That last punch had almost unhinged her upper jaw. Throbbing pain in her face was now competing with the loud reverberations in her head as her eyes swam with tears. She knew she couldn’t take another hit like that. On their hunting trips, her father used to say, “To kill a beast, you don’t go into a hand-to-hand combat with it. No, you bring a fucking gun to put it down.” ‘Hand-to-hand combat’ – Dad would have appreciated the irony here or may be he would have, had he ever given a fucking damn about her or anyone else! Maybe he’d have simply laughed watching her squirm like the maggot he used to say she was.
“Focus! Dammit, focus!” She mumbled as she tried to sit back up. If only she could reach the edge of the bedpost without getting thrown again like a rag-doll. She slid a little closer to where she used to keep her Beretta. Her right hand inched, slowly but anxiously, toward the underside of the bed’s corner. Suddenly, her body convulsed into a violent jerky motion and she felt a hard slap across her left cheek. Her white face now had a tiny tear of flesh and a streaking drop of blood made its way to her trembling lips. The emerald ring her mother had gifted her on her sixteenth birthday now bore a red speck of her skin.
Trying to regain control of her senses, she felt a sharp pain in her head. Her hair was being pulled away and before she could utter a scream, a fist was thrusted into her mouth. Panic bursted into a million stinging pulses, rushing through her entire body as she struggled to breath while fighting to free herself. The pain in her jaw returned with a renewed lust for revenge and she could now taste blood in the back of her mouth.
Heaving desperately, she tried to work through the pain. Gathering all her remaining strength, she lunged at the corner of her bed and this time the fingers of her right hand grasped firmly the familiar curves of her beloved gun. She pulled it out only to find herself in a tug-war with her attacker to have it. She yelled, “Stop, damn it! Stop! Oh shit…shit!” Gasping wildly, she tried to pull the gun to herself but it was clear she was going to lose it soon.
In a flash of a second it became clear what she had to do. It felt like time had become a viscous, heavy fluid around her and everything began slowing down. Her pain was no longer interrupting her and the sound of her breathing dropped dead as she cocked her Beretta and pulled the trigger, blasting away her left arm right at the elbow.
It all happened in the blink of an eye. Something gave away and her body felt free as the ricochet threw her on her side. She never registered the dull thump of the amputated limb; apart from the sharp ringing, she heard no sound. Even after watching the deluge of blood oozing out of her mauled left arm, she didn’t feel any pain. Not for the first couple of…seconds? Minutes? She quickly pushed herself back from the thing that was once her hand and now lay limp near her feet.
Realizing she had been holding in her breath, keeping an eye on what now felt like some alien organ lying a feet away from her, she let out her breath in spasmodic gasps. And just as she inhaled the new air, she felt it. The absolute form of unbearable pain hit her like she had never felt it before in her entire life. She screamed a horrible sound as her vision began spinning madly. Then, she hurled everything she had had that morning right into her lap. The very act of moving her head to throw up seemed to infuriate the pain in her left limb or what was left of it. A few more minutes passed but the nausea didn’t get better and the pain only worse. But what made her recover the focus in an instant were the sudden twitches her now dismembered hand began making.