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|Posted on February 13, 2012 at 5:35 AM|
by E. A. Irwin
Bad news never got better. Horrific news ate your core. Walking through my house became surreal—a plod through wet cement while my shoulder bag beat against my side like a metronome measuring each pace.
Sounds registered despite my brain splintering. Keys clattered when tossed in the copper bowl by the front door, the odd plop of a leather jacket on a chair in the living room, ice clinking in a glass that would soon hold scotch. Sounds of normalcy from my fiancé.
His voice sliced off the veneer of my thoughts. “Want a drink, Elizabeth?”
I continued walking through the room. “No thanks. I had a few on the plane.” I would have drunk more but even mainlining alcohol straight into my veins couldn’t deaden the pain.
The sound of liquid sloshed over ice. “Do you want to go out tonight? You know, you could use cheering. You’ve been in a funk for months.”
Perhaps the screaming in my head would make me deaf. “Maybe.” I made it inside the bathroom and flipped on the light as I hurriedly locked the door. A stranger stared from the mirror. Hollow-eyed and wasted. Grief etched itself across grayed skin as if it had been sandblasted with concrete.
I sank to the floor. The tiles were cold but not as chilling as the horror written in letter form lying in my purse. Jerking open the cabinet below the sink, I withdrew my favorite things—a bottle of Royal Crown Black and my Para-Ordinance Warthog Pistol. I removed the ammo clip and settled against the door to reread the unsettling missive and decide what to do. Clicking the trigger, I swilled whiskey and read each word of doom now with complete understanding.
Gerald’s voice startled me as it reached through the wood and registered in my brain. “Elizabeth, are you okay? You’ve been in there forever.”
“Yeah, I’m going to take a bath and try to relax. I’m really wound up from the flight.” I got up and started the water flowing, and then resumed my previous activities. Despondency flooded my soul as I clicked the trigger faster. How could I continue when I finally knew the truth? I reread the letter once more, honing in on the last paragraph.
“Gerald Morris is a professional hit man. He was hired to kill your parents, thereby securing the corporate takeover. Enclosed is his photograph. Consider him extremely dangerous.”
I shoved the clip in my gun with a trembling hand and glimpsed one last time in the mirror for courage. Pounding on the door shoved my brain into hyper-drive as I quickly raised the pistol.
Gerald’s voice sounded menacing as it hissed against the door. “I’m giving you ten seconds to come out, Elizabeth, or I swear I’ll kick the door in!”
My screams ricocheted off the tile, reverberating insanity through the small room. “Do it!”
As the door splintered, I took aim. Pumping the trigger as fast as possible, I emptied the clip of its 12 rounds, dropping Gerald with a heart full of lead that matched my own.
©E. A. Irwin