Johnny saw her hands shaking. There was no way she could fire the gun. Laura was not a killer.
But Jetty charged at her.
He saw the fear in her eyes as the man got closer and closer.
He frantically pulled at his bonds, releasing his hands and kicking the bonds off of his feet.
He didn't see her pull the trigger.
He heard the gun shot, though.
Then there was Laura, kneeling on the ground.
Jetty, with a hole in his head.
His blood pooling closer and closer to her.
Her eyes as blank as a corpse's.
She turned her head towards him, but the look in her eyes remained the same.
Johnny walked towards her, scooping up her back-pack from where Jetty had flung it before his blood could taint it. He crouched down beside her and handed it towards her.
"Firo..." she murmured, reaching for it in a dazed sort of way. The gun slipped from her hands and clattered noisily to the floor as she clutched the pack to her.
*Firo, huh? Maybe that's something worth remembering...*
"HEY!" called Lacey's voice. "What's going on out there?!?"
"Jetty, if you dared to misplace one hair on Johnny's head, I'll fucking kill you!" Screamed Mercedes.
He grabbed Laura and pulled her up. "I'm fine," he called. "Jetty's dead. Laura's in shock."
"What the fuck? Get your asses in here!!!!" Hollered Lacey.
Johnny glanced at Laura, looking smaller than ever clutching...Firo...that way. "C'mon," he said. "Let's go see the others."
Her bare feet made soft padding sounds on the concrete as she walked. Her dazed manner was starting to worry Johnny.
He had never seen her look so...devoid of life before.
It was quite unsettling.
The eyes of the three girls lit up when they saw Laura, but quickly dimmed when they realized she wasn't quite the little ball of energy she normally was.
"Uh...Laura...?" said Mercedes.
Lacey shot a glare at Johnny. "What happened?" She hissed. "No, wait. Tell us while you untie us. If I sit like this for another five minutes, I might have to hurt somebody."
"I killed him, Lace," whispered Laura, startling all of them. "Pulled the trigger. He's dead. I did it..."
Johnny sat her down in the chair he'd been tied to, then set about untying the girls. Lacey first, of course.
"The bastard was talking to me about my crime against him," he explained as he did so. "All of a sudden, Laura shows up. He pulls out a gun and said something about wanting to see her expression when he blew my brains out more than the reverse." He finished with Lacey and moved on to Leah. "Laura pulls out a gun from behind her back and points it at him. I guess it was one of his, because he started to charge at her. I managed to get out of my ropes, but..." He finished with Leah's bonds and went to help Lacey untie Mercedes. "I guess...she just pulled the trigger...shot him right through the head, too."
Lacey was giving him a look that he interpreted as 'you better tell me about your "crime" later or else'. He nodded slightly, and she stopped glaring.
Leah had crouched down in front of Laura.
The small girl moved her head up a fraction.
"Laura, are you alright?"
"I killed somebody, Leah," Laura mumbled. "The monster in his eyes would've eaten me if I hadn't."
"Well, the monster's gone now," Leah said soothingly. Johnny could see why Laura only half jokingly called her 'mumzy'.
"The monster's gone," she continued. "We don't have to worry about him anymore, okay?"
Laura shivered and nodded slowly.
"Can you stand up?" Asked Leah softly.
Laura hugged Firo closer. "...dunno..." she mumbled. Johnny found her behavior oddly similar to how Squee would hug the stuffing out of his toy, Schmee.
Lacey was pulling Mercedes up from her chair with some difficulty. "I could use some help," she huffed. "I'm not exactly in peak condition after being locked down here for over a week."
Leah automatically jumped up to help, and the two of them made some sort of chair with their arms.
"I feel all high and mighty now," said Mercedes.
They made to leave, but Laura didn't budge.
"...help..." she whimpered. "My legs won't move..."
Lacey gave Johnny one of her killing glares and he sighed quietly through his nose. He walked over to Laura and grabbed her arm again, pulling her up. She really didn't seem to have any strength in her legs; he almost dropped her. He sighed again.
"C'mon, work with me a bit, here." It looked like she was really trying to use her legs, but she couldn't stand up. He sighed again.
*Well, it's not like I've never done this for her before...*
He pulled her arm over his shoulders and dragged her beside him. She clutched desperately at Firo with her other arm.
He followed the other three girls out of the room, somehow managing to pick up Laura's coat and shoes from the bastard's workbench. Thankfully, they didn't have to step over or close to Jetty's body, but Laura still looked. When she saw it, she clenched her hand against Johnny's shoulder.
"He would've killed you if you hadn't killed him," he said as he dragged her away. "Not only that, but he would've killed Lacey, Leah, and Mercedes. And me."
"I...I didn't mean to do it..." she whispered.
"I don't doubt that," he said back. "You're not a killer."
The group marched in silence for a long while.
"...Nny?" whispered Laura.
"Does doing what I did...make me a bad person?"
Johnny almost stopped in his tracks. "If you had come here planning to kill him for fun, than I would've said yes," he replied slowly. "But no. You're probably the furthest from a bad person I can think of. That bastard, though, he was going to kill your friends...those you care about...for fun. He was worse than bad."
*But not as bad as me.*
After about five minutes of walking, they reached some sort of exit. They found themselves crawling out of a hut disguised as a mound of dirt, Johnny's car some twenty feet away.
They had a ride.
Mercedes, of course, had to be taken back to the hospital. Lacey had been trapped in a hole in the ground for ten days, so she was taken away by some nurses as soon as they stepped foot into the building. Laura was whisked away in the same general direction, but Leah and Johnny were left alone. They'd only been underground for about two days.
The doctors kept Lacey, Laura, and Mercedes in the same room (due to some sort of call from Thorton), the police were called and a group of them were sent away to check out Jetty's little hide-away, and all of them had been forcibly sat down in bed by a rather domineering nurse.
She was very kind. She gave all of them hot-chocolates, and was especially patient with Laura, who was still in a strong state of shock.
Leah would've been forced to stay, too, but apparently her whole reason for being in town was because one of her sisters was having a baby, and she was about to pop. So she was allowed to leave before the police went about questioning everyone (besides Laura, who was barely able to string more than two words together). They were all told that they had to stay overnight.
Johnny wanted nothing more than to just go back to his house and plop down in front of his TV.
He noted that, somewhere around six in the morning, Laura's reserves of energy from shock and adrenaline finally seemed to deplete themselves, and she fell into a deep, probably well-deserved sleep.
And Mercedes finally got her ice-cream.
I dreamed that I killed a man.
No, I know that I killed him.
I dreamed that I hadn't killed him.
I dreamed that he didn't recognize the gun in my hands and charged.
That I hadn't pulled the trigger.
That he just grinned at me.
Pulled the trigger himself.
That Johnny's blood was pooling on the floor.
That his eyes were more empty than glass marbles.
Then he killed Lacey, laughing as she threatened him.
Then Leah, no longer calm and sweet, screaming in fury.
Then Mercedes, losing whatever life she had in her eyes.
All of them.
Then...he turned to me. Stepped closer. I still couldn't kill him.
Then he just laughed...and walked away.
Leaving me alone.
My friends, dead and staring, no life, no life.
And I still wouldn't pull the trigger.
I woke up in a hospital bed, tears streaming down my face. I could see Mercedes and Lacey lying in beds to my right, watching a sizeable TV and eating ice-cream. Leah was sitting at the end of Lacey's bed as they chatted. Johnny was sitting on the edge of a bed to my left. "I guess I win that bet," he said when he noticed I was awake. I smiled up at him and tried to sit up slowly. "Hey," I said to him. "You know what? We're all alive."
He gave me a tiny smirk. "Yeah," he replied. "We are that."