The rage built up in Sarah once more, drowning out all but the man before her.
The small, darkly lit cafe, the people having their little talks with each other, the baby hollering for more food, all of these things disappeared, vaporized in an instant when she saw him walk through the door.
How many times had she thought, since she was a young girl, about the day she would see him again? How many times had the nightmare of her existence been interrupted solely by the thought that one day she would be able to see him again and crush him under the weight of her justice?
Too many. It had become almost an obsession.
People told her, time and time again, she should let him go. She should release her anger, let it turn to calm. She should just forgive and forget.
But how could she ever do such a thing? This man, the one standing mere feet from her, had done more harm to her than any dozen people could have.
He must pay. He must face the fire.
Sarah would be the one to light it.
He was there, at the counter, talking to a girl dressed in black, the standard uniform of the cafe workers. He stood, with a smug expression on his face, as he placed his order for coffee to go.
Sarah was already gathering her things together and placing them in her purse, readying herself to go when he did.
As he waited for his order, he turned and looked in her direction. Sarah did not look away, would not look away. She willed him to stare into her eyes and see the rage which had become a part of her existence.
His gaze passed over her like a wave, without taking note of her.
It was as if he did not even recognize her, but how could that be? How could he have forgotten what he had done to her, even if it had been a long time ago?
He would soon be unable to ignore her, she knew; she would make sure of it.
His order finally arrived and he paid for it, giving the girl a smile.
This enraged Sarah even more. How could the woman not see this monster for what he really was? How could she even stomach being as close to him as she was?
Had he cast some sort of spell on her? Had he hypnotized her, putting her mind at ease, somehow?
No matter. Sarah would soon make sure the woman would always be protected from the creature.
He walked out of the doorway, heading to the street, and Sarah jumped up to follow. She hurried through the exit and glanced around, looking for the direction the man went.
She saw him, twenty paces away, walking down the sidewalk. The cool breeze wending its way through the buildings surrounding them played with his hair, tousling it every which way.
She kept a distance from him, walking at the same rate he was doing, a shadow following behind in his wake. She would wait for the perfect moment; until then, she would remain unseen.
She could see him casually sipping from his cup as he walked slowly along the city streets. He did not seem to have a destination in mind. He was merely walking for the sake of itself. Though the rage within her bit at her consciousness, trying to break free from her control as a raging beast slavering for a piece of meat, she held it in check. There would be time for that, but only at her own choosing.
She had waited too long for any impatience to ruin her chance at the perfect strike.
Finally, he turned and rounded a corner, out of her sight, into an alleyway. It happened suddenly and she was not quite prepared for it. She hurried her own steps to catch up, ot wanting to lose her target now that she was so close to having the one moment in her life she had ever looked forward to come to fruition.
As she turned the corner, herself, she heard a voice say, “I bet you didn’t think I knew you were there, didn’t you?”
His voice, deep and familiar to her as her own breath, echoed through the alley, coming into her ears with a sick, twisted tonality.
She said nothing back, looking for where he would no doubt be in wait fro her. Her purse slid from her shoulder, landing on the ground with a soft clatter, as random items from within came scattering out.
She paid no attention to that, however. The only thing she could focus on was him, the dark form of her nightmares, standing a few yards away. He leaned against a wall, mostly in shadow, but she could see him as clear as if he was in the bright sunlight.
he might have been handsome, if Sarah did not know his true nature. His smile, charming, to be sure, was more of a snarl to the girl he had harmed.
The sight of him, leaning casually there against the wall, caused her rage to finally break free, to run rampant throughout her being.
She ran forward, arms outstretched, slamming into him with her full weight. as she crashed into him, her fingers wrapped around his throat, pressing inward. She felt the bones there crack a little beneath her flesh and saw the shock in his eyes as the air was huffed out of him.
The breath smelled slightly of the coffee he had been drinking, and something else, as well. A sickness, hospital rooms and nursing homes, dark death and despair, all washing over her face as he heaved and bucked for another breath.
She turned her head slightly, taking in a breath of her own, then holding it again, while her fingers clenched tighter. Her teeth ground in her mouth, forcing a surge of adrenaline to spring from her guts, pushing her even harder.
Sarah was slightly surprised by the confused look on the man’s face as the life slowly ebbed from him. She imagined, though, the gurgle coming from his throat was going to be yet another taunt, just like he had done so long ago. The way he would laugh as he spat one vile insult after another etched into her memory, burned there just as strongly as the brand he used on her back, marking her as his territory.
She hoped the scar would stop aching now that she was twisting the life from his despicable veins.
He slumped slowly to the ground, with her hands still clawed into his throat; her weight helped push him furtherinto the abyss she knew he would soon find himself in. She hoped the hell he woke up to in the afterlife was an appropriate one for him. If she was doomed to enter into those piits herself, for taking her revenge on him, so much the better. She would rail at Satan himself to stoke the flames higher on them both, just so she could see him suffer more.
She smiled at that thought, as his eyes rolled into the back of his head and the lids slowly fluttered. Itr would be over in a moment, she knew, and then she could finally move on with her life.
The embers of her rage subsided somewhat as the life washed from his face. She could not help seeing him as almost angelic, even if he was a fallen one. Was that, perhaps, a small hint of relief on his lips? Regret in his cheeks?
No matter. The moment of her vengeance had come at last, and the gratitude in her heart made her soar.
The cartilage in his throat shifted slightly as her fingers released their grip. A small bit of air, still trapped in his lungs, escaped through his slightly opened mouth. Was blood mixed with the other fluids? Was his last moment, held in her hands, as torment-filled for him as he had put her through?
She stood, and stepped back slightly, staring at his lifeless body laying in the alley. She kikced his leg with her foot, then turned away from him and walked back to the opening to the street.
She was quick as she picked up everything which had fallen from her purse and walked away from her vengeance, glad to have it all finally come to an end.
Never again would he harm someone else. Never again would his eyes shine as he tortured his victims.
She knew, through her own act of revenge, she had saved others. While she did not do it for them, she still understood that fact and was glad of it.
As she walked the streets, away from her past, she knew it was all finally over.
Sarah stepped into a small shop on the corner, sitting down at a table with her purse beside her.
The small, darkly lit cafe vanished around her, the people at the tables having their little talks vaporized in an instant when she saw him walk through the door.
Rage filled Sarah, wiping away everything else around her as she stared at the man who had hurt her so long ago.
Vengeance would be hers.
He must pay. He must face the fire.
Sarah would be the one to light it.