Chapter Thirty-Two

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I shot him.

I shot another human being.

He might not be innocent and it might've been for self-defense, but I shot someone.

The force of the bullet blasting out of the pistol had me stagger a step backward, and my grip loosened on the handgun so it fell to the floor with a loud clank. My trembling hands fell down to my sides and I watched, wide-eyed, as Darius crumbled to the floor, tightly clutching onto his left side. Blood was seeping through his fingers, and his contorted face was turning a shade redder as he tried to contain his pain and not let it show.

His eyes shot up to mine, only instead of flashing me his signature hard glare, this time it was softer - almost pleading.

Suddenly, I felt the air getting knocked out of my lungs as I was lunged at. Heavy arms wrapped around my waist and hauled me to the ground, and I let out a pained groan as I crashed to the floor. The other man's hands tightly gripped onto my wrists and pinned them to my sides, but I struggled and lifted him off me by pushing my hips upwards, creating enough distance to knee him in the stomach. His grip loosened a bit, and I took the chance to twist my wrists free of his hold.

I scrambled up to my feet, immediately reaching out for the gun. I lifted it up as I stood and pointed it at the man crouched on the floor. His jade eyes widened like a deer's caught in the headlights of an oncoming bus, and he raised his hands in surrender, his eyes begging me for a second chance.

I don't know him, I thought to myself, so I couldn't shoot him.

My feet started working backwards, retreating me towards the door as my hands stayed threateningly aimed at the man. When I stepped through the door-frame, everything started moving in fast motion.

One second I was facing the small cellar I was locked in, the next I was sprinting up the wooden stairs leading to the house. When I reached the top, I studied my surrounding and found that we were in a cabin. I sprinted down a hallway and around leather couches stationed across a lit fireplace, and found the front door, which was spread wide open with two burly men guarding its front.

They must have heard the squeaking of my shoes because the second I paused in front of them, they stopped their conversation and their heads snapped to my direction. Their hands instantly traveled to the waistband of their pants, where I was sure they were to retrieve their guns, so I did the unthinkable.

I raised the pistol in my hands and began shooting in the air.

I only saw the blur of their bodies falling to the floor as they tried to dodge the bullets blasting through my handgun, and I retreated towards the open kitchen space where I located a back-door. When there were no more bullets left in the gun, I tossed it away on the kitchen counter and yanked the door open and ran out of the cabin without sparing a glance behind.

I was in an open field of brown, dying grass and ten feet ahead of me rose hundreds of enormous trees. I followed the path into the woods, figuring that the only chance I had at losing the men on my heels was by zigzagging my way among the tall trees.

As I jogged over fallen logs and ducked beneath poking twigs, the only sounds resonating throughout the woods were of my heavy breathing and the faint scrunching of footsteps over fallen leaves. I knew that at least five men were targeting me, stealthily following behind me but not speaking among themselves as to not inform me of their whereabouts. I had to fight hard to keep my mind blank, pushing away the image of the wounded body whom I'd shot earlier, from my mind.

You had to protect yourself, I kept reminding myself. You know how bad he is, you couldn't have let your guard down in front of him, not for a second, or else history would've repeated itself.

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