After a long, silent, and awkward walk, we reach the gunsmith’s building downtown. ‘Friedrich’s Armaments & Ammunition’ read the sign overhead. There was nothing particularly spectacular about this building. It blended in with all the others on the street. A hardware store sat on the left of the building and a video rental on the right. Both adjacent buildings proudly displayed their ‘Open’ signs in the broad daylight outside. This one however remained closed.
The street was rather busy at this hour, and cars continued to drive by our building as we stood before the locked entrance. The hours listed on the shop window suggested that it should be open. Looking inside, there was no sign of the owner or any employees. The front counter sat unmanned at the back of the sales floor.
“It says they should be open,” I commented to my uninvited partner. After a momentary pause, I drew my weapon and took aim at the large glass window. “How about we fix that?”
“Put that away!” Julia yelled as she frantically looked around. Satisfied that no one was watching us, she pulled out some lock-picking tools and knelt before the door.
“Or, I guess you could do that,” I holstered my weapon and watched her work. Shooting out a shop window on a busy street might not have been discreet, but kneeling down to pick a lock didn’t seem much better. I watched her hands move, meticulously feeling around inside the lock. I never learned how to pick a lock. Even back in my old life, I always had Julia around to do it. These days I just couldn’t be bothered to. It’s quicker to just break in and move on, especially when you won’t be around long enough to worry about getting caught.
The lock turned with a ‘click’ and we hurried inside. There were some display cases around the walls of the shop. Inside them, various guns of all shapes and sizes were on display. I walked over to a nearby case to inspect it. A slight layer of dust covered the glass, obscuring from view the fine details of its content. A dingy padlock secured the case shut. It didn’t seem like it had ever seen much attention.
The whole store followed this theme. Dusty cases and grimy fixtures that wouldn’t pass even the most lenient of white glove tests. We approached the back counter, and found it in much the same condition. A layer of paperwork cluttered the desk, but it too had it’s own dusty covering. No one had cleaned up in here for quite some time. It appeared as if the owner had outright abandoned it.
As I examined the gunsmith’s workspace, a dust-coated letter caught my eye. It sat on top of the pile, separated from the rest by an empty envelope. A few keywords in the letter caught my eye, but I didn’t get a chance to read it before I was interrupted by Julia.
“You hear that?” Julia asked. She moved toward the back of the room, trying to locate the sound. After listening for a moment, I could hear it too. From the other side of the wall, I could hear a low humming accompanied by a high pitched, grinding noise.
“Yeah, it sounds like some sort of machinery,” I replied, and placed the letter into my coat pocket. I walked over to meet Julia next to a door to the backroom. I took hold of the doorknob and slowly cracked it open. The sound intensified, but from the small crack, I couldn’t see where it was coming from.
I took a deep breath, and drew my weapon. I looked to Julia, who gave me a nod of approval. Taking aim, I kicked the door open. On the other side, we found a room cluttered with various metal and woodworking tools.
Unable to discern much from the door, I made my way into the room, heading toward the source of the noise. From the doorway, it did not seem like anyone was in the room. If not for the grind of the power equipment, I would have assumed no one to be home.
The sound echoed through the room, causing me to jump. Heart racing, I continued forward. I soon found the source of the noise, a lathe left unattended. It had managed to completely carve it’s way through a metal cylinder which then fell to the floor. It couldn’t have taken more than a minute or two to cut through it. It probably hadn’t been running for long. I switched off the red power switch on the side of the tool just as I heard a thud across the room.
I turned to my right and there lay two men, now unconscious, on the floor. Julia stood above them, catching her breath. Unarmed, she had beaten the two into submission, without even breaking a sweat. Having been on the other end of her wrath more than once, I almost felt pity for the guys on the floor.
“This way,” she yelled, throwing open a fire door. “They went out the back.” Without waiting for me, she bolted through the exit and onto the street again. I carefully stepped around the unconscious men and pushed my way through the door. Across the street was red sedan with its engine running and a driver at the wheel. Two rough looking men were forcing another into the back seat of the car. The captive man had disheveled hair, blackened hands, and wore grease covered overalls.
“Is that him?” I asked, as I caught up to Julia by the side of the road.
“I think so,” answered Julia. “Who else would it be?” she added sarcastically.
After closing the gunsmith in the back of the car, the two men drew their weapons and began to fire at us.
“Get down!” I yelled to Julia. We took cover behind a car parked on the side of the road. A nearby mail collection bin cried out in pain as stray bullets ricocheted inside of it. We remained pinned in our position as we heard their car start to move away.
The gunfire stopped as the car rounded the corner. I heard it accelerate into the distance. I stood up and looked around, trying to think of a way we could catch up to our attackers. A moment later blue flashing lights began driving toward us. ‘Oh, great,’ I thought to myself, sheathing my weapon. It was then that I noticed that Julia was frantically flagging down the flashing lights.
As the police car pulled over, Julia leapt across the hood and got in the passenger side. “Get in!” she yelled to me. Left with few options, I got in the back seat of the vehicle, effectively arresting myself.
“He a friend of yours?” the officer asked, as we rushed forward.
“Something like that,” replied Julia, spitefully.
Read the rest of this chapter at devilsadvocatestory.com!