Callie finds herself in what could be a terminally awkward position.
He’s moving along the plank, the Colt held near his side, his face looking flushed. I recognize the excitement. I felt the same way when I was about to pull the trigger with a duck in the sights of Mr. Taylor’s shotgun. Those feelings were from a long time ago and in another life. When I thought I was going to die in the rainwater tank, all I could think about was killing Tony. It was a cold and calculated thought, as I remember, not the hot blooded excitement of the hunt. When I sprayed the caustic in his face, I didn’t feel anything but hatred. For a long time after Tony’s death, I wondered if I hadn’t gone a little mad in that moment. Perhaps that madness would stay with me forever.
Although, forever might not be too long as Cab reaches the end of the plank and motions me further out over the water. I step back and he follows me, one step at a time, a kind of dance where I can’t count on someone cutting in. The dock moves under my weight; sagging slightly between supports. Small eddies in the current make tiny sucking sounds as miniature whirlpools pass under the boards. The rain has nearly stopped; a fish surfaces to strike at an insect stranded on a floating leaf.
“Keep walking,” Cab says.
I take a few more steps.
“Now turn around. It will be better that way.”
“Better for you or for me,” I face him, my voice sounding steady. I think the effects of the ketamine are keeping my fear under control. In the distance, behind Cab, I see several men in fatigues sprinting across the field. Another man who looks vaguely familiar is running behind them. Cab seems unaware of any of this. Perhaps I am imagining these men in the same way as I imagined the clock moving backwards. In any case, it doesn’t seem to concern me. A beautiful hawk swoops low over the water and brings up a fish clutched in its talons. Cab smiles as he raises the pistol. The hole at the end of the barrel of the Colt looks enormous. Perhaps I can fly away with the hawk.
All at once, red fountains of blood erupt from Cab’s chest. Maybe three or four, it’s too fast to count. Cab grunts and staggers forward, the life going out of his eyes. I watch him squeeze the trigger reflexively. Someone screams my name from far away.
I feel the slug tearing a hot tunnel through my side. I hear myself make a kind of oofingsound as the air is driven out of me. The pain is so bad that all I can do is open my mouth. I fall to my knees, feeling the painful jar against the rough wood. I want to raise my hands up to stop the blood pouring out of me, but they are cuffed behind my back. I try to stay upright, but I start falling to the side. The brown water rushes up, and I see my reflection shatter. The cold shock takes the rest of my breath away.
I turn face up in the water. For a moment I think I’m going to float. Then the brown water closes over my head and I begin sinking into the darkness. I try to hold my breath, but there is nothing to hold. Light from the surface is fading quickly. I have time to feel regret that I never got that last kiss from Jazz.
I’m planning on bringing out another Callie Houston Adventure in 2015!