Twenty Minutes, or Ten Seconds

My first thought before pulling the trigger was, “I wonder if this will blow his fingers completely off.”

I hid in the bathroom. My hands were still slightly numb from the previous shot… well, from that and the effects of adrenaline and terror. I don’t remember the first shot, I just know it happened. The shotgun was still overly warm and filled the air with the stinging residue of burnt powder and the smell oil has when combined with hot metal. Surprised. His face was more intact than I’d have ever guessed was possible from a point blank range with a double-barrel shot gun.

So much blood. Gaping jagged gash on his neck from what could have been a very dull knife with a lot of effort behind it, or shard of glass, or who knows? And the first shot left quite an impression on his head. I saw his shadow waver a bit through that gap under the bathroom door and could tell he was poised on the other side. He knew I was in there. He was a rather large man. Almost unnaturally large. That bathroom seemed tiny, like my legs would never fit tucked underneath me next to the toilet, hiding. Petrified. Surprised that he was still alive. I laid the gun down with the barreled end facing the gap breaking the strip of light bleeding in from bedroom, and waited. Twenty minutes or ten seconds passed and the door flew open and his hand seemed to lunge at me independently of his body and I did it. I pulled the trigger and the noise was so loud. Loud enough to overwhelm my ears and render them useless. I watched in instant silence his fingers turn into ground beef and I was shocked they were still mostly attached. Unusable so far as fingers typically go on a hand, but attached nonetheless.

I didn’t know who he was, where I was, or why he was after me or how the hell I acquired a loaded, double-barrel shotgun. I think I was in a hotel room, but where? Which hotel? What city? Every time this happens these questions don’t seem as important as they do this time. There were no other people around, which was weird in retrospect. It seems I’m always in some sort of house or building with people around everywhere. Most of the time I don’t know who anyone is. This is the first time, though, that I’ve woken up with a gun in my hands and my head foggy and full of stuff I should know but don’t.

I bolted for the main door looking for an exit; trying to get outside. My white minivan was sitting there in the parking lot and suddenly I found myself inside trying to get the sliding door closed, fighting him off. How he got there so fast still makes me skeptical of my own understanding of time and the whole ordeal. And in a blink, my son, my little boy was standing there trying to get in the van with his hand and left side of his head blown apart.

I hate dreams like this.

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