HIDING THE ELEPHANT
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To hell with caution! Grant’s anger churns painfully, sweeping over the stinging guilt, drowning the foreboding and reason. Following some half formed plan, quickly abandoned while he was still able to think rationally, he vaults himself half sideways half forward, his arms stretched out toward the only moveable object around, something big, heavy and hideous, a vase, a weapon. He’s there, he’s yanked it …
Dancer’s hands are up, shielding the face, or covering the eyes like someone who can’t bear to watch. The gun, forgotten, is pointed to the ceiling. ‘No! Stay!’
…he’s lifting it, his back muscles already straightening him upwards …
‘Stop it, you bloody idiot!’
… his hands are preparing for aim …
… the upward push from the forearms, the knees still bent …
‘You fucking jerk!’
… and casting him backwards, it’s off, soaring in a curve towards the chair and the gun, into a blast that swamps the cries, and the crash, the fireworks of earthenware pieces, the chair wheeling away through the acid stench, then the pain, withering, cutting through the side of the head.
‘Moron! You fucking moron!’ Dancer croaks in the silence.
Grant is sitting on the floor, his knees pulled up a little and apart, the soles turned inward. The pain is some dizziness and a sharp sting now, a cut from the terra-cotta debris, blood and sweat trickling slowly down his cheek. He wipes it off with the cuff of his sleeve and at the edge of the warm little light, the stain soaks darkly into the pale blue fabric.
The face of the killer is only a few feet away. Lit from the left, the visible eye is wide open and bright, glistening with tears running down the pain creased cheek.
‘I nearly shot you.’ Incoherent between the sobs, choking on the scare.
‘Why didn’t you?’ Grant averts his eyes from the anguish, as if mere watching is an indecent act of complicity and compassion. His anger is still rumbling, echoing emptily through him. ‘Why didn’t you? What makes me different?’