I had to laugh, it was hard not to. The women holding the gun to my face stood what could easily be eight inches below my own height. She also looked young. She hardly looked as though she could hold the Berretta straight, let alone shoot me in this dump of a shelter I’d holed up in.
My laughter was greeted with a scowl and a very effective pistol whip to my face. “Stop laughing asshole, gimme your pack.”
I mulled at my now loose molar with my tongue before handing the backpack over to her. She stood about three paces away from me but grabbed the pack by one strap and dragged it farther from me. She kept the pistol trained on me while she went down on one knee and rummaged through my pack. I could barely believe I was getting robbed by a five-foot gunslinger with pigtails. The shadows in the small one room building hid her well but in the last bits of the evening lights which poured in through grimy windows, I could see her frown.
“The hell is this? You new here?” She closed the pack again kicked it back at me, harder than was necessary. It landed squarely at my feet and I heard something inside break. I hoped to hell and back that it wasn’t the Nikon.
“Yeah. I’m new.” I replied. I could taste blood in my mouth now, most likely from the tooth.
“Should’ve guessed. You have that rookie look to you.” She put the pistol down to her side and no longer seemed as threatened. She still retained a certain look about her, like a snake uncoiled.
“Rookie look?” I didn’t move from my position against the wall.
“Like a dead man walking. You looked kinda… stupid. Naive.” She said it casually, without a hint on condescension as if stating what she knew for fact.
“Now wait a minute. I don’t think that’s fair, I’m actually-”
She interrupted. “You come here alone?” She lit a cigarette with a match and sat down on a crate behind her. She kept the Beretta out and her eye on me. I could see the red on the end of the cigarette periodically glow red hot, illuminating her scarred and weary face and then get dimmer, casting her into shadows again. It was like watching a ghost fading in and out of vision.
“Yes. I did. I figure I can handle myself.”
“What’s your kit?”
She seemed impatient with me now. “Your weapon, piece, gat, burner, gun, firearm. What do you shoot with?”
“Oh.” I stumbled, taking the revolver from it’s holster on my belt. I held it out, careful not to point it at her.
“Throw it here.”
“No.” I was not about to toss away my only weapon.
Her tone of voice changed, became more demanding. “Throw it here. If I wanted to shoot you I’d have done it already and skinned your corpse for a blanket.”
The threat sent a chill up and down my spine and I did not doubt that she would do it. She looked dead serious, her gray eyes simply stared at me, unblinking. I tossed the revolver. It flipped in the air but she caught it without effort and inspected it. She was clearly not pleased.
Her voice stayed at it’s impatient monotone. “What did you expect to accomplish with this? Six shots. Six. I’ve unloaded a full clip of my nine-mill into things that shrugged it off like I was flicking grains of sand at them. Not to mention it’s under-powered.” She flipped the gun to the other side and opened the cylinder. She spun it, stopped it and gently locked it back into place. “Pathetic.” She threw the revolver back at me.
She continued. “You didn’t even have the foresight to bring a guide. You here to get rich? Didn’t want to split the treasure with someone else, I bet.”
“That’s not it.”
“Then what is it? Don’t tell me your some macho idiot out here to prove yourself.” Outside, night had fallen completely now. The shack was completely in shadows now. It was almost impossible to see the woman now. She put out the cigarette. I could see nothing now.
It felt as though she was everywhere at once, lurking in the nearest shadow to murder me. I could almost feel her sneaking up on me, knife in hand. I felt the steel blade drag against my throat, cut my adams-apple and then rip to the bottom of my ear. The blood was warm against my chest, it’s flow quickened by my panic. It stained my flesh and clothes. I felt her spit on me and feel at the pockets of my vest, searching for valuables. The world went black.
“You stupid, boy?” Her abrupt voice broke me from the horrible vision. I was grateful for that though I still could not see her. Instinctively, my hand went to my throat briefly checking for cuts. The sense of foreboding was still thick in the room.
“I just… uh…” I couldn’t tell her about my vision. "I spaced out. Sorry."
"Spaced out, huh?" I heard her boots slam onto the ground. I guessed that she jumped down off the crate she was sitting on earlier. I heard her moving around more and pressed myself harder to the wall. A flash of light blinded me suddenly then lowered to the ground. I blinked away the spots in my vision and saw that she now held a flashlight in her right hand.
"Listen, I can't be hanging around with Rooks all day. I'm heading out. I suggest you wait 'til the morning though."
"Wait. You're going out though?" I asked her.
That same tone of voice. "I can handle anything out there. You can't. Stay inside and sleep lightly." She adjusted the navy-blue stocking cap she wore and then smiled to herself. She twisted the doorknob and opened the door a crack. She peered out then opened it wider. "Maybe I'll see you again, Rookie. Probably at your funeral." She left, closing the door behind her. Outside, I heard her move through the brush and junk before she left completely.