Panting, Thomas slid down the wall leaving a crimson signature against the crisp, clean, white. The warmth of the house and the sadness in his heart pressing down on him until he curled into a ball near Jeremy’s feet.
“You got me, old friend,” Jeremy whispered with a weak smile, his glazed eyes unseeing, his fist twitching on the hammer.
Thomas watched as Jeremy heaved his last breath; it rattled dully inside him before he closed his eyes for the last time.
And then all was still.
Feeling the heaviness, Thomas realised that he still held the axe. He looked at it in wonder before casting it aside, repulsed.
A hypnotic crimson pool crept, like lava, from beneath Jeremy’s bloodied and broken body, slowly filling the grout lines, inching closer to him across the tiles. His ashen face reflected back at him in the dark plash, as a single tear tracked down his cheek.
He closed his eyes for a moment, and his mammy’s frightened face drifted before him, her screams echoing in his memories.
No longer would she live in fear.
He pulled himself up on shattered legs that quivered under his weight, and moved slowly to Jeremy’s side, wincing with each step. With the tenderest touch, he stroked the mouse’s face as a sad, soft wail spewed from deep in his belly.
“Goodbye, Jerry,” he whispered. “I’ll miss you, man.”
Tom left his old friend on the kitchen floor and dragged himself to the door, curling his tail under him as he licked at his wounds, and waited for his mammy to come home.