Blood Crumbs: Chapter 24Mature

My day ended around eleven that night and progress had been slow but deliberate. As I drove, I briefly debated heading to the hospital to check on Isaac. Unfortunately, I was far too tired and decided I would have to make time for it tomorrow.

    I pulled up into my driveway and got out of my car. I could probably go pick up Penny, as Robert was usually awake around this time anyway. The man was a night owl, but I didn’t see any point to it. My plans involved walking straight to my bed and little else.

    I shuffled slowly to my door and frowned at my mail box. It was overflowing with newspaper clippings and coupon ads. I stuck my key into the door and heard the audible scrape of the lock disengage as I reached over with my sore right hand and grabbed at the wad of mail. As I pulled it out, a small square piece of paper about the size of a post card slid out and dropped back into the box. I grumbled and shoved the stack of mail under my left armpit. I reached up into the box but the bandages on my hand made it difficult to fit into the opening. I stepped over and onto my tip-toes to peer down inside. I was tired and frustrated and this little piece of mail was quickly becoming the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    “I know you’re in there you stupid piece of shit.” I growled. “Might as well come on out.”

    Thip. CRACK! Thip. CRACK! Thip. CRACK!!

    My heart jumped as my front door began to shudder and explode. Bullet holes punctured the dense wood and I could feel hot metal passing beside my head as I dove for the ground. The mail under my arm scattered across the ground as I scrambled across the pavement to my car.

    I moved around to the passenger side and lay on the ground to get a sizable object between myself and the door. My mind raced as I tried to process what the Hell was happening. I yanked my gun out of its holster and grabbed my cell phone. The screen was cracked and dark. I must have landed on it while diving for cover.

    The firing had stopped and I thought I could hear shouting inside my house. I quickly assessed my options. Driving out of here was one, but they would hear the engine turning over and I didn’t think that my little Corolla was going to protect me from another hail of gunfire. I grabbed the door and clicked it open; I slid my hand inside and grabbed my Kevlar. Maybe he thought he had hit me and I was dead, that would give me a small advantage.

    I closed the door and started working the vest over my head. I heard the door open then, “Shit! Where’d he go?”

    It was pitch black and there was only one street lamp in my neighborhood about half a block from my house. I was confident he wouldn’t notice too much movement as I slid up and peaked my head over the hood of my car.

    A whale of a man was standing on my front porch slowly looking around as he swung his gun from side to side. It was a smallish piece with a long barrel that I assumed was a silencer as the actual gunshots had been fairly muffled. I could also see the extended magazine at the bottom. Whoever this guy was, he was serious.

    Adrenaline coursed through me as I waited until he had turned away from me then stood up and leveled my .38 at him. “Don’t move!” I shouted.

    As expected, he wasn’t in the mood to comply. He spun towards me and I fired. Pain splintered through my sore right hand causing the recoil to pull to the right. I had aimed for my assailant’s chest, but the bullet took him in the left shoulder. He yelped and continued his spin a full three hundred and sixty degrees before landing on his face.

    Before I could move, another figure appeared in the doorway. I felt the bullets tear into my chest before I even heard the sound of gunshot. I was falling backwards and the air was punched out of my lungs. I had no energy to pull the trigger as I hit the ground. My skull cracked against the pavement and my vision swam. I tried to move but I couldn’t breath. I closed my eyes and tried to shake away the dizziness before it swallowed me. If I lost consciousness, that would be it for me.

    Something exploded and I heard a familiar chick-chuck of a shotgun being cocked.

    “I wouldn’t move if I were you,” came Robert’s familiar voice.

    A moment of relief swept through me, but it was quickly drowned by anxiety. Robert was a good shot and he loved hunting, so I had no reason to doubt his aim. But he would be trying to keep two men locked down and these were cold-blooded killers. He might hesitate to pull the trigger when push came to shove; they would not.

    I slid across the ground on my back until I could see the man who had shot me. He was standing just outside my door. I couldn’t see Robert but the silhouetted figure twenty feet from me had his gun at his side. I heard the other one groaning pitifully.

    I certainly couldn’t make out the features in my attackers face, but I saw the tension. I watched his body language and his muscles tensed much like a pouncing tiger. He was standing on the balls of his feet. I lifted my gun in my battered hand and clenched my teeth. The man spun around lifting his gun up as he did, and he was fast. I fired again, but the one-handed shot and my injury caused the recoil to send pain screaming up my arm. The bullet sparked as it grazed the pavement but through some divine bit of luck, ricocheted off the ground and into the man’s leg.

    His movement faltered momentarily, as he fell towards my door. Another explosion from Robert’s shotgun shredded my door jam and the man howled in pain before deciding to retreat back into my house. Suddenly the fat man was scrambling across the ground and through the door right behind his partner.

    Silence settled over the commotion.

    “Robert! Get inside! Call the police!” I shouted and began coughing painfully. Kevlar saves lives but it sure doesn’t do it by turning bullets into candy cane rainbows and sunshine fluff. The bullets were embedded in the jacket and the threat of cracked ribs or internal bleeding could be just as dangerous.

    I sat an endless two minutes straining my ears for any sound of movement; waiting for the bullet that would finish me off. Slowly sirens wafted in from a distance until a cruiser screeched in front of my house. I stood carefully and pointed at my house.

    “Two men, armed.” I wheezed as I hobbled to the two officers climbing out of their vehicle.

    One nodded and climbed back into his car to call for back up. The other moved to grab me as my legs gave out and I landed hard on my side. I started a fit of dry-heaving, bile rising into my throat.

    “Make sure to get an ambulance too!” He shouted to his partner.

The End

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