Only a pin prick of light makes it this far into the hole. It’s calm and quiet this deep. I like it here. But then the whole world jumps into my hole. All of it. It comes rushing past my head, all in my face and my eyes and then it’s everywhere around me and the hole is gone, the calmness torn away.
Where the hell am I? What’s that goddamn noise? It sounds like meteors are raining down nearby. Sickening crashes shake the ground and send waves of fire through my head. There’s burning light, dazzling even when my eyes are closed. I shield my face with my hand. Lifting my arm causes more flames to lick at me, across my flank now. I know those flames, I’ve faced them before. They’re the flames of cracked ribs. Another crash rings out, then another, and I can’t help but cringe. It sounds like a giant stamping in fury. Crushing buildings underfoot.
Tiny peeks through my fingers, a little at a time, and eventually my sight starts to come back. I’m slumped in the corner of some kind of metal cell, maybe a storage tanker. There’s nothing else in here except for the light, which is ridiculously bright and fastened inside a cage on the ceiling. I try to stand, with a notion of smashing the light bulb but before I can straighten up my knees give way. I’m face down on the metal and I’m falling back into the hole.
I was chasing the bastard. Robert goddamn Hoover. He killed Carol, all because she just happened to walk around the corner at the moment he chose to slap a hooker across the face. Carol being Carol, no way could she leave it, not even when the whore was clearly his own. She marched on over and slapped him right back.
From across the street I watched from my car as that worthless pimp punched my wife in the jaw. Froze in horror as she fell and split her head on the curb like a piece of fruit. Stared numbly as he ran, dragging the hooker behind him like a doll.
She’d just finished work. I’d recently gotten a raise and we were going to a restaurant to celebrate. Instead all I could do was watch her die.
A policeman told me Hoover’s name. He said they were looking but admitted that had it been his wife he’d want a different kind of vengeance. He winked, told me the name of a bar.
I went with a crowbar. Found him right away. He saw me coming though, did a runner. The chased lasted ten minutes, through one dingy alleyway after another. He ducked in the side door of an abandoned warehouse. I followed but it was dark and the floor was slippery. Maybe I fell and knocked my head or maybe somebody hit me. Either way I ended up in the hole.
The world jumps in the hole again. It hurts even more than last time.
Another crash then a voice. “Who the fuck are you?”
“Hoover?” The word feels like rust on my tongue. Tastes like it too.
“How do you know my name?” Another crash booms around me. It’s no giant, no meteors. It’s him hitting the side of the tanker with my crowbar.
“You killed my wife you spineless prick.”
“Oh. Ah, yeah.” Another crash. “I see.”
“Let me out of here. What are you afraid of? You’ll fight with women, so why not have a go with me?”
“Talk all you want, man, it ain’t gonna help.” Another crash. “You’re going to die in there you know that?”
“Fuck you. I’ll kill you.” I pound my fist against the metal, over and over. I scream and swear about all the things I’m going to do to him. My head is wrapped in fire again and my ribs are singing but I don’t care. I hammer on the metal and scream until I’m hoarse and my fist is bloody and tears stream down my cheeks.
There are no more crashes, no voice, no matter how much I scream and pound.
I didn’t even hear him leave.