The Last Stand
by J.B. Christopher
And she took one look at him and said that he would never be cool and he never would understand.
She shook her head disdainfully, took one last drag off her cigarette, deep this time, and forced the smoke from her thin lips in a steady bluish stream at him, until her disgust was evident to those sitting near in the restaurant. She unwrapped her long legs from beneath her, exposing six-inch stiletto heels.
She didn’t know why she hated him, but she just did, but that’s what made her job easy. She wished he was cheating, wished he was a drunk, wished he was abusive. But he wasn’t. He was Drehfuss Randolph, handsome, wealthy, charming in his nonchalant detachment to the world about him.
Her last boyfriend said things like shudthefuckup and fuckoffbitch and he moved around their Bronx apartment like a caged lion in the heat of summer. He only screwed her from behind. Drehfuss was different from the start.
Tonight, she was making things happen in a low cut skin-tight red dress, but he was having none of it. He just sipped at his water and reminded her it was time to go. The award ceremony starts in 30 minutes, he cautioned.
* * *
“I thought you didn’t like guns.”
“I said I don’t carry one. That doesn’t mean I don’t own one or know how to use it. Sometimes the situation requires it. This is one of those times.” Irritated, she said, “See – you don’t listen. You never listened.”
“How much they pay you?”
“Nothing. I told him I would do it for free. I told’em I don’t like you and I’d enjoy watching you die.” She let that sink in watching his face wrinkle in a quiet agony, like he just got he wind knocked out of him.
She was beautiful but in the way a designer chair or a Ferrari was beautiful. Her perfection made her nearly untouchable. His eyes traced the shape of her svelte body in the dimly lit room back lit with glow of a flickering oversized television set in his study.
He stared at an oversized silver pistol aimed at his chest. He didn’t know what to say, he remained sitting, while his fiancée stood beforehim, her legs shoulder width apart, her face rapt with anger – or was it confusion?
The voices came at her fast and harsh, until her mind couldn’t keep up with what was happening around her, and at once she felt like she was being ripped apart by the high frequency wail, the innards of her brain, she imagined, stirring in her skull, pressing and pressing a the spot right behind her eyes, until her eyes blinked with bright points of light.
“Let me help-“
“Sit the fuck down.” She touched the side of her head with her free hand.
“Just tell me what you want. I see you’re getting the headaches still.”
Her eyes jet like black coffee. He started to get up.
“Sit down,” she screamed. Her voice startled her, edged with fear.
“I’ve always loved you.”
The gun, heavy, swaying left to right: she tried to steady it with both hands. He could see a single bead of sweat against her temple. She rubbed at it with the back of her hand.
“I have always loved you. And I always knew.”
Her face wrinkled in concern.
“How much did they pay you?” He asked again.
“Shudddup,” she screeched.
“How much did they pay you to do all this?”
“I just want the prototype. And I’ll let you live.” She swallowed the thick spit in her mouth, raised the gun one last time and said, “Give me the fucking prototype.”
Drehfuss did nothing. This infuriated her even more. Even with a gun pointed to his head, he showed an absence of passion, of life, of anger. She wished he would just raise his voice just once…
Suddenly, her legs buckled and she collapsed, the gun clattering free, sliding across the parquet flooring until it stopped under the sofa. She hissed, “They’ll get you.”
He quickly moved to her side, checked her pulse, kissed her on the
check. Her eyes, no longer jet black, but cloudy, and inert.
“I knew they sent you from the moment we met. But I did love you.”
He brushed the hair from her brow, and kissed her one last time.
Out loud, he said, “If I saw you coming, surely I will see the others.”
BIO: JB has lived all over the United States, but recently settled in the Pacific Northwest. He has published short fiction at Twist of Noir, ShriekFreak Quarterly, Darkest Before the Dawn, Yellow Mama, and SNM Horror Magazine. He is currently at work on a crime novel set in Reno, Nevada.
When he is not writing, he can be found writing software and when he is not writing software, he can be found playing with his two small daughters.