First Shot By Sebastian Flynn.

"Woo-hoo! Going shooting today!"

Mark grinned and stared joyously through the windshield wipers, while Tom squirmed in the passenger seat.

"Sucks that it's raining out," Mark added as an afterthought.

"You sure this is a good idea?"

"Hell yeah! A little rain never hurt anyone."

The car bumped and splashed its way down the road, the only car in sight. After a few minutes, Tom spoke up.

"Honestly, I'm just a little worried. You never know what will happen once you're holding a gun in your hand."

"Yeah, I do. Awesomeness happens!"

"Maybe for you."

"Stop it. Everyone is nervous the first time. You'll be fine."

"No, that's what I mean. The first time I tried to throw a baseball, I threw it the complete opposite direction. I just choked. I just do stupid stuff like that."

Mark laughed.

"Anyone ever tell you that you think too much?"

"All the time."

"So don't over think it, and you'll be fine."

Mark turned the car down a small dirt road that led to the shooting area, and parked next to a large fence. Small raindrops pattered against the roof.

"Cool, let's try to make it quick before the rain picks up again," Mark said, popping the trunk. Tom followed his lead, hopping out of the car and into the drizzle. Mark carried the gun case into the range while Tom dragged behind him with the cardboard boxes.

"Count off forty paces and set up the box," Mark instructed. Tom strode into the wet field, his feet crunching over the wreckage of clay pigeon covering the ground like a neon carpet.

All these fragments, like bone chips, like what happens if a bullet hit bones and exploded it until the pieces are everywhere - stop it.

By the time Tom walked back the shotgun was ready to go. He put in the earplugs Mark handed him and stepped aside.

"Remington 870 Express, I brought two types of ammo but we're going to start with the twelve gauge."

Mark drew the gun to his shoulder, steadied his aim, and pulled the trigger with a thunderous pop.

The cardboard box slumped forward, torn apart in the middle. Tom's heartbeat picked up, cavernously loud inside the earplugs. The smell of gunpowder hung thickly in air.

If that was a person then something terrible would've happened to them.  They would've looked down and seen their insides coming out into the light, or maybe they wouldn't have seen anything because the shock - stop it.

Mark took a few more shots, then handed the gun over to Tom.

"This is the safety. This is where you put the first slug, here is where you put the rest. Now take the safety off. Pull it tight to your shoulder. Aim."

Mark stood to the side, his hands in his vest pockets, rain running into his face, grinning widely.

"Go ahead, fire."

Tom lined up the sights, but his vision blurred and his heart beat heavily in his chest. The box swam before him, wavering and getting farther away. He followed it with the gun sight, squeezed his eyes, squeezed the trigger.

The gun kicked mightily into his shoulder. Then he heard screaming.

He opened his eyes and saw Mark on the ground, face down, writhing in the mud.

"Oh my God," he whispered, dropping to his knees. Mark was curling into a ball, his scream fading until it disappeared entirely. Bright blood seeped onto the mud and was tapped by raindrops.

"Mark! Mark!" Tom shouted, no knowing what else to say. Mark was completely motionless now, his face pressed into the ground. Tom grabbed his shoulder and turned him over. Blood rushed out from the wet hole in his shirt.

"Oh, Jesus," Tom fell back.

He crouched on the ground, his mind racing- whether to apply first aid or to call an ambulance, but the hospital was probably too far to save him, and the phone was in the car, and the keys were in Mark's pockets, and there was nothing to do.

He sat in the rain, paralyzed, and then he realized that it didn't matter. Mark was dead now.

The rain picked up. Tom did not move, continued to crouch by his friend's body, his mind reeling.

I just killed my friend. I am going to get arrested for killing my friend.

My life is over.

No one knows yet. No one knows we're out here.

 What if I got rid of the body? How would I do that? I'd have to put him in the car, dig up the blood here and cover it again with clay pigeons, drive the car into a lake and then walk home, pretend that I'm normal while my friend is underwater getting eaten by fish -

"Yo, you going to stand there all day or are you going to shoot?"

Mark stood to the side, his hands in his vest pockets, rain running into his face, grinning widely.

Tom exhaled shakily, his vision clouding over.

Then he swung the rifle up and pulled the trigger.

Sebastian Flynn graduated from Boston University, went off to see the world, and ended up in New Jersey. Until time's winged chariot hurries near, he can be reached at


David Barber said...

First off, Happy Birthday!

I really enjoyed this story. It was gripping and sucked me in and then the ending was great. Well done.

Chris Rhatigan said...

Nice job! Tight writing and a quality twist.

Tommy Salami said...

Now that was a beaut. All us Toms are like that at the range... so be wary.

Flamethrower said...

Thanks, guys! Appreciate it.

Jesse Lee said...

Delicious story with a hilarious twist.

Bill Baber said...

nicely executed...

Paul D. Brazill said...

Properly well done twisty flash. Perfectly formed!

Trey R. Barker said...

I thoroughly enjoyed it. Reminded me of Bierce's 'Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,' one of my all time favorite stories. A bit more grim through the morality...which I loved.

Thanks for the read.