Latest Flash

One Bullet

If you really think about it, is it ever truly possible to have more than "1"?

Fuck, that statement made a lot more sense when I was on speed. Anyway, here's Gareth Spark proving an old man's point....

One Bullet by Gareth Spark




They’re going to kill me, that much is plain, and it concerns me much less than you might imagine. I only hope she got away. They have me pinned down in this goddamned bar. Two guys out front with military grade shit and Christ knows how many guys to the rear. Mexican Mafia, old comrades, you might say. Well bring it on. The devil’s always watched out for me. A burst of gunfire shatters the last of the bottles on the shelf above and I glance over at the cantina’s barman. He caught a burst from an automatic pistol. I feel a kind of sickness, looking at my future right there; bone broken down to splinters and more blood than you’d figure a man could hold. Fuck it; let ’em kill me. I’m a piece of shit anyway; I only hope she got away. I check the chamber on the pistol. I’ve gone through most of the spare clip, down to the last few rounds, and I aim to sell my life at a goddamned high price. I got a handful of ’em already. They turned up in typical style. Spraying the roadside cantina with gunfire, like fucking Rambo. I hid in the crapper, waiting on the silence as they reloaded. You might say I was expecting them. They killed about a dozen people, workers, drinkers, a car full of spring breakers who sure as shit took a wrong turn this morning. I ducked out and caught sight of Raul Gonzalez straight off. These dickheads think it takes a hundred bullets to put a man on wrong side of the grass. It takes one. I shot him through his round head, two of the others alongside him. One shot each. I was a sharpshooter back in the Marines, won prizes for that shit. Then I was down behind the bar as they unloaded another Vietnam-sized collection of lead into the room. I might be an old man, but they ain’t nothing wrong with my eyes. I take out another two, one bullet each. Smile a little as wood splinters and broken glass flies around me. The whole place stinks of smoke, liquor, and blood. My holy trinity, you might say.

A year ago, I looked out for Raul as he ran shit across the border through Brownsville, Texas. Some nights I’d lay awake and listen to gunfire on the far side of the Rio Grande and realize it’s a war same as any. This desert is no different from any other I’ve bled in over the years. There was nothing in my life but collecting money I didn’t need, killing guys I didn’t hate for an asshole I couldn’t stand, same as it was back then, when I was killing for the flag half a world away. That was until she walked into my life. I saw her first with Hector Cardoza, a nine-year-old assassin with eyes flat and black as an obsidian blade. She was young, and in the dead neon glow from behind the bar her hair was dark as wine.

He’s dead now, he was first. We took his money and were meeting up north of the border after I led these bastards to a dance. Only they were smarter than I figured. I should have known. Now they’re yelling what they’re going to do to me, chainsaws and such, acid too, I guess, and I know they mean it. I’ve seen ’em do worse. Got one round left in the cheap-ass gun I brought. Fifty-two years old, man. Should have known better than to get all turned round by a pretty girl, but, to hell with it, you came right in the end. I bring the gun barrel up under my chin. The metal is hot on my skin, and I only hope she got away. 

Gareth Spark writes dark fiction from and about the moors and rustbelts of North East England where grudges are savoured, shotguns are cheap and people get by in the economic meltdown any way they can. His work has appeared at Near 2 the knuckle and Shotgun Honey.