Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Forty-Eight Bullets

I don’t miss. Every time I pull the trigger, I hit what I’m trying to hit and kill what I’m supposed to kill. It’s not an exaggeration, it’s not some incredible skill I learned, and it’s not physically possible; but I don’t miss. It’s a fact of nature. The sun will rise in the morning and set in the evening, you and everyone you know will die some day, and I don’t miss. It’s how I was born.

This is something I figured out on my sixteenth birthday, but it feels like I’ve known my whole life. On my birthday a man stopped at my foster parents’ door. He was a real big guy, bald too and nameless. Never told me a name, never will. I just call him Nameless. Nameless told me he knew my dad; that he was his boss, before he passed. Said he knew my mom too, maybe knew where she was.

He was upfront when he told me my father was a professional killer. He said it in the same manner most people talk about the weather. It took me a while to realize he wasn’t joking, but once I did I didn’t take it too personal. We all have to make a living some how, and it sure explained a lot. Nameless was surprised to see that I kept so calm. I always keep calm. He took me to the backyard and asked if I’d ever fired a gun. I told him I hadn’t, but he handed me one anyway. It felt natural in my hand, like it was supposed to be there. Nameless got a birdcage from his car and opened the door. A pigeon flew out and flew out fast. Nameless looked me in the eyes and that look said it all. I was about to protest when I felt a jolt through my body. I had fired the gun; my hands knew what to do even if my brain didn’t. The pigeon was two hundred feet away when it fell to the ground. Nameless told me I was just like my father.

Now I’m twenty-three. I’ve grown a beard, I live by myself and I work for Nameless. I’ve killed forty-seven people. I’ve fired forty-seven bullets. These people are the people I know best. My uncanny accuracy isn’t the only thing unique about me. Before someone dies I get a vision. I see their future, well the one they would’ve had. I see marriages and funerals. I see drug dealers over-dosing and criminals doing hard time. I see a man’s marriage crumble. I know the name of the doctor who would diagnose him with cancer. I see fathers teaching sons how to ride a bike and mothers showing daughters how to put on makeup. I see lonely people getting less lonely and old people feeling alive once more. I see what I’m taking away from them.

That’s always the hardest part. Sometimes I think about not pulling the trigger, sometimes I think about pulling it on myself. Nameless says he would kill my mom. I haven’t seen her since I was eight. Nameless has. After each kill he tells me more about her, shows me pictures of her new family. She looks happy. Maybe one day he’ll tell me where she is. Maybe I won’t want to see her if he does. I wouldn’t want to hurt her or bring back memories.

I’m lying on a roof across the street from a video store. The shift manager there is the lead suspect in a murder case, a brutal one. The girl was only seven. Her uncle is paying a lot to have the bastard dead. This is a man who deserves to die. I won’t stay up late at night thinking about him. He’s inside and my sources say a police squad will be here soon. He doesn’t know they’re on to him. He would go to jail for the rest of his life, if I didn’t get to him first. Six cop cars pull up and surround the building. A mustached officer tells everyone to leave the scene. It’s in the chaos this creates that I see my guy. I point the barrel in his direction and as I’m about to shoot I see his future. I hate this part.

The man’s name is Robert Perkins. He is a father. He is innocent. I see him going to court. And I see him being proven innocent after a year in jail. I see the money the government gives him as compensation for his false arrest. This money would pay for the surgery that saves his daughter’s life. If I kill him, she will die as well. I cannot kill Robert Perkins.

I call Nameless and speak with a whisper, I explain the situation and he’s furious. He tells me where he is: it’s my mother’s house. He sends me a picture of her on the other side of a window. She’s making dinner and smiling. He makes me a bargain; says that I don’t need to murder him, just try my best. It’s a cruel joke because he knows I kill every shot. I cannot be responsible for my mother’s death. I must kill Robert Perkins.

I hang up. Robert is still here but he’s handcuffed. Damn, I was hoping he’d be gone. For once I can’t keep calm. I start to cry. Here I am a full-grown man lying on a rooftop with an M40 sniper rifle bawling like a child.


I look at the man. I have a clear shot. I don’t need one. My finger stings as it touches the cold trigger. I feel like I’m going to throw up. I whisper an apology as I determine his fate. Reluctantly I fire. Then something beautiful happens. I miss.



Join the Discussion


This article has 1 comment. Post your own!

BookNerd35 said...
May 30, 2013 at 8:53 pm:
Good! I like this kind of writing so I have no complaints.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback