Sunday, February 01, 2009

Short Story - Sign of Life (Part 3/3)

(Reader discretion advised - some coarse language / violence.)

Part 3

They were here.

Three people and their moments in time converged to this singular spot. Each there for a different reason, but joined now nonetheless. Then, as always, time moved forward and the next moment came.

The gunman whirled around at the sound of the door and without hesitation fired a wild shot. The truck driver instinctively ducked and seemed to stumble as he came through the door but continued to move fast as the clerk screamed at the sound of the gunshot and ducked behind the counter. Another shot rang out and then the two men met head on and grappled in a desperate fight for the weapon.

Then the heads by the cooler wall started to move too. The truck driver registered movement and in desperation managed to turn the gunman towards it, saving himself from another attack, but it would only be momentary. He was still fighting for the gun and didn’t need the man’s two friends in the struggle too.

With seconds to spare, his over charged brain caught more movement and the girl came out from behind the counter, no longer scared but embracing the anger generated from the fear. She held a baseball bat in her hands, an afterthought of a weapon the owner of the store kept there for peace of mind, if not practicality. Still, it was all she had so with a manic yell, she swung the bat and connected a home run shot on the surprised gunman’s friend, who hit the ground, knocked cold. The other girl took one look and bailed out running, so the fight was down to these three.

The truck driver finally got his hands on the gun and wrenched it out of the robber’s hands just as the clerk connected another shot to the now overmatched gunman. He staggered away a few steps and then turned back around to look at the other two and wondered how this guy and girl team had bested him at his own game. Enraged at being beaten, he pulled a knife and moved towards the closer bat wielding Babe Ruth impersonator.

Another gunshot rang out then, stopping everyone cold. Seconds ticked off the clock before the knife fell to the ground. With a confused look on his face, the robber looked down at the bright red on his shirt. Then he looked back at the truck driver and the smoking gun in his hand. He really hadn’t expected the man would actually pull the trigger. Coughing suddenly, he sank to his knees, then looked back up and ground out in a hate filled voice, “Go to hell...”

The driver held the gun steady, looked back at the dying man and spoke softly, “Been there. Your turn.”

With that, the dying man fell to the floor and breathed his last breath. The clerk lowered the bat and took a step backward to lean heavily on the counter. She was still alive and couldn’t believe it. She took a deep breath before realizing that the driver was talking again.

“You ok? Are you hurt?”

“I’m ok,” she whispered, then looked up in shock as he took a step backward before collapsing awkwardly to the floor. Rushing to him, she saw the red stain on the left side beneath his jacket. She pulled him to her and tried to put her hands on the wound. It was hopeless. The bullet he had caught coming through the door had done it’s damage. She was amazed he had lasted this long.

Police sirens wailed in the distance as she looked down at his face, life draining out of him as more moments moved past.

“Why’d you do it?” she whispered. “You had to know this could happen. You could have driven away. Saved yourself...”

“Couldn’t let him get away with it.” He coughed again, “too many assholes. Somebody’s gotta put a stop to it.” He blinked a couple times, then refocused on her face and half smiled. “Worth it though...”

She gave him a smile that gave him a glimpse of what heaven might be like, if he made it there. She held his face softly in her hands and quietly spoke, “Thank you. Is there anybody I can call? Something to say to somebody?”

He shook his head no, but whispered “What’s your name?”

“Allison.”

“Nice to meet you Allison. You swing a mean bat.” They both tried to laugh before he coughed harder and then his gaze went unfocused and with his last breath he whispered, “It’s finally quiet.” Then life slipped out of him and he counted his last moment in time.

She continued to hold him, even as the police hit the store and secured the scene. She ignored all their words, until an older officer knelt down and put his hand on her shoulder. “He’s gone, dear. You have to let go.”

She turned then, with tears rolling down her face and anger in her voice, “Must the good always pay the price for the bad? He was a good one, I just know it. I finally get a sign, and it’s wrapped in death. Is that fair? Is that right?”

The older cop had seen a lot of bad things in his time and could think of only one thing to say.

“No, that’s life.”

The End....?

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And there it is, nothing major just a dark little story I had on the mind. I still haven't decided if I should leave it alone or use it as a prologue for a bigger story that's kicking around the brain. If I can make the time, I just might. Having read three Garth Ennis graphic novels in the last two days, the urge to write something is proving itself not quite dead yet...

Thanks for the comments and taking the time to read it!

Comments on "Short Story - Sign of Life (Part 3/3)"

 

Blogger KEANAN BRAND said ... (February 01, 2009 2:24 PM) : 

Good story, and some good lines in this final act.

Hey, if you've got more story, go for it.

Watched MAX PAYNE (finally) last night, and liked it so much I just might add the DVD to my collection.

 

Blogger The Texican said ... (February 05, 2009 1:09 PM) : 

I must have been napping when this came across my reader. I was still plugged into the comments from the second part and got a comment on the third installment. I never like an ending like that for real heros. Charles Bronson went through all the major cities in the U. S. killing the kind of scum you described in your story. The Equalizer did it weekly with a British flair. Mel Gibson has done it several times. Keep it up. Pappy

 

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