Red letter day

I’ve got a knife wound in my left shoulder and a dead man on the floor.

I had expected to spend some quality time this evening with my oxygen/acetylene cutting torch and the seemingly impervious hull of the mysterious space craft that obliterated dish #20 of my radio telescope array, but alas, things never go as planned these days, especially around 18:57:09, which is exactly when the man who is now lying on the storehouse floor with a five-inch window in his chest burst into the room with a 10″ survival knife and murder in his eyes, screaming: “It began here! It began here!”

Normally I would have given the man an audience, no matter how crazy he sounded, but I think it was probably the foot-long Rambo knife in his hand that forced me to draw the Taurus .357 holstered at my waist, but not before the man lunged and sank the blade deep into my left shoulder. I recoiled, staggering, as he ripped the knife out of my flesh and cocked his arm for another go, but I managed to find the handle on my sidearm and dropped the bastard with a click. He didn’t even make a sound. His eyes went dead, his body froze, and he slumped backward, the knife clattering on the concrete floor.

My arm was bleeding like crazy. I kept pressure on the wound and tore open the first aid kit, but gauze and band-aids weren’t going to do a goddamn thing. I spun around, frantically, ribbons of blood spilling onto the floor, and suddenly eyed the acetylene torch. Snarling, I grabbed the striker, turned on the oxygen, and ignited it. I found a small crowbar on the rack and waved it under the torch until it glowed bright orange.

Clenching my teeth, I took a deep breath, and shoved it in the wound.