Brittany felt like she'd been in the water. The last tendrils of control finally snapped, the puppet's strings cut, and she was gasping as if she'd just surfaced from shocking icy-cold. The feeling was still there though, like being raped a second time, that no shower ever, no matter how hard she scrubbed, could get her clean.
"No!" she screamed. "Joe, you total freaking asshole!" she stared at the body of the cop and looked again at the place where Jolene had sunk under the dark river water. The thought struck her that she was nearest and she dived for the gun, snatching it up and aiming it at Andrew and Eddie, though she could hardly see them through the tears that blurred her eyes. "Don't you move you...you bastards! Throw me the keys to the truck. Now! I've had enough. I'm going home!" The little poodle yapped furiously, sharp barks hammering her ears, as loud as the gunshot.
"Mariette!" the dog's owner called in a panicked voice. "Heel!"
"Brittany..." Andrew began.
"Shut up!" she said and turned to the dog's owner, he flinched, finding himself in the line of fire.
"Don't shoot!" he said, very fast and high. "Please!"
"Take your dog," Brittany said. "And leave now. Go on!"
"Mariette!" the dog owner begged, and the little dog finally stopped barking. She sniffed at the corpse, shivered, and went to heel.
"Brittany," Andrew said again. "Please! Shit, can't you see we were all being controlled? I can still feel it. It's like it's still there crawling around in my head. To think that a son of mine! What is he - like the Anti-Christ, goddammit? Eddie? Eddie? Snap out of it buddy!"
Eddie shook his head. "That poor woman!" he said, staring at the water. "That poor woman!"
"You weren't!" Brittany said. "You weren't through all of it! Give me the keys right now. Quit stalling or I swear I'll blow your head right off!"
Eddie reached for his pocket, he was still moving slowly, couldn't take his eyes off the water for more than a second, his gaze always traveling back as if mesmerized.
"Don't Eddie," Andrew warned and Eddie's hand stayed in his pocket.
"What do you mean 'don't'!"
"You're not a killer Brittany," Andrew said and took a step toward her.
"You want to try me? There's gotta be a first time for everyone!"
"Not for you," Andrew smiled and she hated it, she was back in the truck again, tied in the hammock, feeling his body pushing, feeling him pressing hard against her.
"Andrew?" Eddie said. "What are you doing?" He seemed finally to come up out of his trance and his expression sharpened, like he'd come into focus. "Shit! Why are we standing around here still? We need to go, now, before..."
"Shut up Eddie, we'll be leaving soon enough," Andrew said. "All of us.Brittany, give me the gun, there's a good girl. You don't want to kill me, not really. How'd that look on your personal record?" He took another step.
"Don't you fucking move!" Brittany said. It came out as a sob. I'll kill him! How hard can it be? I've been to the range with my dad before. Shoot his head off, pop, like the cap of a bottle. They said I was a good shot.
Then something happened. There was a movement in the air behind her and Brittany stumbled. Her finger tightened on the trigger, the reaction of shock. The gun went off and Andrew dropped without a sound, and Brittany stood staring at the spot where he now lay. The bullet had gone through his left eye, which was now a dark hole seared black from the heat of friction. If not for it's apparent depth he could have been wearing a pirate patch and she was seized with a hysterical urge to laugh.
Her heart drummed in her ears, louder than the thunder of the river. It seemed to her she had to be dreaming now, had to be, because she dimly heard a shout , full of dread and anger and pain, and she saw Joe.
It couldn't really be Joe. He was naked, dragging a sheet and holding a gun. He's not really here. He's miles away. He's in another country for fucksake! It can't be him.