From Behind The Veil
Steve had no idea where his phone was. What the hell just happened? His mind was racing as he tried to replay the last few minutes in his head. He was standing, Jon was there, and they were looking at each other. His right shoulder was throbbing in pain. He couldn’t move his arm at all. He was scared to look down or find out how badly he’d been hurt. He realized that his head was pounding. He reached up with his good arm and felt his forehead. His hand returned with blood on it. He continued to inspect his head and found that the blood was coming from the side of his head.
“What the… Why?” The smell of fresh gunpowder was hanging in the air. Steve knew he’d been shot. He started to panic the more he felt the wound on his head. He decided to feel around his right shoulder to see what had happened to his formally useful extremity. His shirt was drenched in blood and he could feel a hole that wasn’t there before.
“Oh, shit… Oh, shit!” Steve could barely keep his composure once reality started to set in. His shoulder had been blown out by a 9MM round from the back right as he turned to answer his phone. Once the bullet hit him, it sent him spinning towards the ground where his head had made contact with an exposed board from the demolished couch on the way down. The force from his head hitting the beam must have rendered him unconscious for several minutes.
As Steve continued with his self-examination, he heard another gunshot. It came from a few rooms over, but it was close enough to snap him out of his currently prioritized task. He froze, waiting to hear a body hit the floor. Instead, he heard muffled voices and shuffling. Steve unsteadily climbed to his feet with the help of his good arm. He had never felt this weakened before. As he got to his feet, he noticed that he was alone in the room. He looked down and couldn’t help but see that there was a lot of blood soaked into the carpet. Stay focused and don’t freak out, dammit, he thought to himself, you’ve got to get out of here before he comes back. He looked up and started to tackle the first leg of his journey, leaving the room.
Steve made it to through the living room door and tried to continue his way through the kitchen. He was getting weaker by the minute, but the smell of the kitchen gave him even more motivation to keep going. He got as far as the hallway on the other side of the kitchen when his legs gave out. He collapsed in a heap on the floor. His shoulder and head screamed in protest. He didn’t know how he was going to make it the last thirty feet to the door. He needed to get help.
The dizziness drained him. The confusion was overwhelming. Steve didn’t think he was going to make it those thirty feet and closed his eyes. His mind immediately went to Lizzy. She must be worried sick. She heard the gunshot and God only knows what else after that. Why did he ever leave her in the first place? He could have been holding her in their bed, safe and sound. She didn’t want him to leave and he should have listened. Tonight could have turned out much differently if he would have only ignored the phone and followed her to bed. But he thought he was doing the right thing.
After what seemed like an eternity, Steve made up his mind to keep moving. He started to prop himself up on his useable arm when he heard a familiar voice behind him, “Look who’s awake.”
Steve looked back and saw Jon pointing the gun at his head. He knew that he didn’t have a chance in hell of avoiding this one.
“What the fuck, dude? I’m the one person who came here to help you and you fucking shot me,” Steve’s words came out breathily.
“Don’t feed me that line of shit! You know you didn’t want to be here. You’re just like everyone else! You don’t give a fuck about me unless you’ve got something to gain. Honestly, I didn’t intend to take you down like that earlier, but you made that evident to me just by picking up the phone. I just snapped. I’ve got nothing left and you don’t give a shit! Why do you even pretend to care? What am I to you that you would treat me like this?” He wasn’t waving the gun anymore, but keeping it steadily aimed at Steve’s head. Jon was a damn good shot. He had been going to the range for years and could unload a clip into a paper plate one hundred and fifty feet away in seconds. Jon’s ability to place a shot like this was without question.
“But I showed up! If I really didn’t care, I would have stayed at home. I came over because you asked me to! Fuck, man! What else do you want from me?” Steve was practically begging.
Jon cocked the gun, “To suffer like-”
He flinched and his face went slack. As his knees buckled, Carla’s small frame was revealed behind him. She had blood on her hands, and there was a broken liquor bottle sticking out from the back of Jon’s neck where she had jammed it deeply.
“That’s for taking a shot at me, you son of a bitch!” screamed Carla as Jon began to slump towards the carpet. His gun fell from his hands and unloaded a round through his chest once it hit the floor. Then he landed on top of it.
Steve was beginning to lose consciousness when he heard Carla’s voice again. It sounded muffled and farther away than just a few moments ago, “Steve? Is that you? What the hell are you doing here? Oh my God, you’re hurt!” He tried to respond, but didn’t have the strength to answer. Blackness encroached his vision as he passed out.
“From behind the veil in each man’s soul lies the true heart of a man,” the preacher stated in a sad, yet passionate voice. ”We all have that veil within us. Some are more transparent than others, but regardless of what we try to hide from everyone else, when pushed hard enough by the trials of life, that veil is torn away to reveal the true nature of the person within.” The preacher pointed to Steve where he laid silent in his casket. ”Behind Steve’s veil was love. Love for his family and love for his friends. Behind Jon’s veil was pain. Pain and suffering. He lost himself in that pain and let it take control of his thoughts and actions.”
Lizzy sat in the first pew of the church and sobbed.
She was unable to stifle her cries as the preacher went on, “Steve was a man who really loved people. He always went out of his way to try and be there for someone else in their time of need. He was kind, brave, and thoughtful. He was a true friend and he will be dearly missed.”
At the cemetery as they lowered Steve into the ground, Lizzy laid a single rose on Steve’s final bed and between the tears she uttered the words, “From behind your veil, you loved. I’ll never forget you. I love you, baby…” Lizzy collapsed on the ground. Her screams of pain and love could be heard throughout the entire cemetery.
A very special and heart-felt Thank You goes out Cheri Anne, A.K.A. Fountains, for her help and beautiful work editing “From Behind The Veil” for grammar, story line consistency, while adding small elaborations and embellishments. Cheri, I hope you find a way to make writing/editing your career like you want. Your talent is very evident in your work. Good luck!
Please visit Cheri’s WordPress site at