The Window

I’ve been too damn busy the last few weeks. So busy, I haven’t had time to devote to something as simple as my Sons of Anarchy reviews. As an apology, here is a flash fiction story I wrote. This came to me as a dream–one that lingered the entire day until I wrote it down.

 

There wasn’t a grand view outside the windows of my home office. When I began to work for myself, I dreamed of the day when I could buy a home of my own solely based on the landscape on the other side of the glass. Instead, I rented a cookie-cutter house on the outskirts of was once a fashionable housing project…ten years ago when the new money called this side of town home. They’ve moved on and the only breath-taking view  outside my windows was when the hot single father down a few houses mows his lawn shirtless.

There could be worse things to spend my time looking at instead of sending emails, right?

The hottie across the street wasn’t showing off his pecs the day It happened. It’d rained the day before. The lawns in the neighborhood shimmered like emeralds in the diffused afternoon sunlight. A fall storm graced us with just enough rain to make everything wet, but not give a good show.

The blinds on my windows were open in hopes of catching another passing storm. Watching the rain made long hours answering emails worth the numb ass and sore hands.

A white Ford Escalade parked on the side street. I frowned, thinking it might be someone I knew paying a surprise visit. Not many people parked on that side of my corner house.

No one got out of the car. The driver side window rolled down. A woman’s hand slid along the seam where the window disappeared. She was holding something.

My blood stopped running through my veins.

Before I could think twice, my hand was on the phone, dialing.

“Nine-one-one, what is the problem?”

“There is a woman parked outside of my house. She’s holding a gun.”

“Are you positive it is a gun and not a cell phone or camera?”

I leaned closer to the window, hoping like hell the woman wouldn’t pick that moment to look in at me. As far as I could tell, her eyes were locked on the second house across the street.

“Yes, I’m sure. it’s got a silver barrel and a black grip.” My heart hit my ribs so hard, I could hardly breathe.

“The police are on their way. Stay inside the house and away from the windows, ma’am. Do you want me to stay on the line until the police arrive?”

It was tempting to lean on a complete stranger to talk me through what was going on outside of my windows. However, I knew her time was more precious than my state of calm. “No. I’ll be fine.”

“Stay inside and call back if anything happens. The police will be there shortly.”

I hung up and cradled the phone against my chest like it was the most precious thing on earth. The minutes ticked by slowly. My ears strained for the mournful howl of the police siren. Outside, the woman sat still. Her gun rested near her rear-view mirror. I was the only one that would have been able to see it.

Briefly I entertained the idea of a left-handed assassin sitting in front of my house, waiting for an undercover CIA agent to leave his house–only to be greeted with a shower of lead.

The fantasy gave me something to think about. My email notification chimed incessantly until I reached over and muted the computer’s sounds.

At last a black bumper pulled into view. It stopped across the street. A pair of men climbed out of the police car. They looked at my house, then to the woman in the car.

My phone rang. I yelped and answered it.

“Ms. Whitburn?”

“Yes, that’s me.” One of the officers turned toward the house, a phone pressed to his ear.

“My name is officer Young. I need your help. The white Escalade, right? I can’t see what is in her hand.”

“She’s got a handgun tucked up against the rear-view mirror.”

“Thank you for confirming that. Please remain inside. If we need any more help, we will call.”

I resumed cradling the phone to my chest and watching the scene unfold outside my windows.

Officer Young ducked back into the driver’s side door of the squad car. His voice was suddenly amplified through the car’s PA system. “You, in the Escalade, please step out of the vehicle with your hands up.”

In the distance, a siren wailed. It grew closer.

The woman’s hand jerked inside. Her window rolled back into place. Officer Young ordered her out of the car again.

The Escalade’s door opened a crack. The woman dropped down to the ground in a crouch. She aimed around the bottom of the door and fired. The shot made me jump.

A man screamed. The other officer, I never got his name, fell into his open car door. He clutched his leg, screaming over the approaching sirens.

I had a feeling they wouldn’t make it in time.

The woman jumped out from behind the car door. She walked quickly and surely across the front corner of my lawn and into the street.

Officer Young crouched behind his car door and shouted at her. I couldn’t hear what he said clearly. The woman stopped suddenly. Her arms went over her head. The gun dangled by the trigger guard from her left index finger.

The officer eased out from behind the car door, still shouting orders to the woman. She knelt, reaching to set the gun down. Young was almost to her, his gun trained on her.

In a blur, the woman stood. Two shots rang out. The muffled echo found me in my office. Officer Young crumpled onto the street. The woman didn’t even check to see where she’d hit him. She walked to the second house across the street, kicked in the door, and vanished inside.

My eyes were drawn back to Officer Young. Dark blood coated the pavement under his head. A wash of it pumped out, expanding the puddle. Something thicker than blood ran out into the street, floating down the growing river flowing from his body.

Knees weak, I planted my ass in my office chair. My head hung between my knees. Grey mist closed on on the edges of my vision, but all I saw was Officer Young’s brains oozing across the street outside of my windows.

I’d never look out of them again without seeing what happened that day.

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