I wake up and my head throbs. Above me, there is a high ceiling, swaying gently. I try to get up, and I find that I am bound. The headache subsides. I realise I am inside the factory. For only the second time in my life.
I also realise that the skull behind my eyes is gone. I turn my head and see it there. Two of them, in fact. One wearing a black vest. The other a T-shirt with a skull on it. I turn my head away. But there is another one there, in a plain white shirt. None of them has a cigar in its mouth.
“He’s awake,” one says. The one in the T-shirt walks up and kneels beside me.
“What do you want?” I say. “Take anything. Please don’t kill me.”
He strokes my hair with his gun. “What would my dad say if he heard you talking like that?” He tuts. “He wouldn’t like to believe he hired a coward. I think it’s better if you died bravely trying to fight arsonists.”
I realise who he is. I have seen the T-shirt before. Saluted it.
“He … set this up?” I ask.
“Oh … nonono. This is my thank-you to him. For wasting fifteen years of my life trying to turn me into him. You’re just accidental.”
He nods to the other two skulls. They start the fire. He turns to me again, and brings his face close to mine.
“Sssssss,” he says.