Under Pressure

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
The face of emotional pressure reveals itself. And it is not pretty.

Submitted: August 26, 2016

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Submitted: August 26, 2016

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I opened my eyes, didn't even blink, just opened them all at once. What I saw was something that happens so rarely—especially to a girl like me— the average person would never even hear the gossip about it; nevertheless I surprisingly kept my calm and sat still, stupefied. Not even the most graphically explicit picture could describe what I was seeing.

One man.

One room.

One table.

A lightbulb—lit.

 A single pistol with two bullets left—directly pointed at me, I might add.

There was a certain gloom in that squared room. Only parts of it were shadowed, corners. It felt like being trapped inside a box where all you could see was me, the gun, and a shaded man wearing a black suit. I could feel drops of sweat running down my back even though there was a frigid sensation in the air. My face was getting warmer, I could feel it. My stomach was tied in a knot so tangled, you'd need scissors to cut the ends; and I would, but I didn't have any. I could feel my hands getting sore from being tied with a rope in front of me. I was sitting in a metal chair, my feet flat on the ground. The room had a scent of old tobacco and mold.

There was no feeling, or word that could be compared to this tornado of disgust, aghast, fear, confusion, and at the same time just a wind— a breeze of relief. Relief because I could see the fear behind the black suited man’s eyes. It was one of my—not many— talents, if not the only one. I could scan, like a human x-ray, his emotions. He wanted this to happen just as much as I did. I also knew he didn’t know how to handle a gun. My father was—is… is… a gun junkie. He knew when, how and why to use them, he taught me all there is to know, his only daughter. He only used them while sober and did not shoot innocent people, in fact, I don't think he has ever killed someone, even though he’s a cop.

There were a couple of minutes of absolute silence; it filled the room, we couldn’t even hear our own breaths. After a couple of minutes passed, he started to breathe more heavily; he was getting anxious, his nerves were starting to creep in through his veins, especially the one popping out of his neck. His breaths were now slow and loud as he said,

“Why are you so damn calm?!”

I stared at him dead serious, now I felt more of a wind of relief, his nervousness only made me feel more secure, my aloof-ness was working. 

“I don’t think you’ll do it.” I said. After a moment I went on, tilting my head a little,

“I don’t think you’ll shoot.” I said this again, ever so lightly; it was almost a whisper. He blinked twice with pursed lips and crimson cheeks that looked even red-er because of his pale face. Then, he took one step forward, I could see part of his face now; it was thin, with sharp edges and wrinkles in his forehead, also creeping beneath his eyes. His face looked tired and bitter. Squinting vaguely, he carefully grabbed the gun and pointed it at the ceiling. I knew where this was going so I shut my eyes tight and looked away. He shot at the ceiling. One bullet left. Gunshots are really loud, especially when they echo in the room, but the ringing in my ears didn't last long. I looked at him again, he swallowed. I looked at the veins on his neck. He was really getting pissed now. Licking his lips and raising his eyebrows, he said,

“See… I’ll do it.”

Even though I was 70-30% sure he wouldn’t do it and even though I was utterly frightened to say what I wanted to say, I still said it.

“Fine… go for it.”My voice had a challenging ring to it, even though I could barley get the words to  fall out of my mouth in-between breaths and float into the tense atmosphere.

I closed my eyes slightly and tried not to think about the pain that was expecting me.

After a few suspenseful seconds of hearing our own breaths and having a knot in my throat so big it could barely let me breathe, I heard the gun shaking in the man’s hand. I was starting to feel hopeful that with all that shaking he could possibly miss. Then, there was a gunshot, again. The ringing came back, but brought no excruciating pain with it. I felt the same. Maybe—I thought— I died; and now I’m in heaven  or hell? Why do I feel so fine? So normal. I slowly opened my eyes noticing I was frowning. There was nobody there. I looked down at my self and I was fine. No blood, I thought. Then and there I quickly realised something and lifted my head as slow as it could go until I saw a shape lying on the floor. It was indeed the black suited man. He, as some might say, had killed himself. 

 

The man was lying right in front of me. His body was lying vertically; in a way that my feet were pointing straight at his, except his torso was about 45 degrees diagonal to my right. I was unable to see his face, however, the blood was very visible; it spread like a river through the floor about a meter far. I had been shocked, surprised, and baffled many times in my life, but this time, I was truly perplexed. I kept staring at the dead body and wondering how he ended up there; floating in the midst of oblivion while his whole life just disappears… in seconds. I squinted my eyes and opened them again looking down at my hands sitting in my lap. It took me a few seconds to untie the rope that was interlaced with them; I was somewhat dexterous—another one of my few talents. Then I noticed that my feet weren’t tied, so I reluctantly stood up and took one small step at a time, as if the moment I took a large heavy step the floor would crumble and I would go with it. As I got closer I started to see that the man’s face had changed. The sharpness was no longer there. Each time I got closer the face looked more and more different. 

When I got to the face my heart stopped for a second, my breaths got shorter, and I immediately jolted and took 3 steps back. My jaw dropped a little when I saw that the man’s face was not his; it was mine.  


© Copyright 2017 F.W. Vega. All rights reserved.

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