He laughed around the panic clogging his throat, but his gun never wavered from its target. Emir pulled the trigger three times in quick succession before dropping the gun on the shelf of the shooting range. He gripped his left wrist rubbing a thumb over the inside of his arm as he worked on corralling his emotions. The panic had ebbed, but confusion and disgust splashed through him like icewater. The target moved forward on its automated track, and Emir took in the results with flat eyes. One hole in the left shoulder and one in the right thigh. Of the third bullet there was no trace.
“Not so bad.” The words made Emir jump, and he was only thankful that fire did not spill from his fingers as he faced Jean. A rueful smile twisted her lips as Emir dutifully removed his ear protection.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you. This your first time at the range?” Jean didn’t have a gun in her hand, but her pair of ear protectors were looped around her neck like a pair of headphones.
“Yeah, I-I didn’t know you came here.” If he did he wouldn’t have come.
“I just started coming. After Philly…well it seemed a good idea to know another weapon.” Jean’s expression turned somber and she jerked herself back to the present. Emir “Is this a new skill for you or practicing an old one?”
Emir grimaced unconsciously rubbing his arm, “Neither really. They didn’t teach me-I wasn’t allowed to handle weapons.” Even assisting in making the specialized equipment could get him in trouble. Touching a gun would have landed him in the Kennel’s Cold room if not worse.
“You hurt yourself?” Jean moved closer concern drawing her eyebrows down over her forehead. Emir followed her gaze and jerked his hand away from his wrist.
“No-I’m fine.” The urge to laugh was building again, and Emir pushed it down with rigid control. Jean didn’t saying anything for a long moment.
“You want to get out of here? Usually when your brother starts looking like that he needs to blow off some steam-if you know what I mean.” Emir did laugh at that. He could easily imagine Zack throwing off a fireball large enough to cause problems when he was upset.
“I’m good, at control at least. I won’t hurt anybody. I just-I wanted to see if I could do it. Shoot the gun-I mean. I can, but I’m no good. I’d have to practice more than I want to.” He tried a quick smile gone before he let it get flimsy. “You don’t have to interrupt your practice.” Jean ignored his last comment.
“Well, I guess you did what you wanted then, proved you could shoot it. So that’s a good thing, right?” She was still scanning his face looking for answers, but Emir was a harder read than his brother.
“Yeah,” he agreed, “but I’m going to head home. Maybe see you later this evening?” A good thing, when he felt like throwing up? When touching the barrel made him brace for the sharp prick of a needle entering his skin followed by the sweeping cold of unconsciousness? Was that what good looked like?
“Sure, I’ll see you later.”
Emir nodded and steeled himself to pick up the gun and take it to the checkout section.
Thieves had stolen my first line. Go see what the thieves have done with it at the Legal Theft blog.