The front side of Mallory’s body felt uncomfortable as she crawled into a prone position. The only thing that separated her from the pebble-strewn ground was a thin mat. Downrange at approximately two-hundred yards were three silhouette targets constructed out of sheet metal and nailed to posts. They glinted brightly in the intense midday sun. The six rebels had driven in the Ford Explorer to an old rock quarry a good ten kilometers away from the cabin. The others looked on as Mallory concentrated through the scope of the 10/22. Her body was fidgety. She was very nervous. Mallory had fired off four shots, all of which had struck rocks or the ground close to the targets. She set the rifle down in frustration. Would she ever get it right? Jake kneeled beside her. Mallory removed her earplugs and looked up at him.
“Mallory, the key is to be completely relaxed. Take a few deep, controlled breaths. Shut everything else out of your mind and concentrate solely on hitting the target.”
“I’ll try,” Mallory replied a bit unenthusiastically. She focused the crosshairs on the middle silhouette. She aimed the 10/22 an inch below the target and fired.
The bullet smashing through metal gave off a shrill zinging sound.
“Do it again,” Jake said.
Mallory fired three more shots. Jake raised his binoculars. This time she had hit the middle silhouette in the stomach, solar plexus and neck.
“Not too bad. Not too bad at all.” Jake was impressed. “We might just make a fighter out of you yet. You have two bullets left. Try hitting the target on the right.”
“Here goes nothing,” Mallory said with confidence. She focused the crosshairs on the right silhouette and fired two shots.
Jake peered through the binoculars.
“Holy shit! Two in the heart!”
Jake looked over at Sarah Jane, whose facial expression clearly said; ‘No freaking way in Hell.’
“You have to learn eventually. No better time than the present.”
“Jake, what part of ‘I hate guns, war and bloodshed’ don’t you understand? Try all you want. You’re not going to compel me to change my convictions and principles.”