|Last Girls, Thirty »|
“It's useless, having me carry this,” Lark said, tapping the Colt in her waistband. She was leaning on Kelly for support. “Even if I could lift it- and with my shoulder fucked that's far from a given- I doubt I could hit anything.”
“Then consider yourself carrying it for me,” Betsy said, “and praying we don't need it.”
Kelly stared at her. “We're in a forest- find some wood and knock on it before-” She stopped when she heard the sound of a heartbeat heavy in her ears. “No...”
“We need to move. Now!” Betsy took up Lark's other shoulder, and the three ran together. They climbed a hill, heaving from the exertion. As they crested it, Kelly froze.
“It's getting louder,” she said.
As if to echo the concern, the hatchetman rose over the curve of the hill.
Betsy drew fastest, but knew to wait for the others. He took his first lumbering step down the hill towards them.
His fingers tightened around the wooden hatchet's grip, his joints crackling like their campfire. “Steady your shots,” Betsy said. “Aim center. Squeeze the trigger, don't pull, and wait to align your follow-up shot before squeezing again- and don't stop until he's down and stays there.”
Betsy fired the first shot, striking him in the shoulder, causing his march to reverse half a step before he started coming again. Their shots hit him, again and again. After five he fell to one knee. After three more, he fell onto his chest. Lark pulled her trigger again. “You're empty,” Betsy said, “you can stop.”
He planted his hands in the mud, and started to push himself up. Kelly, jittering, put a bullet into a tree several feet away.
“Calm,” Betsy said. “Exhale as you fire- and only when you're sure he's sighted in. Wait for him to stand, if you need to.”
Betsy put a shot into his kneecap, pulling the leg out from under him, and smashing him face-first into the dirt.
Again, he flattened his palms in the mud, and pushed. Kelly and Betsy fired in a flurry, until both guns were empty.
This time he balled his fists, and pushed them into the soft, wet earth. “You two should go,” Lark said. Betsy frowned at her. “It's like running from a bear. You don't have to outrun the bear- just the slowest person with you. I'm not making it out. I've been practically blind for the last mile; I'm surprised Kelly could keep me moving, she was carrying so much of my weight. And you're wasting time when you should already be running. Bring back the Army and the National Guard to finally put this bastard in the dirt for good.”
“What will you-” Kelly started, but stopped when Betsy squeezed her arm.
“She's right. We've got to get out of here.” Betsy tugged her arm as she started running. Kelly ran with her for a few seconds, before looking back. She saw Lark make a dash for the river. Then she passed behind a tree, and she saw a splash in the water, but couldn't tell if she was still moving or just got grabbed up by the current. She disappeared an instant later.
“Hurry!” Betsy yelled from far ahead. “I don't need extra help getting free of this bear.”