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It was a dark room—whether it was day or night. The dark cherry wood, the soft leather, and the mahogany red of the plush carpet contributed to the warm, cozy atmosphere brought on by the roaring fireplace that fought the February air.
The contrasting image was the 38mm Smith & Wesson revolver being pointed at a tall, handsome blonde-haired man in his late forties and the arm of a young brunette man in his early twenties that was attached to the gun.
Beads of sweat glistened with the light of the fire on Christian’s forehead, but his hand didn’t shake and his aim didn’t waver for one second. Wesley, on the other hand, was trying to maintain his cold, impassive expression, but his hands quivered almost imperceptibly as he held them at his sides.
“Chris, this isn’t necessary,” he reasoned calmly. “Let’s just talk this out. Put the gun down.”
“No, I’ve had enough of you, Wes—enough of your talking, your lies,” Christian hissed through his gritted teeth. Anger made his voice sound like a whisper in the breeze. But there was no breeze in this room—only the ragged breaths of two people and the crackle of the fire.
I kept myself from beaming with pride at Christian. He’d come so far.
This was it—his one shot to be the man he wanted to be. This was his one chance to do what he’s been eating himself up about. This was the one shot to avenge his father.
“You really wanna go down this road, son?” Wesley persisted, as if trying to stall for time.
There was nothing to stall for—no one was coming. But I guess it must be some sort of defense mechanism: if you’re held at gunpoint, talk and stall.
But in his attempt to keep living a few seconds more, Wesley made a mistake.
“DON’T CALL ME THAT!” Christian roared. “I am not your son!”
Wesley flinched, and Christian took another step forward.
“Do it,” I urged Christian again in a soft whisper in his ear.
Wesley’s eyes slid over to where I stood at Christian’s shoulder. He glared at me and growled, “You’re gonna listen to this girl, Chris?! She’s a lunatic!”
I scoffed. “Yes, this coming from the man who bludgeoned someone to death and blamed it on his alleged multiple-personality disorder. Brilliant, Wes. I guess it does take one to know one. Christian, shoot him!”
“Why are you even here, Nadya?!” Wesley demanded as he tried to mask his panic with fury.
Yep, it’s stalling.
I wasn’t going to lie. I wasn’t going to give him a heart-wrenching story of vengeance and retribution like Christian’s. What little morals I had left necessitated the fact that people who are on the brink of death should only be told the truth.
For some people it was a good thing—to know the truth as a moment of peace.
But for others…it just makes them want to die even faster.
“I just want to see you die,” I answered simply. “Not because I hate you or have anything against you at all.”
Christian had asked me why I was helping him, and I’d answered, “Why not?”
Hope that gives you a little bit more insight about how my mind works.
“You’re insane,” Wesley whispered breathlessly.
I shrugged. “I prefer to think of myself as ‘functioning on a different brain level’, but you can call me that too. Okay, enough chit-chat. Christian, it’s time to end this.”
I grinned as he cocked the gun with his thumb and almost squealed happily when I saw pure, unadulterated fear explode through Wesley’s dark brown eyes and blossom all over his face.
But then it happened: the bane of my existence.
I hate hesitation.
It’s that moment when the human conscience slips in and makes you think twice about what you’re doing—the future consequences of present actions. Hesitation is for cowards, and the boy holding the gun was just another one of those feeble minds who don’t know when it’s time to man up and pull the trigger.
“I wanna hear the truth!” Christian barked. “I wanna hear you say it.”
“W-What do you want me to say?!” Wesley cried.
“YOU KNOW! DON’T PLAY STUPID!”
I rolled my eyes. Humanity’s search for truth is only a disappointment waiting to happen. Truth really is overrated. I should have told Christian that before tonight. Oh, well, a mistake that won’t happen again in the future.
“SAY IT!” Christian bellowed, taking another step forward.
“All right! All—”
“SAY IT!” Christian screamed one last time.
“I KILLED HIM!” Wesley yelled back. His eyes actually began to water with tears. Pathetic little toad. “I KILLED HIM, ALL RIGHT?! DON’T SHOOT!”
“Now it’s your turn to kill him, Christian! PULL THE TRIGGER!” I ordered impatiently.
His second hesitation cost him.
I wrenched the gun out of his hands, slammed the butt into his temple, and he went down like a rock. I turned, aimed, and squeezed the trigger at Wesley.
But the shot rang out too early. I didn’t feel explosion or the recoil.
I only felt a chill.
I stared at the gun for a second, and then looked back up at Wesley. He was still standing.
The chill spread across my chest, but the coldest area was over my left side. I looked down and saw dark red blood burgeoning all over my torso.
Did the bullet somehow shoot from the back of the gun and hit me?
I looked up again and this time I saw black eyes staring back at me—blue eyes and the smoking barrel of a Glock.
“Connor…?” I gasped, dropping the revolver onto the carpet with a gentle thud.
Connor. Christian’s best friend. The angel to Christian’s bad boy image. The man who spent the last few months trying to convince me that life really is worth living just took mine away. The man I thought actually cared about me. He stood at the doorway and shot me.
I dropped to my knees because I could no longer feel my legs. In that same moment, he lowered the Glock. He rushed over and caught me before I did a face-plant into the carpet. He turned me over and held me in his arms.
I tried to lift my hands to touch his strawberry blonde hair again, but…it didn’t happen. My arms didn’t respond to my brain’s commands anymore. The cold was spreading all over, and black blurred around my vision.
“I told you…” Connor whispered quietly, his face contorted with pain.
I tried to frown at him, but the cold sapped all of my energy so that I couldn’t even make a facial expression.
“You brought me to this…” he said thickly. He was about to cry… Connor was about to cry.
My vision began to fade as cold tendrils snaked up my neck, brushing my face.
He brushed my face tenderly, and the warmth in his fingertips banished the cold from my cheeks temporarily.
“I loved you, Nadya, but you just didn’t care, did you?” he choked out as one tear slid down and dropped onto my cheek.
I looked up at him as the darkness began to settle in.
With my last breath, I gave him my three last words.
And the cold blackness enveloped me.