The Gun of Crow
By: Antwan Crump
The visions were brief. Gun couldn’t decipher whether they had been reality or a vivid dream. He saw Emily -bleeding from her skull -on the ground, lifeless. This, he knew for certain. The sound of his own body dragging, echoed through his subconscious. “The smoke!” He exclaimed. “I remember the smoke!”
All at once his mind had thrust back -to absolute lucidity. His body was bound. Struggling to free himself, he heard the clanging of chains, and the thud of a heavy lock. He darts his eyes in all directions, searching for hint of light – to no avail. The irony didn’t escape him.
A match strikes against the floor. The smell of it’s ember is hauntingly familiar. He hears “You still talk to yourself” the voice said amused “How cute “. Gun remains silent but thinks I know that voice.
” Well, manners or not, it’s damn fine to have ya.” He hears a hard object roll over to him. “Now, eat up.” The voice begins to depart. “Oh” the voice laughs “I’d almost forgot.” Gun hears a squish hit the wall beside him, a pouch bounces into his lap. “Boss said don’t give ya any water. Guess bourban’ll do ya no harm.” The voice exits.
They must expect I’d break through these chains he thinks. “Wouldn’t wanna disappoint!”he exclaims to no one but his yell’s own echo. Gun reaches into his glove and pulls out a small sharpened rod. “Bastards used to tease me for this.” He says -smiling, as he presses the rod into the keyhole.
“Shit!” While fiddling with the lock Guns shoulder dislocates. “Guess that’ll work to.” He jokes, squeezes out of his binds, and stands -the chains dropping beside him as he forces his arm back into it’s socket. “It’s gotta be Monday. I friggin’ hate Mondays.”
Rubbing his shoulder to ease the pain, he finds the pouch and drinks. He scans the room as he listens intently with his ear against the wall. “No Windows. No sound. This just may be hell.” He picks up the hardened bread that he was given. The devil’s a lie, he thinks as he enjoys this impromptu meal.
Hours pass. Gun quite enjoyed the solitude, years on the road had forbade tranquil peace from his life. He leans against the wall and continues drinking -humming a tune as he dives deeper into drunkenness. The room begins to spin, this is what he had been chasing -an escape. “It could be, it could be, as we dance -the dance of demons” he sings until he falls asleep.
The inebriation triggered memories, memories of himself before the collapse. Though sober they escaped him, now they were clearer than they’d been in decades.
Gun was eighteen when it happened-preparing to attend university and enjoying his first summer of true freedom. He and a group of friends ,(most of whom would later become soldiers for Crow themselves) decided to drive out to the beach, and drink to the serenade of the rising tides.
It was a time Gun would hold dear, until he was forced to give up that part of himself. They woke up on the beach much later to the blasting sound of sirens. Miles from the city, they could see it burning -even this far out -the smoke was thick and wafting.
They panicked, and tried to get home. Police officers prevented their re-entry. The only information Gun had, was the brief mention of the word, quarantine.
Officers funneled the group and all others into a small town near by, allowing no one out, once entered. This area became known as the Central Recovery and Operations Ward -commonly referred to, as C.R.O.W.
The first night was the worst. Screams throughout the site kept Gun awake on his cot. What the hell happened? he thought as he tossed and turned. Giving up on sleep, he whispers to his friend. “Blazer. Blazer, get up” Blazer answered ” You mean stay up?” “Blaze we’ve gotta go to the city. We have to find out what happened.” Blazer agreed – the two left the tent, and surveyed the site for points of exit.
“Blazer “Gun said, awaking from his drunken stupor. The voice came from across the room ” Very good.” Gun stumbles to his feet and begins to approach, when he hears the click of his shotgun. “Sit back down” Blazer commands, Gun complies.
“You left me to die Gun” Blazer accuses. Gun doesn’t respond, instead grabbing the pouch of bourbon and taking a swig. Blazer continues “You have no idea of the hell you forced me to endure. The screams still haunt me.”
The room is quiet for a moment while the two men stare at one another in a cold trance. Gun breaks the silence “I heard them too. Do you think I’ve had even a moment’s rest since?” “I honestly don’t give a fuck.” Blazer says . Gun maintains his leering stare.
“Just let me out of here Blaze” Blazer laughs aloud, to Gun’s dismay. “Even if I wanted to, it’s not my call.” Blazer stands and rolls another hard piece of bread to Gun. ” And if it was, you’d be dead.” He lowers the shotgun and heads toward the door.
“You should’ve ran” Gun says plainly. Blazer again aims the weapon and approaches an unflinching Gun. Face to face with him, Gun can make out Blazers raised scars and missing eye. He presses the weapon against Guns chest, concluding”I did.”, then smiles. Gun would’ve normally mocked Blazers missing teeth, but deemed the moment inappropriate.
Blazer exits the room, without another word. Gun grabs the bread , leans against the wall, takes a bite, and says to himself “He smells worse than he looks.” He finishes the meal, and listens; while Blazers footsteps start to fade, he again lowly sings “It could be, it could be, as we dance -the dance of demons.”