After the shooting yesterday I’ve been wondering whether or not work like this contributes to gun violence in some way, if perhaps I am part of the problem by contributing to gun culture. The images of the book look pretty violent, but I wanted to post it and let YOU all decide.
As Robert Pierce stretched out his fingers he could feel the tightness in the muscles. Every joint seem to ache and every bone felt as if it was grinding against the other. The bow lay on the ground, the arrows scattered around it. He began to massage the muscles in his forearm and wondered when he had gotten so old. The tension and the tightness were part of the job; being a hero and saving lives came at a price. It was beginning to seem as if he never stopped paying. He had no family and his friends were all former heroes as well. After the Freedom League lost their government funding his teammates scattered to the wind. Some of them had retired, others continued to fight the good fight in their own way. The years were catching up with them. Time was never on your side but Robert was starting to wonder if time was now working against him. How much longer did he expect to run around with a bow and fight crime anyway? The world was getting more dangerous and the villains more powerful. He turned his hands over, looking them up and down. The veins were protruding more than they used to and his skin had lost its soft texture. Somehow age had crept up on him and now it sat squarely on his shoulders like a gargoyle. It was a weight he could bear but the death of a young woman was going to be harder to accept; it was going to take time. Time that he felt was running out on him.
It should have been routine work. An angry young man had strapped ten pounds of explosive to his chest and armed with a 9MM pistol he had taken a group of tourist’s hostage on the Beckett Bridge in Dublin, Ireland. Two men accompanied him, all of them wearing black balaclavas and long black coats. The hostages were kept at gunpoint at the base of the needle, making them invisible from one side of the bridge. One of the terrorists didn’t even have a gun; he used a large knife to keep the hostages from running away. The police were moving into position when Pierce arrived but they were taking too long. Robert had managed to sneak up close behind a parked bus as was ready to move in and take him down.
“EVERYBODY SHUT UP!” one of the terrorists screamed.
One of them waved a gun toward the hostages and they grovelled on the ground. The terrorist leader reached out and grabbed a young woman who had gotten too close to him. It bothered Pierce how fearful and cowardly people had become. Twenty years ago they’d at least have stood their ground. Now it seemed as if there were no brave men or women left but it didn’t matter. Their lives still mattered even if they’d lost the will to fight for it themselves.
“You’ve brought this on yourselves!” he shouted, “Selling out our country to big business interests! Taking money from the Toffs!”
Pierce continued to move into position. He slipped the bow off his back and notched an arrow.
“We’re going to send them a message!”
“I think we’ve heard enough.” Pierce said, cutting him off.
Two arrows flew from Pierce’s bow at lightning speed. The two terrorists closest to the hostages died immediately, the one holding the knife fell forward without even turning around. The hostages froze and went silent. The remaining terrorist leader locked his arm under the woman’s chin, holding her close to his chest. There was a large red panic button strapped over his heart. Pierce stepped closer and the terrorist raised the gun and pointed it at him but Pierce held his bow high and pointed an arrow directly at the terrorist’s forehead.
“Look I get it man. The world is messed up. You’re pissed. But believe me; killing innocent people isn’t going to make your life any easier. It isn’t going to change anything. It never does. It just creates more tragedy.”
Pierce could hear a helicopter in the distance. He wondered if the police snipers were on their way. It didn’t matter, the terrorist was beginning to sweat badly and his hostage was squirming and fighting him. Robert could tell time was running out.
“SHUT UP!” the man screamed at him. The hostage had begun to whimper, tears streamed down her face. She looked up at Pierce with blue eyes just like his.
“WHO THE HELL ARE YOU TO TELL ME WHAT’S WHAT, EH? YOU’RE PART OF THE PROBLEM, YOUR WHOLE BLOODY GENERATION!” the terrorist screamed. Pierce ignored it. He listened for that calm song that began when the bow string was pulled tight for too long and began to hum.
A colourful black, red and blue helicopter suddenly appeared and flew nearby. The wind from the propellers buffeted the bridge. Neither man moved, they continued to face each other.
“Please. . please let me go,” the woman hostage begged.
“Fuck it,” the terrorist responded. The hammer cocked back on the gun and the terrorist moved it toward the woman’s head. She might have screamed out NO but Pierce wasn’t sure.
Pierce released the arrow and it flew toward the terrorist. It slid over his shoulder and flew away. Pierce could not believe it. He had just missed the shot.
The gun went off and the woman’s head seemed to explode like a water balloon. Even the terrorist was not prepared for the amount of blood that burst out of her as she fell to the ground. This time it was Robert who screamed.
Out of the corner of his eye Robert saw something move. It was a man in a hood, dressed in a black and red costume. The stranger fired an arrow and Robert followed it through the air as if in slow motion. He watched the terrorist reach for the panic button for the explosives he wore. The arrow pierced the man’s arm and punctured his heart, pinning his arm just inches away from the button. The terrorist let out a death gurgle before collapsing to the ground next to the body of the innocent woman he had killed.
The stranger removed his hood and walked toward Robert. He was young and of Native American descent. His bow was a compound bow, not the old fashioned longbow style that Robert used. The young man also wore an eye mask over his face, the kind that did nothing to hide the wearer’s identity and yet continued to be popular with the vigilante crowd.
“Hey you’re Robert Pierce right? The one the media named The Archer?” the young man asked. His enthusiasm grated on Robert. A woman was dead and this kid wanted to get to know each other, Robert thought.
Robert rubbed his eyes and kneeled next to the woman’s body. He had to control his emotions. There was no way she could have survived, there as nothing left of her head. Robert rubbed his eyes. The stranger placed his hand on Pierce’s shoulder.
“We saved a lot of lives today. You should be proud of that.”
Pierce knocked his hand off his shoulder. The young man was about to say something but the police and paramedics suddenly arrived on the scene. Pierce watched everyone rush around the dead woman’s body as if she, it, wasn’t laying right there.
“The police are here. It seems they want to speak with you. I’ve got a ride to catch but . .”
As the two cops approached him Robert couldn’t take his eyes off the white sheet the paramedics placed over the dead woman.