“You just won’t learn, will you?” she said, touching a lit cigarette to her bruised and cut lips and breathing in deep. “You just won’t,” she repeated, exhaling and letting the smoke seep lazily out of her nose and mouth.

He laid on the floor, quiet. Listening. His eyes were wide. His arms were tied behind him. He didn’t know how he’d gotten this way. Maybe she’d put something in the beer he’d demanded earlier that night. Or maybe he’d had a few too many. He’d had a stressful day.

“You did this yourself,” she added.

He did had vague memories of getting angry with her. She always got on his case when he got home. He had so much on his mind that he’d forget to do this or that. He just wanted to come home and rest. She seemed to want him to come home to yell at him. To call him worthless and a waste of space.

So he wasn’t coming home as often. And then she yelled at him for being late. He just wanted her to shut up sometimes.

She pressed her foot against his chest, pinning him to the ground. Then she put the cigarette in her mouth, pressing her lips closed. She breathed out a cloud of smoke and glared at him through it with her puffed and bruised eyes. Then she aimed the barrel of the shotgun to his chest.