Target Practice

“Don’t move”.

You could tell William was terrified. He could hear the gun being cocked as the man spoke those ominous words. He stood stock still. Sweat started beading profusely on his brow and dripping in long serpentine rivulets down his face.

“Should I run”? Will figured he was dead meat if he did. “Was a gun pointed at him or not”? He clenches his jaw and grinds his teeth back and forth. He waits transfixed like a deer caught in headlights…terrified. Yet there was nothing he could see just the sounds around him. “Where was Dougie”?

Dougie was hiding.

Poor Will. I didn’t want to look over anymore. There’s nothing to see with those trees in the way but I could hear them scaring the living daylights out of him. My mouth was dry. I felt like throwing up. Reality dawns. “I’m gutless. I’m a coward not worth my weight in salt. What sort of mate am I? My feet are stuck like concrete. You’re useless mate”!

A voice shouts out, “Aim”

Dougie continues to berate himself. “Why couldn’t I have at least have had a red hot crack at it. He’s your mate. You’ve left him out there in the wide open for bloomin target practice”.

Then Dougie justifies the predicament as he tries to come to grips with what’s unfolding. “Nah…he’s probably scarpered by now. He’ll be right”!?

“Fire”

When Dougie heard the gunshots hit tin cans he wasn’t sure whether to be grateful or even more terrified. He was watching oranges exploding into the sky one after the other, then silence. He imagines Will’s blood soaked torso peppered with bullets. His lifeless body staring up from the ground. The sound of Will’s voice speaking to him from beyond the grave, “Where were you Dougie when I needed you”?

“Oh stop being so melodramatic”, he thinks to himself. “It’s not some Netflix movie of doom and gloom. Now’s your time to shine mate. Do something extraordinary instead of standing here like an airhead.

“Well it’ll be a long shot that I survive”, thought Dougie “but at least I will die with dignity”.

“One, two, three…”

Dougie runs in zig zag fashion like in the movies. He sees Will unscathed practically passing out from the shock of it all. Splattered oranges are everywhere. You could practically taste them.

“Will, come on! Lets get the hell out of here”!

They make a beeline out of the firing range and back onto the trail. Will plonks himself down with sheer exhaustion. “Sh*t Sherlock thought you’d bailed on me Dougie. Thought I was a gonna die. Can’t believe what just went down. I feel sick in the guts. Next time those red flags are up lets just stick to the trail”.

“No way Will. There’s no way I’m heading down this neck of the woods again. Next time lets just go surfing”.

Meanwhile back at the rifle range.

As the rifle lays over his legs the man continues to put tobacco into his rollie. He tips his hat up as he watches the boys make a run for it. “Man, I’m sick of kids coming onto the firing range. It’s so bloody dangerous. One day someone’s going to get their head blown off”, he thinks to himself. ”Hope that taught the little blighters a lesson. Not called a firing range for nothing. He rubs his temple and swears at his blinding headache. Stress. Bloody kids. When will they ever learn”.

Dezzie 2022

Thanks PT Wyant for the Flash Fiction challenge. Wednesday Words #385 Prompt for today; oranges,
a blinding headache, a long shot

For this story I am using a geographical location based near the Malabar Headland National Park. It’s called the ANZAC Rifle Range.

ANZAC Rifle Range

The eastern section of Malabar Headland National Park is subject to closure when the adjacent ANZAC Rifle Range is in use. This is the largest rifle range in the southern hemisphere and is headquarters to the New South Wales Rifle Association. – NSW National Parks and Wildlife

flash fiction, short story,

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