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the birth of a killer This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

they teach her how to kill,
in the dark of night,
in an abandoned impound lot,
alone but for burned out husks of cars.

they hand her a gun,
and tell her to aim.

someone points at
a kid near a wall,
small and shivering,
and scared.

he’s her brother’s best friend.

he was.

she babysat him, she thinks.

but that was Before.

before the war.

before daddy left to fight.

before mommy went crazy and never woke up.

before danny was slaughtered by
The Enemy.

in broad daylight,
on the street corner,
as children,
they’d wait for the school bus.

they hand her a gun,
and tell her to shoot.

she is the last man standing,
surrounded by the corpses of those that went before her.

so she does.

and just like that,
she goes from
in the amount of time it takes to

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