Bullseye

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
While enjoying a romantic stroll through a residential quarter in the suburbs of Chicago, Ron and his girlfriend are ambushed and Ron must fight two battles at once to ensure the safety of his love.

Submitted: October 08, 2013

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Submitted: October 08, 2013

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The blade’s on her neck the blade’s on her neck the blade’s on her neck Jesus Christ

Ronnie had been watching the knife for the entirety of the three and a half seconds that it was on Ashley’s neck, but as per usual, he already had his surroundings practically memorized.  Not by choice.

He was six to seven paces away from his girlfriend, who was being held at knifepoint by her ex-boyfriend John.  Judging by the slurring of his words John was extraordinarily drunk but all the more dangerous for it.  The sidewalk block he was standing on was tilted slightly to the right.  There was an ’08 Dodge Neon parked across the street. Blue. But other than that they were alone.

A tear grew in Ashley’s right eye, bulbous and pure, and began to fall.

His gun, a 5-shot Smith and Wesson J-frame snubnose revolver had only four bullets in it, which would have ordinarily blown Ronnie’s mind if it weren’t for the current circumstances.  It was pointed directly at John’s left temple – one of the few spots on his face the cowardly bastard hadn’t hidden behind Ashley’s expanse of brown curly hair. 

The tear started to move down Ashley’s cheek, but she remained silent.

THE BLADE’S ON HER NECK HE’S TIGHTENING HIS GRIP HE’S DRUNK THE BLADE’S ON HER where the hell’s the fifth bullet –

Ronnie squinted for a split second to gather his concentration.  Five more seconds passed.  “Let – let her go, John,” he warned.  The snubnose was steady but his voice betrayed his fear.  Immediately to Ronnie’s right was a sizable azalea bush – he and Ashley had been walking hand in hand her left hand had that little scar on it enjoying the fall air when John had leapt out of the bush the knife was backwards in his hand he was so drunk and grabbed Ashley.  He was standing under a streetlamp now, with Ashley oh Christ oh Christ Ashley in his brawny arms and the look in his eyes ugly brown eyes like a pig was desperate.  Too desperate. 

“You hear me, you – you skinny fuck?” John was talking. How long had he been talking? “I’m gon’ kill ‘er, right here. Unless you give me what I – what I want.” What the hell does he want? Stay focused! “What – what do you want?” Ronnie demanded.  He’d do whatever it took to get Ashley dear Jesus God Ashley – “You haven’t figured it out yet? Huh huh…fuckin’ smartass.” John made some kind of noise that would be a laugh if the situation were in any way funny.  He knew John had hated him – he was a college dropout whose father was fortunate enough to be the head of the local teamster union and the degenerate chip on his shoulder seemed to be genetic.  Ronnie was in med school and look at all the good it’s doing you now and volunteered at a hospital in inner city Chicago.

The tear on Ashley’s face had moved over her zygomatic bone Ronnie fixed himself on that one tear – all his thoughts were contained within that miniscule bead of light and it was the only thing that allowed him to gather himself enough through his fear to say:

“Just tell me and let her go. I’ll do whatever you want.”  HE TILTED THE BLADE TOWARD HER CAROTID HE TILTED THE BLADE TILTED THE BLADE THE BLADE – Ronnie closed his eyes and sighed deeply to himself.  Ashley’s green eyes were wide with terror green like moss green like and their gaze met for a second. “Use that piece of yers and blow your fuckin’ brains out. Here. Righ’ now,” John muttered.  Options immediately poured into Ronnie’s brain, dozens of them, overlapping and interlinking and pulling apart in a maelstrom of mental activity that would have incapacitated him had he not had a lifetime of practice – OCD was a hell of a condition to live with but there were certain advantages. 

Advantages. Like how you won her from the pig when you memorized her favorite songs and flowers and authors and remembered every word she said to you because it was like a songbird in a murder of crows.

As it was, his head felt like it was going to explode but thank God for that tear – descending slower than he had thought possible over the soft curve of her cheek and bearing toward her chin.

Ashley reacted with a start and screamed, “NO! You motherfucker! Ronnie don’t you even think –“ then John muffled her with a hand that was good for little else than hauling cardboard boxes.  Hairy.  Pudgy at the joints.  Early onset arthritis.  Not even callused.  Her straining pushed the skin of her neck against the blade of the knife and a wire-thin line of blood appeared on her neck three inches from the carotid three inches just three.  “Ya know I’ll come back for her if ya don’t.  I’ll kill her, nice an’ slow, because if I CAN’T HAVE ‘ER NO ONE CAN! YOU HEAR?!” Ronnie focused the gun on his temple, ready to pull the trigger just like he practiced exhale loosen wrist pull exhale loosen wrist pull if John lost control of the knife.  He still didn’t have a clear shot son of a bitch because he couldn’t tell where Ashley’s head lay under her frazzled hair. 

The tear had reached the side of her chin now, and was becoming increasingly subject to the forces of gravity.  It was seconds away from falling.

“How do I know you’re not lying? You’ll kill her after I do it won’t you?!” Ron screamed.  He was surprised to see tears appearing in John’s left eye now. “Ya don’t fuckin’ geddit do ya?” he blubbered.  “…Get what?” Ron ventured.  John’s sputtering only intensified then stupid fucking animal and thick, belligerent, fat tears begin falling from his bloodshot eyes.  Remember how she cried when you sang that song to her outside her apartment? Easy Living by Billie Holiday and you thought you’d fucked it up so bad that you’d never be able to live with yourself but she smiled at you with her right canine showing and kissed you and the silence was the most beautiful thing you’d ever heard.  “Ah’m still in love with her, an’ I may have fucked up too bad already but she deserves better’n YOU, you fuckin’ psycho.  I heard about you, goin’ around and pickin’ up sugar packets ‘n countin’ pigeons ‘n shit. She ain’t safe with you.” There’s got to be a pattern that governs how many pigeons flock toge- FOR FUCK’S SAKE CONCENTRATE YOU USELESS SHIT USELESS SHIT USELESS SHIT FREAK

The tear was beginning to bud now, forming the tiniest of rises on her perfect, flawless chin.

“Will you leave her alone? Forever?” Ron pleaded.  John grunted. “Yeh, so long as she does better. But if I hear hide or hair of you bein’ around, anywhere, ever…my boys’ll come knockin’ ‘n she’ll regret the day she’s born.  So STOP FUCKIN’ AROUND AN’ DROP THAT FUCKIN’ GUN!!!” he screamed, tilting the knife so the point aimed right for the center of Ashley’s neck. THE CAROTID THE CAROTID ONE SLIP AND NO AMBULANCE WILL HELP ONE SLIP ONE TWITCH ONE SPASM ONE

The tear was suspended on her chin, just about to fall.  Time seemed to slow as he watched it draw away from Ashley’s face.  Her eyes screamed things he couldn’t understand.

Ron lowered the gun. “Ya got three seconds before I ream ‘er like a stuck pig!” Is he serious he won’t do it his muscles are tensing he’s completely serious “ONE!” can you shoot him if you move the gun he’ll kill her you still don’t have the shot probably not the first time this fuck’s had someone at gunpoint shoot him pull it shoot him exhale loose wrist pull “TWO!” he just drew blood again carotid carotid carotid you don’t have a belt or a tourniquette carotid you have no choice “WAIT A SEC” John yelled, surprising everyone.  “Yer a doctor. Shoot right where you love her, wherever that is in yer brain. Blow it clean out of yer head.” John grinned, and from behind Ashley’s hair Ron could see his molars showing. 

The tear, at that moment, separated from Ashley’s chin and began to fall.  Ron chose the caudate nucleus, an area often associated with reward and memory functions and turned his eyes to Ashley’s. Beautiful. Moss green. Moss that grows on oak trees in September green.

“I love you. And always will.” “Two ‘n a half, ya fuckin’ freak.” John spat.  At least you know you won’t miss. The perverse knowledge somehow gave Ron a minute amount of solace – finally, after an entire life of pain, struggle, and ridicule he was completely in control in this moment.  He exhaled. He loosened his wrist. And as he pulled the trigger,
I never regret the years I’m giving
They’re easy to give when you’re in love
I’m happy to do whatever I do for you

It’s easy to live when you’re in love


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