I've always loved the sounds of screams. Not the fake shit that sex workers make for the benefit of their partners or even the kind made by those who scream an announcement of their orgasms.
I step onto the porch, the screen door clacking loudly against the doorjam behind me. The wind howls loud as shit beyond the porch, the screen walls serving only to keep the snow from landing on the wood floor of this rinky old cabin.
I've lost count of how long it's been since he couldn't fight back or run anymore. I'd torn the ligaments that allow his hips to operate properly pretty early on after he'd managed to toss me into the coffee table. After a chase through the kitchen, under the dining table, and back out into the living room trading punches and kicks as we went, he'd managed to split my lip from a well-timed punch and I'd repaid him by blinding one of his eyes.
By the time Asher makes it down the stairs, stumbling fully over the shoes and landing on his hands and knees among them, John's stopped making any noise. His screams are nothing more than fading echoes bouncing sadly off the walls.
The shadows of the living room are deeper than the ones upstairs. They're all encompassing and as I step into the far corner that gives me an easy view of the stairs, whole living room, and the kitchen entrance, I let those shadows wrap around me like the arms of a lover. I snuggle into them like you would a favorite blanket on a cold, rainy night.
The bedroom door rattles and I have a split second to decide whether to remain standing in the hallway or take the element of surprise and use it to my best advantage.