Chapter 25: C=Cindy G=Gum
On Thursday night, Mike walked home from a movie he had seen by hiMs..elf. He’d felt he needed to be alone for a while. As he headed down Gibbard Avenue, he noticed someone up ahead. The figure was bent over and as Mike got closer, he could make out who it was: Bradley. His back was facing Mike and he was holding up a gleaming object. From the silhouette of the street lamp above him, Mike could see that it was a serrated kitchen knife and Bradley was holding it up to Cindy’s neck!
“Stop squirming!” Bradley hissed in Cindy’s ear. “Or I’ll cut you to pieces.” The two were just a few houses away from Cindy’s and Mike had no idea what to do; he was frozen in fear. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t speak, and he couldn’t breathe for 20 seconds. He just stood there in horror. Then something caught his attention, something black was lying on the ground. He picked it up. He couldn’t believe what he was holding: it was a handgun. It felt cold in his hands and he stared at the weapon as if it were gushing blood. Bradley must have dropped this, he thought. That’s why he’s using a knife.
Mike looked at the gun again. He had to make a decision. Cindy was in danger and he assumed Bradley was drunk and not thinking about his actions. Bradley’s depression had brought on the drinking, which could then lead to Cindy’s murder. Could a drunk though, actually kill? Mike wasn’t so sure. He thought that Bradley would be too cluMs..y to strike his target. Still, he couldn’t risk that chance. Bradley had caused so much pain to him. The only smart thing was to give the pain back. He stared at Bradley’s back again. The bully had no idea who was behind him. Mike had never held a gun before, let alone fire one; would he be able to pull it off? What would happen if he missed and hit Cindy? He could point the gun into Bradley’s back and threaten to shoot. He felt he was the more dangerous threat. But what if Bradley ignored him and just pushed him away? Could he pull the trigger? Too many thoughts were racing through Mike’s head. He needed to focus. He couldn’t waste any more time. He had to take action now. If he shot Cindy, he would know at least he’d tried to save her. He made a choice. He aimed the pistol at Bradley’s back with two hands to help control the aftershock and he cocked the pistol, like he had seen characters do in the movies. The sound resonated off Bradley’s eardruMs.. and he turned around. But it was too late. Mike had already fired.
There was a bang like a sonic boom, two yelps of pain as Bradley fell down, and then a crash. Cindy pushed the bully’s arm off her and escaped from his grasp. She was just in time before his heavy body crumpled to the ground with the knife still in his hand. Cindy looked at the body on the sidewalk and then at Mike who was also lying on the sidewalk, but from the impact of the gun. The gun was flung off from the sudden jolt far behind him. But before Cindy could say anything, Mike scrambled to his feet and dashed off.
Cindy stared at Mike running away. She was surprised that Mike’s cluMs..y fingers had aimed correctly and that he would even try such a thing. She was about to run after him when she remembered her baby-sitting duties. She was already late and the house was right in front of her. She went inside and dialled, 9, 1, 1.
The two little boys, she baby-sat for, didn’t even hear her come in. Their eyes were pressed to the television screen in the living room. When the operator picked up the phone she transferred Cindy to the 911 dispatcher, Cindy gave her name, street address, and the situation. The dispatcher proceeded to ask her a series of questions, which Cindy answered quickly. She didn’t mention Mike in any of her answers.
Hurried feet thumped the pavement repeatedly. Mike was still in a shock. He had the scene clearly etched in his memory. And the moment he pulled the trigger, he knew he had chosen a different life. He had harmed someone using a weapon even if it was to protect Cindy. He knew it was wrong; it was the worst thing he’d ever done. So he ran, not knowing where to go. All he knew was that he had caused so much damage in the past few months that he didn’t belong here. He deserved a punishing life, a life where he lived alone, scavenging on the streets to the point where he’d starve to death. This is the life he chose and it had already begun.