The International Writers Magazine: Dreamscapes
When Pat Drewer saw old Roger Turner come out from behind the long polished bar, walk past the pool tables in the northeastern corner and disappear into his office, he drained the final sip from his glass of grapefruit juice and got up.
Walking briskly, he kept his head up but made eyes with no one. He pushed the swinging door to the office open with his shoulder and held it closed behind him with his heel, then put two 9mm slugs in the back of old Roger Turner’s skull, picked up the casings, grabbed the handle to the door with his shirt sleeve and walked out, through the bar, and then into the street.
Pat took two steps into the parking lot of what used to be called The Brewer Drewer, but was now Turner’s Classic Bar, and lit a cigarette. He breathed in deep.
A couple was walking toward him from further on in the parking lot. They had just arrived. The female was in her early twenties, blonde, stacked, had a face that was ready to laugh all night until it was time to moan, then it would quickly be time for sleep. She was with a boy that was tall enough to hit his head on the way in to any building. He hunched his shoulders and watched the ground move under his heavy plodding feet, hands in pockets.
The Beretta was stuck in the waistline of Pat’s blue jeans, in the front. As the couple approached he fought the compulsion to adjust it. But he pulled the hem of his shirt down and made a slight glance downward all the same. He noticed the girl was looking at him. It was his first mistake. The second was that he didn’t look away quick enough and break her attempt to excite him with a prolonged glance. She tripped herself as a consequence and flung her arms out for the boy to grab and save her.
Even though the girl had been on the other side of the boy, as the two of them passed, she had done it just the same. She was to blame. When she tripped and flung her arms out for the boy, he had unbalanced himself and skipped a step. In doing so, he misjudged his size and proximity to Pat and nudged Pat’s body, accidently pulling the trigger of the gun in Pat’s waistline as it rubbed against the underside of the zipper. There released a silenced discharge of another 9mm hollow-point, though this time into Pat’s femoral artery.
The pain was so sudden, surprising and intense, Pat at first didn’t feel it. There was a surprising sense of heat, a thought of something being terribly amiss and then a dull ache slowly announcing itself. It was the widened eyes and slightly parted mouths of the couple, both muted mid-apology that caused him to look down at his leg and observe the widening spot, mid-thigh.
Tears welled up in his eyes.
Instead of screaming, or thinking twice, he pulled the gun out and squeezed two rounds out into the boy’s chest. He closed his eyes before he heard the boy fall. The pain was becoming something surreal just then. There was a force behind his eyes that wanted to push them out of his skull and he had to take a minute, focus on a few breaths, and widen his stance before he felt it wasn’t going to rush over him and push him into darkness.
He opened his eyes, wiped them, looked all around him and then listened.
She was at the other end of the parking lot, heading for the highway, too far away to try with a pistol, and in the dark.
But he tried anyway.
She went head over heels suddenly in the grassy strip between the parking lot and the highway. A few sodium-vapor street lights in the median cast pyramids of orange light on two opposing lanes, but left the world on either side in shadow.
He found her heels first, both spikes sunk deep in the mud. The rustling of an unknown clothing material caused him to look to his right. There were legs sticking out of a culvert dug into the slight incline the strip of grass took before terminating into the asphalt. Grabbing one of the thin ankles, he yanked her all the way out in one solid pull. She was light, and small.
Two big bright eyes shining through shadow, gleaming teeth that air carrying the beginning of a plea passed over, and one quick pop, muffled further in the whoosh of a passing car. Her head snapped back with the force of the impact. His hand was next to the chamber to catch the hot ejection.
Quickly, he turned around to make his way back to the boy. The way back took longer and he could barely see where he was going for his eyes kept blurring. When he stepped back into the light of the bar’s, and surrounding businesses marquees, he noticed the wide dark stain that went all the way down his pant leg and was even spreading towards the crotch of his jeans in the front and along the side of his hip as well. In assessing this he felt again the intense force mounting behind his eyes to push them out. His lips were numb. He took too short a step and stumbled, nearly fell. Closing his eyes, widening his stance and focusing on breathing, while tightening the grip on the Beretta in his right hand, brought him back. But now he saw that the boy was gone.
Stuffing the gun in the back of his pants, he scanned the parking lot. There was no sign of him. None the less, Pat quickly strode past parked cars until he came to the spot where he’d left him. A small red circle confirmed it.
One casing he found right away. The other was more elusive. On all fours he looked under the chassis of the car closest to the spot. He pivoted to the left on the knee of his good leg to turn around and look at the car just next to the first one. Something out of his peripheral vision caught his attention and he cocked his head in the direction of the bar.
The large double doors of the front entrance were framed in steel and with a solid push-bar handle, but the rest was glass. Just beyond these front doors was a small atrium where two five foot wooden Indian figurines stood facing one another on opposite walls. In this space, looking through the plate glass windows of the front doors, were approximately thirty faces, all staring intently at him. They didn’t move, and he didn’t move. Both parties simply looked at one another.
Blood pooled underneath Pat’s leg.
He looked down at the pool, and then back at the crowd. Everyone had their phones raised in front of them, no longer looking at him, looking at their phones. But one of them didn’t, one had his phone up to his ear. At his feet was the crumpled body of the boy. Pat looked into this man’s eyes.
It was his last mistake.
And then he was consumed, and fell over dead.
© Travis Claeys August 2011