My eyes flew open.
The room was dark, empty, the windows closed and the curtains tightly drawn. I strained my ears, listening for even the barest hint of sound, but the night was still as death. The bedroom was silent, noiseless, nothing out of place. There was nothing that should have disturbed my slumber.
I hate ninjas, I thought, annoyed, as I turned my head to meet the gaze of my wife lying beside me. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, she nodded.
With as much force as I could muster, I threw off the sheets and rolled out of bed with a soft thud. The whistle of a blade brushed past my ear and lodged into the bedpost as I fell.
Nimbly, I leaped to my feet and yanked the nightstand drawer open, ignoring the soft trickle of blood flowing down my neck and the rough sounds of furniture breaking and ninjas fighting behind me. I rummaged through the clutter hurriedly, dumping nearly half the contents of the drawer on the floor. I found a flashlight, a penknife, and about three months' worth of junk mail. But no gun.
I swore. Vociferously.
At the faint rustle of clumsy ninja feet on fallen junk mail, I spun around, useless penknife in one hand and the heavy, security guard style flashlight in the other. I used my thumb to flick it on so I could see my opponent, and was met with the startled, light-blinded eyes of the ninja. He stumbled back, slipping again on the papers. I rolled my eyes and kicked him in the gut.
"Amateur," I grumbled as I ran over to where the fighting seemed thickest.
A sudden, feminine cry of pain sounded from the epicenter of the brawl. My gut seemed to turn to ice.
"Lyla!" I cried out.
Without another thought, I threw the heavy flashlight at the nearest ninja and joined in the tumult.
A punch here, a dodge there, a quick, threatening slash with my pathetic penknife. I was fighting blind, except for what I could see of the faint glint of the fallen flashlight shining out of the corner of my eye. I hoped I'd clubbed the ninja in the head with it.
Although, now that I thought about it, either these ninjas were particularly puny or I was a whole lot tougher than I'd realized.
Abruptly, the bedroom lights flickered on. I hadn't realized I'd been holding my breath, praying that my wife would come through, that she wasn't dead, until the breath released in a heavy gust from the bottom of my lungs.
Lyla was all right.
Suddenly she was by my side, dealing a flying kick to a ninja with a knife creeping up behind me.
"You okay?" I asked as I gave a charging ninja a taste of my right hook.
"Never better," she replied with a grunt. "Where's the gun?"
I dodged a particularly aggressive ninja. "Wasn't in the drawer."
"Well, what half-wit forgot to put it away?"
I wrestled a little with an unusually chubby ninja for a moment, trying to come up with a plausible excuse. "I dunno. Maybe your cat took it."
Lyla just rolled her eyes and kneed another ninja. Between the legs. I winced.
"How many?" I ask, hoping she wouldn't notice the sudden change of subject.
"Twenty-three. Not including their boss over there," Lyla nodded over the struggling ninja she had in a headlock towards the other end of the room.
Attempting to dodge the awl-crazed ninja before me and look past him to see who Lyla was talking about, I glimpsed a tall ninja with a silver eyepatch watching unconcernedly near the bedroom door.
"Twenty-three, huh?" I said. I counted the unconscious ninjas littering the carpet, running some quick calculations through my head. "Eight -- no, nine down, that makes...."
"Hmm?" I mumbled distractedly. "That leaves twelve more? No, thirteen, there's still that boss guy...."
"This probably isn't the best time to be bringing this up," my wife continued, decking a ninja in the face. "But--"
I step back from a ninja wielding some sort of scythe thing and yelling like an idiot. I find myself back to back with Lyla.
"Switch!" I shout. I flipped my wife over my shoulder and whirled around to face her opponent -- a vast, burly, monster of a ninja. How this guy managed to conceal himself in our bedroom is beyond me, I thought with wonder.
"Sorry, love, what was that?" I asked as I squared up against the giant ninja.
"I want a divorce."
Suddenly the ninja's big, beefy fist connected with my head and I was sent flying. I impacted with a sharp crack against the wall and slid to the floor with a moan. My teeth seemed to be reverberating in my skull, but my mind was far more bewildered.
"A divorce?" I gasped. "Why?"
Numbly, I noticed the cat cowering beneath the bed beside me. Coward, I thought.
I turned my attention to the love of my life as she strode across the room and stood beside the one-eyed boss ninja.
"I've found somebody new," Lyla said as she slowly raised a very familiar handgun and shot me four times in the chest.
I just lay there bleeding, watching, as my wife rose on her tip toes and kissed the ninja on the cheek with a triumphant smile, right below his silver eyepatch. His expression didn't change, he just stared at me coolly as I lay there dying.
I hate ninjas, I thought, and then everything faded into darkness.