In the debris-strewn mall, you cower in a corner, your only weapon a shard of glass. The footsteps of four marauders clatter past you. It takes you a moment to realize that they’ve forgotten about you. They’re chasing someone else now.
You peek around a shelf and see them tackle a dark-haired girl. Only months ago, the worst things on her mind would have been the SATs and finding a date for the prom. Now, as they tear at her clothes, she is screaming and jerking around like a fish on a boat deck.
In another life, you might have called the police. Now the only law is the glass shard trembling in your hands. Something primal uncoils in the back of your mind.
You erupt from cover and jam the shard into the neck of the nearest man. Gurgling, he reaches for the pistol on his belt, but he had already started unbuckling his pants. His belt slides down around his ankles, taking his pistol with it. He sags to his knees, blood gushing from his throat.
The other three get up from the girl and rush you. You grab the first man’s pistol and fire as fast as you can. The shots sound like one continuous roar and suddenly the slide locks back on an empty mag. Four men lie dead or dying in the wreckage.
You walk to the sobbing girl. You grab her shoulder and turn her over, and she cries out in terror. You ignore her and pick up the ammo box she was lying on. .45 ACP, the right caliber for the Glock 21 you now hold. Breathing heavily, your heart pounding like you’d just sprinted a hundred yards, you begin to load the mag.