Story originally published on This Side….Over Yonder; rated PG-13, by my ratings
The Weapon, by Deanna Schrayer
The coming snowstorm had made it dark out, fast. Trudy trembled through the freezing wind as she walked home from the bar, looking around warily. The street was so deserted it looked like a ghost town, but she felt as if a million eyes were watching her. She was astounded she’d never before noticed how dependent she was on Grant. He had to leave her all alone before she realized how lax she’d been all those years.
A tear escaped her eye and Trudy swiped at it with the back of her hand, muttering curses about the weather as if speaking to a companion. She was almost home but still searched her pockets for her gloves, certain if only she didn’t stop moving she could force the memories to flee. But then her hand brushed the metal and those memories came flooding back ten-fold, forcing Trudy to recall that what Grant had given her as a supposed symbol of his love was now nothing more than cold metal. Serve and protect….yea right, she thought, Damn him!
If not for Grant Trudy wouldn’t be out alone in the first place, constantly having to keep an eye out for danger. That maniacal-looking man in the bar, (the one who’d “accidentally” bumped into her and then sat staring at her until she finally left), had made her so nervous she found herself sliding her hand in her pocket and caressing the cool metal, just to make sure it was still there.
“You need some help?”
Trudy stiffened at the sound of the deep voice cutting through the icy night air. She surprised herself at how effortlessly she’d braced her stance into self-defense mode. Just as Grant had taught her Trudy placed her right foot firmly ahead of her left as she faced the man from the bar. Her hand was still in her pocket and she took hold of the weapon. She was ready.
“No, no thank you, I’m fine,” she said and went to take a step forward. Still, the man stood in Trudy’s path, unmoving. “Excuse me,” she said and tried again.
He didn’t budge. He slipped his hands from his pockets and held them up as if in surrender. “Look, I’m sorry if I scared you. I just couldn’t help staring at you, you’re so beautiful.”
Trudy would not be thrown off balance. “Thank you,” she said, “now if you’ll excuse me, I must get home.”
“How about a date?” he raised his eyebrows and moved closer, his sheer size forcing Trudy to step backward. But not before she could take her hand from her pocket, weapon at the ready.
She stepped forward again and waved her hand in front of the man’s face. “Sorry,” she said, gesturing her fingers to display the gold band, “already married.”
Finally he stepped aside and even signaled her along with a flourish of his arm as if presenting a queen. “Pardon me madam,” he said, “too bad though.” He smiled as Trudy held her head high and walked past him, thinking how glad she was that she had kept her wedding band, how well a weapon the piece of metal had served to be after all.
- excellent Deanna, had me speculating all the way through what weapon was sat in her pocket and you pulled the ace out of your sleeve with the neat little twist of a thin gold band. Top stuff
- Clever twist with the wedding band. Nicely played.
- Good sense of menace, and good misdirection Deanna!
- I was totally expecting the weapon to be something else, but your ending works far better.
- First I thought the husband skipped out on her. Then I thought he was a cop who died and trained her to defend herself. Or maybe a criminal who trained her. I figured someone was out to get her for revenge for something he’d done. But either way I totally thought she was gonna pull out a gun, not a wedding ring! Lol. Good job keeping me guessing.
- I definitely didn’t expect the ring to be the weapon! Nice twist, Deanna.
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