Debt

Smith and Wesson.

 Daggers in his vest.

 Machete at his back.

 They didn’t know he was there, that he would bring the fires of hell raining down around their heads. All he had to do was walk through the door.

 “Oz, whenever you’re ready, man, we’re with you,” his brothers had said.

 But he hadn’t brought them along. Couldn’t. This was his fight. The bastards belonged to him now.

 He knew what he would find inside: his past. How many of them had there been? Fifty? A hundred? He’d been helpless to stop it. Oz could hear the screams of his wife and daughter; see their blood seeping into the floorboards. Why did they let him live? It was a mistake.

 Her eyes. Gods, his daughter’s eyes seared him with confusion and pain. The wasted bodies of his family were propped up before him, his eyelids forced open by bloodstained fingers that smelled of cigarettes and gasoline.

 That day, Oz took a vow of silence.

 He put in his earbuds and turned the volume way up to drown out the memories.

This time, the screams would be theirs. His clothes would be plastered to his body by their blood. When he was through, their lifeless limbs would litter the floor. Finally, their debt would be paid- debt to the past, and debt to victims yet to be.

 Smith and Wesson, loaded, safety off.

Daggers in his vest, snaps open.

Machete at his back, sharpened.

He cranked the music up even louder. It was now or never.

All he had to do was walk through the door.

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