Recoil - A Books of Binding Flash Fiction

“Spread your feet to shoulder width. Right foot back. No, not that far. Your shoulders are too thin.” Etienne narrowed his eyes. “When was the last time you ate?”

Winter gave the faerie knight at her side a wry expression. “This morning, with you and Cian. Remember?” The November wind whispered over the water and blew loose tendrils of hair across her face. She was grateful for the warm felt coat she wore.

“Then you need a snack or something. You’re still sickly.” His voice was gruff.

She sighed softly. He was only trying to take care of her. She was just out of practice in accepting help. “I’ll get one when we’re done here.” She hefted the handgun, feeling its weight heavy in her long-fingered hand. “Now what?”

“Turn to face the target.”

Winter turned her body just a little to come into line with the target several yards away, past the seagrasses that covered the Point and repositioned her right foot to be more supportive in the sand. It was a simple paper target with concentric circles one within the other leading the way to a bullseye, pinned to a hay bale butted up to one of the big sand dunes. She twisted back a little to face Etienne, a thought occurring to her. “Shouldn’t we be wearing ear protection?”

Etienne’s brow knit. “What for?”

“Because this is going to be very loud.”

“Never heard of ear protection. I just wait until my hearing comes back.” Etienne gestured toward the target. “And in a real fight you don’t get to protect your ears from anything, much less noise.”

Okay, he had a point. “And this is a Glock, right?”

Etienne nodded. “Only gun I have left. It’s a good enough one. Not Agmundr, my revolver, but still good.”

Only gun he had left? Winter wondered if she could do something about that. It had been hard enough to buy new clothes for the proud faerie knight, finally getting him to agree in exchange for teaching her to shoot a handgun, but it was important to be fully armed in the city of Seahaven. The City of Peace.

To not be was a good way to get eaten.

“Now, back to the target. Still holding the gun like I showed you?” Etienne adjusted her grip, his hands warm against her chilled skin. His long auburn hair, so close to her face, smelled like the shampoos she made and the spicy scent of clean adult male. It took some effort to not breathe him in. “Yes. Okay, now raise your arms and aim down the sight.”

“And I just pull the trigger?”

“You checked the chamber and it was loaded. This is a Glock so there’s no hammer to cock and no safety to worry about. It’s fairly basic, point it and shoot it. That’s the phrase, right?” English wasn’t Etienne’s first language and he sometimes stumbled on a new term.

She smiled. “Close enough.”

He ran his hand down her arm, testing tension she guessed, and then moved behind her, hands on her hips.

Winter tilted her head to one side and dropped her elbows, not wanting to strain her arms. Not that she objected to him touching her but… “What are you doing?”

“Catching you. That gun has a recoil and I don’t want you falling on your butt.”

Winter made a soft rude noise. “That’s not going to happen. I’m not a child.” Of course, she’d never actually felt recoil before. Or even seen it. Everyone she had ever seen shoot a gun was preternatural and for the most part strong enough to flip a car with their bare hands. She hesitated a moment, and then asked, “Is it really that bad?” Did she really want to do this?

“You get used to it. You develop strength in your center and your arms.”

She wasn’t exactly strong as it was. Maybe developing that in herself would be helpful. “And I pull the trigger and it just fires?”

“Pretty much. Anytime you’re ready.”

Winter nodded and blew out a breath as she lifted her arms again. She lined up the sight on the nose of the ugly black gun with the center mass of the target and hesitated a second. This was going to hurt.

She pulled the trigger.

The gun flew up into the air, pulling her hands along with it and jerking to the right, and she let out a little girl yip. She could feel Etienne’s tight grip on her keeping what little momentum the recoil gave her from carrying her backwards even a bit. “Oof! That was unexpected.”

“For you, maybe.” She could hear the chuckle just underlying his words.

Winter turned and he lifted his hands to her waist as she moved. “Thought that was funny, did you?” Her ears were ringing, but not so much that she could not hear the amusement in his voice.

Etienne’s smile bloomed into a full grin. Goodness, but he had a sexy grin. “Just a bit. I’m pretty happy. You handled that .45 well.”

Her brows shot up. “You had me shoot a .45 caliber round for my first outing?” Without ear protection. She would definitely need that in the future. She popped her ears, trying to get the ringing to pass.

He pulled his hands back from her, still grinning. “Why not? Do you think you could stop a therian with a .22?”

Again, a good point. Therian shape shifters — and vampires, for that matter — were incredibly strong, fast. Combine that a trend toward nasty tempers and preternaturally fast healing, and they were hard to kill. The only sure way with a gun was to shoot them in the head or the heart until you saw daylight.

“Did I at least hit the target?” She turned around to look… and the paper target just sat there, unblemished, ruffling a little in the wind off the water.

Etienne chuckled behind her. “Nowhere close, but you did clip the dune. Good enough for a first time.”

Winter rolled her eyes and handed Etienne the gun back. Her right shoulder blade was taking on the sharp ache of a pulled muscle. “I’m glad you had a good time. I should probably just stick to the paintball gun.” A brainchild of her apprentice, Jessie, the paintball gun could be loaded with balls of magic potion. Etienne had already demonstrated its usefulness.

Etienne took the gun. “Don’t think you’re done. I promised I’d teach you how to handle one of these things, and we’re going to keep working on you until you can hit that target.”

Winter gave him a smile. “Deal. But no more today. I think my fingers may freeze off. How does lunch sound?”

Etienne stepped back and gave her a surprisingly elegant bow. “As my lady wishes.”

Winter’s smile widened. She couldn’t help it. “Lunch it is, then.” And a new gun. Another one of these ugly Glocks, probably. She didn’t like the thought of Etienne going about only half armed.

***
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Published on September 16, 2019 12:25 Tags: a-e-lowan, etienne, faerie, glock, gun, handgun, knight, sidhe, the-books-of-binding, therian, vampire, winter, wizard
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