The wind rolled the dust across the vast, open field where the shadows clung to the dry stalks of grass and the night hugged the horizon from end to end. Besides the single bulb of the old beat-up pickup, there was no other light. No moon hung in the sky to witness the two men standing across from one another, the beam of light stretched between them.

“Rock, paper, scissors? Just like old times?” Travis asked. His ever present smile lopsided on his face.

“S-sure.” Isaac brought his shaking hands in front of him. He saw Travis do the same. Paper, his win. Scissors, Travis’s win. He shuddered as he hit his hands together once, twice, three times.

Please, let it be him.

Paper, his win.

Isaac felt his feet carry him forwards. They met in the glow of the single bulb.

“What’s the tally for you now, hmm? Around two hundred?” Travis questioned, his voice soft.

“Two thirteen,” Isaac responded. He remembered every one. Every last breath that pushed past slacken lips to fill his lungs with the life energy of the person who lay fallen before him.

“Hey, don’t get lost in your head. I’m just one more. Hopefully, the last one to end this.”

Isaac swallowed past the lump in his throat. “Yeah, what’re twenty years together right?”

He caught Travis’s sad, crooked smile. “Just think of it this way, I’ll be with you forever now.”

Isaac brought his hands up. Travis’s neck felt so strong underneath them. Quick, make it quick. He twisted and felt the snap. Brought his mouth close and captured Travis’s last breath. Tears broke free as the unearthly power coursed through him. All three hundred lives Travis had taken. All the power of the life energy.

Please, let it be enough.

He climbed into the beat-up pickup and headed towards what he hoped would be his final battle. The dust rolled across the vast, open field where the shadows clung to a new shape in the dark.