Alternative ending to Warhol's Prophecy

One hundred and twenty

Sounds welded together to form one monstrous cacophony.
And, amongst it all, the sound of one hammer slamming down onto an empty chamber.
Hailey didn't hear it.
She saw the surprised register on Walker's face as only one of the weapons bucked in his grip but then that surprise was replaced by pain.
Hailey was screaming as she pumped the trigger of the Steyr.
The recoil was massive.
The heavy pistol slammed back against the heel of her hand.
The muzzle flash blinded her. Pieces of lead and carbon exploded from the barrel. Some struck her cheeks and cut the soft flesh. The spent cartridge case spun into the air and bounced on the floor.
The first shot struck Walker in the chest.
It tore through flesh and muscle. Shattered ribs, punctured a lung and erupted from his back carrying portions of lung tissue with it.
The next hit him in the left forearm. Pulverized bone.
Caused him to drop the Scorpion.
The third hit him in the thigh.
Severed the femoral artery.
Massive gouts of blood began to spurt high into the air as he hit the floor. Some of the crimson fluid splashed Hailey.
She continued to pump the trigger.
Continued to scream.
She didn't even hear the sirens.
Another bullet hit Walker in the stomach.
Green bile mingled with the dark blood as his spleen and gall bladder were macerated by the high calibre shell travelling at over 1,500 feet a second.
He was lying on his back, the Sig gripped in his hand.
He tried to raise it. Tried to shoot Hailey.
She pressed the Steyr hard against his temple and fired again.
The close range impact blasted bone to fragments.
Walker's skull exploded. It was as if someone had planted a charge inside and detonated it. Blood and brain matter burst from a hole the size of a man's fist.
Hailey dropped to her knees.
The smoke from the Steyr wreathed her like some kind of caustic shroud.
The sirens were blaring loudly now.
Hailey looked around, still not believing what had happened.
That one of the two weapons had not fired.
She looked into another set of terrified eyes and they both wept.
Neither one saw the first policeman enter the ballroom.

One hundred and twenty one

It was a beautiful day.
The kind of day when life seemed more precious than usual.
The sung hung high in a cloudless sky. A gentle breeze stirred the trees and birds sang happily in the branches.
They knelt beside the grave and carefully removed the dead blooms from the bunch of carnations they'd laid the previous week then replaced them with more they'd purchased on the way to the cemetery.
They'd already visited Caroline Hacket's grave.
Laid a small bunch of lilies on that of James Marsh.
They worked quickly and efficiently.
When they'd finished doing the flowers, one of them wiped the headstone with a damp rag.
Six weeks had passed since the death and the pain was still as powerful as ever.
Time, so many people had said, was a great healer.
It didn't heal. It merely formed a scab over the open wound that was loss.
The nightmares still came with shocking regularity for both of them.
Despite the medication.
They wondered how long it would be before they both welcomed a nights sleep instead of fearing it.
Heading back towards the main path that wound through the middle of the cemetery, they paused to deposit the dead blooms in a dustbin nearby.
The bin was full of cellophane, dead flowers and other debris.
There was some newspaper balled up in it.
It was wrapped round some decaying daffodils.
The paper was soggy. Old.
They could read the headline.
There was even a photo of Walker beneath the large words.
That face.
They held hands as they walked back towards the car.
Leaden footsteps.
"They lied didn't they?" Rob Gibson whispered.
He turned and looked back in the direction of Becky's grave.
"See you soon, babe," he murmured, a tear trickling down his cheek.
He and Hailey slid their arms around each other and headed for the waiting Astra.
The gentle breeze was turning into a chill wind.
Nearby, a bird rose from one of the trees, soaring higher and higher into the sky.
Like a soul en route to heaven.

© Shaun Hutson 2000