Unleashing Sin - A. M. Wilson
The buffoon at the door holds it open and ushers us inside with a sweeping gesture of his arm. Elias steps forward, gives the man a short nod, and disappears into the inky blackness beyond. I move at a slower pace, taking a good look at the face of the man before me, studying him and committing it to memory. He responds with a hard stare of his own and a lift of his chin, which I reciprocate impatiently. With an irritated jerk of his head to the left, he says, “That way, please.”
I lumber inside. The door closes behind us with a foreboding silence.
Two armed men sweep forward with high-powered assault rifles raised in our faces. I brace against the pounding in my chest and raise my arms in compliance, locking down the look of hatred I feel, as Elias does the same.
The man who welcomed us inside steps forward with a greasy smile.
“Just a little weapons search, boys. Protocol. Nothing to be afraid of.”
I stare into his cold eyes as he stands in wait while the armed men pat us down. Unnecessary as we were told the rules before we arrived, and we all came unarmed. It was our only option if we wanted to get inside. Stupid and reckless and too damned trusting for our own good, but the older men in our unit were steadily against trying to sneak a gun inside.
When the two brutes with the guns step back and give the okay to who I’m assuming is their boss, he claps his hand together gleefully. Elias and I drop our arms to our sides. “Perfect. I can take you to view the merchandise.”
My stomach churns. Other voices interrupt my growing repugnance of his words, and Elias and I turn toward the sound. Instinctively, I reach for my gun, but when I remember we’d been searched and left our weapons at home, my hand falls limply to my side.
Across the open space, Richard emerges from the doorway along the left wall. Our eyes lock, and as I catch a glimpse of the sadness in his, my pulse speeds up.
My old man plods out behind Richard, wearing his good ole boy smile, but I can see it in his eyes. He’s keeping up appearances with a last shred of hope that we’ll all make it out alive, but the gig is up.
It should’ve been me in that room. I demanded to go first, just me alone, but his stubborn ass talked me out of it. He said we’d make better backup, but I don’t know why the fuck I listened to him.
The boss looks back and forth between Richard and me with curiosity as he runs a finger across papery lips. I avoid looking at my father and Richard with recognition, and instead, I maintain an inquisitiveness of my own. One customer studying another, despite the fact my pulse races in my fingertips.
Richard crosses the open space and is halfway to freedom when the first shot rings out. The heat from the bullet whizzes past my ear and embeds in the door at my back with a crack. The wood splinters and explodes with the impact, sending fragments into the air. Chaos ensues as everyone moves at once.
Elias returns fire with a small pistol he pulled out of who knows where, but his forethought gives us a fighting chance in this fucking mess. With my best friend at my back, I make a break for the two older men. In a few long strides, I reach Richard, grasp onto his shoulder, and fling him behind me in the general direction of the door, praying like fuck the old man can retain his balance. With Elias providing cover, I hope he makes it outside. Without a second to see where Richard lands, I look up to find my father just as it happens.
So fucking close.
Close enough to see the life flash in his eyes. Close enough to witness every second as a bullet tears through his skull. Close enough for the front of his head to explode all over me.
Close enough to wish the bullet had moved an inch and hit me instead.
There is nothing I can do as his lifeless body drops to the floor. If it makes a sound, I can’t hear it through the roaring cacophony in my ears.
As I turn from my father’s corpse, the only people I see are Elias and Richard, and the two beefed-up guards lifeless on the floor.