I already had the gun out. I dropped behind the bike, popping one off back at him as I did so.
I didn’t want to hit Kanesha. If there were people on the street they were doing the sane thing and running in the opposite direction. The thing I badly wanted to do myself. At the same time I wanted to fight him and I wanted him dead.
Maybe that was the thrum through me, but no. It wasn’t just wanting, and it wasn’t necessarily him. Perhaps some instinct was telling me that at this point, at this juncture, it was him or me.
If he died it would be murder. If they caught me…then I’d have to disappear from my cell somehow.
They couldn’t hold me. In that moment I actually felt for the first time as if I was a goddess – above human law and human rules.
Except as I chose to follow them. Which I did. I would not kill him unless he gave me no choice. “Mr. Clem. Let’s not have this end this way. Let her go.”
Instead, he did what I should have expected…emerged from the van using her as a shield. She was limp in his arms, but I knew, could tell, she was faking it. She was waiting for her moment and I was going to give her that moment, if I could.
“She’s mine. I thought about what you said, but no white chica is going to convince me Kanesha isn’t mine. And once you’re dead, I’ll claim her fully.”
I knew what he intended to do and a raw sense of anger came all the way through me for a moment. They talk about seeing red? I literally did.
Kanesha’s eyes snapped open. “Jane. Don’t.”
It helped. I knew what was in me, though, and that if I let it out. “Back down if you want to live.”
“You won’t risk killing her.”
“Maybe I would rather than let you do that to her.”
I was aware now of somebody behind me. Crap. A witness. Well, hopefully he hadn’t seen me shoot the tire. If he hadn’t, then all he could speak to was that I’d pulled a gun on somebody who was shooting at me, something that cops tended to turn a blind eye towards even if the gun was illegal.
Oh, they’d take the gun, but…I could find another one. I didn’t turn around. But there was a quiet voice from behind me.
Mr. Clem snarled and reached for his gun…and at that point, Kanesha stepped hard on his foot and twisted free, running. I had a clear shot now. I had every justification in taking it.
Self defense. I could get away with murder, but I hesitated.
And as I hesitated, a bullet whipped past me from behind. It struck Mr. Clem in the throat and he went down.
Dammit. “That was not how this was supposed to end.” I still didn’t turn around. I didn’t even want to see who had done it.
All I wanted to do was make sure Kanesha was okay and that he hadn’t touched her, hadn’t done that to her.
I didn’t want anyone to touch her that way. Anyone but me…