One Hour Short Story: 42

(So my thing a day for a week ran into a hiccup. It appears I dreamed I wrote an article on political correctness buuuuuuut I didn’t actually write any such thing. So I’m going to write a story in less than an hour.)

It doesn’t happen often, not in the city, but you can hear the snowflakes touching down. They dance in the lights and cover the empty streets, now up to two feet at least. They’d been warning for days about the storm, and for the first time ever New Yorkers listened and kept off the roads. No people, no sirens, and no horns. God-damn. New York City without the constant honking, it seems impossible. But here it is. Jack Mercer is listening to the snow fall. Or is that the blood?

He lifts his hand from the wound on his torso, and it’s still bleeding pretty good as he stumbles out of Lindorf Plaza and collapses to his knees. His right hand tries to raise his revolver but the most he can manage is flopping it onto his lap. “This really hurts,” he says out loud, fighting back tears, and as his whimpering subsides he can hear that snow again. His mind wanders to Sara and as he thinks of her there she is, walking around the corner of the plaza and coming towards him. She takes his head and presses it against her chest coddling him. She’s wearing that sun dress she liked, with the flowers and no straps. She looks so beautiful.

“Shh, shh,” she says as Jack starts to cry again, “it’s OK Jacky-boy, I’m here.” Her voice sounds distant some how, somewhere between through a wall and underwater. “I know you’re hurt tiger, but you gotta be strong ok?”

“I can’t Sara I just… I’m so tired.” He nuzzles into her neck and her orangey auburn hair, still smelling like jasmine from his grandma’s garden.

“It’s been a long day, huh?” She strokes his head as tears now openly pour out of him. “You’ve done so good baby, so good. But you need to hang on a bit longer ok?”

“Why? Why can’t I just… just sleep?”

“You’re the cop, you know why.” He does. He knows full well he’s in shock, and that his ex-wife isn’t actually here. The longer he let’s this go on, and the longer he entertains the idea of sleep, the worse this gets, especially at 30° bellow freezing. “It’s not just the cold though hun, listen to me; this isn’t over. Not yet.” And like that she’s gone and Jack Mercer hears the hammer of a gun being drawn back.

“Who the fuck you talkin’ to?”

“My wife. Ex-wife. Whatever.” He groans out shifting his weight ever so slightly, his body protesting.

The man behind Jack looks around and starts laughing. “They fucked you up good in there, huh? Ain’t nobody out here ‘cept you and me, and it’s about to just be-” Jack knew what was coming so he moved first. He drops his gun and moves his arm up grabbing his would be assassin’s hand and arching the gun up as it fires, but everything else fails him. Instead of socking him with a mean mean right after turning, his legs give out and he lands in a crumpled heap atop the killer. Bill Parks, now calling himself Big Willie, has considered himself a tough guy. He made a name for himself on the streets by beating the hell out of anyone. And everyone. On a dare or on a loose thought floating through his mind he’d put even his own mother into the pavement if it came to it. But despite all that he cannot get out from under this guy bleeding to death on the coldest night of the year. He squeezes the trigger in the struggle and the gun goes off beside his head, deafening him, leaving Jack an opening to drop an elbow into Big Willie’s nose, breaking it instantly. The pain is blinding but doesn’t last for long. The bullet to the head takes care of that.

Jack pants heavily for a long moment before ripping off the sleeve of the gang banger’s sweater and pressing it against the still bleeding wound in his torso. He finds his revolver in covered in snow and blood and turns back to look over his 39th kill of the night and sees the flash of headlights. And in that silence he can hear the voice of the man he’s been chasing all night. He grabs the dead man’s Beretta and does his best to run.

The boss is yelling for his two henchmen to get into the suburban as they see the embodiment of death chasing after them. They know they should return fire, but after what happened inside they’re also not willing to argue. The mistake would be fatal. The driver expertly reverses and then spins to change directions. They start to speed away, the large truck with specialty tires tears through the snow with ease and they have almost a block of distance and 50mph when the bullet destroys the rear window and the rear of the driver’s head. When the driver dies he jams the wheel left and the truck rolls 3 times before skidding to a stop against a light pole another 100 feet away.

“Sir! Sir!” The guard says waking his boss who is thrown off by his security guard standing sideways inside of the car. “We need to go now sir!” The guard offers a hand and the boss takes it, realizing quickly that the car landed on it’s side. They exit out of the windshield. “I’m getting another car here ASA-” The bullet enters between the eyes and he falls lifelessly to the ground.

The boss lunges for his guard’s gun but Jack’s deep and haunting voice tells him, “Don’t.”

“Jesus Christ, won’t you just fucking-” Jack fires a round beside him, putting up a cloud of snow. “Goddamnit let me go, ok? Just.” He turns and he looks into Jack’s eyes. No, he looks through Jack’s eyes and into his soul. He’d always thought of himself as a sure person, as a person who knows things. He knows when someone is skimming too much. He knows when a deal is bad or when a guy is pocketing aces. But here in this moment he realizes he’s never been as certain of something as he is of this. “Killing me won’t bring her back.”

“Ain’t that a shame.” The hammer falls and thunder tears through the night one last time. Jack coughs up some blood before collapsing against the roof of the overturned Suburban. He doesn’t see Sara again, but he keeps his promise; he doesn’t pass out until 20 minutes later when the police and ambulance arrive.


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