When I’m tired enough that I think I can lay down to sleep without having any thoughts, a woman enters my mind. She’s been waiting for me, I imagine, waiting her whole life behind her dark hair, although it might just be dark because she’s looking at me from the shadows. But I know it’s not really me who she’s waiting for, it’s the man who just climbed off the last train. He wears clothes with no design under the yellow streetlight. From the windows they watch the way he stands on the platform long after the train is gone. Where did that train come from? Why does he travel without any bags? Is this the person who is going to rescue me? They think he might save the women, probably from their husbands, just like the movies where the woman is always in peril. But he’s not going to save any of them, he’s come to save the town itself. He’s come to set things right. He walks slow through these streets he’s never been to, his stride with the ease of a soldier who is doomed to wander because he can’t remember where he came from. He walks straight to the back door of my house, which I didn’t lock, and down the hallway. I hear him pause before he steps into my bedroom, and there he is, the shape of his shoulders as solid as my heartbeat. He knows. He knows and he’s making it clear by the way he stands there. He wants me to know too, but he doesn’t just let his posture do all the talking. He raises a pistol that catches no light, the only thing he brought with him, and aims at my chest so I can hear the first shot.
David S. Golding grew up in the lowlands that stretch between Seattle and Portland. He now teaches peace studies and development geography in Sri Lanka. He is a doctoral candidate at Lancaster University. His fiction has appeared in The Molotov Cocktail, Mithila Review, Jersey Devil Press, and elsewhere. Read his work at www.dsgolding.com.