Through The Crosshairs
Everything looks different through the scope. I can see the sweat beading on his face as he clings to his female hostage. The body language of her panic telegraphs her fear. Her eyes are wide and her scream is silenced under the pressure of the arm that grips her tightly.
The crosshairs mark where the bullet will go. He will not feel it when it ends his life. No matter that he holds a pistol. He will not kill her. I will see to that.
One shot – one kill.
He moves the pistol to her head
The radio crackles.
My finger tightens on the trigger. I slow my breathing, then hold.
My rifle bucks against my shoulder.
He spins with the impact, twists away and falls.
She screams silently in the crosshairs. Her hands cover her face. She sobs uncontrollably.
I understand her grief. No matter what else, he was her son. Her ordeal is ended.
It was a difficult shot, but I do not celebrate . A life has been taken. A better day is when I stand down without firing.
The Coroner moves into the house.