Little wonder we stumble in life.

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There was something about the bright lights, the crowd, his smile before the camera, that creeped her out. Because she saw the darkness behind it, the darkness inside when she him bloody, bruised, swollen. When her own knuckles bled as she stared down at him lying at her feet, her eyebrows still drawn tight, her breaths coming in shallow and sharp.

He didn’t remember.

But she did. She didn’t think she’d ever forget. Now every day she was in the same room as him, she remembered. There was something tainted about him now. And she couldn’t say a word, about how much she hated him, about what she’d done. Because she worked with him. Because now, he was smiling, taking food, talking in a light tone. He was friendly. He had never been with her.

There had always been a hidden rage inside her that she kept well hidden. Nobody would ever suspect her. Not even him.

“Hey, Anya, you wanna dance?” he finally asked, walking up to her.

“Sure,” she said, her voice wavering uncertainly as she took his hand uncertainly.

They danced to some unknown club song, playing from someone’s personal speakers. She pretended to like it. She even gave him a fake smile, pretending to like him. But, she kept reminding herself, she could never get that close to him again.

Until he swooped in closer, and she almost fell over backwards, and he captured her in his arms. Her insidee were rioting, but she made herself remain still, remain calm.

“That was a close one,” said Timothy. He smiled, that disgusting, hypocritical smile.

“Yeah,” she managed, flinching under his touch. He straightened her to her feet and let go. She had to remind her she really didn’t like him, because she could feel his assumptions creeping up on her. Men like to tell you exactly what you like, and who you are. They like to pretend they’re desirable to everyone. “Thanks,” she said, a little spite creeping into her voice and flying right over his head.

She went immediately to her room.

He followed her. “Where are you going?”

“Nowhere. Go back to the party.”

“Only if you come with me.”

No, her mind reacted automatically. “I’ll be right there.”

“No, you won’t. Come on!”

He made it sound perfectly reasonable, but she knew it was anything but. It was times like this she wondered about that night, how or even if he really could’ve forgotten. It seemed so ludicrous.


“Is this about me?”


“Come on, I didn’t even touch you!”

“It doesn’t matter. I just need a moment.”

“Okay, but you got to promise you’ll come right back. I’m saving us a dance.”

“Okay,” she said, just to get him to shut up, and he went back to the party.

She didn’t even bother turning on the light when she got inside. Mind roiling in nightmares, she flopped down on her bed, tossing and turning to sleep.

A touch on her shoulder shuddered her awake, and she twisted his wrist hard, sending its owner sprawling to the ground. Even when she heard his screams, she couldn’t stop, separating his arm from the socket. Blood flashed in her mind again, and it sent her fist flying into his face, defending herself from the intruder.

“It’s me, it’s me!” he cried, until another punch collided with his face, knocking him out.


Trifecta – Light

He switched on the light. It flared for a moment then flashed off.

“Dammit,” he swore.

“Seth,” she said, “leave it alone.”

“I want to look at you. This isn’t something to talk about in the dark.”

“We are in the dark, though. All of us.”

He frowned. She had to stare to be sure.

“You can see me just fine here,” she said. “Say what you have to say.”

“I have nothing to say.”

“Oh, come off it,” she snapped. “Out with it!”

But instead of talking, he turned around stalked up the stairs.

“Hey!” she called. “I’m not done with you.”

“Well, I’m done with you! Have been for a while.”

“You pansy,” she cried, “you bloody wuss. Man up and talk to me!”

He turned and glared at her. “Did you really just say that?”

“Yeah,” she dared, “yeah, I did. And I meant it. You men, you’re all just –”

“What?” he said, “Just what? Go on!”

“Scared of women! Deep down, you’re all scared because you don’t believe in your own bravado! You’ll never admit it, but I can see right through you.”

He switched the light on as he moved into the next room. As she followed him, he pulled out what she had been looking for.

“Oh, Seth…”

Tale for Trifecta