It’s been a solid fifteen minutes since Donnelly last focused on him; the blue-eyed man feels the easygoing haze begin to drop — it spirals right quick, considering they’re going up and up and up stairs. He can’t quite grasp how they got where they are, but he knows that hardly matters much.
Higher and higher.
She reaches back, giddy, and takes his hand as they step out into the burnt out lobby of an abandoned apartment building.
This particular one is condemned, leaving them only a little freer than normal of the squatters who seek shelter.
The blue-eyed man watches him step into the area, wander over to where a mama cat struggles to protect her newly dropped litter from the intruders, and step right onto her back and ribs. Paralyzation, shock… but the mama is alive. And so are the kittens.
But not for long.
She struggles to hold in a titter, and the blue-eyed man feels his stomach drop, and his gorge rise.
“Darling,” the kitten-crusher murmurs to her. “Anything you’d like to say?”
She chirps “Bye-bye, Brightman.”
And he stands there, blue eyes open, looking at her, then at the kittens, and he can’t even bring himself to ask ‘why’. He knows it doesn’t matter.
He failed. He didn’t see her for what she was — a liability. He didn’t check hard enough. He didn’t… something. He failed.
The gun goes off, and it’s pain, and he hits the wall, and watches them walk out.
She trails after the kitten-killer, the smiling man, who is going back down the stairs, so pleased with himself.
She lifts his phone from her pocket, and dials it, looking concerned, thoughtful. She hands it to him, and murmurs, quite audibly, pained, but honest, from the very bottom of her dark eyes: “I didn’t want you to come back.”
He doesn’t even know who’s been called as he holds the phone to his ear, his knees giving, his vision blacking out.
Someone picks up on the other end, “Yeah?”
His voice cracks, “S’Brightman… I need a pickup. I need–”
He hits the floor and the phone goes clattering.
She picks it up, and runs to catch the kitten-killer, leaving the blue-eyed man in an ever-widening pool of red.