“Fuck Brendan, be quiet! You’ll wake them up,” Mike forcefully whispered.
Brendan shot Mike a ‘whatever’ glance as he continued rummaging through the cupboard. “I don’t give a shit man, I’m hungry.”
“Yeah, but we don’t want any trouble from these people; just some food. If we can get out of here without drawing attention before the sun comes up, we’ll be better off,” Vince chimed in.
The three men hadn’t eaten in almost four days. Food had become incredibly scarce since the looting started about two weeks ago. The power had gone out about a week before that, and they were not prepared in the slightest.
They were headed back from a music festival when everything went dark. The only thing they had were the clothes on their backs and a couple of bucks each to their name. The festival was great, but everything was very expensive and had robbed them of most of their cash before it was even half over. They ended up selling their bus tickets home just to keep the party going and were in the middle of hitch-hiking back when the shit hit the fan.
Three weeks later they were resorting to breaking into houses looking for any sort of food. It wasn’t their proudest moment but, after a few days without food, people will do almost anything to eat.
Vince opened another cupboard and almost screamed with excitement. There were three cans of beans sitting there in the middle of the shelf. He quickly grabbed the cans and stashed them in his bag. As he closed the bag’s zipper, he glanced over at Mike and noticed him putting some cans in his bag as well. “What did you find?” Whispered Vince, throwing his bag over his shoulder.
“I found two beer and some shotgun shells,” replied Mike.
“Sweet, I got three cans of beans. Let’s get out of here.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” said Brendan. “This B&E stuff really sucks.”
The three left out the same window they had pried open to get in. They ran back out to the road and began walking once they were a few hundred feet from the house. The sun had just begun to show itself on the horizon.
“Man I can’t believe we finally found some food,” said Brendan. “We need to find somewhere to….”
“STOP RIGHT THERE!” Shouted a voice from behind them, and then the unmistakable ‘chit-chit‘ of a shotgun shell being racked into the chamber. “ONE MORE MOVE AND I SWEAR TO GOD I’LL BLOW YOUR FUCKING HEADS OFF!”
Brendan, Vince, and Micheal slowly turned around. What they saw was a man, probably in his late thirties, quickly approaching with a 12 gauge shotgun pointed right at them.
“Whoa man! Take it easy with that thing, we don’t want any trouble,” stuttered Vince, holding up his hands.
“You should have thought about that before you broke into my house,” the man replied instantly. It was clear he wasn’t messing around. He moved in and stopped with the muzzle of the gun about two inches from Brendan’s head. “Empty your bags on the ground.”
Vince and Mike started to comply but Brendan didn’t move. He just glared down the barrel of the gun, trying to decide what to do. He was so hungry. If he gave up this food, the chances were high he would not get another chance to eat for a few more days.
“Brendan, empty your bag!” Urged Vince. “He’s not kidding around.”
“Listen to your friend, Brendan. I’m really not,” the man said. He didn’t take his eyes off of Brendan as he spoke. “All I want is my food back and you three can be on your way. I know you’re hungry, but those beans are all I have left. There isn’t a chance in hell I’m giving them up.”
Mike dumped the contents of his bag on the ground and the two beer rolled out towards the man.
“You’d really steal a man’s last beer,” said the man looking down at the two can’s. “That’s really…”
The second the man looked down at the beer, Brendan saw his opening. He grabbed the end of the gun, lifting it up while moving his head down and out of the way. The man pulled the trigger and the gun exploded with a deafening BOOM; right beside Brendan’s ear. Brendan moved towards the man, gave him a quick punch to the gut, put his leg behind the man’s and pushed him to the ground. At the same time, he pulled the shotgun out of the man’s grasp. He quickly turned the gun around and pointed it at the man now sitting on the ground holding his stomach.
“WHAT WAS THAT BUDDY? HUH! Brendan screamed at the man, partially because he was angry and his adrenaline was pumping; Partially because he couldn’t hear anything over the ringing the shotgun blast had caused. “LOOKS LIKE WE JUST GOT OUR CHANCE IN HELL!”
Without warning, the man moved towards Brendan.
Brendan pulled the trigger and the shotgun ripped a huge chunk off the side of the man’s face, spraying a pink mist into the air behind him. The man’s body fell back, lifeless on the black asphalt road, blood immediately beginning to pool out of what was left of his head.
“Holy Fuck!” Vince said with disbelief. “You killed him!”
“It was either him or us,” replied Brendan.
“What the fuck man! He said he just wanted the food back,” explained Mike. “He was going to let us go.”
The sun spread it’s morning glow across the road as the three continued bickering back and forth about the ethics of what had just happened. Their argument was suddenly interrupted by a loud ‘THUD‘ from the house they were standing in front of.
“What was that?” Vince asked.
“There’s someone in that house I think,” replied Mike. “He probably saw the whole thing. What should we do?”
Before Mike or Vince could stop him, Brendan was headed towards the house. “Let’s go see what he saw. Maybe he’ll have some bread to go with our beans.”
Vince realized Brendan was probably in shock from just taking a man’s life and rushed after him to help. He didn’t want him killing anyone else. “Let me knock on the door, man. You just stay back and keep me covered.” Knocking on the door with a few forceful fraps, Vince talked through the door, “Hey, we know you’re in there! You can make this easy by just opening the door!”