His Witness

By: Vanessa Waltz

Suddenly a sleek car rolls up next to me. I must look like a maniac, running in the street at this hour with my shoes off.

“Mel, what’s the matter?”

The sound of his voice startles me so much that I almost forget why I’m so pissed off. Tommy looks at me through the rolled-down window, and I feel a surge of triumph. I point toward the rapidly disappearing man.

“Get him!”

Without a word, Tommy floors the gas pedal. The car screams on the pavement, kicking up clouds of dust as he aims it straight for the guy, who sprints harder. It swerves onto the sidewalk, cutting him off as I catch up to them.

The man jumps over the hood, but Tommy gets out and tackles the guy. They fall to the ground with a sickening thud. For a moment I’m actually worried. The thief is a lot bigger. They struggle on the ground and Tommy takes something metallic from his waist—a knife. His right hand makes a violent movement into the thief’s barrel-like chest. He does it at least three of four times. It sounds as if he’s stabbing a melon. Stabbing. The man’s screams quickly fade and Tommy’s blue sleeve streams with dark, red blood. The man’s shirt is soaked with it and his head falls to the floor, blood bubbling from his lips.

God! What did he—what did he do?

Tommy wrenches it out of the man’s side: a knife with something that looks like jam all over it, but of course it’s not strawberry jam. It’s blood. It’s fucking blood, and the man’s not moving anymore.

“What did he do, rob you?” he asks in a conversational tone, as if we were sitting across from each other at dinner. “Ah, found it.” He finds the stack of cash near the man’s feet.

My lungs are too tight and I feel as if I’m going to faint. The man—he’s not moving. What just happened? Tommy wipes the blade clean on the man’s trousers and takes the cash with his dripping hands.

He killed him with that knife. He stabbed him to death. I didn’t want that. I didn’t ask him to do that.

Tommy turns to me with a grin. “Come here, hon. It’s all right. You’re lucky I was watching over you.”


“Get away from me!”

My foot slips on something as I take off in the other direction, tears streaming down my face. Why couldn’t I just go home and cut my losses? The man—his face, the gashes on his chest, and the way Tommy sunk the blade right underneath his ribs, the horrible, gurgling sound he made. I’ve just witnessed a murder. Holy shit.

I stop to throw up on the sidewalk, my guts heaving over and over. What should I do? Should I call the police?

And risk the same thing happening to me once he finds out I ratted on him?

I take the subway home in a sort of numb shock. Horror reverberates through me until I shut it down, refusing to believe anything happened.

“You’re bleeding.”

A cop talks to me as I take my stop. I can barely think with all the blood rushing to my brain. Can he see the guilt on my face? He frowns at me. Oh fuck. He already knows. Someone saw and told the cops that I was on the subway.


“You’re bleeding.”

Did some of the man’s blood get on me? No, that’s impossible. Still, I look at my hands. They’re bare. My face tickles with something and I swipe at it. Blood smears all over my fingers.

“Did you lose your shoes?”

I look down at my dirty bare feet and feel another stab of anxiety.

Just get out of here.

“Um, yeah.”

I move past him, hoping that he thinks I’m some sort of harmless junkie and not an accomplice to murder, which is what I really am.

What do I do?

I limp up the steps out of the subway, my heart still hammering with the cop encounter. It’s so late and I’m fucking tired. I don’t really think all of that happened anyway. There’s just no way it did. This is all some crazy, bizarre dream because I don’t get enough sleep, that’s all.

A lump the size of a tennis ball swells in my throat when I see his car, parked just outside my brownstone.

He followed me here? Shit! What if he’s here to silence me?


My ragged scream surprises even me, and a pair of hands take my shoulders and give me a little shake. It’s Tommy. His fingers bite into my shoulders and my screams give way to panicked breaths.

“Maddon, you’re hurt. What did that asshole do to you?”

I cringe as he lifts his hands to my head, but he’s surprisingly gentle. It’s strange to see his eyes knitted with concern when only a half hour ago they were blank while he stabbed someone to death. Fingers touch the wound on my face as he assesses it.

“Let go of me!”

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