"I think you"re mistaking me for someone else." I want to turn and walk away, but I know better than that.
You don"t turn your back on a feral fuckin" dog.
"I don"t think so, asshole. He said you"d be here, right here, right now. Fucking shit, I brought it, so why are you fucking around" You"re the fucking guy, right""
I step a little closer, hands in the air, and give him a charming smile. The girl steps back, frowning a little. Smart girl.
"Look, friend, you"re making a mistake, okay""
"You"re making a fucking mistake." The gun comes out in a blur. He pulls it from the voluminous folds of his oversized hoodie, whipping it out and up, aimed above my head at first. It"s enormous, a six-shooter with a heavy hammer, the sort of fucking thing you see in action movies.
He goes to correct his aim but I don"t give him the chance. I know how this goes. That trigger is heavy and that hammer"s not cocked, so I have maybe half a second to close the distance before he can pull it back. Chances are he"ll miss, or maybe he"ll blow my skull into smithereens. Either way, I"m probably dead if I don"t do something.
I move on instinct, closing the gap as he overcorrects, bringing the gun down. I"m too slow, damn fucking sand, as he pulls the trigger, the pitch night explodes as the goddamn hand cannon bucks back, fire spraying from the muzzle. The bullet misses, whizzing past my ear as I finally reach him, thankful I"m not some mess of blood and gore on the sand, killed by some moron tweaker high out of his skull.
I grab his gun hand, moving my body out of the line of fire, and jam my elbow into his throat. He croaks and I twitch his wrist, forcing him to drop the gun as he gasps out in pain, unable to scream. He scrabbles back as I drop down to the sand and find the gun.
I turn and expect him to run, but he doesn"t. I don"t know why, but he comes at me, eyes wild. The girl stands nearby, staring at us like it"s no big thing. The guy comes at me and I flip the gun, using the butt to try and smack him in the shoulder. He takes the blow with a grunt and smashes into me, and although he"s a skinny little bastard, I slip on the damn sand and we go tumbling.
"Fuck," I grunt and he growls at me. I feel him sink his teeth into my shoulder. I yell again and bash him in the back with the gun. He groans and I shove him off me, but he"s not finished. He scrabbles at me, reaching for the gun.
"Stop, fucking idiot," I say, but he"s not listening. He grabs my wrist and his other hand pries at my fingers, his body directly in front of the weapon, the barrel pointed at his chest. I don"t know what the fuck he"s thinking. "Fucking idiot, stop," I grunt, as he struggles.
I feel it happen before I hear it, deafening and horrible. The gun kicks in my hand as the bullet tears through his sternum, blood spattering against my face. He stumbles and falls backwards, a smattering of blood on his lips, his chest a caved-in mess of something that used to resemble a human.
I stare at the guy, but he doesn"t last long. He"s dead a few seconds later, gasping once, twice, blood pumping and slowly stopping as his heart finishes its long journey and starts another one.
I"m a guilty man.
I"ve done things. I"ve stolen, cheated, lied. I"ve fucked around on women, on a lot of fucking women. I"ve beaten men into a pulp with my bare hands just to make some money. When I"m weighed and judged, I"ll be found guilty, there"s no doubt in my mind.
But up until this moment, I"ve never killed a man. I"ve never taken a life, and I never, ever wanted to.
Lots of guys brag about that. They want to sound hard, sound like real killers just to get some shred of respect. I"ve never had to, I"ve always let my fighting do the talking for me. Now that I"m retired and trying to turn my fucked-up life around, I thought I was past all this. I thought this was just one last fight, one last favor for a friend before I hang it up forever and walk away.
But I guess a man like me never can walk away forever.
I stare down at the body in front of me before I remember the girl. I look up slowly, the gun still in my hand. She"s staring at me, not moving a muscle. I can"t read the expression on her face. I think it"s part anger and part revulsion and part pure ecstasy. It confuses me, and I let the gun drop to the sand.