A Scene #2

He feels the arrow as a bruising blow to his back and looks down to where the gleaming tip only just breaks his sternum. The bowman’s aim has been right and true. This may or may not be a mercy.

Hands spasm, and he thinks he should pull the weapon out (if he can reach it) but then decides to do so would only be to unplug his heart. He tests his chest gingerly, the hand coming away wet and covered red, his life forfeit and he never had a say in the matter.

He is suddenly aware of the thudding of his heart, and he curls in on himself, shaking all over now in a chill sweat. He is dying, there on his sofa, and he squeezes his eyes shut against the bright of lights overhead; he is desperate to go into his mind and find peace, but there is none. Thoughts bounce as balls in empty spaces. To pull in breath feels impossible. He is suffocating. He can taste his heart on his tongue, as if it were trying to escape his body through his mouth.

The ruin . . . Of his clothes, his couch, himself . . . He should have been safe at home. Insulated. Untouchable. But if there was any one thing he would walk out of life knowing, it was there was really no such thing as “safe.”

Cupid’s work is a bloody business.

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