The Gun In Her Left Hand
by Alison T. Bond
Was it Saturday? She couldn’t remember. She never was good at time. It kept defeating her throughout her life, darting back and forth, never standing still just in case he caught up with her. The man with the gun. The man who was going to kill her. It didn’t matter what time she jumped into, he followed. She covered her tracks as best she could, but there is always a trail left when you split your own life into segments and then jumble them up. The first time it happened she was only six, or thereabouts. Too small to defend herself, she took the only other option available to her. She ran. Ran from the man with the gun. The man who had slaughtered her father, her mother, snapping them into pieces with bullets. She had heard them begging. He fractured her family, shattered them and it shattered her. Parts of who she was, parts of who she had been and the woman she would become, all cascading into the night sky, tiny atoms firing off into the atmosphere, looking for a home, somewhere she could become whole again. And as yet the atoms were still looking. • And he was still looking. His task was his one obsession, living and breathing the kill, the kill he couldn’t see. That’s why she had to die, because he couldn’t see her end, the piece of the puzzle still to find. Find her at the last and he could stop everything, make everything the way it should be, the way the master had told him was in his future, if he killed the girl. • She had been born in Yorkshire, in a small house near the river. The Ouse, the brown clay wash, snaking its way through the flat-lands; over the years, threatening the homesteads along the way with the destruction of flooding. No one ever really got used to that. But in the dry months, the uninterrupted views across the arable land, vast fields of rapeseed blooms heavily scenting the air, bees buzzing and butterflies wafting gently across the vegetation, she had thought it heaven. At any age, still heaven. But then he came and heaven was torn from her. • He had always been able to see every angle: the ones who would lie their way out if they could, the ones who gibbered with fear. The fear was a huge turn-on for him; that’s the payment, that’s the reason, that’s the gain. That pleasure he felt when he showed them the gun. He made sure he never took anyone by surprise; that would never do. They had to feel 2
the fear, to really shake with fear so he could tremble with the thrill of it. Better than sex. But then she came and the thrill was torn from him. • She knew she had to survive for some other reason than just being alive. Why? The special child toddling along on reins held tightly by the woman with the red lipstick and high heels. The wife of the man with the sharp suit and a job in the city. Very important people. Not from round these parts. Something wrong with them. Something different. The child... something different about the child. She had no idea, no clues. No one ever told her why she was special. They had just treat her differently to all the other children in the village. Crossing the road to avoid conversation, trying to avoid eye contact whenever possible, hushed voices huddled in shop doorways. But then he came and the village was never the same again. • They all heard the shots ringing in the darkness of the night. Not a clear night; cloud cover, no moonlight to aid vision, not one person saw anything in a village of curtain twitchers; not one witness. So she ran, ran from the man with the gun, and he ran, ran after the little girl, so small she could hardly run at all. She had to be erased so the war could begin, the one where his master would win and all the world would bow down to him. But then she was gone and he realised why she was special and why she had to die. • She didn’t know where she was. It was dark and cold, silent. Nothing was right with this place; it wasn’t home. She had been running, running from whom? The man, the man with the gun. That’s it, keep running, he’s coming, not far behind, running through her mind ‘he’s going to kill me’. No, not now, can’t kill her now, not old enough, not travelled far enough. Got to find the atoms. Got to find herself, all of her to put back together. She was twenty, perhaps. She felt like a woman but not far from the child who ran away. She had stayed there awhile, found herself a life. She knew she had to find ‘The Light’ before the man with the gun found her. 3
He wanted to kill her so The Light would go to the master. How did she know this? Because an older version of herself was talking to her through time. Run from the man... find The Light... run headlong into The Light. But then she fell in love and the man with the gun found her. • He nearly had her that time. She was getting tired, homesick, missing her newly dead parents, missing them since they were killed a thousand years ago. She was weary and she had a fatal flaw inside her. She had the ability to love. Weakness. He could smell the weakness in her. She left a taste in her wake as she hopped through her lifeline. A taste he hated, couldn’t get off on. He only needed to find the one who caused her to be weak. Go back. Back in time. Kill the lover in front of her eyes. Smash her heart to pieces so she would be glad to find death. But then he found the lover, who jumped through time and was gone from him. • She knew he was coming and her lover was in danger. She could not let the father of her child die, couldn’t let him go, no matter what the price. In her ability to love, as the product of love grew inside her, so too grew her ability to run, taking with her the ones she loved. The more she loved, the more atoms of her existence found her, found her to be the home they had been searching for. The smell of rapeseed flowering became stronger. The glow of the yellow blooms brimming in her mind. So she hid the one she loved in the field of gold. But then he found her and the gun went off. • It caught her in the right shoulder, the first bullet. Searing heat blew her collarbone into two pieces. He just couldn’t believe he’d missed. He had had her on her knees. He had had her in the cross-hairs of his mind. He had been desperate for her to die. The thrill it would give him. But there had been no thrill. He was shocked at that, he’d counted on fear being the pinnacle of the event, that rush which would give him more pleasure than he could have imagined. But he still couldn’t see her end, the last piece of the puzzle, no matter how many times he pulled the trigger. Firing again and again, now almost in blind panic. The bullets caught her yet not one was fatal, not one hit home. 4
Her heart and her head were still intact. No fear. Absolutely no fear from the girl. It made him feel impotent and angry, more anger welling in him than he had ever felt before. The war could never be started without her death, so the war could not be won. The master would punish him. She had to die. He threw the gun at her in a torrent of rage and then flew at her, reaching for her throat with his bare hands. • The field of gold was splashed with red. He had got it all wrong. • He had missed. He knew now why he had never been able to see her end, as the price he paid for his failure was his own death. The girl, the child who had been different from the moment she was born, the child who had watched her parents slaughtered, the child who had run away through time, blew him apart with his own gun. As the lifeforce ebbed from him, he saw there was a gathering around him, like images from a fairground hall of mirrors, of the swaddling baby, of the child, of the girl, the adolescent, the woman and of the old lady, every possible varied stage of her life. All the atoms of the very same person flooding around him, glowing and swirling, as the girl of the moment with the shattered right shoulder still held the smoking gun in her left hand. • He was dying and the war was over before it started. • All the shards of her life came together, giving her strength and fused, causing a bright light that lit up all the corners of the world, of the hearts and minds of mankind. The universe expanded at The Light and then contracted. And the cycle began again as it always did, because by running into herself she had found The Light and destroyed The Dark in the field of gold. • But remember, as time continues, that darkness always strives to follow the light.
ÂŠ Alison T. Bond 2013 email: firstname.lastname@example.org twitter/instagram: @AlisonTBond