Set Free

Julie Ludlow rested the rifle over the top edge of the brick apartment building, peered through the scope and sighted in her target.
She inhaled deeply to steady her shaky hands and pulled the trigger, dropping Ricky Parker to the ground on The Coffee House steps.
Seconds ticked by as she shoved another round into the chamber. Her shoulder throbbed and her ears rang as she pumped the trigger again, dropping Ricky’s younger brother, Randy, down beside him.
Julie rolled to the side, shifting the gun away from the ledge and pressing her back against the wall. With the rifle lying across her thighs, she shuddered out a breath as screams for help lifted up from the street.
Trembling, she placed the rifle in its case, and clicked the latches closed. Hunkered low, she dashed toward the stairwell and bounded down two flights to the third floor. She glanced up and down the hall to make sure no one watched as she exited the stairwell and made a quick dash to the janitor’s closet. She closed and locked the door behind her. Nausea churned as sweat beaded along her forehead and ran down between her breasts.
She’d done it. Holy shit. She’d really done it. She squeezed her eyes tight for a heartbeat of a second. No time to stop now.
She stowed the rifle case behind the large metal cabinet and grabbed her backpack from the same location. She took a deep breath, held, and let it out slow and easy. Sirens whirled in the distance as she stepped into the hall. She debated whether to take the stairs, but decided doing so would appear suspicious, so she headed for the elevators as if she did so everyday.
As she reached the first floor exit, police burst through the apartment entrance. She shrunk into a darkened doorway as they charged past and up the stairs, then she slipped out the door unnoticed. Outside, chaos reigned.
Not wanting to draw attention, she mingled among the gathering crowd, slowly making her way to the alley where she’d parked her dad’s brown Buick. Julie climbed behind the wheel and with an unsteady hand turned the key. The old beast shuddered to life. She rammed the gearshift into place and headed out of town.
With hot tears streaming down her cheeks, she left MulsboroOhio behind without looking back.

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