Cool Metal

Contributor: Jheri Brown

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The chill of the night was evident with each breath. Her dark eyes shifted back and forth, nervously -- frantically, even. She sat watching, waiting. The bile in her throat felt like it was burning a hole through her esophagus. Her stomach churned and knotted under the pressure of her nerves.
Jacob slid out of his vehicle and, as most people do, shoved his keys and phone into his pockets. There was no real reason for him to leave his phone out anyway. He was exactly where he intended on being. He’d made a ritual of it. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evening, he would call Elyssa and tell her of the busyness at the office and tell her not to worry about fixing him a dinner plate. And every time he did, her heart would almost curl in on itself with each beat and her breath would catch, seized right in her throat.
Elyssa shifted in the seat of the car as Jacob neared the door of the hotel. Her hand shot out for the mini trashcan sitting next to her when the door was opened. The man on the other side was tall like her husband -- handsome, too. His hair was blond, a stark contrast to Jacob’s black, but very similar to her own. The bile that seemed to be resting, waiting as she was, pooled on her tongue the second her husband’s lips met the other man’s.
She tucked the garbage can to her chest, trying carefully to neither look any longer nor set off the horn. Not to mention the fact that she had to be extremely careful not to knock the gun laying on her lap around.
Elyssa knew precious little about handguns, much less how to shoot them. But after several months of the constant lies dripping from Jacob’s lips, she did as any woman would.
She bought one.
The clock ticked. Minutes turned to hours and her anxious wakefulness quickly turned to tiredness. She checked her phone for the umpteenth time and replied to yet another message from Jacob. The first one he sent was asking if she’d need anything before he came home. Of course, she replied with a simple ‘no.’ The next message, twenty or so minutes later, was him expressing his love for her. She replied almost mechanically. His words no longer made her feel like she was precious. She knew better.
The crack in her window allowed her to faintly hear the hotel door crack open again. She steadied the gun in her hand, easing the window down even further. Elyssa didn’t care if she missed, if she simply maimed Jacob, she just wanted to get her point across.
As she lifted her shaky hands and rested them against the car door’s ledge, something scratched against the vehicle. She jumped, completely startled. Her heart raced and she wondered if she’d been caught.
But it didn’t take long for her to figure it out. Just when she quickly put the gun down, attempting to hide it from anyone’s sight, she felt the cool metal of another gun. The barrel pressed hard against her temple. She gasped, but it was too late to say anything.
“You shouldn’t have meddled,” he said. The man’s voice was deep, much like Jacob’s. “You just shouldn’t have meddled.” The words fell from his lips like poison from a snake’s fangs just as the parking lot echoed with the sound of a gunshot.

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Jheri Brown is currently a full-time student and spends her down time filling sticky notes with the non-stop film reel that's called her mind.
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