The sky was colored with shades of gray on top of the low built tower. I could feel the sun shining behind the clouds and the fresh wind on my face. The smell reminded me of the last days of winter when cold water would run in creeks on streets and crumbling forest roads.
For some time I had searched for a place to hide inside the windy attics of the tower. I looked for tight recesses in the walls, shadowy spaces underneath the bunks. Chests, closets, closed spaces. Dust flowed in the air as I fumbled across the attic. The only four-pane window in the room cast its dim light on a beautiful antique nightstand and the revolver it was carrying on top of it. I opened the drawer underneath and found four bullets. I put one in the barrel. Dust rose in a flurry and was sent dancing across the air.
Having heard noises in the hallway, I packed myself against the wall and hastily sent my eyes searching for hiding places. One recess in the wall, one shadowy place underneath the bunk. Concluding that I couldn't make it there without making a sound, I chose to stay still instead, my eyes still searching around the room. The door was half-open. The noises stopped. I gripped my gun tight and pointed it at the doorway. A pair of boots emerged into sight. Just as I was about to pull the trigger the feet disappeared and the noises continued upstairs.
I took the gun and followed the footsteps into the roof. The air was chilly and the rugged rocks were cracking under my feet. Luckily the military-dressed man didn't take notice. He was at the edge of the roof, gazing into the distance and leaning onto the few boulders that were set there as a barrier between the rock floor and thin air. Thick fog was rising from the ground obscuring the view to the grasslands below.
I took a moment to adjust my pose. I took aim and fired.
The shot rang in the valleys around us. It didn't take a moment for the man's eyes to face mine. The look on his face was a look of intense resolve and concentration. The man pointed his gun's barrel straight at me.
The sound echoed for a minute. I could feel the brisk summer air. The pain was sharp and warm. The smell in the wind reminded me of melting snow.
I was amazed to hear what he had to say next. The man took a moment to pause in shock and call my name. He knew me, and he thought I knew him. Perhaps I was supposed to. I didn't. He asked me if he had hurt me badly. I asked if I had hurt him at all. I had missed. He hadn't.
I peeled off my chest armour and showed him the wound and the blood spreading on my clothes. "You hit me straight in the heart", I said. He looked shocked and baffled and apologised.
I was starting to feel confused. I shot at him first, but he was the one who was sorry. "Don't worry. You were defending yourself." I said. "I shouldn't have shot at you", I continued.
More closely inspecting my wounds the man was starting to look completely devastated and increasingly remorseful and I started to feel the same thing. If only I hadn't shot at him, all of this could have been avoided. "I really shouldn't have shot at you", I said. "I'm an idiot. I'm so sorry."
Despite my best attempts, the man wouldn't stop his flow of apologies and even offered to get me to a doctor. But it was too late for that, I said. I never had wanted to die of being shot in the heart. It was true what I heard, wasn't it? When you get shot, you don't immediately drop dead like in the movies. Not even if you're shot in the heart. You suffer painfully until you die. And today I die.
The cold wind reminded me of a winter breeze. The sky was grey, but the sun was shining somewhere.