(Continued from Beth)
They had a clear view of what was happening from a copse of locusts and maples on a rise above the house. He gripped the rifle firmly at his waist and slid a shell into the chamber.
“Hundred fifty”, he said guessing the yardage.
“One seventy-five or eighty”, Chelsea answered; not second guessing him exactly. Just saying what she saw. After scanning the field, she looked at the gun, then at him. Then back to the gun.
“How good are you?” she asked.
“I can hit him.” He winced, hearing another swat strike Beth.
“Can you disarm him? Without killing him?”
He knew the rifle could make the shot.
“What’s the load?” she asked.
“180. Loaded them myself.”
“What the fuck are you people talking about?” Gennie asked in a stage whisper from behind them. She wasn’t sure which pissed her off more; not understanding their language, being told to “shush” or being completely ignored.
“Can you make the shot?” she asked again as calmly as if she had asked him for another cup of coffee. But this time, when she asked, her hands closed on the rifle next to his. For the second time his eyes searched hers, looking for something she wasn’t about to give up. But what he did see was enough for him to release his hold on the gun. She took it and smoothly wrapped the sling around her arm for stability and leaned against a tree. She was erect, her lines firm and unmoving.
“Careful-the trigger’s light.”
He watched her inhale and let it out. The paddle struck Beth again, with a brutal force.
“Don’t let him hit her again,” he hissed through clenched teeth.
She gave no indication of hearing him. Again, a breath. Then one more. She seemed to grow with the final deep inhalation then settle, as everything around her went silent. She heard her heartbeat, low and slow and felt him beside her seeing what she was seeing. She fluidly slipped her finger from the outside of the guard and watched through the scope until he raised the paddle to deliver another swat. She feathered the trigger.
Nothing changes reality faster or more finally than a gunshot. Below, Beth Barton’s reality was strong hands holding her over the table and the ground below swimming in a hazy veil of tears. She accepted the punishing torture of her captor stoically tasting the blood where she bit her lip to avoid crying out. Her torturer’s reality was the paddle and using it to get what he wanted. “TELL ME! TELL ME!” he cried becoming more and more desperate and swinging harder and faster. The party goers, trussed up on the ground helplessly looked away from Beth’s purple bottom; some fearing they’d be next, others embarrassed to look.
This shooter feels the shot more than hears it. For her, the “CRACK!” of the rifle pulls the momentary blanket of silence over the scene. But, only momentary, before mayhem, and all its attendant noise erupts. The rifle’s sharp report is joined with the yells from the patio as the paddle, shattered at its handle flies in pieces into the air. From the red mist she sees through the scope, Chelsea is pretty sure she’s taken a finger or two. Him jumping around screaming, grabbing his hand is proof.
Then the metallic “PLINK” as the bullet, barely deterred, finds its way into the gas tank of one of the motorcycles parked a little too close to the fire. The shiny splashes of gasoline showed clearly in his binoculars-suspended prettily- just before “WHUMP!” the bike exploded in a fireball and a breathless “JESUS FUCK!” from Gennie behind.
Gennie’s voice pulled him out of the scene through his binoculars and back to their little stand of trees. He knew Chelsea was watching the same tableau through the scope that he was seeing. What he hadn’t noticed was that she had calmly chambered another round and was choosing a target. It wasn’t hard to find one, the party guests, trussed up on the ground were easy to keep track of. Beth, released, had slipped down below the table she had been held over.
He lay his hand coolly on her forearm. At his touch, without looking, she pulled her finger from the trigger just as the hillside opposite them burst to life as six ATV’s with headlights and spotlights glaring came roaring down toward the patio and, from the right, line of SUV’s came down the driveway. One of those still standing below jumped on his motorcycle and kicked it to life. Wasn’t sure where he was going, but was going.
“Stop him”, was all he said. Chelsea’s tracked for a moment as the bike gained speed, then squeezed. Her shot was true, blowing the rear tire and laying them both-bike and rider-down, in a spinning skid back toward the barn.
He put his hand back on her arm and leaned close. “So, you are absolutely sure I can’t fuck you right?” his dick said through his mouth. She didn’t pull her eye from the scope, but he could see her smile.