Short Story: Resolve

This is a short story I wrote for an English assignment, but I like it anyway and I think it’s at least somewhat decent. But be warned, though it’s not gory, it does go into some murder stuff, so if you don’t like reading about that sort of thing, you might not want to read it, just warning you. (I don’t think it’s too bad, but then again, that’s me, the heartless author.)

Also, for the school assignment I had to use 20 words invented by Shakespeare in the story. If I’ve done my job right, though, you won’t notice any of them. Hopefully. Here’s my short story, Resolve, and yes, that’s a word Shakespeare apparently invented.

“He’s trying to kill you.”

In the darkness of the abandoned factory, Evon Demarco’s eyes found those of Nivera Clare, his business associate-turned-fellow runaway. The frown on her face was quickly mirrored by one of his own. “I’m not going to hurt him.”

She held out the gun to him once more, but just the thought of pulling that trigger made Evon feel sick. “No,” he said again.

“He’s been hunting you for four days, and he’s not going to stop no matter how long or far you run.” The shadows on the gun’s surface writhed as Nivera shook it at him. “He doesn’t just want to drive you off, he wants you.”

Evon refused to look at it, instead watching the faint dawning glow through the factory’s high windows, not yet bright enough to pierce the gloom below. “Regardless, Nivera, I will not shoot my own son, no matter how misguided he may be.”

“Misguided? He’s a devious, cold-blooded snake who’s trying to murder his own father.”

His thoughts fell on Drane. He could still remember when he’d been a bright-eyed boy, looking up to “Daddy” in everything he did. It was hard to connect that with the jaded, haunted face that had threatened to kill him. “Yes, misguided. He… They pulled him into this.” And yet, Drane had made his own choice.

“I don’t think you understand how dangerous he can be.”

Evon sighed. He knew it full well, knew that Drane would kill him in an instant if he was given the chance. His little boy was hardly recognizable anymore, dark and distant. And dangerous. “I do understand, Nivera, more than you know.”

“Then you know how much bad he’s doing. Better for him to die than for him to kill a thousand more people.”

Evon forced himself to look at the gun. One flex of a finger, and thousands of lives would be saved. One single second, one single shot.

He averted his eyes to the dusty, broken machinery left here years ago. Could he leave Drane here, to be laid to rest, his only companions the mangled remains of a once busy factory, now numb and faded and lonely?

No. “You do it,” he whispered.

Even though he was looking away from her, Evon could feel the look she was giving him. “We only have one bullet, and you’re a better shot than I am. By the time he got close enough for me to shoot him, we’d both be dead.”

Evon’s stomach twisted. Nivera didn’t understand that, no matter what Drane did, he would still love him. How could he hate someone who he’d raised to adulthood, when he could remember seeing that six-year-old smile and kissing away all his bumps and bruises? Nothing could erase that love.

Dauntless, Nivera walked around in front of Evon, forcing him to look at her, and thrust the gun into his hands with determination in her eyes. The metal burned cold against his skin.

Protests welled up inside him, but none of them made it past his lips. His fingers refused to drop the gun.

Far away, a door opened.

The silence that followed was deafening. They both knew what it meant. Drane had arrived, and he wasn’t going to leave until there was only one person alive, and it wasn’t going to be him or Nivera.

Evon met Nivera’s wide eyes, and she motioned at him, lowering herself silently under the tangle of unused machinery, the only viable hiding spot. A few seconds later, he followed with a vague scuffle, crouching under the grasping arms of the dying factory.

Neither spoke.

The dust they’d stirred up drifted noiselessly to the ground.

That was when the footsteps came. Evon could hear at least three sets, moving through the factory. It was easy to pinpoint which one belonged to Drane; they were the same footsteps he’d heard for over twenty years.

“I know you’re in here, Father,” called Drane, mocking voice echoing through the quiet air. “It’ll be just like those games of hide-and-seek we used to play.”

In the stillness, Evon could hear Nivera’s shallow breathing from beside him. She looked at the gun. Nodded at him.

Evon’s fingers were slick, sliding along the gun’s smooth surface. Through the partly twisted metal, he could see a spot along the wall where, if Drane would walk past, his head would be in exactly the right spot for a killing shot.

The thought made him shudder.

The sound of the hurried, searching footsteps filled the air, but Drane’s whispered voice carried itself above all the noise. “Ready or not…here I come.”

Evon tried not to breathe, tried not to think about the gun in his hand and his son walking toward him. Tried not to see Drane in the corner of his vision, walking toward the exact spot he’d found earlier.

His heart weighed more than stone, squeezing against all of his organs as if he were drowning, and yet it was pumping more rapidly than ever before. His palms were sweaty, his breathing becoming more labored though he tried to stop the noise.

Nivera said he needed to kill Drane.

The very thought made bile rise up in his throat. Evon took a deep breath, closed his eyes against the pounding in his head.

And remembered.

Drane had loved it when Evon threw him up in the air and caught him in an embrace, or when they spun around and around and around in dizzy circles until they fell to a heap, laughing. Evon missed the sound of that six-year-old giggle, the one that bubbled from his mouth whenever he discovered something new and wonderful about the world around him.

He missed everything about his son.

Maybe that was because none of those things existed in Drane now.

Eyes opening, Evon could see Drane nearly at the perfect place for the shot. Nivera elbowed him, and slowly, he pointed the gun at the face of his son.

One single shot, just one shot.

“Daddy, Daddy, come see!”

To save a thousand lives.

“Look at the flower, Daddy!”

One shot.

The face of his six-year-old son overlaid the years older face of Drane for a single second, as the gun lined up perfectly with his head.

“Now!” Nivera shouted.

The gunshot rang through the empty factory, bullet screaming in the air before slamming into its target.

Sound drifted away as Evon’s gaze blurred between his bloodstained fingers and the gun that dropped from Drane’s hand and clattered to the ground.

Evon Demarco looked into the eyes of his son for the very last time.

“I could never have killed you.”