The Sniper Incident from Ro’s perspective: Eleven

NOTE: This will be the last chapter of The Sniper Incident until after the holidays; Ro will return Tuesday, January 12.

End Game (Part Two)

Saturday, March 24, 2007, 6:08 p.m.

In less than a second…

A shadowy head-shape materialized in the crook of the tree-hide…

Ro could not see the leaves in the top of her scope…

At not quite nine-hundred yards the standard .308 bullet she was firing would normally drop two feet. But against the brisk head wind now suggested by the absence of the leaves, it would probably be closer to three.

There was no time to twiddle with her scope to compensate…

Or do the trigonometry in her head needed to calculate an elevation adjustment…

The shooter, or what appeared to be the shooter, had revealed himself; he didn’t have a choice, it had been imperative for him to check his six…

Ro had no choice, either; her target was now clear…or as clear as it was ever going to be.

On instinct alone she dropped her left shoulder a fraction of an inch – Ro was a left-handed shooter – depressing the rifle’s stock very slightly and in turn raising its muzzle two degrees, her “aim” now three feet over the shooter’s head…

And squeezed the trigger. The Remington barked, like the sharp crack of a cherry bomb.

She counted quietly, “One-thousand and one,” because she knew her bullet’s flight at that distance was one second.

In her scope the shadowy shape disappeared. There was no obvious spray of blood and gore as if she had taken the top of his head off; no visible jerk, like the slug had slammed into his body.

The target simply disappeared; dropped out sight.

She held her breath, waiting for return fire, except she knew if he had found her and fired back, she would be dead before she knew it.

After two seconds that seemed more like two minutes, she took in a slow breath, glad that she still could.
For those two seconds nothing moved over on the island… Agonizing seconds, wondering if she’d hit her target or missed, and if she’d missed, what was he waiting for, and if she’d hit him, was he now dead or just wounded, and how could she find out which it was?

Another second passed…

Down in the very lower left edge of her scope she saw a slight movement. At first it looked as if a broken tree branch was sliding down the side of the angled tree trunk.

Is that all I hit, a limb?

But it was soon followed by the clear silhouette of a scope mounted rifle’s receiver and the distinctive shape of its stock.

The shooter had lost his Barrett.

What does it mean? Did he do it on purpose? Is it a ruse? Does he have a back-up weapon? What would he do with it if he does?

Another ten seconds passed since she’d taken her shot and she suddenly remembered there was a SWAT lieutenant, a county sheriff and a whole bunch of cops, to say nothing of the crowd of looky-loos and media types, all wondering what the hell was happening.

“Did you see the Barrett drop?” she said into her wand mic, knowing there had to have been more than a few sets of binoculars watching the island from on shore.

“That’s affirm,” Lt. Pease said into her earbud. “Did you see anything else?”

“Negative. I think the target may have anchored himself to the tree, so we won’t know for sure if he’s down without going on scene.”

“What do you recommend?”

“Wait ten and send a team to confirm?”

“Agreed.”

Next: A lot of unanswered questions

From the Ro Delahanty novel Twists and Turns © 2019 Dave Lager