Murderer In Pursuit
By Chris Mills
I worked into the early hours of that dreadful morning at the small law office where I was a paralegal. My husband often told me it wasn’t safe to be there so late at night alone. But I had a job to do.
The trash can in Mr. Curby’s office was full, so I pulled the bag and put a new one in its place. I collected the trash from my office, the file room, the kitchen, the reception area, and the restroom as well because our cleaning service wasn’t all that reliable.
The back door opened into the alley, where a stray cat spotted me and ran off. I turned toward the dumpster and stopped short. About thirty feet away, a man was on his knees in the shadows. Behind him, another man held a gun to the first man’s head.
Violence is everywhere on television and in movies, but this was real. I could just make out the face of the man who was kneeling. His eyes were closed in surrender.
The blast of the gun jarred me back into the moment. Blood and brains splattered the pavement and the rear of a flower shop. I gasped. That slight sound caused the man with the gun to turn his head and look me square in the eyes for a couple of very long seconds. I dropped the bags, grabbed the doorknob, and pulled just as he fired again. Bits of brick stung my face. Blood burned my eyes.
I ran through the office only seconds ahead of the murderer. But it was too late when I thought about locking the door behind me. He would still have to search all the office areas, which might give me more of a head start.
At 2 a.m. I fled out the front door, but there was no one on the street to help me. I ran until I came to a 24-hour women’s health clinic, where I jerked the door open and entered. No one was on duty at the front desk. Maybe they were in the restroom.
I ran blindly down a hallway past numerous procedure rooms until I found a door labeled Recovery. Once inside, I saw three patients lying on beds with instruments beeping. A male nurse and a female nurse with their backs to me were busy at the bedsides. I moved slowly toward the opposite end of the room, crawled onto an empty bed, covered myself with the blanket, and pulled it over my head.
I lay on a bed in the recovery room of an abortion clinic with a blanket sticking to the thickening blood on my face, pretending to be dead. It sounded preposterous even to me, but I didn’t have a better plan. All I could think about were my husband and daughters. Would I ever see them again? Tears streamed down my face as I waited for the man who wanted to put a bullet in my head, just like he did to the man in the alley.
I heard someone approaching.
“Who’s this?” a man said.
The male nurse pulled the blanket away from my face and seemed startled when he saw me staring back.
“I just saw someone kill a man,” I said. “The murderer is chasing me. He might be here any .…”
The door to the recovery room burst open. The nurse pulled the blanket back over my face.
Medical instruments continued beeping. I was supposed to appear dead, so I held my breath.
With fake urgency, the murderer spoke. “There’s a man outside on the sidewalk. I think he’s having a heart attack. Please, can you help him?
I heard people scrambling about and concluded it was the nurses running outside to attend to the person in trouble, although I was sure no such person existed.
Then the murderer spoke again. “Where are you, bitch?”
I was the bitch, the witness he couldn’t allow to live.
Soft footsteps approached my hiding place. I desperately needed to take a breath.
“What do we have here?” His voice was menacing.
The blanket disappeared, and an angry, sweating face stared down at me.
“Nice try, bitch,” he said.
He must have known he didn’t have much time before the nurses returned, so I knew something wasn’t right. They wouldn’t have left their patients unattended, but I was forced to drop that thought because he was reaching behind his back. I had seen enough cop shows to know that was where his gun was hidden.
The killer held the weapon so I could get a good look at the primary tool of his trade, and he stroked the barrel as if it were his favorite pet. “You know,” he said. “It isn’t safe to work so late all alone.” He checked the gun’s chamber for show. “Unfortunately, you did work late tonight. Now I have to shoot you, the nurses, and the patients in addition to that loser in the alley.”
His eyes grew wide. He stepped back and turned, allowing me to see the male nurse with his hands up.
“You son-of-a-bitch,” said the killer. He raised the gun and pointed it at the nurse’s face.
Seconds seemed like hours. What was the bastard waiting for?
The gunman swayed back and forth. He loosened his grip on the gun, which swung upside down from his index finger.
Gun and gunman dropped to the floor.
The nurse still had his hands raised. In the right was an empty vial. In the left was an empty syringe.
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