The plastic blades of the fan high above her head lie still, creating a desperate absence of noise in the home. The steel blade of the knife glints in the fluorescent light, hovering just above her chest. She stares directly into the eyes of her attacker, limbs limp at her sides, hair pooled around her head like a puddle of tar. Her prediction weighs down her thoughts, consuming her mind for the long, drawn-out moment. It is a single word: BULLET.
She listens to the sirens approaching outside, growing louder as the distance between the police and her home shrink. Her breath comes out slow and even. Her heart beats no faster than usual, keeping time at a steady rhythm.
She gazes at the distraught face above her with bored, half-lidded eyes. Her mind wonders how long it would take for the police to arrive and stop him. Her eyes trace the man’s receding hairline, amusedly noting the spontaneity of the grey tufts that cling to his scalp. They wander down to his neck, where, hidden in the shadow of his chin, a three-letter word has been tattooed across his skin. She feels his hand shake as it keeps her shoulder pinned to the carpeted floor.
She stifles a yawn.
She wonders, not for the first time, what his Machine of Death prediction is. Would he be shot by the police officers racing towards her door or would he rot behind bars in a cold grey jail cell?
The knife moves. It inches downwards towards her rib cage. His hand shakes. She resists the urge to roll her eyes.
He won’t stab her. She had tried to tell him that but he was one of those “non-believers.” He was yet another idiot out to prove that Machine of Death predictions were false. She could bet he’d never had his blood tested by the Machine.
The tip of the knife makes contact with her thin flannel shirt. She feels the sharp edge slowly pressing into her skin.
He won’t do it.
The police are going to barge through the door any second now and stop him. He’ll throw his hands up in the air and the knife with it. The weapon will clatter to the ground some two yards away and the police will arrest him, pinning his hands to his back and pulling him off her. One kind officer will help her up and ask her if she’s okay. She’ll smile and nod.
That’s how attempts from nonbelievers always go.
The sirens are close now. They’d stopped moving and she can hear car doors slamming shut as police officers desert the vehicles, guns out in front of them, moving slowly and carefully.
In just a few seconds they wil–
Pain. An intense, sudden burst of pain blossoms in her chest. She feels something warm and thick rush up her throat as she instinctively shuts her eyes and opens her mouth to scream. Her voice gets caught behind the eruption of blood and comes out as nothing more than a drowned gurgle. Tendrils of fire wrap around her limbs, leaving invisible burns beneath the surface of her skin.
Her breathing struggles to get past the wall of fire in her chest. She can hardly suck in any air.
Her head feels as though it will burst from the intense pressure and the overwhelming pain. White lights consume her now open eyes.
She doesn’t hear the policeman kick the front door from it’s hinges. She doesn’t see the look of glee painted across her attacker’s face as the officer in the navy blue uniform pulls him off her lifeless corpse.