Outside, nothing appeared to disturb the midnight calm. But something had changed; the quiet had become hostile, threatening.
I took two steps to the window, sneaking a glance among the folds of the curtain. The police car was still there, in the street. Eric’s men had their heads back on the headrests, almost like they were sleeping.
But they were dead.
And then, I felt the others. They were in motion, hurrying, agile and well-coordinated. Some were in the entrance hallway, others in the elevator. The third group was coming up the fire escape, but they weren’t firefighters, or the National Guard performing a building evacuation exercise.
They were coming for me.
In the other room, Eric was asleep in the armchair, with his gun on his lap, deaf to everything. I went to wake him, but when I touched his shoulder I was shaken by an electric current. The terror, and the confusion left me paralyzed.
Do you believe you can decide who lives and who dies? I heard a voice in my mind.
As a matter of fact, I could.
When the men in black stormed in, stepping on the door they smashed with boot kicks, I was ready. They had masks, night vision scopes, and weapons with laser sights that weaved a spider’s web of red rays. I had something on my side too, the time.
I pushed Eric out of the way of the bullets, and we fell together, rolling under the web of lights. In a moment I was back on my feet, pulling the lieutenant to stand, to follow me. But he didn’t want to, he was heavy, so very heavy − and, when I bent down, I saw the smashed display case, the glass shard that was about to sever his carotid.
My scream froze everything in place, the wooden and mortar shrapnel, the steel bumblebees stuck in the spider’s web of crimson light, a man with his foot in the air doing a precarious balancing act, another one pushing against the air with his shoulder, a third one ready to reload his weapon.
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Should I hold them this way a moment, ten, an eternity?
Through the balcony more were coming, they were about to shatter the living room and kitchen windows. I couldn’t get past them; had nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Whatever I did, the visions all ended the same way, with Eric dead, and me being pulled, pushed, and shoved into the van waiting on a street corner with the engine running. You couldn’t negotiate with destiny, nor try to bribe fate. But sometimes you didn’t need to.
The Beretta pistol was in the raincoat pocket, just where I had left it. I pulled it out and carefully took the safety off. I then returned to Eric, going around the statues frozen in impossible positions, as in a surreal museum of wax figures. I gripped his arm, shaking him.
“Are you wearing a bulletproof vest?” I asked abruptly.
He nodded, not completely awake and I let go of the strings of time.
Then everything happened all at once.
The men in black came out of their inertia only to become stuck again, perplexed, looking at the bullets sinking into the lieutenant’s chest. I saw their pupils dilating, the white of their eyes filling the holes in their masks. On Eric’s face wasn’t surprise, but something else – understanding, despair, helplessness?
I saw him falling, and then the men were upon me. One of them snatched the gun out of my hands, while another brutally twisted my arms as if he wanted to rip them out of their sockets.
Then a third came up from behind. I felt his breath on the nape of my neck and became frightened – this was something new. But only when I felt the needle sink deep into my flesh, I began to resist, too late and useless.
And I knew then that I had lost.
PICTURE: Imagen de PublicDomainPictures en Pixabay
Rodica Bretin was born and raised in Brasov, a town in Transilvania, not far from Dracula Castle. She began writing her debut novel at an early age, after obsessing over books about the mysteries of the world. When she’s not writing, she can be found wandering through the dense forests around his hometown. Currently she lives and writes in a house next to an old fortress, with her cat Lorena.
She published her first book, „Holographic Effect“, in 1985. Since then, she has published over thirty novels and volumes of stories, on some favorite topics: time travel paranormal, medieval times, the Viking Age, fantasy and science-fiction.