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|This is really more of just a scene. Its the event that precipitates 'Showdown.'||
Jack felt the bullet pass through his trench coat. It plucked at his shirt as it buzzed past his ribs. The whirling chunk of copper-coated lead sped past him and slammed into Jennifer’s back, just left of her spine.
The impact knocked her off her feet. She spun around to face him as she fell. Her face was a white mask of shock and fear. The front of her shirt was already turning bright red around the bullet’s exit hole. She hit the rain-softened ground and bounced once as Jack stumbled and slumped next to her.
Jack turned back towards the drainage tunnel they had just sprinted out of. Standing on the roadway above it was the shooter. Jack couldn’t see much more than a general man shape with a gun. He didn’t need to see anything more. He raised his own weapon.
The man’s second shot tore the hat from Jack’s head, drawing a bloody line across his scalp. He didn’t get to fire a third.
Jack’s first bullet destroyed the man’s gun while his second and third went wide. His fourth shot was rewarded with a spray of red as the man went down. Jack fired the last three rounds in the little automatic at the body before tossing the gun away. Jennifer clutched at his other hand.
“You’re bleeding,” she said, reaching up and touching his face. Blood from his scalp ran down his cheek and over her fingers.
“The hospital’s right there. It’s just a few steps away. You’ll be alright once I get you there,” Jack whispered.
“It doesn’t hurt.”
“I can carry you. The ER is on this side of the building. It’ll only take a minute to get you there.”
Jennifer coughed, wincing as the spasms wracked her body. “Jack, I won’t make it that far. You know that.”
“Don’t say that. You’re going to be alright.” He reached down and lifted her shoulders. “I just have to carry you across the parking lot,” he said, glancing up at the beige building, less than 150 meters away. If not for the weather, there would be people sitting at the picnic table for him to scream at for help.
“I love you.”
He looked down at her. A thin trickle of blood oozed from the corner of her mouth and down her chin. Her face was gravely pale and her eyes were beginning to loose their focus.
“I’m sorry things didn’t work out this time. They will in our next lives, Jack. I promise.”
“No,” he said, shaking his head. “They’re going to work this time.” He put his hand on her chest, over the wound. Her shirt was warm and he could feel her life flowing over his hand in irregular pulses.
Reaching into her with his chi, he could feel the cavern blasted though her. The bullet had ripped across the bottom of her heart. He focused most of his energy on pulling her body together, closing the hole. With the rest, he sought for her chi.
“Next time,” she said, smiling at him. “Next time.” Her head slumped against his arm as her chi slipped away from his, dissipating. Jack removed his hand, he’d sealed the wound, but it was too late. He held her body to his chest and stroked her hair as the tears began to flow.
The Ubume's Gift
|The Unlucky Thief|
|The Invaders||The Visitor|