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  • Writer's pictureKate O'Connor

Dirty Harry

Updated: Jan 12, 2021

** This was a quick little 800 word story I wrote this evening while trying to push my brain into thinking about writing and storylines. It's a first draft, mostly stream of consciousness, and definitely nothing amazing, but I'm sharing it nonetheless because it helps to keep me accountable...

It was just another day. Everyone said it was just another day. Except it wasn’t. It was never going to be ‘just another day’ ever again. Everything was different now. Owen was gone, taken from her by some idiotic drunk driver with a mess of DUIs and little to no regard for human life. Just like that, gone from their home, their marriage, their bed, her life. They’d only been married a couple of years, but they’d been the happiest years of Laura’s life, and she’d like to think Owen had felt the same way.

Now, it was all she could do to get herself out of bed in the morning, to face the day and the sun shining down as though nothing had changed. Life for everyone else continued on as usual, but for Laura it was impossible. Every face she saw was the face of the man who had ruined her life. Jamie Pearson. A name she would never forget, would probably scream on her deathbed, whenever that was. She hated him with a force unlike anything she’d ever felt in her life. Her hatred and her loss made her feel so utterly powerless, each and every day. She missed Owen, and she hated Jamie, and it seemed like there was no room for anything else in her life except those two all-encompassing feelings.

Until one day, or was it technically one night, something in Laura clicked. Jamie Pearson had taken Owen’s life, and walked from the courthouse a free man because of someone’s inability to do their job. Laura dreamed of that moment when the case was thrown out due to mishandling of evidence, and how she had to stand by and watch Pearson walk out of the courtroom and into the sunlight, with the breeze in his hair and his whole life ahead of him. She’d dreamed of it so often that sometimes she’d realise she was dreaming and could almost predict everything that was about to happen. Other times, it felt like that day all over again and she would wake up with tears streaming from her eyes and Owen’s name caught in her throat, choking her and crushing her chest. One night, while in the midst of the dream, Laura began to feel anger overtake sorrow, and before Pearson could walk into the sunshine, she had put a bullet through his skull, right behind his left ear. As she lay in her bed soaked in sweat and shaking with the aftermath of the dream pounding through her veins, something happened that she would never in her life be able to explain. To her dying day, even on the stand in front of a jury of her peers, she would swear that Owen appeared beside her on their bed, took her hand in his and said “You know what you have to do, sweetheart. Don’t hesitate.” And as he faded from her sight, the door to their walk-in wardrobe behind him swung open soundlessly. Laura slowly sat up in bed, staring at that door. She knew what was in that wardrobe, knew what Owen had been talking about. In the back of the walk-in, on the top shelf in a locked box under their wedding album and a pile of old coats was Owen’s .44 Magnum. He always said he felt like Dirty Harry whenever he took it out to look at it, to feel its weight in his hand.

As Laura moved slowly towards the walk-in, almost as though she were being guided by some unknown force, she tried to imagine any scenario in which she might actually use the weapon. Could she really find Jamie Pearson and blow his brains out, like her dream persona had done only moments before? Moving as though she were still in a dream, Laura took the box down from the shelf, and found Owen’s key that was taped to the top of the door frame inside the wardrobe. She unlocked the box, and lifted the gun from it’s resting spot. The weight surprised her but it felt comfortable, and she felt a flood of warmth spread up her arms and through the rest of her body, leaving her feeling safer than she had felt since the night Owen had died. She raised the gun in both hands, and turned and pointed it at the full-length mirror on the door behind her. Her reflection stared back at her, a pale thin-faced woman with vengeance in her eyes. Laura began to smile, and her reflection smiled back. Dirty Harry. She could feel it now, what Owen was talking about. She shut her eyes and could almost feel Owen’s hands closing over hers on the gun. She felt like she could do anything, and she was about to test that feeling.

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