The moment played out in slow motion, the rifle followed the arc his body swung in, the sudden movement out the corner of his eye as somebody panicked and threw them themselves between the danger and the frightened child.

He never meant to shoot, but his brain skipped a beat, his trigger finger squeezed in surprise and a single shot fired when it shouldn’t have.

The sound was swallowed by the soft furnishings, carpets, and low ceiling, and came out as a deadened thump. Terrified customer and clerks threw hands over their heads and crouched impossibly lower to the floor as the bullet, a lone .223 round struck true tasting iron, calcium, iron then cheap synthetic carpet.

In that order.

By supernova53, January 27, 2019.