He and Heather were sitting next to the bonfire with Jake and Emily when raucous laughter started behind them. Heather’s reaction to the sound was instant and total. She went rigid with a hiss of recognition. She didn’t have to explain anything; Edward immediately rounded on the trio of laughing men.
The laughter immediately stopped, as did the conversation of everyone around them. All three men in his field of vision looked at him in fear, but it was easy to spot the one he wanted. The other two men were scared and confused; the one in the middle was simply terrified. As Beck’s focus narrowed on the one he wanted, his companions hastily scooted away.
The remaining man froze, like a deer in headlights. Time itself seemed to pause. Then, like hitting play, the scene began to move again. The as-yet-nameless man turned tail and ran. There was initial resistance from the crowd, until they realized what was going on, and opened a path for the major. Nobody tried to slow down the runner, either; there was clearly no need, and nobody wanted to get involved when there was the slightest chance of coming into contact with an enraged Beck.
In hindsight, he was glad the bastard had run away from the crowd. It meant that the children didn’t see what happened next. How he turned his years of army training on its head. He had been trained to kill quickly, and when need be, quietly.
This was neither.
He was simply pounding away. Despite the blood pounding in his ears, he’d heard bones break; he knew there were likely ruptured organs and internal bleeding. From the way he was breathing, there was probably a rib in his lung. Taken individually, emergency surgery could fix his injuries. Together, they equaled a slow and painful death. Something the bastard seemed to grasp.
“Just…just kill me… already.”
The words actually caused him to pause. He considered it.
And he walked away, leaving him to die a slow, agonizing death.
He returned to Heather, taking over for Emily who was comforting her.
“It’s okay now.”
“Is he dead?”
“He will be soon. Is there anything you wanted to say to him?”
“No. But I want to see his face. I want - ” she broke off; Edward understood. Being able to identify your enemy was important. Otherwise, you saw him everywhere, in every stranger’s face.
“Later, then. After.”