Michael was too lost in the suddenness of events to truly understand what he was seeing. His first thought was that he would soon be dead; dead to this world and dead to any other. This was still to some extent a dream, but it was a real dream.
The bullets that had whizzed past them would have killed. They, like everything else here, were real. If anything, it was he that was the one that was not as actual as he believed. He was out of his time, dropped into a world where time played out in a myriad of permutations. For a moment back there, with the smart of the water upon his surprised skin, he was aware that he was someplace else. He had choices yet he swam towards this one.
The cold eyes of a boy, a little younger than himself, betrayed no pity. The rifle that he was pointing directly at Michael may as well have been a seamless part of a face that was created for this purpose. He thought that boy was going to say something, add a reason, mock him, but he didn’t. What happened next was that the boy froze, those cold eyes flickering with the recognition that something had changed the flow of events he had premeditated. The rifle fell from fingers no longer filled with power. The head twitched and fell forward onto the butt of the weapon. It was at that point that Michael saw the face of the girl.
With her first task complete, the girl did not glory in her vengeance. There was still more work for her to do. The blood from the boy was upon her hands. She had watched her father killing pigs before, pigs that she had given names to, animals she had fed and helped to nurse through fever. It had always brought a pang of regret. She never imagined that the killing of this pig would bring the same, but it did.
Rahel knelt there in the bleak landscape and was no longer a girl. The blood that was flowing from the boy was entering the water in which the other stood oblivious of what was to come. His face, the stupidity of his expression, did not belong to this world and this she had been told.
‘You will be doing him a favour. He is as part of these days as any other thing.’ And this had been enough.
Her hand reached towards the rifle and pulled it out of the dead grip. Still, the one in the water did not move. She pulled the weapon out from beneath the killer, kneeling up to push the inert mass away. As she did so, it gathered its own slimy momentum and slithered slowly into the slime. She watched with morbid attention as first the head, then the shoulders then finally the feet disappeared into the calm oblivion.
Let it lay there, food for the fish or whatever other creatures clawed their existence from beneath the surface.
She raised the gun and pointed it at the Michael.