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"The Old Guy" by Laura Shell

Content warning: gun violence

What I'm about to reveal is the stuff they tell you to keep to yourself or share with a group or save for a professional. It's of blood and gore and horror and none of it is true but you will feel uncomfortable anyway because it involves senseless murder and accidental suicide and the shocking fact that a small projectile can end a life so damn fast, something so small, the size of the first knuckle of your pinky finger can enter your body and kill you, it can stop your heart and your breath...

The old guy saw the larger man, my co-worker, bullying me and for whatever reason the old guy went to his car, retrieved his handgun, a .9mm, came back in and shot the bully in the head, causing him to drop to the ground like a sack of cement but not before blood sprayed all over my face and neck and ears and eyes and lips, like stippling from a paintbrush.

I froze. My body muscles so tight. Unlike the limp muscles of the bully at my feet. The bully's girlfriend stood across the room, had seen the whole encounter, she screamed and screamed with her jazz hands in the air as the old guy turned his gun on her. He told her to shut up but she kept screaming and screaming, kept getting louder and louder. Eventually she mirrored her boyfriend.

I still couldn't move. I wouldn't move. I shouldn't. The old guy with the gun approached me. I looked straight at him. I was not afraid because I had been in this situation before.


He stood before me, relaxed, scratched his temple with the barrel of his gun. He said, "That guy was a dick."


The gun went off. 

I don't think it was meant to.


Laura Shell quit her day job to become a full-time writer. She will be published in Calliope, eMerge, Chiron Review, WINK, and Literally Stories, and will have an anthology of horror stories published in February. When she isn't writing, she watches horror movies with her dog, Groot.

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