Word Count: 1,158
Learning to clean and assemble a gun was a hell of a lot harder than I thought it’d be. There were so many parts to remember and Cancer made it look so easy so it felt like I was taking twice as long.
It wasn’t really surprising to me that Cancer had grown up around guns but I felt a little sorry for him that he was so young when he had started. I knew he’d hate the pity though so I tried to keep it to a minimum.
Sometime later Rayn came through looking a little more refreshed. His eyes widened when he saw what I was doing and he cast an almost surprised look at Cancer as though he couldn’t believe he was actually helping me out. I stifled a smile at the whole situation.
‘Too much fun,’ I said.
‘Eyes on the gun,’ Cancer said as he slotted the last part into place.
I copied him and set it down on the table. ‘Finally. Only took me half a decade.’
‘You’ll find it easier the more times you do it.’
‘I’m starving,’ Rayn stretched his arms above his head, letting out a long yawn.
‘We saved you some burnt baguette and sausage.’
‘My favourite kind,’ he took his share and started chewing on it. The loud crack of the burnt bit filled the room.
‘We should carry on practicing your shooting skills,’ Cancer stood up and I followed him outside. The motel had a little courtyard that had weeds shooting upwards between the paved concrete and a small stone fountain in the centre. There was no water though; it just looked dull and lifeless.
‘It’s easy enough shooting at a still target,’ Cancer said, searching the courtyard for something. ‘But when there’s something coming towards you, ready to kill you, it’s different.’
I watched him scout for something to hit.
‘I don’t think you’re ready for moving targets yet though, we’ll just use some cans or something.’
‘How about those flowerpots?’ I nodded in the direction of where a line of plants stood on one of the brick walls. Cancer grinned.
He set them up in a straight line and came back over towards me. He didn’t tell me how to check the gun was loaded or to make sure the safety was off, he left it all to me. I spent longer than was necessary trying to find the safety switch, but when I did I got ready to shoot.
‘Wait.’ Cancer ran back into the building and returned a moment later with a silencer. He showed me how to screw it on. ‘Don’t want to draw any unwanted attention.’
Just as Rayn had done, Cancer showed me how to stand and how to hold the gun properly. I took a deep breath and focussed on the pot, gently squeezing the trigger.
I missed completely, but tried not to let it get to me. Cancer showed me how to aim more accurately and by the time I squeezed the trigger for the second time, I was feeling a little more confident. The flowerpot exploded as the bullet shot into it.
I grinned. ‘I got one!’
Cancer smiled encouragingly, even giving me a small pat on the back.
We carried on practicing for about an hour or so and my aim was getting better and better. By the end of it, I was feeling a lot more assured and capable. I thanked Cancer and we went back inside. Rayn was stood by the window peering out of the blinds. The frown on his face went unnoticed by both of us until he spoke.
‘Guys, we have company.’
‘What?’ Cancer joined Rayn by the window. I followed them. I couldn’t see anything from where I was stood; the blinds were shut tightly. I lifted a tiny section away and squinted outside.
There was a car parked on the driveway. The angle at which we were stood didn’t allow us to see who was in the car, but at least we could rule out the possibility that they were zombies. Zombies didn’t drive, as far as I knew.
‘Joe, keep your gun in sight,’ Cancer instructed me, unsheathing his knife. ‘We don’t know how this is gonna play out.
I found the confidence that I had felt only minutes before slowly leaking out of me. My grip was actually shaking slightly and my stomach was doing flips. Rayn and Cancer looked a lot more composed than I was; they waited by the door with their guns trained on whoever was about to walk inside. My own knife was in the bag somewhere, I didn’t have time to go and get it so instead I tried to calm down and look like I knew what I was doing.
We heard footsteps coming up the driveway; a raucous laughter and a sharp ‘Shut the fuck up!’
The handle turned slowly, once.
I had the wildest urge to run up to it and lock it, but I knew that would be a foolish thing to do. It’d only make them want to get inside even more and what good was a small lock going to be against whatever kind of weapons that they had?
The door swung wide open and three tall figures stood in the threshold.
I couldn’t see what the third one looked like; the other two were blocking him. One of the men was completely bald with a jagged scar running the length of his eye right down to his throat. He was a heavy built man with dirty jeans and a long sleeved checked top. The other guy was a little shorter but still intimidating with unwashed dirty blonde hair and hard green eyes. He snarled at us all and raised his gun up towards us.
‘Put the fucking weapons down,’ Cancer growled.
‘Oh yeah?’ the bald guy laughed loudly, getting ready to shoot. ‘What are you gonna do?’
Everything happened all so fast then; suddenly a bullet was being fired and one of the men fell to the floor. The other guy didn’t have time to react as Rayn shot him in the head. They had obviously misjudged us all, well Cancer and Rayn at least. I couldn’t imagine we looked too intimidating to them. A tall skinny ginger kid and a small guy with an almost perpetual innocent expression. Cancer was the only one who really showed any form of coercion and they thought that they could outnumber us.
The third guy stood there staring at us all. When his eyes fell on me, his mouth twisted upwards into a cruel smile.
‘Well, I never thought I’d see you again.’
Memories and emotions came flooding to the surface and within a split second I had reverted back to the terrified child that had been bullied mercilessly throughout high school.
I could only crumble inside as Harry Acker stood in the doorway.