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         The sounds of a Smith and Wesson Model 649 revolver could never be mistaken - a click like the rattle of a snake, an ear-splitting crack that always follows, and a small hiss at the tip of the barrel, as its scaled body slithers back into hiding. But sometimes, a snake strikes more than once. And it always strikes alone. Five bodies were found at the Favel residence, all of whom sustained fatal injuries from their wounds.

         “Damn,” was all that Sheriff Cowell could let out, standing above the corpses sprawled across the living room. 

         “They got the children too,” grimaced Deputy Stephan, his eyes struggling to steer clear of the faces of the two Favel children, staring up at the ceiling in frozen horror. Stephan had seen many heart-wrenching crime scenes, but never one like this. He cleared his throat, trying to shove the image of that living room further down his gut.

         Cristina and Howard Favel were slumped over in unearthly positions, their blood poured down their limbs forming pools on the hardwood floor, where parts of it were beginning to coagulate. Tina and Neville Favel were located further away from their parents, near the corner of the room, trapped underneath the table that held up the television. Both of their heads peaked out from the right of the table, faces trapped eternally in hopeless screams. The last of the casualties in the Favel residence was Robert Troupe, who was determined to be a family friend of the Favel’s and was visiting for dinner. His body was found in the backyard, inside a dog house, never used. He had seven bullet wounds. All four arms and legs were mangled. The house was searched following a complaint from the neighbors about a horrible smell emanating from the house next door. 

         “Let’s call it in. There isn’t much poking around we can do right now. And I’m about to throw up the turkey sandwich I had for lunch,” Cowell remarked, his eyes tearing up from the stench. Stephan nodded, silent as Cowell murmured into his radio, the pair trudging back to the police car to digest what they had just seen. 

         Mikhail Boucher sat on a leather sofa, used so extensively that the middle had begun to cave in and what was once brown leather, was now a pale grey, with what might have been a hint of green. He was sitting straight up, staring at the clock hung up on what was otherwise a completely empty wall. 8:20pm. Mikhail was not a man of many words, as he never had anyone to share them with. He was left alone with his thoughts, to fester and rot. Mikhail never connected with other people. The movement of facial features, the intonation of voices, none of these mattered to him. The raising of pitch and volume, the widening of eyebrows, muscles tensing, teeth-baring, were all familiar sights to Mikhail. But these were nothing but movements, white noise, meaningless. A whiteness, an endless blanket of foam surrounded Mikhail, and he was always forced to slosh through it, the air thick with words and sound and people. 

         Every day the foam only became thicker and thicker until one day Mikhail couldn’t take it anymore, and loaded his revolver and walked out onto the street and saw a man on his phone and he wasn’t looking his way and he started to speed up until he could count the hairs on the back of his neck he aimed and squeezed the trigger and he felt good. A coolness washed over his body, and the white that clouded his vision for all these years began to subside. He took a long gulp of crisp air. He looked down at the corpse at his feet, a stream of blood leaking from the hole in the back of its head. A release from the foamy prison of white; Mikhail finally felt truly alone.

         Mikhail was snapped back into reality by the tick of the clock on the wall. 8:29 pm. As he sat on his leather sofa, spine aligned perfectly with the ceiling, eyes locked onto the hands of his clock, he thought about the Favel family. 

         At exactly 8:30 pm, last Thursday, Mikhail blew open the door lock to the Favel residence with his Model 629 revolver. He had made sure that the next-door neighbors of the Favels were unavailable. He pushed open the door and was met by the surprised faces of the family of four enjoying a movie on the television after dinner. Howard Favel began to stand up from his chair, but before a peep escaped his open mouth, Mikhail pulled his pistol out from his coat and placed a bullet squarely in the chest of the patriarch of the Favel household. Tina began a high-pitched scream, but Mikhail calmly redirected his aim towards her, center-mass. The second crack of the revolver brought the screaming to a halt. 

         The two remaining Favel residents had already begun a chorus of their own, screaming in the same fashion as their mother, backing themselves into the corner of the room. Mikhail took notice of what was playing on the television. No Country for Old Men

         “What time do you go to bed?”, rang Anton Chigurh from the television. Mikhail focused his attention back to the two children that hadn’t stopped screaming since he shot their father. He aimed his weapon at the kids when he heard, 

         “What’s the most you ever lost in a coin toss?”, escaped from the television.

         Mikhail glanced at the television, spying Anton staring straight back at him. He paused, his thoughts drowning out the screaming and crying. He felt the hiss of the smoke escape from the tip of his revolver. He looked away from the television. I hate that movie, thought Mikhail, squeezing two rounds into the corner which the children were huddled in. 

         Mikhail turned around to leave when he heard scampering in the backyard. Mikhail peered out of the glass sliding door, surveying the grassy landscape. Mikhail began to feel hot. The intensity of the lights above had suddenly amplified. Mikhail grabbed the handle of the sliding door, pried it open, and slipped into the yard. His lips began to dry up, and his vision began to narrow, that familiar white foam beginning to impair his view. His head was trying to pound the eyeballs out of his skull. He felt the heat and light of the living room scorch his back, as his vision tore through the dark landscape in front of him, searching for the source of the uninvited noise. He blinked. A figure leaped out from the corner of Mikhail’s vision. 

         Mikhail whipped around and squeezed his final shot into the intruder. Mikhail breathed heavily, panting. He felt cool, his vision returned, and his back had forgotten about the burns from the halogen lights of the living room. Mikhail looked back down at the lifeless body on the ground in front of him. His eyes widened in anger. Mikhail flicked open the cylinder and shoved six rounds into the empty chambers of the revolver, releasing white smoke into the night sky. Mikhail gritted his teeth and stood even taller. He emptied five rounds into the body that lay in front of him. 

         He grabbed the body by the collar and dragged it into the dog house in the farthest corner of the yard. He forced it in, bending arms and legs in ways in which arms and legs are not meant to be bent. Mikhail stood back up, turned away from the lights of the living room. He listened. The night responded with nothing but the chirp of crickets and the whistle of the wind as it blew through the small holes of the wooden fence that lined the edges of the yard. Satisfied, Mikhail turned around, closing the sliding door as he made his way into the living room. He looked back at the television. 

         “Heads or tails?”, said Anton, from the TV. No Country for Old Men continued to play while Mikhail was creating his masterpiece in the Favel residence. He slowly lowered himself into the seat, next to the bodies of Cristina and Howard Favel. Despite being surrounded by bodies, Mikhail felt alone like usual. A smile crept up his face. He decided to relax, and watch the movie for a short while. Blood was beginning to pool at his feet. 

         Mikhail saw the unwavering glare of Anton in the TV, piercing straight through the skull of a poor convenience store owner who had the misfortune of making small talk with a serial killer. 

         “Well, in that case, I’d have to say heads then,” stammered the convenience store owner, shaking as he stared down at Anton’s hand, covering the face of the coin that spelled his fate. 

         Anton uncovered the coin. Heads. 

         “Well done!”, Anton congratulated. 

         He lives, thought Mikhail. Sloppy.

         Mikhail looked down at his revolver which sat squarely in his lap. He decided that it was time to leave. He flicked open the cylinder once more. One round. He gingerly closed the cylinder and aimed his pistol at the TV. That was the final shot that was heard from the Favel residence. Mikhail returned back into the dark and empty streets, without a second look at the corpses piled in the living room of just another suburban home. 

Locked in 



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