A short story by Kelly Darnell
The gunshot echoed in my eardrums. It took several moments before I realized that I held the pistol in my hands. Though my palms were sweating, a chill ran through my body, icy tendrils of panic rising within me.
If I was holding the gun, then I must have fired the shot. And ruined my life.
I dropped the gun as though it had suddenly become scalding hot. The presence of fingerprints was irrelevant; I was the only one around with motive. I might as well leave them their evidence.
My eyes scanned the room, absorbing every detail of the home I hadn’t seen in five years. Now, I didn’t have much choice but to leave. So I climbed out of the window and sprinted to the highway. The running kept my mind occupied for a while as I put as much distance as possible between myself and those who would soon begin to hunt me down. One foot in front of the other, over and over again.
I didn’t have the energy left to run, so I just walked. Up and down the streets of the city, shoppers and citizens unaware of the killer in their midst.
My lungs began to burn, so I slowed my pace. Looking down, I saw a smear of blood on the sleeve of my jacket. Strange, I didn’t remember touching the body. I rolled the fabric upon itself, covering the stain. But the memory remained, carved in stone.
Cars whizzed by on my left, oblivious to my presence in the tall grass that grew alongside the pavement. The wind propelled by their high speeds blew my sandy blonde hair from my face, exposing every feature. Mouth set in a thin line. Eyes staring stoically ahead.
I froze when the sound of sirens began, coming steadily closer. They were coming for me. I turned, looking to the road as the cop car came to a screeching halt beside where I stood.
“Miss?” the officer called questioningly. He didn’t cuff me or throw me roughly against the side of the vehicle. I swallowed, confused.
“You alright? Need a ride somewhere?”
He didn’t know. The cop didn’t know. I took a few steps forward and peered down at him. He looked back at me expectantly. I just nodded and climbed into the back of the car. The irony that this was exactly where I belonged wasn’t lost on me.
“Where you headed?” he asked as he pulled back onto the highway. It was a good question.
“Hudson,” I replied without really considering it. At least it would get me over the border.
“Not running from something, are we?” he questioned.
“Just myself,” I half whispered under my breath, but he didn’t hear. “No,” I said louder.
The rest of the drive was spent in silence. I had chewed all the nails on my right hand down to almost nothing by the time we crossed into Wisconsin. The cop dropped me off in front of the bar where I told him I was meeting someone. He drove off, and I began walking away from the bar the moment he was out of sight.
I didn’t have the energy left to run, so I just walked. Up and down the streets of the city, shoppers and citizens unaware of the killer in their midst. The sun began to set, casting an eerie orange glow over the pavement. Still, I walked on. It grew cold, and I tried unsuccessfully to stop the tremors of my exposed limbs.
I turned yet another corner, and noticed two men dressed in white traveling down the street behind me. They looked so…familiar. I picked up my pace, but they matched my speed. I went around three more corners, but with every turn they grew steadily closer. I could feel my heart beating in my chest. They were close enough now so that I could almost feel their hot breaths down my back.
I surged forward, fear overturning my exhaustion. But they must have been expecting that. The one on the left was too fast and he grabbed my arm, his hand gripping my flesh like an iron clamp. The second man in white reached into his pocket and withdrew a long syringe. I struggled, unable to cry out.
“It’s alright, we’re here to take you home,” the one holding me whispered gently. I moaned as the needle was plunged into my bicep.
It all started to come back as the drugs ran through my veins like venom. The white men, the white rooms. But that wasn’t home.
Home was another place. Home, I had destroyed.
About the author…
Kelly Darnell grew up in Coon Rapids, Minn., and hasn’t strayed from the Twin Cities suburbs in her 17 years. Kelly was home-schooled until starting PSEO at Inver Hills in fall semester 2013. When she finishes her A.A. degree, she plans on transferring to a four-year college to complete her bachelor’s degree in creative writing and communication. Writing has been Kelly’s passion for as long as she can remember—and she would love to turn writing into a career.
“But most of all, I want to make a difference in this world through the words I say,” she added, “for the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.”
When she’s not writing stories or blogging, Kelly Darnell enjoy spending time with friends, watching Doctor Who and reading.