There she was...trapped like a bloody bird in a cage of burnt and twisted metal, dying slowly. She must have been here so long now that there wasn't much life left in her...I think she knew that too. There was no way to save her at this point. She was found too late, and in too worse of a condition. Her eyelids fluttered, hinting at a sign of a consciousness. One eyelid opened, and her gaze passed over my body. My body lurched forward, but my feet stayed firmly planted. I brought a hand to my chest and somehow continued to look at my love. No sign of recognition from her...and then all was over. I saw her give up.
I felt guilty. She had taken a drive to blow off some steam after we had a fight, and this is what happens. But no, it's not my fault. I wasn't the one who put her in this condition. But whoever did will get a taste of my God fearing fist.
The police say it was a hit and run. But how the bastard who hit her managed to get away in a wreck that bad, they can't say. Fucking pigs. What do they know anyway? And they told me that on this stretch of highway, out in the middle of the desert, there's no way they can track who did it. Good for nothing corrupted sons of bitches. I'll find who did it, and I don't care if I die along the way.
Vision still blurred crimson, I make my way down the interstate. Pedal pushed to the floor, I'm asking my little '86 Toyota to give it all she's got. I drive ten miles down the road until I come across a godforsaken bar in the middle of nowhere. That's when realize how parched I am and smack my lips at the thought of a drink...and maybe some answers. Barkeeps tend to know a hell of a lot more than they should. Even if they are the keeper of a godforsaken bar in the middle of nowhere. Drunks have loud mouths. That's the same no matter where you are. Besides, after that, I definitely needed something.
I park my junk car on the dirt outside the entrance. I look around and see another broken down car and an old pick up truck with the back left open, like someone was in a rush. That's suspicious. Leaning over the seats, I take my gun out of the glove compartment. I keep it there for emergencies. And now seems like as much of an emergency to me as any. I continue my walk towards the bar, trying to hold a steady gaze on the pickup to the left of me. The driver's seat is empty...which means he's probably inside. Quickening my pace, I stuff the gun in the waist of my grungy jeans and pull my shirt over the top to hide it.
The owners have the small wooden doors like you'd see in a black and white western for an entrance. Obviously added for effect, as it's completely impractical. Who the hell wants dusty desert wind blowing sand in to their drink? Crazy bastards. A bell goes off when I open the door, and two heads turn their heads to look up at me in surprise. Two heads...one of the bartender, and another of a customer. But there are two cars out front, and I know the barkeep has his in the back...so where's the third person? Even more suspicious.
The bartender, a man I would say in his sixties with thinning and greying hair, chuckles.
"Well hot damn, second customer of the day." Another chuckle, and he turns his head towards a set of stairs in the back. "SALLY! We've got another one!"
He turns back towards me and gives me a grin full of a few yellowing and rotting teeth. I nearly lashed my hand out at him, eager to get rid of the sight of his disgusting mouth. I refrained though, and thankfully he noticed nothing unusual.
"So what'll it be?"
"Just give me a shot of tequila."
The bartender nodded and brought out a shot glass and a bottle of the vile yellow liquid I was about to find comfort in. I brought the glass to my lips and poured the substance down my throat. It burned on it's way down, but I could barely feel it. I gave a little cough, closed my eyes, and shook my head a tiny bit. I still needed answers. Now was as good a time as any to look for them.
"So...a little place in the middle of nowhere like this. Seems like an easy place to hide." I said, putting my glass out to indicate I want another drink. The bartender turned his head slowly to look at me, and put down the dirty glass he had been wiping with an even dirtier towel. He grabbed the bottle of tequila and poured me another shot, narrowed eyes never leaving my face.
"And just what are implying sir?"
I tipped my head back again and felt the tequila burn a bit more on it's way to my stomach.
"Ah, nothing. Just thinking out loud. Seems like this would be a mighty fine place to hide from the cops to me."
The bartender just snorted, and went back to his futile task of wiping down the glass. Never once did he take his eyes off me though. And never once did I look back at him. There was scuffling above us, and something that sounded like the clank of metal as it hits a wood floor.
"Nice missus you got up there," I said. "Seems like she's involved enough that she'd be down here helping though. Any particular reason why she's not wiping down glasses with you right now?" I saw the bartender pause in his work and felt like I'd just hit gold. I pushed further. "Maybe she got an injury from all this hard work and had to take a break?" He began to curl his lips in a snarl. I smirked. "Or maybe she just has an injury from other...people." The bartender continued to glare at me, and feeling victorious I swivelled around in my seat and smiled at the man behind me. I saw his eyes grow wide before feeling the cold metal of shotgun barrels at the back of my neck.
"I'd never abuse my wife, and I don't house criminals. Get out," the bartender said, pushing the shotgun deeper into the back of my neck, "Now."
I closed my eyes, and got up slowly. I started walking to the door, taking as long as I could. Any sudden movements might have excited this guy so much he'd pull the trigger.
That's when it happened. She was walking down the steps.
"Larry honey, I know I'm trained for this, but I think that poor man needs a hospital."
"Stay upstairs!" He shouted back at her.
"Why dear? You know how important this is. We need to go right away."
"Now, Larry I can – Oh my god! Larry, put down that gun!" She's in her sixties as well, with long grey hair down to her waist, pulled back in a pony tail, and a wrinkled but kind face.
I felt the pressure at the back of my neck weaken, and I whipped around to the left as fast as I could, pushing the barrel of the shotgun along as I did. Larry pulled the trigger, as I expected he would, and the blast hit the floor 4 feet from where the other man sat. Sally shrieked and dropped to her knees. Somehow in that time I'd managed to take my gun out of my jeans without realizing it. My arm raised and aimed the gun at Larry's head before my finger went trigger happy. I shot a bullet into his head. I didn't even think about doing it. Reactionary impulse, I guess you could call it. Sally has blood on her now. It wasn't there a minute ago, and it's definitely not hers. Her old body's shaking in shock.
The man behind me whimpers and stands up.
"Listen man, I'll do whatever you want me t-to, just please don't ki-kill m-me. Please. I-I-I don't wan-want to die." Even from this far away I could hear him gulp. I ignore him. What about this man Sally was tending to upstairs?
I walk behind the bar towards her crumpled body on the floor. She's taken to small sobs now. I don't care. I need answers.
"Sally." No answer. Continued sobs, and her body shakes violently. "Sally." I try again. Still no answer. This time I walk all the way up to her and kneel down, turning her wrinkled face towards mine. "Sally, tell me something." No response. "Who's that man you're tending upstairs, huh? Did he get into an accident? You were going to say he needed to go to the hospital, weren't you?" Her eyes flickered slightly toward the stairs, and the sobs and shakes came more heavily. I smiled. So she was taking care of the bastard after all.
The man behind me stirred again, and the floorboards creaked as he tried to sneak out the doors. I turned around this time, and raised my gun at him. He stopped dead, and raised his arms in a gesture of defeat. I took a few steps towards him, gun poised to kill again. I heard the shotgun being cocked a fraction of a second too late, and Sally shot me in the foot. I screamed in agony, and in my rage I turned around and shot her as well. She fell to the floor, with something akin to a smile playing on her face. It was at that moment I felt envy. The only man left besides myself screamed, but I could barely hear it over the ringing of my own ears and the searing pain and jealousy my body was going through. He started walking towards the door, and I realized that if he got out, he'd go one way or the other...and ten miles down the road to the south there were pigs. Fifty percent odds. Better than the lotto, but I didn't want to win this one. Despite my bones protesting at every millimeter, I turned around and shot the guy in the back, just before he could get to the door.
I made my way to the stairs, favoring my good foot. It seemed the more I moved the more numb it became anyway, so I trudged along. At the top of the stairs was a man lying in a bed with a metal tray of hospital utensils next to him, just as Sally's flickering eyes had promised. He was beat up, bruised, and swollen badly. Gauze covered most of his face and hands, leaving only his eyes, nose, and mouth open. His clothes were bloody, and I could tell that Sandy had tried not to take them off, for fear of what was beneath. But that was just the beginning for him. I slammed my fist down on his bandaged chest, filled with what I assumed to be a desire for revenge against the man who was the cause of Kendra's death. His eyes popped open and his head came forward as he gagged on his own blood. I felt no satisfaction yet. I struck him with my fist again, and again, and again. Still nothing.
I brought the gun to his chest and debated firing. He was already suffering. Doing this would only end it. So I fired a shot in his left hand, and then his knee. He was conscious now, screaming in agony and choking on blood at the same time. But no satisfaction yet. I broke his fingers. Nothing. He had stopped moving. I snarled and went grabbed the blood stained shirt he was wearing. I shook him by his shoulders, screaming that he wasn't allowed to die yet. She felt more pain than this, he couldn't die yet. It was useless. He'd already died. The pool of crimson beneath his bed should have been enough of a hint to me that there was no way he could survive any longer.
I go back down the stairs, noting the distinct temperature change. It must be about six now. I had been upstairs for hours, beating on a dead body. I winced as the pain in my foot had come back full force. As I neared the last step, that's when I heard it. The voices of the same cops that had been at the crash four hours ago. They were outside, cracking a few jokes, laughing. They didn't know what had happened yet. I limped and stumbled behind the bar. They would come in soon and see what had happened, and most definitely would search the place. I slumped down beside the bodies of Sally and Larry, putting my back against the wood. My hand wandered down to the gun I had put back into my jeans. I counted the shots I had fired earlier. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Five shots. There were six in the chamber originally.
I pushed out the chamber and stared at the one bullet left over. I spun the chamber and flicked it back into it's rightful place. I placed the gun underneath my chin, finger on the trigger. Seemed to me a game of Russian Roulette was in order. I would die either way. Charged for four counts of murder in the first degree, or by my own hands. This was it for me. I pushed the gun up a little harder, goading it to fire and save me the trouble. I decided to leave it up to God...and I felt God in turn decide to leave it up to fate.
What does a bullet in the brain feel like anyway?