I find myself pressing a gun into his mouth, relying on his sense of human preservation to save us both. Because it wasn't like I had created some loser alter ego to make myself feel better.
Although sometimes, it's like I had. Because he knows and I know that he'd be nothing without me, a pathetic ghost of a man, a creation of his own creation. He stares up at me, and suddenly, I realize that I'm going to die. He knows he can get on without me now. His tongue flicks out and he licks the barrel of the gun as if he enjoys the taste of cold steel and gunpowder and his lips smile around the intrusion like it's my cock.
I pull the gun roughly out of his mouth and it knocks against the ruins of his shattered teeth and he winces, I can't help but take some pleasure in this.
"So what's it gonna be?" I ask him softly. "Town isn't big enough for the both of us."
He shrugs and licks blood off the lip I split throwing him down a flight of stairs. "I loved you. I love you." He whispers.
I know it's true, but I laugh at him. "You love Marla."
"So do you."
There is no point denying this. He'd know if I was lying. So, I say nothing.
"You love me too." He smirks as he says this, the holes in his smile stare out at me like knowing little eyes and I find myself unable to keep looking back.
I am the only person who can make me back down.
"Yeah." I say, even knowing that admission assures my death.
"Come here." He says, unable to beckon me over, tied to the chair as he is. I go and kneel in front of him, the gun hanging loosely from my fingers. "I don't have to kill you." He whispers this, as though he might be overheard talking to himself.
"Yes you do." I reply.
He leans in and kisses me before I have the chance to move away from him. His lips are dry and cracked and rough, but the kiss is gentle, like he isn't kissing thin air and wanting to drag his fingers through short cropped, blond nothing. He kisses me like he wishes he could kiss Marla and I kiss him the way I always kissed her.
I pull away and wipe my mouth with my gun hand and he's smiling serenely, he knows it's too late to stop anything but me. And I know that he'll continue my work, because you can't kill what was never alive. I light a cigarette, my last request before dying; the smoke fills my lungs and pours past his lips in a gray white cloud. I can't pinpoint the moment when I lose the gun, but it's suddenly in his hand; his mouth and I taste the gunmetal on my tongue and the explosion of the weapon deafens me.
It doesn't hurt. Not in the way I thought it would, and I can feel air in the enormous hole he's blown in my skull. Home made bullets. The last thing I feel, as I collapse, an imaginary bag of dead flesh, is pride in a job well done.