Like a countdown, four three two.
In time with the bullet that spread Søren across the floor, the pounding was blown out of Jewel's head, and a louder, more real noise took its place. Her gun was old and kicked hard, nearly escaping her grasp, and it coughed a cloud of smoke as well. That was the end of Søren, leaving three.
Jewel was then hit square in the face, by a shoe, thrown by the boy behind the counter. Though she saw his lips move, she did not hear what he said, but when he pointed she took a second to glace over her shoulder, aware that he could be bluffing and aware that he could not, and he was and so a shoe hit her in the face and if he'd had a gun in reserve that would have been it, the end, her skull shattered and her brain splattered, painting the wall behind her, but because it was just a shoe she instead merely jolted and tensed and squeezed her finger very hard around the trigger with no result. Her palm was hurting again, a sharp stinging pain from the cuts, and she did not follow the boy's flight, leaving two.
The remainder was the one who had asked who she was, and Jewel wondered if she was looking into the face of her own personal Jhamel Thompson as she backed up one or two or three steps, not bothering to stoop for the bags she didn't need. He was big and bulky in that athlete way, had a bit of a beard and short hair, and he wasn't her style but with a bit of work maybe he could have been.
"It's true," she said, very loudly and slowly and she couldn't hear herself well because of the ringing echo and maybe he couldn't hear her well either but millions of other ears would catch her words with perfect clarity. "I'm Jewel.
"It's nice to meet you," she said.
"Next time I see you, I'll kill you too."
She winked at him. He would chase after her and hunt her and force her to keep on her toes, and they'd finish their business in a day or two or three, or maybe he'd be overtaken by fear and she'd catch him out hiding instead, or perhaps he would fall prey to one of the others here or she would and they'd never see each other again, but because she had made him this promise they had a connection now. She did not know his name and it was not an appropriate moment to ask.
Her ringing ears made it harder for her to focus on her movement as she backed up, keeping the gun in front of her to ward him off. It was heavy and solid and the most real thing in this room, and it didn't matter if she'd only managed what she had because she could have taken two steps and then tapped the body at her feet on the shoulder. She was still near the door and slipped back through it, leaving the boy alone.
The cold air nipped at her legs and neck and back, and she turned and ran.
((Jewel Evans continued in Don't You?