Nothing You Can Say Or Do

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

a question unanswered is a haunting for life

Submitted: October 09, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 09, 2017








I was standing at the variety store checkout counter when you entered the store. You were wearing a ski-mask that covered your entire face except your eyes. You had a handgun in your right hand and a bag in the left making your intentions absolute.

I stepped aside and told the clerk to do the same. "Don't try being a hero. Let this person take whatever they want." I urged him and he started to move away. But you said in that raspy, husky voice, pointing your gun at the clerk. "Open the til and put the money in the bag."


You threw the bag on the counter top and the clerk opened the safe. All was going well, until the street door opened and startled you.

The gun went off and the bullet hit the clerk in the face, killing him instantly. Then you shot the intruder and then turned on me, but I was gone. I had duck into one of the aisles. The intruder was hurt badly but not dead.

Calmly I said. "Take your money and run." You answered by shooting at me, missing because I had moved after speaking. "The police are coming." I warned.


And they were. I saw people outside and two were talking on their cellphones. I could see the worried look on their faces and the rapid movement of their lips.

"It will only take the police a few minutes to get here. Run now while you can." I urged, but the robber shot at me again, but again I had spoken and moved. This time I caught a glimpse of a tattoo on the gun hand. I recognized it and my heart broke. I knew the owner.

The street door rattled. Some fool being too brave tried to get in.


Another shot went off, high and a little left, missing the new intruder but the shattering glass cut into her face. She screamed and step back, falling then to her knees.

"Stop!" I shouted but before I could move another shot went off and struck me in the chest, high and to the right. It did not kill me, or even knock me over. Though I felt the pressure. I didn't feel any pain.

"The police are here." I announced, noticing the flash of the emergency lights.

You put the gun to your head, cock the hammer and pulled the trigger.


"Click." The cylinder was spent. I saw it in your eyes. You wanted to run now, but just then the door opened. You turned abruptly aiming the gun. Two shots sounded but they were not from your gun. They came from a police service pistol.

Two small red dots formed in your white T-shirt. You stood there for just a second and the oddest thing happened. You smile. Not a little smile but one that described pure joy and relief. Then you crumpled to the ground.

The cop holstered his weapon and ran to you checking for a pulse in your neck.


I could see the look in his eyes. You were dead. He glanced up at me and saw that I had been shot. I had not bled profusely but the slow leak from my wound had turned my blue shirt redish black. The cop immediately said. "Get down before you fall down." But it was too late. I collapsed and the world vanished into a deep dark abyss. Funny thing though. I could still hear and sense motion and knew that someone was lifting me up and placed me on something flat and I began to fly. Beside me was you.


Lanetta with the butterfly tattoo on your hand, a unique tattoo because though it was a butterfly fire streamed from its tiny maw. It was a Monarch. I saw it the day you got it. You said it reflected your life. I did not understand. I still don't. It did not matter. All that did matter was that same day you gave me your body, or you took mine, however one might chose to perceive the act. At least it was mutual consent, consent that became a baby. What happened to that baby? What shadow of the city did you disappear into?


I came to in the ambulance. The attendant assured me I was going to be ok. I said. "Maybe. Someday. But not today."

Another voice broke through the haze. "Can you tell me what happened?

"She hurt three people that I know of. She did not have to. I could have helped her. I told her I would help her but she turned me down and ran."

"You know who she is?" The same voice asked.

"I knew who she was." I answered sarcastically.

"I had to shoot. She had a gun. She had..."

"I know. You had no choice."




It has been weeks. I went to the funeral, such as it was. She was cremated. I was still lost in the wonder of what came of the child and the darkest of answers came to mind but I pushed it out. I would search for the boy until I learned his fate. At least I knew that. Our child was a boy. And now I knew his last name might have been Abben.

The urn was given to me because I was the only one there to receive it. Her ashes sit on the mantle of my hearth in my mansion.


Yes I am a wealth man. "I could have saved her." I keep telling myself. But then maybe no one could have saved her, not with all the money in the world.

I knew in that moment when the bullets entered her body and she smiled it was the only help she needed.

Nothing you can say or do could have changed the outcome of those five short minutes in a side street variety store.

"But how?" I ask, "Could it be so possible that we met for the last time in such a hidden place?"

The thought barely cleared my mind when the answer came to me.


The End


© Copyright 2018 Donald Harry Roberts. All rights reserved.

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