I try to roll out from under the body of the car, but with the pack still strapped to my back the best I can manage is a kind of awkward sideways shuffle. I hit my head on the underside of the body as I struggle to bring myself into a half crouch. The crazy is on the other side of the car from me. By sheer luck I've timed it just right. I emerge as he bends down to look into the crawl space where I was hiding. My heart leaps, a sickening jolt of adrenaline firing through my body.
The gun is in my hand. Without even really thinking about it I'm aiming. The crazy bobs back into sight, and then freezes at the sight of the gun, a yammering half-sound dying in his throat.
Shoot it! Kill it before it kills you!
But I can't. The expression of surprise on it's--on his--face is too real, too human. The thought of that look of puzzlement and fear being broken by a bullet makes me shrivel inside. The thing is filthy, his long brown hair matted and tangled and thick with dirt. A knotted beard dangles to his chest, ropes of drool hanging from his slack mouth.
For a second, two seconds, we stare each other down.
"Drop your gun," I say, my voice shaking. "Drop it!"
But the crazy doesn't drop it. He comes to life again with a screech like a monkey's. The rifle he carries comes up to point right at me and I feel my legs go weak.
"No!" I yell, as if it'll do any good. But the thing, the mad pathetic thing pointing a weapon at me is beyond that, beyond reason, beyond words. There's only one thing that can stop him, and my body knows what to do even if my brain is still in denial.
I grip the pistol as tight as I can.
I pull the trigger.