The Gun of Crow
By: Antwan Crump
“The Inner Sanctum. Have you heard of it?” his raspy voice inquired, cutting through the beaten panting of his hostage. Weeks of chase had culminated in this moment. Gun, had captured his would be killer.
“Have you?” Again, he queried. He didn’t expect an answer. He asked simply to enjoy the sound of failed attempts at speech. Laughing, as his captive choked down the blood that had filled his lungs, incapable of positing words .To Gun, this was a hilarious sight indeed.
He brandished his shotgun in plain view, ensuring that his captive could hear the subtle clicks, as he thoroughly cleaned it’s working parts. He was particularly proud of the fact he sawed the barrels down himself. ” It’s this nice little spot in Boston.” -Gun, cracked open the barrel of his shotgun-. “A little too artsy for some folks. Some pretty damned good art though.”
His captive squirmed, as he listened to Gun’s ramblings, stopping suddenly when recognizing the sound buckshot entering the dual chambers. His attempts to scream failed -he could only produce a bloody discharge from his mouth-. “Yea, (He clicks the gun closed) some pretty fine art.”
He attempts to scream once more, this time achieving a low, bloody gargle. “All that hootin’ and hollerin’ won’t do you no good.” Gun says, as he approaches the furnace that he had tightly bound his hostage to, and lights a cigar. “Besides” he puffs a thick cloud of Cuban smoke into his face, and brings himself nose to nose with him, “Rudeness is unbecoming of the dead.” Gun’s words disintegrate the remainder of his victim’s hope.
Gun picks up his weapon, uses the barrel to scratch an itch on his chin, and cocks it. Placing it to the lower jaw of this imminent corpse he asks “You fear God, boy?” with obvious sarcasm. Trying and failing to keep his head up, the victim opts for leaning it against the cylindrical side of the furnace. The position he had been chained in, made it difficult to breathe. “Blink twice for yes.” Gun joked, his victim complied.
“Good.” He removed the weapon and turned away from the man. His head dropped as Gun continued to smoke his cigar.
“What bout’ the devil. You believe in him too?” Gun looks out of the basement window, taking notice of the slowed foot traffic on the street he concludes “Smart man would about now.” He takes a deep pull from his cigar, aims his weapon, and observes his victims death rattle. In those last moments, he managed to eek out one word, Crow.
Lowering his gun back into it’s holster Gun thinks to himself, they always choose the hard way. He taps out his cigar on the cadaver, don’s his leather coat, and exits.
Crow was possibly the final bastion of human decency. Since the collapse, society had fallen into peril of grand proportions and consequence. At a glance, outsiders would see it as impossible that they were once civilized. Gun knew this, and it was reason for his concern. How did he know about Crow? He thought as he situated himself in the drivers seat of his eighteen-wheeler.
Gun had risen through the ranks of a rag-tag militia who sought to restore order once the established government had failed to affect change. They had originated in Crow, but once successful, Gun (among others) were sent out to spread news of the cities survival, offering safe-haven, in exchange for labor. At the time, they were unaware of the depths to which man had fallen.
That was three years ago. He hadn’t been back since. He feared they’d been overtaken. There was no way they could’ve been prepared for an invasion, the man power just wasn’t there, and these “things“, had been slowly taking over. “Even if their unaffected, they’ve still gone mad.”, that was his creed. Gun knew there was no hope for civility other than Crow, and had spent the last year killing all those who had threatened to share it’s location, or knowledge of its existence, with “them.”
Unable to communicate this, with neither his city, nor his fellow officers; Gun decided that heading back to Crow, may be the only way to protect it -and there were a finite number of furnaces- there was no longer a point in killing people, the word was out. He couldn’t afford to be absent any longer. Despite fear of repercussion for disobeying orders, he began his drive.
The hours seemed longer, out alone on the road. It was never easy tell what time of day it was. It had been rumored that the Sun and Moon had become a single entity, bred to punish mankind’s wickedness. Pondering this Gun exclaimed “Moron’s. Forgettin’ bout’ clouds.” Talking to himself, helped him keep focus, on these long drives. In his “heart of hearts” he knew couldn’t completely rule out an apocalyptic catalyst for this hell on earth. “Moron’s” he said again.
Gun could tell from his own abhorrent stench that it had been just about a week since the drive began. “Pulling over for a shit and a refill might be .”, a blockage in the road interrupted his outward monologue.
Outside the vehicle he sees a pile of burning wood in the center of the road, just big enough to block his way. He checks to ensure that his gun is still loaded and exits. Examining the debris, he feels a chill in his spine. One he hadn’t felt since this all began.
A girls walks out from behind the pile. Gun has difficulty making out her face through the smoke. He approaches with caution, ready to kill at first threat. She comes closer, and he sees her clearly.
“Emily?” he whimpers. “Emily is that you?” Hearing his voice she approaches slow and limping. “Emily baby, are you okay? Where’s your mother?” The little girl drops, the sound of her head cracking into the concrete is the last thing Gun hears.