Sitting at the kitchen table by the window, smoking and watching out the open window. The screen had long since been torn away, by animals, perhaps. The scent of a dying fire on the cool evening breeze carried from the city: a primal, inviolable, deeply human smell.
I’d just come from there. My work for the day was done, and there was nothing to do now but rest.
They said the cigarettes had given me cancer, and cut out my larynx. Them. Doctors. Hospitals. People whose profession was to help you live. It all sounded so phony. Laughable, even.
I hadn’t wanted to go, but my husband had pleaded and begged me into it. In the end, I went for him. He wasn’t afraid of what he called my paranoia, but he was terrified of losing me to cancer. He might have been naive but he was kind, and he loved me, and I could never say really say no to him; not when it mattered. So they weren’t the ones who took my voice. I had given it as a gift to my husband, to stop his tears. After all, I still had hands to write, feet to run.
Now he was dead, too. Taken away by the same men in white, in an ambulance. Halfway through dinner, he’d fallen down. I hadn’t been able to protect him after all.
I tamped out the butt of my cigarette and lit up a new one, breathing deep. The sunset’s pink light caught the edges of the dissipating cloud over the city. It was a beautiful evening. They couldn’t touch that.
A laser focused over my heart. I pretended not to notice, gave the marksman time to aim, and took one more long drag, relishing the flavor, the last thing left to me.
Aim well, bastards. I’ve already made my mark.