Short Story #06: Shot

The trigger had a resistance to it as I began to squeeze. It was asking me “Are you sure?”

More force for yes, relax for no.

The explosion was loud. A lot louder than I’d imagined, filling the room with the reality of its violence. There was a blunt force to the recoil, kicking my arm back and hurting my wrist. I was holding the weapon in one hand because that’s how I’d watched it done so many times. If I had been any further away I would have missed.

I wasn’t, though. So I didn’t.

In a second, it’s a mess. The whole room changes suddenly, like someone flicking through photographs. There’s blood on the bed, the wall, me.

In the far corner, on the other side of the bed, my wife is spread out in the corner. She stopped screaming when I hit her with the side of the gun and now she lies there partly covered with a sheet off the bed. Her brown hair’s all messy and tangled. She looks indecent.

The TV is on. As the ringing in my ears fades, I hear the chirpy host on some gameshow, backed by irritating upbeat music. Somebody wins. The audience cheers. The sound is compressed, with everything turned up full. The noise fills my head, covering my consciousness like a thick woollen blanket, muffling my thoughts.

I need to focus, so I turn around slowly and turn it off. The picture fades and I stare at the black screen for a moment. I notice it’s an old CRT TV, a big, black misshapen box. I think about how weird it is that those still exist and how ancient they look, how they make the room look cheap and out of date. It sits on a chintzy wooden sideboard. There’s a minibar fridge underneath it—one of the ugly ones with the fake wood pattern on the front.

I hesitate before turning back around. I guess I’m hoping that it hasn’t really happened. Not that I’m sorry that he’s gone—he fucking deserved it—more that everything changes from this point forward. I wasn’t hugely happy with my old life but at least it was familiar. I had a routine.

We’re in a cheap motel room, on the lower floor. The thick orange curtains are closed. The door’s still open a fraction—it bounced back after I kicked it and barged in.

There’s an old armchair and coffee table in the corner. Their clothes are thrown over the chair. Some of them are on the floor. Looks like she was in a hurry. Slut.

The bed is all messed up. They were having sex when I walked in. Actually in the act. Shameless.

I look at the body. He’s entirely naked, surrounded by a large dark stain. For a moment, I wonder if it blends in enough with the brown carpet underneath that no one would notice. His hands are still clutching the wound in his chest. The blood has stopped pumping out now.

His head leans against the nightstand, facing towards the bed, his eyes frozen wide with fear. There’s a whisky glass and a half empty bottle on the stand. They’re covered in drops of blood.

The gun suddenly feels very heavy in my right hand, which hangs by my side. I lift it up and look at it.

I realise I haven’t taken a breath in a while. I take a deep one now and the panic rises in my chest, a long, quick stream like champagne bubbles. I start to breath quicker. The world begins to spin, like I’m on a carnival ride.

It happens so quickly. I hear sirens in the distance. I place the nozzle underneath my chin.

The metal beneath my finger asks me: “Are you sure?”