. Especially not in a building like this, all marble and glass.

The room had been dark, and for a brief flash the man had brought light. He saw the room twice; once in front of him, and another in the wall of windows. Two black leather couches. Two massive televisions. Two glass coffee tables, two marble countertops, two sculpture busts, two oil paintings. What was that, anyways? A jellyfish? Who needs a TV and a painting, especially across from one another. It’d be like making a decision on how cultured you are each time you came home.

The bullet tumbled further on its elegant arc through his skull. The blood and grey matter had started to pepper the apartment. His mind seeped towards the pull of gravity, and time moved on, as slow it pleased.

On first sight of the blood, he thought back to the painting. How would you even start a work like that? How long would it take to paint? Would you need a buyer to start, or do you forge your own path? Where do you get the materials? Who chooses what to paint? How long would it take to dry?

A crack rang out, as the bullet cleared the skull, like the destruction of a watermelon. He could never tell if that was a real sound, or if he imagined it. His ears were probably so fucked from the shot still, there’s no way he could actually hear anything. So why did he imagine it? Was his subconscious trying to tell him something? Or was his brain trying to fill in the gaps, make sense of the confusing and complex information he was taking in?

That’s what brains are best at. They mash all the info they get into some coherent soup that we can pull patterns and concepts from this chaos. Jellyfish don’t even have brains. They just float and eat and fuck. Just waiting to be eaten. He didn’t think they even have a heart. They sit in the current, go where the tide takes them, and sting when they have to. The bullet smashed a hole into the glass. He dropped a match onto the newspaper, and was gone.

The night was cold, and the city block was empty. It was one of those urban nights where water clung to the air, not bound by any laws, hanging there for you to walk into. He sat down and the bus stop. He could see the apartment from the ground, another pinprick in the night sky.

He heard diesel from a block away. Soon his waiting would be over, and he could keep moving. He watched the star flicker, a little brighter than the rest. He heard sirens, but they were further than the bus. He got on, and the mist swallowed him whole.


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Scar.

State of the Grey // Part Two