Saving Max

truck attack

The Home Depot rental truck used by perpetrator Sayfullo Habibullaevich Saipov during the 2017 Lower Manhattan attack, the morning after the incident — By Gh9449 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63791131

Owen Craig snapped the magazine into place, held his Glock 19 at his side, and then stepped through the dark mirror. Last night, it had been an ordinary mirror on his closet door, but this morning, it had changed. When he looked at it, somehow he knew what it was, and why it was here.

The retired homicide detective left his suburban Los Alamitos home and stepped out the other side of the glass near New York’s city center. Just then, twenty-nine year old Islamic terrorist Sayfullo Habibullaevich Saipov mashed his foot down on the accelerator pedal of his rented truck, and started his run at the pedestrians and bicycle riders on Hudson River Park’s bike path.

The would-be victims saw the truck’s mad approach, but would never be able to get out of the way in time. The vehicle was still going slow enough to let Owen jump into its path and fire repeatedly at the driver through the windshield. Moments later, the now lifeless Saipov slumped to his left, causing the steering wheel to turn the truck off the path and slam into a tree.

Owen looked at the people who would have been killed and saw they were safe, especially him. Dozens of witnesses were calling 911 on their cells, but none of them saw their savior vanish into a cloud of what looked like wildly dancing ebony particles, which disappeared with the old officer a second later.

Back home, his phone was ringing. Walking out to the kitchen, he put the Glock on the counter and picked up his cell. It was his daughter.

“Hi, Jilly. Oh, not much. Just cleaning one of my handguns. Yes, I know, I’m a primitive Neanderthal, but cut me some slack. I was a cop for over forty years. It’s a tough habit to break.” He laughed and could hear her chuckling on the other end of the line.

They talked for some twenty minutes before she had to go meet her fiance. They were going to the theater.

“Say hello to Max for me. Looking forward to seeing you both again when I visit next month. I love you, too, sweetheart. Have a good time. Bye.”

He waited until she broke the connection before putting the phone down. Then he looked at the still warm Glock on the counter. Owen could smell the gunpowder and cordite. He picked it up and took it back into his bedroom. There, he released the shell in the chamber and then the magazine. He wasn’t lying when he said he was cleaning a handgun, he just didn’t mention he hadn’t started yet.

Owen had purchased the Glock privately from Bill Townsend, a fellow cop who had retired to Idaho, and he never asked Billy where he’d gotten it. However, he was assured it was untraceable, which is a good thing, because New York P.D. six months ago would be running ballistic tests on the shells they’d taken out of the then pulverized face of Saipov. No one could know who had stopped the terrorist or how he had disappeared afterward.

He looked up at the mirror and it was just a mirror again. He’d never know where the black glass came from or where it went, but it had given him a chance to right a wrong, and repair, or rather prevent, the damage done to his little girl’s soul.

Before Owen went through the dark mirror, on October 31st of last year, Saipov succeeded in murdering eight innocent people including Max Rosenfeld, his daughter Jill’s fiancé. Now they were getting married next month. Owen was looking forward to the honor of giving away the bride and welcoming a new son-in-law into the family.

I wrote this for the Saturday Mix – Opposing Forces, 28 April 2018 writing challenge hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The idea today is to take two pairs of opposing words and use them in a poem, short story, or some other creative piece. The words are:

  • suburb and city centre
  • repair and damage

I put the words in bold in the body of my story so they’d be easier to pick out.

On Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at approximately 2:06 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Sayfullo Habibullaevich Saipov drove a rented truck down the bike path at Hudson River Park, killing eight people and injuring twelve. You can click the links to read more about it.

Except for the suspect, all of the names I used above are fictional, but one of the people killed was a 23-year-old man from Manhattan, so I used him as the “prototype” for Jill’s fiance.

Other “Dark Mirror” short stories include:

  1. The Pit Fiend Promise
  2. Dark Mirror
  3. Encounter at Muxnar
  4. A Black Matter for the King

What would it be like if we could go back in time and correct a single injustice?

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