KILLING ME SOFTLY - Teenage Assassin - Chapter 33

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CHAPTER 33: 

ANNABELLE’S  POV: 

As I watch Gabriel raise the gun to point it at me, a familiar sense of inevitability washes through me.  Doesn’t lessen the shock of the moment, though.  Death at the hands of the person you love most in the world is never easy to take.  Guess he doesn’t love me quite as much. 

Unlike the other times, I can see in his eyes that he means to do it this time. There’s almost a crazed quality to his look.  He has the gun fully raised now.  The shot fires and, even though I had those few seconds to brace myself, my entire body jerks back, a rush of air leaves my body. 

I look down at the red stain growing on my torso, then all strength leaves my body and I crumple to the floor.  Falling onto my back, with my legs bent and to the side, I look up at the ornate ceiling of the suite.  The sun from the large windows is reflecting off the gold molding above me, giving it a heavenly glow.  I’m sure that’s all it is.  I’m not so sure that heaven is for me.  Not so sure that I even believe in it. 

It’s so hard to breathe. 

“Annie!” I hear Jackson call out from the doorway behind me at the same time that I hear Gabriel shout, “Anna!”

As I struggle for breath,  I rasp out “No,” but I don’t know if it’s even loud enough to be heard.  Ironically, I’m more fearful for Gabriel right now than I am for myself.  Jackson is going to kill him. 

Gabriel’s face is suddenly hovering over mine.  I feel no anger, just incredible sadness.  In the back of my mind, I guess I always knew this was a very real possibility, but I just couldn’t let him go in order to save myself.  Gabriel’s kneeling body is pushed aside and Jackson’s face comes into view. 

“No,” I manage to rasp out more forcefully, looking Jackson straight in the eyes.  The difficulty of getting the word out causes me to cough. The feel of blood spraying out of my mouth and onto my face as I cough confirms the severity of the wound.

Jackson just shakes his head and I plead with my eyes.  Finally, reluctantly, he nods.  Gabriel is safe. 

I feel something being pressed against me and realize that one of them is putting pressure on the wound.  “Hold this!” Jackson yells.  The pressure is momentarily gone and then back again. 

Jackson’s face leaves my sight and Gabriel’s is back.  The horror and devastation in his eyes does nothing to make me feel better.  It is what it is, I’m not one to romanticize situations like this.  They just plain suck. 

Through my pain and panic, I wonder about the shock on Gabriel’s face.  What does he have to be shocked about?  He’s the one that pulled the trigger.  Did he not realize that me bleeding and dying would be the result?  Why now?  What finally set him off? 

My eyelids feel heavy, so I close them.  I feel so tired and at the same time panicky and out of breath.  Jackson starts yelling about paramedics and an ambulance and I figure he must be on the phone with the front desk.  I doubt dialing 911 would help here in Stockholm.  Didn’t really think we’d ever need that info while here. 

I know that I’m panting, gasping for breath since I feel as if I’m suffocating, but I can’t hear it anymore.  There seems to be a roaring in my ears.  Feeling dizzy, I open my eyes to see Gabriel again.  Before I close my eyes for good, I have to tell him something. 

His eyes are pleading with mine and he’s saying something, but I can’t hear it.  This is the end for me and him.  Keeping eye contact with him, I have to tell him, I want him to know.  When my mouth starts to move, he brings his face closer. 

“Loved you.”

GABRIEL’S  POV: 

When Anna closes her eyes, I feel as if my whole world is crashing down.  My heart is beating so fast in my chest, that I feel as if it’s going to burst.  Remorse, regret, pain, those words aren’t nearly strong enough to describe what I’m feeling.   

“Loved you,” was what she said.  Confused about her exact meaning, I shake my head and glance up at Jackson, where he’s pacing, gripping with hotel room phone with white knuckles.  I think the front desk put him through to an emergency line, because he’s staring at Anna on the floor and giving them information on her condition. 

I look back down at Anna and use the tail of my navy dress shirt to wipe the blood from the corners of her mouth.  There’s too much blood pooled around us to effectively wipe up, but at least her face is cleaner.  Still holding pressure on the wound, with my free hand, I brush back a piece of hair that’s in her eyes.  Not that they’re open.  Please open. 

I still can’t believe I shot her.  She could be dying right now.  As the reality of the situation starts to really sink in, I let go of the pressure on her wound and grip her shoulders, pulling her upper body onto my lap, cradling the back of her neck with one palm. 

Her breathing is labored and I’m not sure if she has much time left.  If these are her last moments, I just want to hold her.  The blood is flowing so fast.  At the close range that I shot her, it went in through her front and out her back. 

I press my lips roughly against her forehead and finally start to cry. 

This is really happening.  I killed my girl.  I glance up at Jackson and meet his hard stare.  There’s some comfort in knowing that I’ll soon follow her.  Jackson probably won’t let me live to see tomorrow.  I’m putting my ear closer to her lips, wanting to listen to her very last breath. 

Even though I know she can’t hear me, I still have to tell her what’s in my heart. 

“I loved you too, Anna.  I’m so sorry, baby, I didn’t mean it.  But I’ll be seeing you again soon.”

Just then, a middle-aged man, wearing glasses, rushes through the hotel room door, speaking rapid Swedish, carrying a black bag.  The sound of Jackson dropping the phone on the floor sounds out right before he’s helping the man pull Anna out of my arms.  I hand her over, hoping that this man can work a miracle.

Jackson yells, “English!” at him and they start conversing.  The man is a guest at the hotel and a doctor who was in the lobby when Jackson called to be put through for an ambulance.  The doctor is going to work on Anna until emergency personnel shows.

The grim set of the doctor’s face and his sympathetic eyes when he looks at me lets me know how hopeless the situation is.  The doctor puts a mask over Anna’s face and starts pumping air through her mouth, he also cuts open her shirt to look at the wound.  With Jackson helping him, he manages to put a binding around her torso, covering the wound. 

The next few minutes pass in a whirlwind of Swedish where paramedics rush in and move Anna onto a gurney.  Having no idea what they’re saying, as they wheel her body to the elevator, I crash into Jackson at the entrance of the stairwell to meet them in the lobby. 

He pushes me and gives me a look of pure hatred, “Get the f*ck out of here Gabriel.  Unless you want to end up in prison or dead!”

Letting him go ahead of me, I rush down the stairs behind him.  By the time we enter the lobby, it’s in time to see the elevator open and the gurney being pushed out.  Following them out into the bright sunshine, the ambulance is waiting in front of the lobby doors.  As the ambulance doors are closing behind them, I see one of the paramedics place a defibrillator on her chest and Anna’s body jump in response to the shock of the paddles. 

I don’t even notice Jackson standing next to me until he says, “Her heart stopped.”

Then his fist flies at my face, knocking me out. 

When I wake up, it’s dark now and I’m in a car.  I turn my head to the right and see that Jackson is driving.  There’s a hard set to his jaw and he doesn’t even look my way.  A sense of determination is coming off him. Weird, that he somehow loaded my passed out body into this car, which I’m pretty sure is stolen, since it isn’t the one we rented when we arrived at the airport in Sweden.

I clear my throat, “Are we going to the hospital?” 

It’s awhile before he answers me, “We already stopped there.”

Okay.  “Where are we heading?”

He grounds out, “Airport,” before finally looking at me, “You’ll want to change your clothes.  Bag’s in the back.”

Choking on her name, I ask, “Anna?”

There’s another long pause before he says, “Dead.”

For a minute, nothing, then I start to sob uncontrollably and moan, “Oh god,” over and over again.  When Jackson reaches into the backseat that drops a bag onto my lap, I numbly pull out a shirt and pants.  Pulling off my blood-stained dress shirt and jeans, I’ve finished getting dressed when we pull up to the passenger drop-off point of a terminal.  Jackson hands me something and I automatically take it.  It’s my passport.  I glance at the time on the dash.  The private plane should still be waiting. 

Not getting out, just sitting in silence, I wonder what’s going to Jackson’s head.  “Why are you doing this, Jackson?  Letting me go and not killing me?”

He doesn’t answer until I look at him.  I see the hatred in his eyes, along with a sheen of unshed tears.  He swallows hard, “Because she loved you.  She wouldn’t want you dead.”  He reaches over to grip the door handle and push open my door.  “Now get the f*ck out before I change my mind.”

I stumble out and forty-five minutes later am staring out the plane window, looking down as the city lights of Stockholm disappear below, thinking about all of my dead loved ones.  Within an hour after taking off, I’m drunk off my ass and tearing apart the cabin. 

I finally pass out drunk and when I wake up, there’s no more shock, no more “Oh god.”  Just self-hatred, despair and pain.  So much pain.  She’s dead.  Just like my parents, but for her death I can blame no one but myself.  Why didn’t Jackson kill me?  Really, he’d be doing me a favor.  I’m sure wherever Anna is right now, she’s not wishing me well.  If I were her, I’d be wishing me as dead as she is. 

What have I done?

Two days later, I’m standing at my mother’s grave as dirt is being thrown on her casket.  Max and my aunt Lucy are on either side of me, each holding one of my hands.  As much as I’m grieving for my mom, I have to wonder if Anna is being put to rest at this very moment. 

Did she get a proper burial with a beautiful tombstone like my mother?  Or does a girl-assassin who never really existed on record anywhere get an unmarked grave?  I don’t even know which country she’ll be buried in.  I can’t even put flowers on her grave

I tried calling Jackson’s cell this morning, desperate to at least know where her body will rest or if she‘ll be cremated, but it’s already been disconnected.  Then I tried get a hold of Marie Perrot, but she isn’t accepting my calls.  If she knows what happened in Stockholm, I can’t say I blame her. 

As I walk away from my mother’s grave to the limo, I think about what a waste it would be to plan a future for myself at this point.  Jackson may have let me go in Sweden, but I don’t think he’ll be able to hold onto that idea for long.  Just as I went after Annabelle for revenge, he’ll eventually be forced to come after me.  His hatred for me will demand it. 

I guess I do have one plan for the future.  Sit and wait.  Wait for my own death at Jackson’s hand.  I deserve nothing else. 

**NEXT CHAPTER IS ALREADY HALFWAY WRITTEN, SO IF I GET A LOT OF VOTES, I'LL POST IT FASTER. 

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