One breath in, one breath out. I had to stop thinking so hard. Everything went back to Tommy. When I thought about how his hand curled around my wrist, I wanted to punch something. Looking down at my hands, I saw I’d absently pulled my gun out of the drawer. How appropriate.
Since I had it out anyway, I grabbed a couple of towels and popped it apart to clean it. The muscles moved by memory, repeating actions I’d taken a thousand times before with this very weapon. My dad gave it to me. He told me once that he’d used it in the Civil War. Another time, he told me he’d killed Injuns with it in Kansas. Since I know for a fact he’s never left New York City in his whole life, I never believed any of that. Besides, he’d barely been five years old when the Civil War started.
I put the gun back together with military precision, drilled into me by his staccato voice, and set it in a ray of sunshine on the bed. How annoying that the sun refused to duck behind clouds when I wanted to be gloomy. Convinced I could change that by shouting out my anger, I rushed the window and threw it open. Warm air rushed in. The stink of horse manure followed it, along with the stench of rotting meat and garbage.
This stupid city! All my life, twenty long years, I’d trudged through its streets, never able to keep two pennies in my pocket at once. Glaring down from my third floor perch, I watched people scurry in every direction along the street, dodging and weaving around the horses and their carriages. It made me think of Tommy again.
That bastard. The gun weighed on my mind. I could take it and go find him and put an end to this whole mess. People would understand. With the right judge, I could walk free even if I confessed. With the wrong judge… The thought made me squirm. I’d seen a public hanging. Some folks jeered and laughed. Not me. It hurt something inside to watch a man die like that, even when he’d been rightfully convicted of butchering his own daughter.
And yet, here I was, planning to go shoot Tommy. The gun could hold six bullets, and I’d put every single one into his damned chest. Or head. Or wherever they hit. They’d slam into his body and he’d bleed, and ugh. It would be awful and disgusting. Bile shoved its way up into my mouth and I ran for the kitchen. Revenge would have to come some other way.
Lee French has published several fantasy and science fiction novels, and is a member of the Edgewise Words Inn staff