“Stop here,” Ryan finally said.
I pulled the car onto the shoulder, turned it off, and looked at
him. Nudging me with the end of the rifle he said, “Get out.”
Opening the car door, I got out and looked around, noticing
nightfall descending over the town’s glimmering lights far below.
He pointed the rifle down toward a ravine just below us. “Walk,” he
ordered. I entered the ravine, crossing a downtrodden barbed-wire
fence as he followed about ten feet behind me, the rifle still aimed
at my back. We proceeded into the bottom of the ravine passing
tatters of windblown garbage from the nearby road. “Stop and turn
around!” he commanded, as we reached the bottom.
I knew this was the end. As I turned around I drew all of my
spiritual energy up to the top of my head, to my crown chakra, transcending
the thoughts and emotions swirling through my mind. All
around us, crickets chirped as the sweet scent of wild grasses rose
up into the night air. I merged within myself, watching the light of
my spiritual center vibrate and swirl about me. Its magical, glowing
dance formed a cocoon of light, protecting me. I felt only peace as I
calmly looked into Ryan’s blue-gray eyes as he aimed the rifle, held
me in its sights, and … pulled the trigger.
A molten blue ball ringed with orange flames erupted from
the end of the barrel with a reverberating bang. The muzzle blast
seemed to sail toward me in slow motion, until I felt the bullet whiz
past, mere inches from my head.
I just stood there, hands at my sides, not knowing what to do.
Ryan walked toward me angrily shouting something, but I
could not hear him due to the ringing in my ears. He grabbed me
by the scruff of my neck and shouted into my ear, “Don’t you disobey
an order from Erika ever again, understand?! The next time, I
won’t fuckin’ miss.”
“Okay! Okay!” I shouted back, as we started to walk back up
the hill to the car.
A few days later, Ryan told me that Erika was upset with me
because I didn’t get frightened when I should have been that night.
She wanted to know what was wrong with me.

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