Sam ducked as I shot. Did I mean to miss? Who can say? The bullet hit the window and the glass shattered and rained down onto the hardwood floor and the street below. Sam ran at me and dived at my stomach, knocking me on my back as well as knocking the wind out of me. Before I could get on my feet he was down the hallway, and though I shot at him I missed again. Screams rang out in the rooms, and Sam plunged down the stairs. I let off one more shot before he melted out of sight, but hit only the wall, showering plaster down the stairwell.
By the time I burst out onto the street he had vanished. I looked up and down the road and shouted out his name in a cry – it seemed to me – without end.
I spun around and came face-to-face with Corrie, still half-bandaged, still timid. She jumped back at the sight of my gun.
“What are you doing here?” I demanded.
“I…I was…” she stuttered.
“Which way did Sam go?”
“Sam? I…didn’t see him.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. Is everything okay?” She stared at me, and at the gun, full of concern and uneasiness.
I took a deep breath. Then I took another one. I took in the street again. He was out of sight, wherever he was.
“Everything’s fine,” I said, more gently. “What are you doing here?”
She opened her mouth, thought better of it and closed it and looked away. I was still working on taking breaths, so I let her take her time.
“I thought,” she said, “that I could talk to him.”
“Milo,” she said in a voice I could barely hear.
“Talk to him? About what?”
“Maybe we could…work something out. Find some way for him to stop this. Maybe if I started seeing him again…”
“What are you saying?” I put the gun away – in a pocket for lack of its holster – and grabbed her shoulder. “Why would you do that? I told you we would… I would take care of it.”
She shook her head, tears filling her good eye. “But you’ve been up there. You’ve seen him, right? What can you do against him?”
“So your solution is to run back to the guy who’s been beating you up?”
“I just want to talk to him. Then he might see…he might understand…”
“He’s a monster!” I shouted. “What could he possibly understand? You think he loves you? Ever loved you? How could he?”
She didn’t answer. It didn’t matter. I spun on my heel and walked away, not caring about direction. I still had the Bowie knife clenched in my fist, so tight that I only noticed it when my hand started to ache.