And again. The gun fires again, but there is no glass in the window left to explode.
I think there's silence now, but the ringing in my ears is like the alarm on a cheap electronic alarm clock: it keeps buzzing and I can't turn it off. My vision isn't all there either, it keeps blurring. Something on my head and arm is dripping, but I can't feel any pain. I can't remember how long it takes for the body to register pain from a serious injury. Shouldn't it have happened by now? Shouldn't I be dead by now?
I uncrouch slowly, defensively, keeping my arms in front of me, squinting hard to try and see what's there in front of me. The curtain is torn and tattered, blackened in large spots. It's flapping wildly in the wind. There's glass on the floor, all over the room in fact. There's even little shards of glass on my sleeves, and when I think to run a hand through my hair, I feel glass there too. And wetness.
I freeze, feeling my heart thump in my chest. My head is wet. I can't feel any pain. Is the wetness the start of a hole? Tentatively I edge my fingers through my hair, through the wetness. I don't want to, but I make myself press down, testing my skull. Is it solid? I've never prayed before, but I'd pray now if there was anyone to pray to, that my head is still all in one piece.
Something gives under my finger. Something is soft and yielding. I freeze again, wondering if I've just poked my brain. Would I feel it if I did? Would I spasm, or lose my vision, or... damnit, or what?!
I make myself press down again. It is squishy, but there's solid underneath it. It's not my brain. Not yet.
Finally I reach the back of my head, and I realise that my head is intact, and a cold sweat springs out on my skin in relief. I'm alive.
My hearing's still bad, but my vision's better now, and I realise that there's more than glass on the floor. What I thought was lumps of torn curtain fabric is too soft for that. It looks like--
I retch, turning away and doubling over, my arms crossing over my stomach and my knees bending until I'm back on the floor, throwing up. It's the first time I've seen what happens when someone is shot in the back of the head. The all-too-identifiable pieces of face on the floor are more than I can take right now.
I retch for a few minutes, and then I force myself back to my feet. I wipe my mouth on my sleeve, and look around the room, finding the door. I have to get out of here, people will have heard the gunshots. Whoever shot whoever was shooting at me can't have cared about me, I'd have been a sitting duck crouched on the floor like that. It's time to go.
I have to walk past the body outside the window to get back to the car and I try very hard not to look at it. I can see it out of the corner of my eye, and it itches me not looking at it, but I know it'll make me ill again.
When I reach the car there is a piece of paper tucked under the windscreen wiper on the driver's side. The ink has run already, and it is wet, but I can still read the words