The blood pooling under the dead man's back reminded Nick of butterfly wings. It spread from the twin wounds, sweeping to each side in graceful arcs that sparkled in the sunlight from a kitchen window.
Nick turned away and stopped his hands from trembling. Strange, they rarely trembled. Self-defense and high adrenaline—that’s all it was. He had fought for his life before, but this was the first time anybody had tried to kill him in his own house.
Watching the two pools of crimson ooze across the linoleum, he recalled the musky scents of decaying wood and pine needles in a cool West Virginia forest. A thousand butterflies swarmed around him. He thought of butterflies every time he saw wings. And the bloody wings on his floor were the strongest reminder of a butterfly he had ever seen. It was more unnerving than the fight.
It was quick. Breaking glass. A smashed coffee table. The Brazilian was strong, but not smart. He had sent a fierce blow to Nick’s chest, heaving him into a set of kitchen drawers that rattled. Nick looked up to see a block of knives next to the sink. Just what he wanted.
The assassin aimed his pistol and walked calmly toward him, grinning with yellow teeth. The smile didn’t last long. It crumpled when Nick straightened his shoulders and knocked the pistol out of the man’s hand with a high kick. When the blow whipped the assailant’s body around, exposing his back, Nick snatched two cold steel knives and launched them with perfect aim.