Just A Kilometer
Karim Khan/Ernest Dempsey has been writing for The Surface (Glasgow). His stories have appeared in Skive online magazine. His poems have been published in Voices Net Anthologies, Poetry Canada, and Seeker magazine. His suspense novella The Crux is online at www.lulu.com/content/102606. He is working on his first novel.
Gary Walter slowly rose to his feet. He knew he was not yet past danger. Being shot, he had pretended dead while the pillagers sacked the store. His fellow workers, all three of them were dead, one shot in the head, one in the neck, and the other twice in the chest. That was fifteen minutes ago. Gary had got a bullet in his flank. He lay like dead until they ran off. His wound had bled much though he had been pressing it with his palm even while he lay motionless on the ground. He took a few steps to come out of the store. The nearest point where he could expect some help was the village’s post office, about a kilometer south. The desolate path confirmed that he had to rely on himself for making it to the post office. Pain had already started its war on him. Weakness of body
and spirit seized his steps. For a moment, darkness covered his sight and he felt like falling dead.
"Clara!" The thought of his wife spoke up in his staggering tone. Her face showed up in his eyes, smiling softly at him. He took another step. A pang shot through him. He saw his hand, covered with his blood, pressing his flank.
"Death!" The word rang up in his head calling again the darkness that Clara’s thought had dispelled.
"No!" He sobbed, taking another step.
"Clara," he called again.
Her face showed up. This time, he could see her neck, her breast, and her hands working on the knitting needles. He remembered this morning she had told him she was weaving another sweater for him. Would he live now to see that, he thought. A kilometer ahead felt a far cry, far as impossible with his wound. Clara’s face hovered before his eyes. Her hands kept knitting. A cool breeze blew upon his face. A modicum of relief poured a little strength in him. Her smooth, shapely fingers played cleverly with wool and needles. Pain lost its intensity for a moment. He smiled faintly.
Her name brought her face closer to him. She was smiling at him with hands knitting complacently an immaculate white fabric. He thought of the sweater she was weaving. His step gained some confidence. Pain thwarted him. But he could carry on. Clara was there, smiling, knitting for him. A kilometer was not that long to go. He had covered some of it. He knew he could carry on without falling. He knew he could, and he did.