I stood in the middle of my mom's section of the hotel room. My arms were crossed, and I was looking out the far wall. No, I don't have x-ray vision. The wall is made entirely out of glass, just like the wall to my right. Out both walls were cameras that moved back and forth. They were high tech stuff that one supergenius or another invented. I could see cameras hanging off of practically every surface that could hold them.
My sister was sitting in a chair facing me and the solid wall behind me. She was slumped down in the uncomfortable green chair. My sister had brown hair and eyes and freckles all over her face. She was wearing a gray t-shirt and teal sweatshorts.
My mom was sitting half on, half off the queen size bed eating her dinner. My sister and I had already eaten. Mom was picking at her food.
"So none of us have any idea why those people might be after us?" my mom asked again, for what had to be the millionth time.
"Those people are batshit crazy, Mom. They don't need a reason," I said, glaring at the cameras.
My sister sighed.
"Language," Mom chastised me absently. She didn't really care anymore. My language was the least of our worries.
Mom played with her food for a moment longer in the silence, and then she pushed it away. The bedspread, I noticed idly, was hideous.
"Any idea who they might be?" my mom asked.
My sister shook her head. Normally she was more vocal. Normally I wasn't so snarky. My mom seemed tired. This… whatever was going on couldn't last much longer. Something would break, and that something would be one of us, and then all three of us are doomed.
I couldn't hear the man in the other part of the room, but I knew he was still there. He hadn't said anything since he had been assigned by the police to guard us three days ago. I could tell he was still there because I hadn't heard the door open. We had all the locks set, so it would make noise.
"It has to be a supergenius," I said suddenly, and as I said it, I knew it to be true.
"What do you mean?" Mom asked. Viv, my sister, looked at me like I was crazy. The supergeniuses were closely watched because they some of the most powerful superpeople. With minimal effort, they could set the countries of the world against each other and set off all the nukes.
"Those cameras were designed by a supergenius. Everything the cops use was designed by one supergenius or another. It would take another supergenius to upset them. We should ask a superhero to give us a list of all the supergeniuses."
As soon as I finished speaking, two pistons in every single camera that I could see, rose up and down like shoulders trying to get loose. Then they shuddered to a complete stop and the blinking lights on them stopped blinking.
There was a short beat where everything seemed to freeze, and I couldn't catch my breath.
I turned and ran through the hotel room. Our black Labrador retriever was curled up on one of the double beds. The man that was supposed to be guarding us sat on the other. I ran for the bathroom, which was right next to the door into the room. The bathroom was small, and the door had problems getting past the toilet to shut. I didn't bother trying to shut the door, it would make too much noise and whatever was coming would know I was there. I crouched and hid in the farthest corner I could. I was between the door, the tub, and the toilet.
The dog padded up to me, wondering if I was okay. I grabbed her collar and made her sit on my lap. Everything seemed to be moving so slow… but I felt that I had no more time left.
I was out of time, and I couldn't get the lump in my throat to go away.
There was an explosion and the door splintered into pieces of all sizes and flew back into the room. Dust went up everywhere, but most of it stayed out of the bathroom. It made it hard to see what was going on in the doorway. The dog flinched and barked. I pulled her closer and shushed her. It was important that she not make a sound. The muscles in her legs were quivering, but I held her tight.
A man in black walked into the room as the dust was settling. He raised a gun in his right hand and fired into the walls from left to right. Our neighbors panicked. They shouted at each other. They screamed in fear. They yelled out how many shots they thought had been fired. I heard a female voice under all of the noise that sounded like it was answering questions from a 911 operator.
The only thing I could think, as I clutched the dog tighter, was that those bullets were going to go right through the walls to shoot the neighbors. The walls here weren't much – they were very thin.
I could only see the man. He stood in front of the bathroom door, but for some reason, I knew that Viv has straightened up in her chair, but hadn't gotten out of it yet, and that her eyes were as wide as they could go. I knew that my mom was sitting on the floor between the bed and the wall and in front of the nightstand.
The man with the gun started shouting about how someone owed him something and how someone wasn't right – how someone was lying and different from how they should really be.
Then he fired his gun again. And I knew – the same way I knew what Viv and my mom were doing – that he had just shot the police guy that was supposed to be guarding us, and just as quickly, I knew that my family wasn't the target. That man was. There was a wet thunk and I heard something make a sickening crack-ing noise. I closed my eyes and did my best to pretend that I had no idea what the noise was from, even though I knew exactly why that noise had been made.
"You should be black instead of white," the lunatic screamed. And even with all the stuff I knew about what was going on, I had no friggin' idea what that meant.
The crazy, gun-toting loony started looking around the room. Then he asked, "Where's the dog?"
For some reason, I'm able to answer, and even stranger, I do answer. "The dog's in here," I said.
"Ahh," the crazy guy said, and them he smiled at me, like I'm his friend or something. Then he raised the gun and fired it before I have a chance to process what was going on. My dog got shot in the ribcage, and I started crying, because my dog's just been hurt and because I know that my dog isn't going to make it.
My dog's going to die.
"Oh, don't worry," the lunatic says, "I don't think she'll die. Do you think she'll die?"
Then my smartass personality comes through. I look at the wound in her side. It's bleeding like mad. "I don't know," I snapped through my tears, "I'm a student, not a doctor." I pressed my hands to her side, trying to stop the bleeding without pressing so hard that I cause her more pain.
The man laughed, and then he left.
There's a man bleeding in the other part of the room, and I knew that I should go over and try to help him. But with that eerie certainness I had about my dog dying, I know that the man was already dead. So I didn't move to help him. I make my dog more comfortable on the hard tile floor. She's whimpering and she's not moving and that's not like her because she's always moving. She never sits still for long even if she's sleeping because she's a really light sleeper.
Everything is really quiet now. I don't know what the rest of my family is doing any more, and my tears are coming like Niagara Falls. I don't hear the neighbors, but a couple of TVs are still on from before the shooting started. I hear a couple of sirens in the distance. They're too far away, and I doubt that they have a veterinarian on hand.
So I was right. My dog is going to die, and I can only pet her cheek with my bloody hand and tell her that it's going to be okay. That everything is going to be okay, that she'll be up and chasing birds and raccoons and bunnies in no time.
The sirens get insufferably loud by the time Mom and Viv come over, and my dog's breathing was becoming less labored, and I couldn't help but think that was a bad thing. Viv is shaking with sobs and clinging to Mom. My dog gives a shuddering sigh, and then doesn't breathe again.
Not once did a superhero come to save me.