Kneel

Listen, listen. Ear to the door and you can hear the heavy bass and slow, nearly-non-existant drums of something Top 40 Generic; she plays it while she lays on the floor and looks for galaxies in the texture of the ceiling tiles. When she’s high, she lets the white of everything melt down and puddle on the floor — later when she’s coming down, she’ll clean it up while she listens to the soundtracks to anime that she’s never had translated, a springing beat to the Japanese lyrics she can sing, but can’t understand.

Except today, while she’s staring up at the ceiling, her eyes will glass over, and she’s never going to breathe again — those nearly-non-existant drums are more like the nearly-non-existant heartbeat, slowing and slowing in her chest.

Listen, listen, and you’ll be able to hear it stutter.

She doesn’t feel it; she’s finally found her stars.

* * *

Kneeling down over the body, he rested his fingertips on the cheek, still warm, and kept his eyes shut. This was not the first body he’d seen, not the first death of someone too young, not the first death of someone who ‘didn’t deserve it’. Not the first time it was senseless, pointless, horrific, depressing, full of despair.

This was not the first time he’d fallen in love with a corpse for the way she finally looked peaceful.

This was not the first time he lit a cigarette in the midst of a crime scene and walked away.

This was not the first time it hurt — perhaps that’s why it hurt so strongly, so that he couldn’t get used to it, couldn’t be blinded by it, couldn’t be dulled to the fact that failure was not an option, that human lives are worth more than paper, money, drugs, sex, booze, contracts.

That every time he squeezed the trigger, someone else would find themselves kneeling.

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