The Gun of Crow
By: Antwan Crump
“Fear the man who knocks on the door of God -his sanity, betrays him.”
“Gun. Gun are you alive in there?” Merlin queried.
Gun leans against a wall, near a table of planted marijuana -in the green room. Realizing he’d dozed off, he screams back “Yea!” He tries to jump to his feet. He falls hard, face first, into the ground. The pain in his leg has immobilized him. Inspecting the source of his paralysis, he discovers a bullet hole in his calf. The blood has dried, but the bullet remained. “Just taking a five.” he says -exhausted. He thinks, how the hell am I gonna get this out.
“Do you need medical attention? ” Merlin asks, concerned.
Gun drags himself around the room “No, I’m fine. Just a scratch. Give me a second.” Gun listens for a moment, to gauge the hostility of the soldiers -just outside the door. They banter calmly. Sensing no danger, he pulls himself to his feet -using a table for leverage- and surveys the room. He eyes a tool cabinet, hops over to it, takes a pair of pliers and a nearby first aid kit.
He hops back over to the door with his equipment. “You wouldn’t happen to have a pipe, would you Merl?” Merlin laughs, and answers “Is this really the time?” Gun laughs as well and answers, “I suppose not”.
Reaching up, he pulls one of the stalks of marijuana from its pot, dumps the dirt, picks the budding flowers from the plant, and throws them back into the empty pot. Completing this: he lights a match, tosses it into the pot, and breathes in the smoke. “You may as well go ahead and start the story Merl. I’m gonna be here for a while anyhow.
Gun grabs the pliers and digs for the bullet, while Merlin starts his tale.
Gun has been gone for nearly a month. His wife -Mystic, is melting down metal for ammunition near the armory. She’s been quiet since Gun left, however productive. She spends most of her time preparing for a potential attack on Crow (her and Gun were the most weary of this possibility.). Her increased amount of ammunition worries Crow’s other occupants. Merlin, has been asked to speak with her. Fearing the loss of his power, he complies, though he feared her nearly as much.
“Hey Misty, everything…. Okay?” Mystic doesn’t answer, as she leans a shotgun barrel on the table (toward the door) and begins to saw off the front end of it. Intimidated, Merlin takes a slow step to the side, (away from the shooting end of the barrel) and continues. “You know, we missed you at dinner last night. It was beautiful , everyone made a little something from their crops. Emily, and some of the other girls sang. It was…”
The shotgun barrel hits the ground -Merlin pauses. Mystic picks it up, and throws it into a cauldron, with other scrap metals she melts down for ammo. She picks up the remainder of the weapon, puts the butt of it to her eye (to check for symmetry) and says “You know, if Gun were to see me doing this, he’d be making all sorts of corrections.” She tosses the gun to Merlin. ” What do you think, Merl?”
Unnerved, Merlin checks the symmetry of the barrels (as Mystic had just done.) “It, looks good.” he rushes, as he puts the gun down. “Look, Misty.” Merlin tries to speak, as she walks over to a table, and pulls a cloth off of it -revealing several more sawed off guns -along with dozens makeshift bombs and knives.
Merlin surveys the table, shocked. “Mystic, what is all this?” Mystic smiles at Merlin and says “This? This is the war table. If anything happens, anything at all, I know where to come. Now” Mystic throws Merlin a grenade concluding “You do too.”
Merlin is at a loss for words, as he inspects the bomb. Both impressed and frightened, he attempts to shift the conversation back to his original intent. “Look Misty. You’re scaring folks around here. I mean it’s one thing if you want to build an arsenal fit for a country, but you’ve got to socialize with everyone. These are dark times, and dark times need togetherness. You keep this up, and people will talk.”
Mystic charges up to Merlin, stopping just inches from his face and says “Then let them talk. Because when shit hits the fan, and oh it will hit the fan -I’m the one they’ll be begging to protect them.” Mystic arms herself with two handguns and a belt of ammunition before concluding “Now if you don’t mind, I’m gonna’ hit the range.”
“It’s supposed to be a parking lot!” Merlin exclaims as Mystic exits.
“That was the last time I saw her. Later on that night, I woke up to screams. She was the first person I looked for, but in the chaos of it all I…” Merlin is paused, ashamed of his own actions. “I did go to the armory. When I got there, all that was left was a shotgun, and a few rounds. I took them, and led a group of us here, to the factory. That was a few months ago. All we’ve tried to do since, is rebuild. I’m sorry Gun.”
It’s silent for a few moments. Merlin swallows his emotion, and tries to further explain himself “Gun. Gun.” One of the soldiers points out to Merlin that smoke is coming from beneath the door. “No!” Merlin screams “Shoot the locks! Now, do it!” The soldiers hesitate for a moment before following his order. “Gun!” He screams, warning him of the incoming bullets.
The soldiers shoot the knob off of the door. Merlin throws a shoulder into it -forcing it open. The halls are consumed by marijuana smoke. The men enter, coughing and wheezing in the thick cloud. They find the source -the pot that Gun had thrown the flowers into. The rest of the crops were generally unaffected. Leaning down under the table, Merlin sees Gun, passed out, with a bloody pair of pliers in his hand; and a bloody bullet not far from it.
Merlin douses the fire with water, and orders the men to take Gun to the medic. Two men carry Gun out of the room. Merlin walks around to ensure, no other damage has been done. He follows the trail of blood that Gun left, before returning to where he found him. Kneeling down under the table again, he finds something scribbled into the floor. He looks closer, Gun had scribbled the word Pulse into the panel. Merlin jumps back up – pale white- and runs out of the greenroom, ordering his men to “Seal it off.” as he exits.