Her meeting with Anton Chigurh was seemingly coincidental. But as fate would have it, their paths were destined to intertwine. Who knew the inevitable could all be the luck of a coin toss?
Velvet darkness encased the room the moment he passed through the threshold. His face was void of emotion, only his eyes seemed wild with excitement, the thrill of death evident. She knew this now just as she'd known it then. It'd been two whole years since he'd trudged into her life, and she'd be damned if he thought he'd be set loose with mere scratches this time.
His name? Anton Chigurh. His crime? The brutal murder of at least a dozen supposed innocent victims. She'd guessed that half, perhaps more, weren't all that innocent. Figured they were the kind of drug dealing scoundrels that ran rampant through West Texas. There'd been talk of a man named Llewelyn Moss, who'd just been "caught up in a bad situation," as the papers more or less put it. She had no affiliation with him, so it was brushed aside as merely irrelevant information.
When she'd first laid eyes on him, she thought he looked harmless. A bit out of the ordinary, but benign, nonetheless. It wouldn't be until months passed that she'd uncover the real Chigurh, the dreaded horror that came with his name. She figured what had initially drawn her to him was, in fact, his strangeness. They were both loners, both vagabonds of sorts. She, however, longed for companionship. And that's why she flocked to him like a moth, curious and hopeful of the newfound partnership. He seemed unenthused by her offers, though. Seeing her as a nuisance, he half-heartedly wanted to do her in. But he saw no personal gain, nothing he could walk away with. So he let her pass, figuring her persistence would let up and he would be free to roam alone once more.
They'd begun traveling together, lending a hand when needed. They scrounged money together for food and motel rooms, usually having to share. This inevitably forced them to become comfortable with each other, since both refused to sleep in jeans and other clothing that restrained movement.
A month, perhaps two, passed by like vapor from a tea kettle.
It was a hot, muggy Tuesday afternoon when she'd caught wind of the accusations pointed at him. When confronted, he denied any trace of the crimes. But she couldn't be fooled so easily. She was past naivety, past the childhood adolescence of flim-flam. She wanted the raw truth. That's what she'd said only hours later as she made her decision and grabbed for her pistol.
She'd done it. Alison-Jo Foxx had single-handedly captured the wretched Anton Chigurh. The man described only as having no sense of humor, which she'd found wasn't entirely true, and was supposedly as deadly as the Bubonic Plague. As he saw his death playing out before him, a smirk nudged its way across his lips.
She fired. And then watched as he staggered, tumbling to the floor, two bullets placed securely in his thigh. She ultimately missed where she'd been aiming, as she'd closed her eyes, but it was enough. Enough to gather her things and make a run for it.
She'd never questioned why he'd plastered that grin upon his visage. That was at the bottom of her list at the time. If only she'd known that it would be this lone aspect plaguing her thoughts day in and day out, would she have paused a moment to ask that simple question.
"Why the smug expression?"
It's extraordinary how two years can change a human being. How it matures the physicality, as well as the mentality. How the rambunctious emotions of youth can so easily be replaced by ones of a fiery, almost soulless body. A core that is left to wizen and decay, turning back to the dust from which it came. That was how she felt right about now, anyway. Her youthful appearance was heavily outweighed by her pessimistic mentality. She'd had enough of peoples' whining, pathetic displays of optimism and compassion. She saw her fate as her own to determine.
Sensing her body stiffen at his entry caused him to chuckle, shaking his head as he walked around to face her. She'd definitely grown up since their last encounter. The weathered creases in her hands, even her rosey cheeks, were proof that the world had begun its siege. She was a work in progress, and the world would not be finished with her until she'd drawn her last breath upon it. Eyes slowly shifting up to lock with his, she found herself overcome with an alien urge. She wanted to run. For the first time in years, fear coursed through her, pumping adrenaline throughout every inch of her being. So this was what experiencing true fear felt like. She didn't like it, that much she knew. It was hot and thumping, suffocating her with every beat. The spasms of heat burning her skin jolted her, making a cold sweat break out across her brow. This was ludicrous. She couldn't sum up any sort of explanation. Whatever it was, she needed to control it, for fear of caving, fear of breaking all that she'd built up over the years. This is not how she would go down. Not this way. She would not surrender.
"Why've you come," she choked a sad attempt at sounding defiant. "Is this your 'revenge' hunt?"
"You don't think I'd harm an old friend." He sat on the vacant bed, upright and in charge.
His mockery was fueling a steady flame inside her. All it would take was a few more smart remarks for it to explode.
Casually reaching into his pants pocket, he retrieved an unknown object. It didn't occur to her what it was until he'd tossed it into the air, caught it, and set it on his knee, his palm concealing it. She knew what this ultimately meant.
"Call it," he calmly breathed, pausing a moment before meeting her gaze.
She shook her head in disagreement. She wouldn't cave, not even for a former friend.
"Call it," his voice repeated the command.
"No, why should I," she protested. "Is this your own kind of sick game? Your twisted, masochistic illusion of justice?"
"And what would you call your form of justice two years ago." The harsh words would have cut through her, if only she wasn't numb.
Suddenly, it hit her. It was like a cascade of bricks tumbling over her, crushing into her skull. She'd become just like him. Cold, violent, void of emotion. And worst of all, a sick mind with a demented view on justice and reality.
Not wanting to listen further, she turned, making for the door. But he called out to her, commanding her to stop. He spoke his request one last time in hopes of getting a response.
Sighing in defeat, she let her lips curve into a faint smile. Fate was hers to choose.
"Alright, you win." She let her eyes close and made the call. "Heads."
After a prolonged moment of silence, she heard him stand from the bed as he began to speak.
"Why the smug expression?"
She made to turn, to possibly answer, but only made it so far, for a lone bullet passed through her side, wedging deep. A weak cry escaped her as she plummeted to the floor, not having time to even grasp the wound. Blood seeped through her shirt, staining the cheap carpet of the motel room. Chigurh nonchalantly readjusted his rifle, cautiously stepped passed the creeping liquid, and let the previous "tails" coin drop to the floor.
Coolly exiting the room, he never noticed the obvious change of the coin's decision.