The smoking gun. The killer always held the smoking gun in the movies, literally or figuratively. Now it was my turn; the gunpowder singeing my skin slightly when I shot at the approaching figure. When he or she attempted to grab wildly at the wounds, and fell heavily to the ground. As they dropped, I immediately hit my knees and crawled clumsily to my victim’s side. Oh God, what was I doing? The chunk of metal in my hands seemed to grow heavier and heavier and reaching the body was the hardest thing I had ever done.
A warm, thick liquid flowed over my hand in the darkness. I could not make out its color, but the strong metallic scent told me what I needed to know. My heart thudded as my eyes rose to meet the face of the prone figure before me. It appeared to be a woman. I held my breath, waiting, watching in vain for a sign of any kind that would prove to me that I wasn’t a murderer.
What do you do after you take a person’s life? Was there some requirement I needed to fulfill? Surely it cannot be this simple. Pull the trigger, and they are gone. I did not know her, her name, her occupation, whether she had a family, or an apartment full of cats. But the life I never knew, her life, quickly escaped from between her lips with a final breath as my bullets entered through her chest and stomach. Watching in agony, I slowly stood, waiting for my eyes to adjust to the night to truly see her face. And suddenly, I was remembering a history lesson from my school days about one of the Indian tribes in the old west. When one of their arrows or spears hit their deadly mark, the young brave paused over the fallen prey; knew it, thanked it, and asked for its peace and forgiveness. I needed forgiveness.
My hands still shook, clenching the gun, at my sides. I felt the blood drip from the end of my fingertips, more of her life force hitting the ground like raindrops. Wasted just like water from a leaky tap.
And I decided to do what I had grown so talented doing in my 20 odd years, the only talent that I had ever truly cultivated and perfected. I ran.