“Who the hell did you
piss off enough to want to kill you?” Brian bared his
teeth. “Scratch that. Having been in your presence
such a short time, a list of who you didn’t would be
Vic chuckled. “You’re a
funny guy. I’ll have you know, I’m someone people
usually like. Now my cousin Noah, on the other hand,
could give you a list.” Vic paused, looking
speculative, then shook his head. “Then again, it
would take too long.”
Having met Noah, Brian
knew exactly what Vic was referring to. The man got
along better with animals, who, as he said, didn’t
“I’m tired of hiding.”
Vic shifted, balancing on the balls of his feet, and
lifted his rifle.
Brian, knowing what he
was about to do, grabbed his arm. Shaking his head, he
said, “I’ll handle it. Stay.”
Vic lowered his rifle
and gazed at Brian. “Woof.”
Brian blinked, then
stared at him. “Did you just say ‘woof’?”
Vic inclined his head.
“For the love of God.
No one said he was crazy,” Brian muttered.
“I’m not crazy.” Vic
smirked. “I’m just responding to your command to stay,
since, obviously, you seem to be under the impression
I’m a dog.”
The words were mild,
but Brian felt uneasy anyhow.
“I know you’re not a
dog, but I’m not going to let you just start
shooting,” Brian stated firmly. “This is a job for the
police, and we're going to wait until they get here. I
used to be a police officer, and I know sometimes when
civilians try to help they are more of a hindrance. If
there is any shooting needed, I’ll be the one to
“And how do you plan to
stop me?” The tone was as amused as before.
“I’m not going to stop
you.” Brian studied the enigmatic face. “I’m asking
you to let me protect you. And you’re going to agree
and give me your rifle.”
Vic didn’t say anything
for a while, then handed him the gun. Brian put his
gun back in his side holster and accepted the weapon.
He couldn’t resist. “See? You’re staying. Good boy.”
“Pushing your luck,” Vic growled. Then he asked, “Does
your cat do as it’s told?”
“Never.” Brian chuckled. “Listening to me is a good
More shots came. Brian lifted up, holding the rifle,
and shot in quick succession toward where the gunshots
were coming from. He heard the echo of other fire from
right beside him. Brian stopped, and there was no
return fire. He glanced at Vic and noted he had
Brian’s pistol in his hand.
“What happened to stay?”
“Woof,” Vic repeated,
then grinned. “I’m not good at taking orders.”