Before the first could even get his gun out I bounded onto the cushion of the armchair and then high above him. I came down onto him, his face alight in surprise, and slashed across his throat. Blood spurted violently against the wall, painting it in furious red streaks.

The other blasted his shotgun but it flew by me, detonating the lamp on the glass end table. I ran and uppercut the blade up into his throat and red spurted downward in a torrent, staining his white suit jacket and the blue shirt beneath.

The last one charged, swinging the crowbar he held. I threw the knife and it went over his right shoulder, then I pounced upon him and we were down on the ground and I was slamming his head against the white tile of the floor, and I heard his skull cracking, the bone splintering, and his dark red blood was spattering everywhere: onto the sofa, onto the plant, onto the mask over my face, until finally his lifeless eyes rolled back into his head and the cracking noises stopped.

I picked up the crowbar with my blood-soaked hand, and took off the rubber mask. I stared down at it. For a moment my mind slipped back to my hallucination, my dream – or had it even been a dream? – of those strange animal-headed people in my living room, and the flies buzzing all around, and the smell of rotting corpses, and I thought of the first question the rooster-headed man had asked me, the man whose likeness I now held in my hands – “Do you like hurting other people?”


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