(All picture credits to their respective owners)
The bloke waving the rifle is on the floor now, grasping his bullet wounded leg and winching in pain, biting his lips to keep from crying. I may be old, but my aim is steady through experience, accurate through practice and precise through emotion, and I’m overflowing with it right now. I turn my sight towards the big fella now, and he’s still lying there on the floor, not even trying to get up, as he bloody well shouldn’t, blood seeping onto his chest from the deceased fella atop of him, shot straight in the neck, occasionally squirting some out onto the floor. The fella with the bruised face is now crouching in front of the window, and the little wuss is sitting to the right of my feet, next to the burnt closet, shivering and trying to cover his face and his ears, sobbing something to himself.
But I have no time for these monsters. One way or the other, they all are responsible for my daughter’s death. I’m trying to maintain myself, to keep my hands from quivering with regret and loss and my eyes from flooding, but I cannot. There’s too much rain out there, too much blow, and I cannot call anyone at this hour, no police, no rangers, no help. Yet, I will not let that stop me, my daughter will be avenged. I accidentally glance at her burnt remains and turn quickly towards the bloke with the bleeding leg. What have you done to my child? Wasn’t her mother enough? Wasn’t her life enough? Her own child? Wasn’t my weight on her enough? You… One of you took her from me. That chance to let her be more than what she got. By all that’s in my might, there shall be repercussions, she shall be avenged.
“Listen, Pops…”, the brute tries to talk but I turn to him and shoot.
A straight warning shot, a few feet over his head. No, you don’t get you speak, you monster. You touched her, no, no, no, you tried to hit her, didn’t you, in front of me, I saw you. She was an innocent child, my innocent child, and you raised your hand against her. You raised it against me. You animal.
“You,” I speak to him, but for all, “you all, can’t speak.” My voice is buried is despair, under a heavy tone of sorrow, coming out restrained, raspy and echoing in the room.
“None of you,” I go on. “Stay… and quiet.”
My daughter, what shall I do now, with your child?
“Listen,” the broken faced man tried to speak but I shoot at the ground at his feet.
“NOO!!” I holler.
I’ve sent her downstairs, to the kitchen. There are many places there for her to hide. She’ll be safe. I’ll keep her safe. Oh my sweet daughter…
Something is dripping down my cheek now, sliding through my lips, and it tastes saline, foul. My hands are starting to tremble.
Oh my sweet daughter…
I back away from the entrance, keeping my aim in the room, my stare fixed at the brute and the man clasping his leg, but my feet feel lighter now. I don’t get the same weight in all my steps. I need to wait, wait for the storm to clear, then I’ll call help. They will stay in the room till then, all of them. If they try otherwise, I’ll shoot ‘em, to keep them till the officers arrive. Or maybe, maybe I could just do that right now? Yeah. I could just shoot ‘em all right now, just injure, to get them to confess. They could tell me just like that. They could, they’re scared, they could do that. And when I find out who it was, I can just shoot ‘em dead. I have four more bullets in the gun and another pack in my pocket. I could do it, I can do it… I WILL.
I jump back into the room and aim at the injured man in the corner, now resting by the bed, using a sheet to tie a cover around his leg. I glare at him and he takes notice. Lightning glistens half of his face as he stares, wide eyed, horrified, into my colorless eyes. I speak to him, in a low voice, I can’t control a louder voice right now, but he can hear me just fine.
“Why did you?”
His face is drenched in sweat and soot, and he’s panting, his lips quivering and he starts to reply.
“You, crook… I-I did…”
A loud shattering sound, sharply goes through my ears and I turn to see the window broken and the man with the broken face is gone. That… That…NO!
I run towards the window, a strong gust of wind blows inside and glass is still hanging on the pane, but mostly crumbled and falling, and I lean out, see the man on the ground, struggling to get up, bracing his knees and trying to crawl through the long, muddy terrain. But he won’t be so fast. He won’t go so far. I take aim at him, just as he looks up, my finger pulls back on the trigger and there’s a flash of red.
I turn back inside and there is darkness. The candle has gone out. I stand there, frozen, struck by pelting raindrops from the back and pushed inside by the strong wind. I can see a tiny glimmer outside the door, everyone could see it, there’s only one light out there, down stairs. The kitchen…the child.
“NOO!!” I yell as I charge towards the door, and someone pounces at me, but I can’t see who, it’s on my right, my gun hand and I smash his face with the solid gun butt and shake him off to exit the room alone.
“No! Get away!” a voice shrieks from inside.
There’s a noise of tussle from within the darkness, then a quick flash and a loud band, I see an explosion of blood fly upwards. Out of nowhere a dark figure lunges at me from inside and tackles me to the ground, breathing down my neck, but I punch him off and he falls to the ground next to me, pulling my wrist with him and snapping it.
“ARRRGHH!!” I grunt as I kick him off, and he hastily tries to get up and run towards the stairs. My Other hand goes for my noble rifle and I point it in his direction and fire, fire, fire.
I miss all three times and it’s empty, the man is now running down the stairs, almost tripping. I reach for my pocket, but the bullets are gone, I’ve dropped the barrel. I- I-I can’t use my left hand. I struggle to get up, I’m too old, too weak, too tired, too scared. I’m scared, I-I can’t lose more, I can’t, I can’t lose…Ellie.
I run towards the stairs and a rush of moist wind flies at my face, I look down to see the figure forcing the door open.
“STOP!!” I yell at him.
I can’t let my daughter’s killer get away.
There’s a flash of lightning as he runs outside, casting a long shadow of him across my hall, revealing the traces of blood that he’s left in his path. I run down the stairs and towards the door, barely making out a figure trying to run into the dense woods. I can chase him, I can reload and I can go after him, I can do it, I can end him. No. Ellie.
The kitchen is behind me, and the killer in front.
“DAMN YOU!” I yell into the dark night.
I’m sobbing now, as I turn around and run towards the kitchen to find my granddaughter.
I walk inside and utter her name and she creeps out from behind a box of beer we had in the corner. I bend down and she hugs me tightly, taking the pain away from me, crying into my tears. Oh innocent child, I’m so sorry. She pulls herself away from me a bit and whispers
“Who’s?”, she repeats, looking over my shoulder, towards the kitchen entrance.
I slowly turn my head towards the door to reveal the shadow hidden outline of a man standing there.
“Well…. Isn’t this just…sweet.”