By Jenny K Brennan
Part 3 of 3
Includes violence and a shitload of bad words. Be warned.
The ring was thick, hard, and would not open. It pulled at the skin around the scarred knot and tore through flesh and Kris howled , by instinct pulling away and off Denny, and that’s when the ring opened and ripped free in a gush of fresh blood. Forgetting the weapon, Kris rushed to her feet, turned and kicked. Denny rolled away but Kris followed, kicking without aim, at her back, head, anywhere. She had one hand clutched at her bleeding stomach and was unable to aim so she turned and staggered a few steps, stopped several meters from Denny, ragged stuttering breathing slowed, turned shallow and regular, almost inaudible, as she took back a bit of control over muscles and purpose.
She turned, raised the trembling gun and pulled the trigger.
Denny rolled away from the viscious but ineffectual kicks and the ground fell away from beneath her . She scrambled and twisted, stopped falling. Hainging over the edge of the platform with both legs and the lower diagonal of her ass, she stayed for only a second. Glaring adverts looked down at her sprawling agony with bright smiles and suggestive promises. “promotional text for life insurance here.”
. body burned. She couldn’t move. The agony was exquisite, so sharp her stomach turned. Even her shallow breathing spiked the pain for each inhale. She forced herself to lie still, but she knew she had to move. Sounds of steps moved away from her, but not far. They stopped. Other steps moved in another direction, hurried, shuffling. She looked towards the sound. She caught a blurry glimpse of a cowering shape as it moved out of sight up the stairs. The old drunk had made his escape in the momentary stillness. She closed her eyes. Thanks for the fucking help asshole. The thought was bitter, the light too sharp to be stopped by her eyelids, the tile cold and hard, slick with patches of blood. She squeezed her eyes hard but opened them wide as the danger hit her. Where was she?
She fought against a new assault of pain from her back. A wave of nausea burned its way through her body and she broke out in cold sweat.
She had to move. But everything was quiet, or drowned out by hissing air, her own pounding heart. She couldn’t hear her. Where the hell was she? The pain was fading though. Just a bit. She lay on her side and she could see the floor stretching out before her until it ended abruptly. The tracks. Where was the other track? She heard a sound, a step? A breath? A laugh? Denny didn’t think, she rolled away from the kick she knew with absolute certainty would come. It didn’t. The ground fell away from under her. She had rolled onto the very edge of the station platform and one leg was now hanging in mid air, pulling at the rest of her, twisting her back. The pain exploded anew as her spine turned and stretched. She scrambled and clawed at the floor in panic. She turned her upper body to get back on the platform, on the safe surface. It all happened in an instant and the surge of adrenalin and pure panic made her move. She got her leg away from the edge and rolled panting and groaning onto her stomach. Just as the momentum caused her head to drop down on the cold tile, something whistled in her ear and a sharp crack echoed in the large space. She felt a fresh stream of blood run down her face and she raised a hand to the wet warmth as she stared at the shattered tile just centimeters from her face. Her heart pounded as she pulled out a ceramic splinter from the soft flesh just below the right eye. She couldn’t move. Paralyzed, chocked. Not understanding.
“Get the fuck up bitch!”
Kris watched the pathetic creature, the stuck up bitch, pull something out of her face. The forehead had swollen up and most of the face was already smeared in blood. Now there was fresh red stuff oozing out of a brand new hole in that pretty cock-sucking face.
“Not so pretty anymore are you?” Kris spoke with a calm that was long practiced but as false as water. The gun was steady in her hand. It had a perfect grip, it was made for her. Anyone who refused to listen would listen when this baby spoke. Matt black polymer grip. The weight of the gun was perfect for her small hand. She moved the barrel sideways, slowly, along the entire length of Denny. Blue eyes followed the movement, back and forth. Staring silently. She didn’t move.
“That’s right Bitch. You didn’t know I had one did you?” Kris laughed.
She knew that gun. Through her own shallow breathing she could hear a keening sound, a hoarse whine. Someone shouted. Someone else spoke rapidly from some distance away. The voices mattered not. Not through the pitchy sound that seemed to flow out of the darkness of a barrel of a gun. The endless void that stared at her. Kris screamed and the blackness trembled somewhat before it steadied itself into its cold stare. It glared at her. A small black circle in the control of a…. a what? Kris sidestepped, waved the gun, and stepped back into position. The entire front of her shirt was drenched in blood. The baseball cap had fallen off at some point and was not in sight. Kris’s hair was cut short in the neck and sides, left unruly and messy on top and dyed deep purple and black. She was fit. One could see that now. Perhaps she wouldn’t have picked a fight if she had known this woman for what she had become. A fighter. A hateful pit-bull, with a gun. One smiled inwardly at her own stupidity.
Then she was still. Calm and cold. Nothing but a dog, a bitch. Someone who should be put down for her own good and everyone else’s safety.
She knew that gun. She remembered. The other woman wanted her to get up. She would get up. She spread her palms on the cold tile and pushed up. The dislocated disc in her lower back set every nerve on fire, broke every barrier of pain but she ignored it.
She struggled to her feet. Slowly, she got up on her knees, watching the maniacs one-eyed murderer that stared at her, held her in check. Her hand slipped in a puddle of fresh blood and she screamed from the pain. She realized then, that she had been screaming all along. That keening had been her. She bit off the scream and made it up on her feet, forced into a hunching posture as her back didn’t work. She took a steadying breath and stood up as straight as she could and moved her eyes from the gun to a set of blue eyes so like hers, so different from hers. So full of rage. So full of fear. Why was she afraid? She was the one with the gun after all. Denny felt something rise in her. As it rose, something else fell away. Decision. The end result. It was coming. She was coming. Finally. At long last, she found her voice. Calm although ragged.
“Kel-tek p36.” She kept her eyes on the face watching her, noticed the eyes widen in surprise. It showed only for a moment, but it was there, the fear. She knew that what she had never admitted would finally be told.
“Don’t you remember?” Suddenly she smiled. It was a grim sight where only few patches of pale skin remained visible in a mask of glistening and drying blood. Kris took an involuntary step back. . Denny stepped away from the edge— one step, another —towards the weapon and its mistress. The gun trembled again, the barrel lost its perfect aim but it was still point blank deadly.
“You showed it to me that night. Don’t you remember?” Another step, another retreat.
Kris didn’t realize she was backing up to start with. She was too numb. She heard the words. That bitch was talking about that night. That night. Which night? Daddy. She shook her head. No, it was all a lie. The cunt came closer. Too close. She jerked her arm forward and pulled the trigger. But she was shaking. That night. Daddy didn’t mean it. Fresh blood exploded out of a small hole in Ones left shoulder and she reeled back but didn’t stop. The bullet had only penetrated the soft flesh on the outer edge of the shoulder and had done little damage. One gasped and looked down at the ragged hole in her fancy sweater. But she didn’t fucking stop. Shouts were nearer now. Panicked, calming, desperate cursing.
“Call the fucking cops you asshole!” Shrill shouts, frightened whispers.
“There’s no fucking signal in here. Someone has to get someone. Don’t they have security here? Why isn’t anyone coming?”
“I’m not going past those fucking maniacs. Are you stupid? That’s a real fucking gun!” The voices faded in and out. Faded totally.
Denny took another step while tearing her eyes from her ruined sweater. She didn’t look at the gun now. She stared into Kris’s face and a look of mocking disbelief came over her. Her eyes widened and she raised one hand to point at her arm.
“You ruined my favorite sweater you bitch.” She pulled her upper lip back and showed her teeth.
“Now, why would you do that?” She tore her eyes from the other woman for a split second and closed her eyes. Just a blink. Just a moment when all became clear. And it was all so perfectly clear now. It had all been heading this way, moving relentlessly to this moment. Was always the way it would end and nothing could stop this. Not now.
She listened. Heard something. Everything was pain. But physical pain. Physical pain didn’t matter. The body didn’t matter. Perfection and appeal didn’t matter anymore. Perhaps it had never mattered, had only been a mask. She listened again. Yes, it was coming. She listened to Kris’s breathing. It was shallow, had an undertone of a moan, a whining, deep in her throat. The gun trembled.
“You said you would use that gun on your Daddy Kristina, don’t you remember? You would take it and use it for what he did to you.” Denny faltered for a second as Kris gasped and took yet another step back. One staggered, and it brought her closer. Closer to the gun that shook, steadied, exploded in a ringing echo among the screams of people watching in shock. Kris keening increased, louder, a pitiless whine totally out of her control, beyond stopping. A sound from deep within her chest, her body, her mind.
She didn’t stop. The cock-sucking liar kept coming.
“No!” She had missed again. What was wrong with her? What was wrong with her arm? She couldn’t keep it still. She uttered a groan of pain, of frustration, of memories biting its way out of cage after cage of suppressed shame and fear and unconditional love. Unstoppable realization. Forgetfulness shattered. Unaware of her own keening. Not realizing that she could have pulled the trigger many times over by now. But she couldn’t. Something was wrong with her hand.
Denny listened, stepped forward, calculated.
“But you never did anything to your daddy did you? You just let him fuck you didn’t you? And then you let him fuck me you fucking cunt. I thought you were a friend. You let your daddy do….” She had no more voice. She couldn’t talk as something broke inside. She choked off the last words. She closed her eyes for a moment as she calmed her breathing. There was nothing more to say. Nothing more to do. She was lost. They were lost. The rumbling of the coming train increased, grew louder. She listened, waited. She had nothing more to say.
Kris’s keening stopped was replaced with a deafening silence. Even the kids were quiet. One watched the eyes change. She knew what it meant. Cold control had taken charge once more. Back to denial, back to forgetting what couldn’t be forgotten. Yes. She was taking control again. There was not much time. She was getting ready. She had had enough. One kept her eyes on the eyes that narrowed, the mouth that suddenly grinned. She looked at her friend. The edge of the platform, the tracks. The gun stared at her, steady, moving upwards until it once more had a perfect aim. But the gun was pointing at her chest, not her head. One more step and she would have been able to reach out to touch the cold metal. But she didn’t take another step. She wouldn’t have to. She was close enough. Kris tightened her grip, tensed the finger, squeezed. Kel-tec, no double action trigger, there was no more time.
Denny threw herself at her former friend, her former alter ego, her childhood confidant, the betrayer. The traitor. The hate, the resentments stored for all this time. As she threw her body, the trigger made its initial catch, the click that meant imminent firing. Kris took another step back and squeezed, pulled, point blank. The momentum was too strong and although the bullet entered Denny’s chest, it passed through just below the collar bone and only managed to turn the approaching body sideways somewhat.
Then she was over her, arms wrapping themselves around her neck. Held her, pushed her backwards. She pulled the trigger. Denny’s stomach acted as sound suppressant and muffled the fatal shot. But they were already falling. The gun exploded again, killing what was already dead, but the momentum had already taken them both over the edge of the platform. They were falling. The gun fired one last time into Denny’s soft ruined flesh, dying flesh.
Denny’s dying gasps, the shots, Kris’s anguished scream of shocked realization, was all drowned out by the approaching train. In that endless second as they fell towards the tracks, everything was bottomless black grief. The final grief. Kris’s grief. The final moment. She hit the electrified track and her heart burned its last beat as she fried on the rails. The train bore down on them, Kris friends embracing one another for the last time. As the warning whistle roared and tons of steel bore down on them, they could no longer hear it.
Something new stood at the very edge of the platform, looking down on the sad remains on the tracks below, partly concealed by the silent train. Emergency medics, station staff and police officers surged around her, passed her, passed through her. They paid no attention to her. She was not really there. She was only the essence of the Kris recently dead below. Not quite there, not quite gone, but getting stronger. Her hands were loosely clasped in front of her. Shoulder length hair billowed slightly in a wind that was not there. She tilted her head to one side and smiled gently, dreamily shutting her eyes and sighed. It was a sigh as from a million ghosts. Ghosts of fluttering silken wings of memory where the edges had burned away. Dreams, wishes and released resentments. A collected gasp of absolute freedom sounded in the almost there. The place that was void but close, near but unreachable.
An ambulance driver, fed up with waiting in the vehicle and now standing at the bottom of the stairs smoking a cigarette, paused as he moved his nicotine stained fingers to his lips. He shuddered and looked around. He was searching for something he didn’t know existed, feeling it.
A medical doctor, kneeling next to the blackened torso and head of Kristina Andersson, felt his grip on the useless stethoscope weaken and it dropped back on his white clad chest. His breath caught for a moment and he looked around, searching for something that must have disturbed him.
Tad Peters, The teenager that was the only one in the group with a cell phone, a useless cell phone, jerked his head towards something, he didn’t know what. Something had caught his attention. There was something there. At the very edge of the platform. But there was nothing there. He had watched them fall. He had taken a step, a useless step and then he had turned around. He had held his phone, staring blankly at the signal indicator that suddenly went from no bars to Kris, then three. In a moment, the signal had reached full power.
. Something flowed through everyone present, although no one would know what had made their heart skip a beat, or what had caused the shiver, the sudden hesitation, a shudder through bones and earth. Then stillness.
For a few moments, as time held still in reverence, the essence of Denny and Kris came together in a blast of universal energy, fused, melded, and grew into something vaster than the individual parts had ever been.
Time started, remembered its duty. The she who simply was, now took a name; she would be name, so much more than her fragmented selves could have ever imagined, turned and started walking away, moved slowly over the tiled floor and started up the stairs. For each step she became more real. Each second she collected more flesh and blood. For each step she materialized, came together, atom by atom, cell by cell, she became clearer, more solid. At the bottom of the stairs she was only a strange refraction of the light for those who would have seen her. Half way up the stairs, a soft whisper of steps could have been detected if it had been quiet, and she would have been seen by keen eyes if they knew where to look. At the top of the stairs, she reached out to touch the railing and she felt the cold metal against her skin.
Someone did see her then. An old man, worn by a life of addiction, saw a ghostly shape solidifying, each moment becoming clearer. Faded watery eyes watched her colors sharpen for each breath and He raised a bottle to his mouth and drank greedily, getting some but far from all of the clear liquid down his throat. He blamed a life of alcohol for imagining flowing hair suddenly settle around the shoulders, taking on a shine and luster he suddenly and violently wished he could touch. He blamed the poison that was his life for imagining a ghost becoming real before him, skin losing translucency, clothing achieving texture, Shoes friction against floor suddenly creating real sound.
The woman turned her head as she passed him. She stopped and regarded him for a moment, meeting his eyes with hers. The serene look on her face made him stop breathing for a moment, overwhelmed by all that was lost, all that was broken, all that could still be fixed. Hope surged through him when she smiled and put her palm against the side of his face. A warm, living hand. A soft vibrant touch. She looked at him for a long moment, just keeping her hand motionless against his sagging skin, herself not moving, not hearing, or not caring, about the noises around the Kris. People hurried about, some descending the stairs to the place of recent death, some standing in shocked silence or murmured conversation.
She spoke then. Her voice was real, no ghost, no apparition. It was not much more than a whisper but he heard it clearly and he would never forget.
“It is never too late.”
Thank you for reading.
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