She wakes up covered in blood, bodies everywhere. Her daughter is terrified, hugging her knees in the corner of the dark room, eyes wide, shivering.
Somehow, she’s overwhelmed the jungle terrorists who’d kidnapped them for ransom. But more than that, she’s revealed her power, nascent, suppressed power. She’s a superhero, but not the good kind, not entirely. She’s a savage uncontrollable beast, but only when necessary.
Come here, honey, she says. Her daughter tucks up closer to the wall. I won’t hurt you. Not you, you’re my love, my special everything.
You killed them, her daughter whispers.
But I won’t hurt you. I would never hurt you.
Your eyes, they turned red.
Red? I’m sorry. Come to mama. You’re shivering and covered in…
You’re covered more than me.
Looking around, the bodies are all fresh. Some wounds are still oozing blood. Some hearts must still be pumping. Some minds, those still attached to bodies, must still be suffering.
Good, she tells herself.
She tries to stand and slips onto her ass, slapping pooled blood out like a stone splashed pond.
Her daughter ducks her head and moans, no more, no more.
No more, my darling. You stay there. I’ll get a rag or something.
She slides over the ichor covered floor. The door is locked. Outside exotic birds are singing. She spins in the slick and kicks at the steel barrier. And kicks it again. She kicks until the rage ignites within her.
Her daughter screams, stop mama, please mama, stop.
She’s consumed now. The steel door finally gives way and stark white light explodes into the murder room.
The fire in her mind subsides. Her daughter is sobbing. Around her, the bodies and their parts glisten, a manic abattoir, realized.
The compound appears abandoned. She runs from hut to hut, a trail of congealed blood drips from her saturated blouse and pants. Finally, she finds a chest, flips it open and returns dragging a handful of clothing.
Her daughter has crawled along the wall to the open door. She sits atop the highest step.
Let me wipe you clean.
I’ll do it.
How many did you kill?
That wasn’t me. That was…
It was you. I saw you.
That was someone I keep locked away, forever locked away.
How many what?
People did you kill.
What does it matter? We’re free now. We just need to get cleaned up and find a radio or something. She goes to dab a smear of blood from her daughter’s cheek.
At first her daughter shies away but then leans forward to the touch.
You promise not to hurt me?
She drops her eyes, pinches her lips and shakes away tears. I promise.
OK. Let’s find a radio and get out of here.
That’s my girl.