A Time For Change – an incomplete short story

city-997390Andre winced as a sharp pain pierced his side. He didn’t even realize he was being shot at, until several bullets found their home in the wall behind him with several consecutive thuds as they buried themselves in the dirty cinder block. Andre wasn’t just being shot at, he had been shot. He heard tires screech as a black sedan made a sloppy U-turn and headed back to where he was standing. He saw the muzzle of a gun flash as several more bullets were sent in his direction. Andre wasn’t able to see who was shooting, he had to think quick to stay alive. Diving behind a half filled dumpster. Several more bullets hit the wall where he was standing a moment ago, and a few more pierced the front of the dumpster. He hid in the shadows, peering carefully around the dumpster. A black sedan had stopped in the alleyway, and the passenger side door was open. Andre struggled to see if anyone was coming towards him with the high-beams of the sedan aimed straight at him. A black silhouette of a man, wielding a semi-automatic handgun, was searching for him, but the sound of approaching sirens in the distance startled the dark figure. Andre breathed a sigh of relief as the man shuffled his feet noisily as he got back in the car and drove off. As soon as he was sure that the coast was clear, Andre stood up and brushed some of the dirt off of himself, the bleeding ache in his side reminding him how close he was to not making it to see another day. Andre was tired of running for his life all his time. It was time for him to make a change.
Maria stirred in her bed at the sound of knocking at her window. Andre rapped on the window once again. This time Maria slowly sat up and after seeing Andre through the dingy glass, put on a robe before unlocking the window and opening it. He was slumped against the railing of the fire escape, blood soaking his shirt, and his hand pressing against the wound he received earlier to slow the bleeding. Maria helped him crawl through the window into her apartment, then went into the her closet to grab her bag of medical supplies. Normally, Maria would use these supplies when she was helping out at the free clinic at the shelter downtown, but tonight she needed it for different reasons. Andre was now laying on the floor near the window he crawled through. Maria methodically began cleaning the wound, while Andre tried his best to not show the pain he was feeling. There was no bullet in the wound, it had passed clean through and, luckily, missed any vital organs. Maria was relieved when she discovered this, and was able to stitch up the wounds quickly. After cleaning up the bloody mess Andre had created, Maria opened up a closet and pulled out a pillow and blanket. She helped Andre up onto the couch, he was still week from the blood he lost. He was already dozing off, as Maria tucked him in and cut off the lights. It had been a long night for both of them.
Andre woke up to the smell of coffee brewing, and warm sunlight coming through the windows. Maria was dressed in hospital scrubs, eating the last bit of toast and jam, before heading out the door to work. Seeing that he was awake, Maria said, “Help yourself to anything you can find to eat and try not to move too much. You don’t want to tear the stitches I put in you last night. Rest, and we can talk more when I get home from work. I’ll see if I can get you anything for the pain” Andre nodded, knowing he had a lot of explaining to do. Maria grabbed her keys and bag, before making her way to the apartment door. She closed the door quietly behind her, and Andre winced as he got up to make himself something for breakfast.
There was still a piercing pain in his side if he moved the wrong way, but not as bad as last night. He knew it would take a while until the pain subsided fully. He would definitely have at least one scar to remind him of the whole ordeal. He was thankful that the coffee pot wasn’t empty, and poured himself a cup. He drank it black, with more sugar than he knows was good for him. Andre dropped a couple of pieces of bread in the toaster, and his gaze drifted outside the window at the clouds drifting across the sky. The view was obscured by the urban landscape, but between each building, a little bit of the blue sky was able to peek through. Andre was lost in thought. The events that unfolded last night were much too close for comfort, but Andre knew he had to do the right thing. After his near death experience last night, he knew that doing the right thing was not going to be easy.
Andre had pretty much grown up on his own. His mother did the best she could trying to raise him as a single mother, but working two jobs to make ends meet didn’t leave much time for her to actually spend raising her son. Andre got mixed up with the wrong side of the law early on in life. By the time he had reached high school, he had been in and out of juvenile detention a handful of times on various charges. By the time Andre was 18, he had dropped out of high school and earned himself a reputation as someone that could get things done. If he didn’t know how to do it himself, he knew somebody that could get it done – whatever it was. It was this reputation of getting things done, that landed him in this latest situation.Normally Andre didn’t find himself with the dangerous end of a gun pointed in his direction, and it was even less often that bullets were actually flying at him. This time he knew too much, and that made him a liability. Andre didn’t even know who was after him at this point, but he knew why.
–To be continued…