Willard tossed the big knife back and forth, making it twirl as it flew and increasing the distance between his hands.

“I’ve read your evaluation.” he announced, “Terrified of knives. So guess what I got myself? Not so sarcastic now, are you? Not so superior.”

The others watched the exchange in silence. They knew the facts, they had to understand Willard needed stopping. But he’d been bullying them so long they were too scared.

Which left Mike, watching the blade twirl. He followed its movements, mesmerised and in a cold sweat. Then he looked up at Willard’s face and took in the sick sadistic smirk. That settled it. Willard was right. At least, Willard was partly right.

A slap of Mike’s hand changed the knife’s trajectory. Willard had hardly registered the loss of his weapon before Mike’s knuckles crushed his windpipe.

Mike stepped back, away from Willard’s grasping hands as the big man collapsed, purple faced. “I read my evaluation as well, ‘Terrified of knives, may react unpredictably.’ Always finish the sentence.” There was a nasty cut on his left hand, possibly bone deep, but this wasn’t a moment to show weakness. “If any of you fuckers knows first aid you might be able to save him. The rest of you are with me. We’ve got a war to stop.”