I wrote a story for the pic.
Push this button and the magazine ejects. Pull the slide back and it chambers a round. A little click on the safety takes it from safe to single fire. Another click makes it full-auto. Pull the trigger and gun kicks.
My finger pulls lightly against the trigger.
A sharp crack.
The man drops to the ground.
Keep things simple, that’s what granddad said. Step lightly, make your shots count, conserve your ammo. Shoot when you have to, run when you can.
Stay alive. Nothing else matters.
I put one foot in front of the other and walked to the thing that used to be a man. My knees scrape against the rough cement. My hands roamed the body. They came away red, but also gold and brown.
Blood. Ammo. Chocolate.
I hear a growl to my right. The first of the scavengers peek out from the ruined building on the right. The claws click on the stone. The dogs are hungry. They’re the least dangerous. One minute, maybe two, before the sound of boots crunching on debris. They’re the most dangerous.
Boots. His are brown, in good condition, but too big. There’s a bulge on his leg. Probably not a bone; no blood and his fall was clean. I pull up the pant leg. It’s a knife. One of those awkward, too-large knives that look scarier than they are. It’s clean, he’s not.
I take it. Might be able to trade it to an idiot at the market. I could buy some food or wine. Can’t trust the water. Another growl. This time from me, thoughts of food set my stomach to speaking. Need to get back soon.
I set down my gun. It clinks against the cement. I pull the camera from my coat pocket and take a picture of the corpse. My thumb slides against the lever to advance the film. Hands are soaked with blood. I wipe them on the pants of the dead man and take a few more pictures.
The dogs are getting restless. They want to eat. I put the camera away and pick up the knife.
Boots. One dog barks, the others slink away. The boots sound heavy behind me.
One word runs through my head. It’s not a nice word.
My hand reaches for my gun.
The cement near my hand explodes. Sharp little pieces of stone reach up and bite my hand and face in an instant. The bullet ricochets off into the distance.
A voice behind me. Deep. Unfriendly. Male. The voice tells me I shot his friend.
A voice in my head. Granddad’s.
“Ne paniquez pas. Pensez.”
Don’t panic. Think.
The adrenaline makes it hard. I take a breath. Heartbeat slows to mere sprinting speed.
He could have shot me in the back but he fired a warning shot at my hand. Good shot. Scared me. Warning shots wastes ammo. He has too much ammo (unlikely) or he wants me alive. Life will not be pleasant if he takes me. Understatement.
The voice tells me to turn around.
He wants me alive. Not going to happen. Need a distraction. My hand moves and most of the buttons on my shirt are undone. I push out my chest as I stand; my shirt pulls back, stretching the undershirt against my breasts. I drop my hand with the knife to my side, keeping my body between the man and the knife.
As I turn I see him. He’s shorter than I’d thought but just as ugly. Ugly hands. Ugly mouth. Ugly eyes. Full of malice and lust. In his ugly hands is a black pistol. A hand cannon. Desert Eagle. Big noise, small clip. Stupid.
He smiles and tells me I’m pretty. I don’t like his eyes on my face. I take a breath, the shirt pulls back slightly. His ugly eyes glance downwards and stay there. I take another breath. The shirt pulls back more.
His smile turns mean. One hand leaves the gun and reaches to his crotch to adjust himself. The stupid gun is too heavy for one hand. The muzzle dips. My turn to smile.
I drop to the ground, swinging my arm around and throwing the knife as hard as I can. It’s not a throwing knife. It’s awkward and doesn’t spin well. But he flinches as it flies towards him. The hand cannon goes off. I feel the bite of more shrapnel.
My shoulder smashes into the ground as I fall, but my hand closes around the grip of my MP5.
A click. Full-auto.
I roll to my right.
The ground explodes to my left.
My finger pulls hard against the trigger.
My gun jumps.
The man goes down.