Walking Past Fire"
                                                                                 By Melissa R. Mendelson
                                                                                               Wednesday, June 12, 2013
                                                                        Rated "G" by the Author.
                                                                   A tired wish to die is answered.

The road stretched out before me.  Nothing but trees clustered my view.  The sun tried to blind me as I
twisted and turned, hoping for a glimpse of civilization, but there was none.  There was just road, the
unknown destination that lied ahead, but I know what waits for me, my end.
Sunlight bounces off metal.  Another asshole cut me off.  If only he knew who was behind this wheel.  I was
born to play the villain, and he was born to be the fool.  Road rage is not for my liking, but I never liked
getting my hands dirty except when the price was right.  I wouldn’t waste a dime on the idiots flashing
their brights and honking their horns or the idiots that don’t believe in yielding before merging.          
They want to go to war?  I’ll give them a war, but it’s only a distraction.  I’m not fooling anyone.  They’re
already waiting for me.
I knew better than taking this route.  Its wicked twists and turns though give me a sense of peace.  
I’m going nowhere, but I’m going somewhere.  There’s no world here.  There’s just life.  This is what
remains of what we have not yet destroyed, but we’ll get to this.  We’ll bring the whole damn world down
until there is no tranquility left, but even at my chapter’s end, I can find peace here.  When they come to
destroy this last slice of haven, I shall be long gone, and now I see the toll booth up ahead.
Their pretty lights are flashing.  Guns at the ready.  Will I go quietly?  I think not, and they expect that.  I
was born to be the villain, but they’re not heroes.  They’re as crooked as I am, as this road is, but they’ll
deny it.  They’ll stand there proud, ready to do their duty, but they are not heroes.  To find the one to kill
the villain is to do the unthinkable.  I’ll kill as many as it takes.  The line of fire is drawn, and it’s the quiet
before the thunder of guns.
“Turn the engine off, and get out of your car!”
I remained sitting behind the steering wheel.  I did not blink. One hand caressed the wheel while the other
held a .9 millimeter at my side. My eyes moved along the sea of cops in front of me, and I knew they were
ready to go, ready to kill me. And all I could do was smile.
The long stretch of highway behind me was now blocked off. There was no place to go. My car was in-
between a wall and them, and I did not plan on dying today. But this was my end.
“Turn the engine off, and get out of the car! I will not ask again!”
“So much for keeping these men standing like statues before me,” I thought with amusement.
It was a hot day, one of the hottest, and I could see the sweat run down an officer’s face. His hand shook a
little. He would be the first to fall.
As they wished, I cut the engine. I smiled as the men before me relaxed. My eyes shifted from each one of
them, and only a few kept firm, guns ready to fire at the wrong move.  I stepped out of the car with a gun
held behind my back.  I focused on the one that I had selected.  If I was going down, he would go with me.  
And I slowly began to move toward him.
“Stay where you are! Get down on your knees, and put your hands on your head!” I ignored the request.
“I will not ask again!”
“Make me,” I barked at them.
The gun was ready, ready to fire. My finger twitched, finding its trigger. The hammerhead pulled back,
and the bullet was waiting.  I crossed the line of fire as the man slowly stepped toward me.  I watched him
look at his comrades, waiting for their approval. Another step in my direction, and he lowered his gun.  
That was his mistake, and I opened fire, watching him dance in the midst of bullets. I hardly felt
something strike me as my eyes took in every movement, every expression of shock and pain, and then
something else struck me.
As I fell backward, I dropped my gun. A river of blood poured from my wounds. A smile tickled my face.
My eyes found him lying not too far from me, still clinging to life.
“Hold on. You hear me? Hold on,” his friend begged as he held him in his arms.
“Isn’t life precious,” I called to him. “We take it for granted, but we never see the day that we die until we
stand before it. We think we have all the time in the world, but the clock is ticking. It’s ticking till now.”
I watched the officer rise to his feet and move toward me. “We all have a number, and I called his.” The
officer had his gun aimed at me. “Only the strong survive. Only the strong will survive, and the weak will
“My friend was not weak.”
“He’s as weak as you are, if you cannot pull that trigger.”        
“Do you want to die so badly?”
“I’m already dying. You’ll just finish the job.”
“So, you want me to show you mercy? You don’t deserve mercy.”
“If I live today, someone will die tomorrow. Do you want to live with that?”
His eyes met mine.  He was searching for a shred of humanity.  He had a heart of gold.  He was born to
play the hero, and I was his villain.  He would decide my fate, and his finger curled around the trigger.  All
I could do was smile and say, “Thank you.”
My final words rang out along the deserted highway. A cool breeze came to sweep the heat away. Sirens
flashed in the distance. Men holstered their guns and stood around their fallen comrade. The hero
remained with gun in hand, and I was no longer born to be his villain.  I crossed the line of fire, trying not
to get burned.

2013 Melissa R. Mendelson [All Rights Reserved]
Literary Masters, Inc.
Publicists for Short Stories, Books, Poems and Songs
Long Island, New York 11971
NEW REVIEWS:  There are so many fine pieces by Melissa at LMI. I feel this is one of her darker pieces
to date. A stark and unrelenting story of unrequited confrontation gone astray. I liked Melissa other works
more. Although it must have been hard to write such a piece, she has better works to share. Even so, thank
you, Melissa.***__Barbara A. Sabo.
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