My latest post is the third installment of Jannick. I hope you enjoy
The first shots missed the target by a mile. Jannick didn’t know why. He was standing under the warehouse’s only light surrounded by darkness. He was in the spotlight of some perverse stage. The circle of light that shone on him may as well have had crosshairs. Nevertheless, the bullets sailed over his head and dug harmlessly into the concrete behind him, so close that tiny shards of exploded rock stung the back of his neck.
Jannick didn’t try to figure out where the shots had come from. There wasn’t time. A split-second after the shots echoed against the dang concrete walls, his own gun was planted firmly in his palm, its sites locked on a single, dusty fixture hanging overhead. Jannick shot a hundred rounds a week at the gun range and considered himself a Marksman. Now the training finally paid off. He squeezed the trigger three times; three shots, three light bulbs and the warehouse fell into the total darkness. Now everyone was armed and in blackness. For Jannick, the odds had evened up.
For the men who were trying to kill him, it was a different story.
“You missed him you dumb shit!” an angry voice shouted in the dark.
“You didn’t shoot any better!” another angry voice shot back. “I think you killed the wall, though!”
“I’ll kill your ass if you don’t shut up!”
“The way you shoot, I seriously doubt it!”
Jannick heard the two voices straight ahead of him, twenty yards away maybe. He could thank their poor shooting for saving his very life, but it wasn’t over. Jannick was sure there were multiple ways in and out of this abandoned warehouse, but he could only see the one – the way he had come in – and it was currently blocked by two men with guns. He knew he couldn’t count on their poor shooting every time. If he was going to get out of this alive, he had to keep his wits about him.
“Hey! You two bozos want to remember why you came down here?” Jannick shouted into the darkness. His words danced along the cave-like darkness. “I’d hate for you two to kill each other before you dealt with me!”
He dropped down into a tight ball on the floor and waited, head up towards the sound of the voices. Three shots rang out, massive firefly bursts of light. The bullets missed again, but were closer again. The gunfire helped him fix a position on his adversaries. He held his fire, for the moment, not wanting to give away his position just yet. He was confident he could goad them into firing when the time came. They had him outgunned, maybe, but they were far from rocket scientists.
“Did we get him, Gus?” one of the shouted out?
Silence fell again. Jannick stayed tight in his ball on the ground. He didn’t dare move. He held his breath until his lungs ached for air, until the pain in his chest burned in his nose and throat. Then, he held it some more.
“I don’t know, Al,” he said. “I don’t hear nothing! Maybe we did! Let’s go see!”
Yes, far from rocket scientists, these two. They were more like morons, really.
Jannick could hear them advancing in the darkness, their shoes clicking and squeaking loudly on the concrete floor. They were not concerned at all about hiding in the darkness. They no doubt expected him to be either dead or incapacitated. He didn’t plan on letting them think otherwise until the advantage was fully with him.
Slowly, as soundlessly as he could possibly make it, he uncurled himself from his tight ball and stood. He took a brief second to let his muscles unknot. He eased his hand off the butt of the pistol and wiped sweat from it. Then he gripped the pistol and listened to the sound of the clicking and squeaking shoes once again.
Somewhere in the vast darkness beyond the sound of the approaching shoes, Jannick could see a wafer thin outline of light. It was the door he had come through. Was it thirty yards way? Maybe fifty? It was too hard to tell, but one thing did settle into his mind clearly. If he chose to take the easy way out, the safe way out, he could slip past his adversaries with little trouble and make it back to the door.
Conventional wisdom dictated this the proper course of action.
Jannick gripped his gun a little tighter.
Never having been much of one for conventional wisdom, the easy way out, or playing it safe, he headed towards the sound of the of the shoes.
He headed towards the danger coming at him.
April 12, 2011
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