I stepped from the sidewalk onto the stairway that lead to my front door. There, on the stoop sat a glass vase with several white roses in it. Five to be exact. I stopped in my tracks, quickly looking around for whomever might have placed them there, but spotted no one around that would indicate that they were the deliverer of the flowers.
I stepped up to them, looking for a card that would indicate who they were from, and found nothing other then the roses, but I did notice they were bound by a red ribbon. Nothing else.
Something was off. Wrong even. Every fiber of my being was on high alert, and my adrenaline started to pump. I reached inside my jacket to where my holster was, and toyed the snap that held it in snug. It fell into my hand as I stood back up and I hid it behind my leg, obscuring from any random passerby.
Seeing as only two people knew about this place, and roses were not on our indicated communication protocol, I started scanning every inch of the street as I stepped down the stairs, looking for anything out of place: cars that were not familiar; windows on houses that were open; anyone standing around trying to look inconspicuous.
I turned and headed away from the direction I came from, walking toward my planned egress in case of compromise. I reached down and grabbed a paper out of the trash and wrapped it around my gun, hiding it under my arm but ready for service if need be. And I still looked.
I made it halfway down the street before I heard the first shattering of glass. It was right beside me, the cars passenger side window just exploded out toward me. Two things became readily evident.
One, someone was shooting at me from a distance with a suppressor of some sort as I did not hear the report and I did not notice anyone nearby. Secondly, it was from across the street because the window broke out toward me. As my brain processed this information, my feet were already dodging toward the nearest cover between me and where I perceived my threat from.
I looked down the street and could see people carrying on as normal, not aware of the danger that was readily obvious to me. I dropped the newspaper, scooted down the car in the direction of my assailant, and sneaked a peak from around the edge of the bumper to see if I could see anything.
Two very loud THUNKS penetrated the cars trunk as I did. ‘Crap, he knows where I am.’ I thought and pulled back behind the car. I caught my breath and tried to control my breathing as I looked in either direction for an escape. Other then a couple walking in my direction and a small child playing a few houses down, nothing really stuck out to me. I leaned my head back on the car.
I thought I might be able to use the couple as a distraction, but to what danger to them. There were a few more cars I could try to dodge toward, but he had my position pretty good, so that was nothing more then a gamble at best. To boot, I didn’t even know where he was, just a general idea. I was stuck and I knew it. Worse, he knew it too.
Deciding that my my best choice would be to wait for the couple and use them to confuse the shooter, I tucked my gun away in it’s holster, hoping not to spook them as they neared. I watched as they closed to about 15 feet, holding hands and talking. I thought it must be nice to have a chance to build a relationship with someone, to have them there for you all the time. Something this job was ill suited for. I caught myself smiling a bit as they closed to ten feet.
My best bet would be for them to pass, figuring the shooter would think I was also going to use them as a distraction, but would he figure I would go with them or away from them. When they passed or before they passed. So many calculations ran through my head as they closed to less then 5 feet.
Just as they got to me I turned my body, preparing to sprint away as fast as possible to the next car over twenty feet away. As they passed I kicked off and started to run. I got five feet and heard a snap hiss. Another four feet and a loud clang as a bullet struck a cast iron fence post. I was at full speed now and almost to the next car and prepared myself to slide to safety when I heard a different noise.
It was a loud bang. A gunshot. It took my brain a second to process the noise and figure out what it was. Just about the same time it took my body to realize I was falling head first onto the pavement. It came at me and I smacked into it with a thud. My body was registering the pain from the fall, but what made me fall. Where did that noise come from?
That’s when I felt it. My leg was alive with fire. It overwhelmed even the feeling of the road rash that was now starting to register. I did what I could to roll over and see where the shot came from and as I did, I could see the couple walking toward me. Didn’t they realize they were in danger? Didn’t they hear the gunshot? Why would they be coming to help me? Why wouldn’t they be hiding like normal people?
I propped myself up and tried to wave them off. That’s when I noticed it. The woman, holding something in her hand, pointing it at me. She stepped toward me, the man stopping and playing look out from a few feet away.
She stepped to me, the gun pointing at my face. I tried to release mine from its holster, but the fumbling was futile. She looked at me, her face out of focus as I stared down the muzzle.
“Goodnight Mr. Rose.”