THE DEADLY GAME
He was still in the house. I could not see him. I could not hear him, but I just knew he was still there. It was like some sixth sense. Call it a feeling in my gut or call it what ever you like but it had saved me a number of times before.
I stood just behind my bedroom door, straining all my senses, trying to pick up the slightest noise or vibration. Was he just outside the door in the hallway, or had he retreated further into the house?
The pistol was cold and heavy in my right hand. I adjusted my grip and took up more pressure on the trigger.
I glanced back at the bed where I had been asleep just moments before. The evidence of his two shots was plainly visible as dark marks on the whiteness of my pillow. I had been very lucky. They had missed my head by mere millimetres as I had thrown myself sideways at the last moment. Being a light sleeper had saved me once before. He was good though, and so he should be, as I had trained him myself. I had not heard his approach until it was almost too late. In my younger days I would have been aware of his presence before he had even entered the room.
I stood as still as possible for what seemed like an eternity. No sound except for the creaking of the house as the sun rose further and warmed the tiles on the roof.
There was no choice; I had to go out through the door. I could not wait any longer. So taking a deep breath, and keeping as low as possible I jumped out into the hallway. There were only two ways that I could face first, either left or right. I chose right as that way the hallway led deeper into the house.
Nothing. The hallway was empty. I swung around as fast as I could but the other way was also empty. So far so good.
I again waited to see if I could hear anything. The crash of a garbage tin lid in the laneway beside the house made me jump and half turn towards it before I realised what it was.
Nothing! So I began to slowly make my way down the hall towards the kitchen. Trying to remember my training from all those years ago I moved my weapon from side to side and kept it extended, gripped in both hands, in front of me. I knew that ten years of retirement and soft living had slowed me down but I still felt the adrenalin pumping and the same old excitement coursing through me.
Pausing just outside the open entrance into the kitchen, I again tried to listen to see if I could detect any movement inside or even the sound of his breathing.
Hearing nothing I stepped inside. It was only a small kitchen with a breakfast bar that opened onto a family living area. There was no one there.
Then I heard it. Just a slight scratching sound that came from behind the breakfast bar. I strained my ears but the sound was gone. Had I really heard it, or were my nerves getting the better of me? Then it came again, slightly louder this time. He must be crouched down behind the bar. It was only about waist high and extended halfway across, dividing the two areas.
Had he heard me enter the room? Was he waiting for me to make a move or was he going to suddenly leap up and fire hoping to catch me off guard?
I could not remain where I was. I had to make a move. I really only had two options, retreat or attack. What to do?
Before I realised that I had made a decision I was in motion. Three quick steps and I was around the end of the breakfast bar. There was a blur of movement and I fired. It was the cat. I had shot my Persian cat.
Cursing myself for having given away my position I was about to turn around when I heard the door of the pantry behind me crash open.
I knew I would be too slow and that it was hopeless but began to turn anyway. I was not more than half way around when the shot hit me full in the back.
He laughed and said, “I got you good that time grandad.” Then he fired his water pistol at me again.