Author: Guede Mazaka
El knows his guns almost as well as he knows the slow brutality of living with a crippling wound. So it's to be expected that he sometimes wonders about the permanent taste of metal.
He's flirted with steel and fire so many times that he's almost forgotten what it's like to breath air that isn't smoky, that doesn't rip off layers with cordite and blood-stench. Love of the bullet isn't a twist in his brain, anymore-it's etched itself into his body. And at night, the effect calls for a reunion with its cause.
But then there are hands wrestling the muzzle out of his mouth-his lip tears-and they're shaking white in the dark. They're running over his face, his temples, the back of his head-and then they drop to his lap to clench around his fingers, which still hold the gun. "Don't you-goddamn it, I can't without y-don't. Don't."
"Who are you to talk?" El demands, seizing the other man's hair and yanking Sands' head back so his blindness glares in what light there is. "Who are you?"
"Stones and glass houses." Pained shiver. El lets go and doesn't look as lips press desperately against the corner of his bleeding mouth, his jaw, the pulse in his throat. "I was living in one, and the splinters cut. Please…you can't."
"Then give me something that's worth staying for." There's no answer. Only clinging.