Smoke wafted past his face, curling upward in lazy tendrils that carried the acrid scent of spent gunpowder. The gun itself was still warm in his hands, but he barely noticed. He held it loosely, on the verge of dropping it, not understanding how it had gotten there. He stared, dazed, at the scene before him.

She was sprawled on the floor at his feet. His heart. His beloved. She had a hole in her forehead where he’d shot her and a surprised Oh on her face. There was almost no blood. Her heart had stopped instantly.

What the hell just happened? he wondered. How could this have happened?

He tried to remember and his shock-addled mind came up with only a blank hole. There was a vague feeling, though, that he didn’t fully understand, a sense that, for those brief seconds, he had not been himself.

“Control phrase,” he murmured. “Trigger.” He felt sick.

What was it she’d said?

He glanced back at her body, and the memory came washing back over him.

Oh, yes.

“You’re my hero!”

He wanted to die.

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