One Shot


Graphic by Renee Vetter

This is a photo caption.

Andy Ng, Author

One Shot

Andy Ng


“Agent oh-four?”

         “Yes, sir.”

That was his name, and so he stepped forward. But when he raised his gun to the struggling individual, for the first time, his finger hesitated above the trigger.

Things were different this time. Instead of a straw-stuffed dummy, an actual person lay in his line of fire. A real, human life.

         He couldn’t do it after all.




         He sat in the gloomy dining hall, barely warmer than the frigid winter outside. His every movement chafed against the still-raw lashes across his back. The wounds burned, but they were the marks he deserved to bear for his failure.

         Suddenly, a pair of sharp eyes met him. A slender body, with golden hair. She had stared back then as well, witnessing his ineptitude. She took a seat next to him. He turned away.

         She spoke bluntly. “Do you… want to run away?” 

         “What?” His eyes widened at this blasphemy.

“You’re still human. Unlike the others.”

“You’re insane.”

         “It’s not insanity. I’ve created a plan.”

         “They’ll catch you, for sure.”

         “So be it, then! If they kill us, we’ll still have escaped from this place.” She leaned closer. “It’ll still be our victory.”

         Her eagerness was infectious.




         They executed the plan on a mid-summer’s day. They leapt with fervor, but the fortress was impregnable. He was bound roughly, but his eyes continued to burn.

         “Kill me, then!” He yelled. There came no response.

         Then a bargain came, along with a tied-up figure. If he could make this kill, they would be pardoned.

         He gripped the gun tight. Just one life, for a chance to try again.

         Crimson dripped from a perfect shot. The stained sack was removed. He saw her bloodstained face, her sullied golden hair.

The fire went out.




         “Agent oh-four?”

         “Yes, sir.”

         He stepped forward, and made the shot.

This time, there was no hesitation.