Day 29: You’re standing in your living room with a gun in your hand. A man is lying dead on the floor. What happened?
So I was just sitting on my couch, minding my own business, flipping through two hundred channels like a mindless zombie when a loud bang almost gave me a heart attack. It had come from outside, toward the front of the house. I muted the volume and strained to hear over the roaring in my ears. A car alarm blared but that was it. No sirens. No screams of terror. I breathed a shaky sigh and tucked my feet underneath me. Apparently I’d seen one too many late night movies.
And then my door crashed open.
I bolted off the couch like it had caught fire and plastered myself against the nearest wall. Chest heaving, I watched a man climb to his feet. Blood covered half his face and his right arm hung limp at his side. Unfortunately his left arm worked just fine. He raised it, pointing a gun at my face.
“Who … who …”
He smirked. “Great owl impression. What else ya got?”
Oh my god. A maniac serial killer is in my house making jokes? This had to be a dream. Wake up wake up wakeupwakeupwakeup. Nope. Not a dream. A living nightmare. I swallowed with an audible click and gathered my meager courage. “Who are you? What do you want?”
He arched a brow. “You got any beer?”
“Beer. Comes in a bottle. Sometimes a can but I prefer the bottle. Domestic if you have it.”
“I don’t … know?”
“Huh. I’ll just help myself then.”
He ambled into the kitchen while I tried to not hyperventilate. I had to get out of there. I had to call the police. I had to stay alive. But how? He outweighed me by a solid fifty pounds and could probably bench press a Buick. The one tae kwon do lesson I’d had wouldn’t be enough to overpower him. So I couldn’t fight and I’d already froze so flight was the only option left. I eased away from the wall to peer into the kitchen. He stood in front of the open fridge, the gun resting casually on the table like a murderous centerpiece. I could grab it, get the upper hand. I almost snorted. As if I knew what to do with a gun. But maybe if I took it, he wouldn’t be able to use it to hurt anyone else.
Get the gun and get the hell out of Dodge. Good plan.
I inched toward the kitchen, my bare feet soundless on the carpeted floor. The man had closed the fridge and tilted his head back as he drank from an amber bottle. I paused at the corner, took a deep breath and lunged for the gun.
His head snapped around, his steely gaze locking onto me like a laser beam as my hand hovered above the gun.
He sighed as if I'd disappointed him. “I wouldn’t if I were you.”
“Well, you’re not me, so …”
He took a step forward. I grabbed the gun and turned in one motion, racing for the door. I didn’t make it. A hand clamped onto my shoulder, spinning me around. I brought my arms up by reflex to protect myself. He latched onto the gun but my finger had jammed against the trigger. He yanked. I yanked back. It was the most bizarre game of tug of war and only one of us could win. It wouldn’t be him.
I dug my heels in and pulled with every ounce of strength I had, using my body weight to twist away from him. He’d anticipated that and adjusted his stance to catch me on the downswing. But fortune favors the bold and the gun went off with a deafening crack. The force propelled us apart. He hit the door with a jarring thud while I landed on my tailbone. My teeth clacked together and I bit my tongue but I was alive. The man, not so much. Not with the copious amount of blood leaking from his chest. I crawled over to him. His eyes were open but no longer able to see.
I killed him. I killed another human being. No. No no no. Tears pressed against my eyes and I backed away as if death were catching. Then my stomach heaved and I vomited into the fireplace. I used the hem of my shirt to wipe my mouth then stood on shaky legs. I had to clean this up. Dispose of the body. And the gun. I glanced around and saw it laying on the rug under the coffee table. It looked like a toy but I knew better. I picked it up.
It weighed so much more. Now.