Raven’s Run 85

We smashed together, and I pushed him off. He still had the knife in his right hand and the gun was now in his left. He should have used the knife, but he was caught in a moment of indecisiveness – lesser weapon in the strong hand, or better weapon in the weak hand? I put a left cross into the middle of his perplexity and he staggered back. I followed him. I could run from the knife, but not from the gun. I caught his knife hand in my right and spun it up and over. Pinned it behind him. He reached up with his left hand over his right shoulder and fired blind at point blank range.

I was blinded by the flash and deafened by the sound. My cheek flamed with powder burn and some of it went into my eye. Frantic, I jerked upward with all my strength, lifting Davis off the ground by his pinned wrist. Something gave, the knife clattered to the pavement, and Davis went face first to the ground.

He rolled left and brought up the gun. I kicked out as he fired. Again I felt the burn of powder, on my leg this time. He had missed, but he still held on to the gun. I stamped downward, into his face with hard heeled hiking boots. His head hit the pavement with a sickening smack. He still kept hold of the gun. He lunged upward, straining to rise. I slammed the heel of my boot between his eyes, smashing his head back down again.

It sounded like a melon bursting.

All was silent and still. After echoes of his shots chased themselves down the street. I thought there would be cries and lights flashing on, but there was nothing.

What had happened, after all? Two gunshots. 9 mm., probably. Inside the houses of this nearly deserted section of the city, with their high, closed windows and drawn blinds, it would have been no more than two firecracker pops. Nothing to cause alarm.

Davis did not move.

I squatted beside him. His eyes were open and he stank of death. He had lost control of his bowels. He had no pulse. His head seemed to have fallen too far back on his neck, as if his head were half sunk into the pavement.

I was not about to raise that head. In imagination, I could see the rush of blood and brains that would come flushing out.

My throat locked. Later I could vomit, but not here. Not now.

I left the gun where it lay and did not touch the knife. When I ran – and I was going to run any second – I did not want to be caught with them.

His eyes were open. In the dimness, there was no color. Even the pool of blood seeping out of him was black. But I had seen those eyes, inches from my face, on the Wahini the last time we fought. They were blue, deep blue, almost violet-blue eyes. In the cheekbones and the slant of the eyebrows was the resemblance I had suspected these last few minutes. The resemblance I should have seen two weeks ago. Brother or cousin, he was some close kin to Susyn.

Someone was coming. I could hear quick footsteps in the distance. I faded into the shadows, scurried up a side street, then turned purposefully but not too fast into the night. A strange feeling filled me. I was ten feet tall, alert in every sense, ready to meet any challenge. Full to the eyes with adrenaline and alive, gloriously alive, moments after I might have died. Nothing bothered me now. Not even the sight of Davis’ dead, open eyes. Not even the black pool of blood and the stench of his dying.

That would come later. more tomorrow


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