Tick, tick, tick, tick.

The steady beat of time drummed in the way that my fingernails did on the glass table.

Tick, tick, tick, tick.

What a tiresome sound it was. Indeed, I was sick of it.

Tick, tick, tick, tick.

He was watching me, that I knew. Worn eyes glossing over my familiar frame, scrutinizing me.

Tick, tick, tick, tick.

I kept my breath steady, glaring pointedly at the wall. I let him study me. I let him revel in the scars he caused that ran up my arms and legs, the hollowness in my stomach.

Tick, tick, tick, tick.

He stood up, then. I did not remove my gaze from the wall, even when the material of his coat brushed my knees as he planted his clammy hands on either arm of my old chair.

Tick, tick, tick, tick.

Look at me, he said. I didn't respond. I've looked at him long enough to point out the nuances in his face blindfolded, and heaven knows what he's seen of me.

Tick, tick, tick, tick.

He told me he liked it when I played coy. I smiled at a fixture on the wall, but I remained silent.

Tick, tick, tick, tick.

That's when I felt him cup my chin, my delicate chin in his meaty hand, forcing me to stare back into his wild, hungry eyes. I was to obey him, always. Part of me scoffed in defiance. The other, the outer part, whimpered in defeat.

Tick, tick, tick, tick.

The ticking grew louder as he pulled me into a tight embrace, catching my lips in his and groping my chest with his other hand.

Tick, tick, tick, tick.

I closed my weary eyes, in spite of myself.

Tick, tick, tick, tick.

Fingers trembling, I reached into the pocket of my pants. I cut my finger on the blade.

Tick, tick, tick.

The knife dug itself deeply into his back, sloppily, and then I withdrew and continued to stab, stab, stab, each with a steadier and firmer swipe than the last.

For once I thanked the man for all the times he forced me to cook his meals. I became quite handy with sharp objects, if I said so myself.

Tick, tick.

I didn't dare to see the look on his face. But, oh, how wonderful it must've been. The splatters onto my skin certainly were. He fell from my lips, and the knife fell from my fingers, and my legs fell from underneath me. Bits of him pooled around my knees, warm and intoxicating. And yet, I did not open my eyes.

Tick.

The sound ceased with the last hitch of his breath.