Gunner Davis pulled at the bottle of Taaka Vodka. Dry air met his tongue. He scowled. A flick of his finger brought the window down. A toss of his hand sent the bottle flying into the cool October night. He bent low, his face brushing the steering wheel, and searched the floorboard with desperate fingers. The new bottle must have slipped under the seat. "Damn it!"
Gunner straightened and stared ahead. Suddenly, his eyes grew wide and a yelp escaped his throat.
A little girl sat in the center of the roadway. She stared down at a piece of paper in her hands. Gunner smashed the horn, but the girl didn’t look up. His frantic foot smashed the brake pedal and he jerked the steering wheel to the right. The tires hit the loose, rocky shoulder at eighty miles per hour. The F-250 shot forward and careened out of control. It struck a culvert with tremendous force. There was a moment of suspended silence as it went airborne.
When gravity jerked the truck back to the ground, Gunner’s head lurched forward with such force that his neck snapped like a twig. A numbing shock reverberated down his spine. The truck flipped end over end and came to rest in a soft patch of marsh grass. Uncertain earth gave in to the tons of steel that forced its way to the bottom of the soupy mud. Brackish water seeped in through smashed windows.
"Help! Help me!" Gunner's breath came in gasps. The cold swamp water began to wrap its deadly arms around his broken body. He lay helpless amidst the smashed wreckage. The water rose slowly, threatened to envelope his entire frame. Weak eyes slid shut and, for the first time in his life, he prayed.
Gunner didn't know how long he lay there, but he felt a sudden glimmer of hope when he heard the sound of footsteps splashing in the water. "Here! I'm in here! I need help!"
The footsteps stopped just outside the wreckage. Gunner tried to turn, but couldn't.
"Are you dead yet?" asked a soft voice.
Gunner strained his neck and was able to see a pale face leaning over. His pulse quickened. It was the little girl who had been sitting in the road! She dropped to her hands and knees in the water, and crawled to where Gunner lay twisted in the cab. She was still holding the piece of paper.
"You? How can it be?"
The girl frowned. A large, open wound on her temple spilled blood onto her plastic costume.
Gunner started to speak, to apologize, but the girl put a hand over his mouth. With her other hand, she held the paper for Gunner to see. It was a newspaper clipping that bore her picture. The accompanying story was one that Gunner knew well. With moist eyes, he read it for the thousandth time:
Because of an unfortunate loop hole in the DWI statute, Gunner Davis was able to walk out of court a free man today, after spending only eight months in jail for the vehicular homicide of Rae Lynn Madison, a six year old who was killed while trick-or-treating last Halloween. When asked if he believes he got away with murder, Davis smiled and said, "Justice was served."
Rae Lynn Madison dropped the paper and placed her other hand over Gunner's nose. He shook his head, fought for air. His struggles were futile against the uncommon strength of this tiny child. Panic-stricken, Gunner stared wildly into the lifeless eyes of the girl he had killed just a year ago.
Gunner’s eyes bulged, rolled back in his head. His muscles relaxed. He lay still. Rae Lynn Madison released her grip on his face and muddy water replaced her small hands in blocking Gunner’s airway. As the newspaper clipping floated away on the water, she floated away on the breeze. Etched into Gunner’s face were three simple words: “Justice was served.”
"Tiny Hands of Justice"BJ Bourg lives in southeast Louisiana with his beautiful wife and two wonderful children. To learn more about the author, visit his website at www.bjbourg.com.
Copyright: © 2010 BJ Bourg
Copyright: © 2010 BJ Bourg