Cause and effect collided together the way ripples would after throwing a handful of stones into a pond. Simon didn’t know where things began or ended, who the man in the backseat was, who the blonde he shot was. He’d started to feel like he tamed the snaking live wire of destiny; gripped it between his teeth while clearing a path. But it bit back, shocking him again and the voltage of these revelations from the broken man in the backseat rendered him shaken, frightened. It was just enough for the dazed passenger in the back of the car to lunge forward unexpectedly. Simon wasn’t ready for the attack and fell against the steering wheel which ground into his back while the bleeding man seized on the gun, attempting to wrestle it away from Simon’s grasp.
It was a stupid and desperate move, a trapped rat trying to outrun an owl. Simon wasn’t aware he’d pulled the trigger until the struggle abruptly ended and his attacker, bleeding and eyes wide, silently fell to the backseat.
Simon looked at the gun and didn’t breathe. His mind hadn’t caught up to what happened, still reeling around who he’d killed, then, before, again. Who was she if not Katerine? Who had his attacker killed? Children. Dead? His own kids. Were they safe? Where were they? Where was he? The money. It was still in the house on the bedroom floor. The deposit for his own death, in his waistband. The guy that looked like Jaimie, bloody and broken, groaned and blinked, and Simon seemed to arrive back in the moment with a crash, as if reality were a Mac truck and he was roadkill. He tried to get the guy’s attention by saying “hey” over and over, but the man wasn’t listening, just staring at him with those wide eyes.
Simon glanced out the window and saw he was near Gatwick’s farm on 111, about ten minutes from the hospital and a fifteen-minute drive home. The rain had slowed to a sputter again, but the clouds still hung ominously overhead. He felt exposed, as if the small patches of blue sky above were peepholes through which he was being spied on. When he looked back at the man, he realized the decision about which way to go had been made. He was no longer breathing. (To be continued…)