The paper didn’t worry him. Paper was mulched tree. What worried him were the words. Four words, four numbers, stapled to his wardrobe door. Someone had been in his room last night. Another death threat.
“You’re going to die. 09.05”
It was 8.35 now.
He listed enemies in his head. Not many left alive. Fewer with the balls to really kill him. He showered but kept the shower door open so the steam wouldn’t cloud his view. He wasn’t going out like Janet Leigh.
Twenty years ago there was another shower. He wasn’t alone then. Sandrine was with him. That was a shower to die in. Not this one. He towelled off.
It had been twenty years since that fortnight in Prague. He went through a lot of women but none of them like Sandrine. Those two weeks in Prague were the peak of his life. Aside from making the hit, he never left the seedy hotel room.
Sandrine wouldn’t kill him. As far as he knew they’d departed as friends. She wasn’t awake when he left that morning her perfect breasts rising and falling, embraced in silk sheets.
What about the Prague job? He laughed. That job, like all the other jobs, was another nameless grave. But it helped to be prepared. He opened his wardrobe and removed a Glock 9mm from between half a stack of folded shirts. The magazine was full.
Nine o’clock. He never understood death threats. All they did was let him prepare.
The gun’s weight was comforting. The last time he fired it was three years ago. The name on the bullet was Anthony Neal, head of a crime syndicate. Neal’s goons were some of the most sadistic people he’d ever met. After all, one of them called to have Neal killed. He shuddered when he remembered what they asked him to do to Neal. He was simple. A hole in the head didn’t leave room for mistakes. He went to the wardrobe and tore off the death threat.
Pain spewed from the back of his head. Blue and yellow fireworks. He hit the floor doubled over. The gun skidded away. He felt cold and sick.
Above was a blur with a cricket bat.
She was as perfect as twenty years ago. She thumped the bat into his side and stabbed it down into his chest whooshing the wind out of him.
‘She was my mother,’ said the woman. ‘You remember her?’
‘Yes,’ he said through gritted teeth.
The bat thunked into the side of his head. His ear screamed.
‘You left her,’ she said, ‘and they found her.’
He spat blood, the room spun. ‘I don’t even remember who they were.’
‘They tortured her to find you,’ she said. ‘She couldn’t tell them so they killed her.’
He wriggled up against the wardrobe. ‘They would never’ve found out about her,’ he said. ‘I was careful.’
She swung the bat hard dislocating his jaw. He’d forgotten how much things hurt.
‘Oh, it took them a while,’ she said. ‘Nine months. When she went into hospital. My mother never got to hold me before they killed her.’
He dribbled blood down his chest. He couldn’t talk. His lips curled.
‘Over the last eighteen years I’ve torn through Prague’s underbelly working my way up to you.’
She swung the bat for the last time. With his last drop of energy he pulled his lips into a smile. Not where or how he wanted to die but of all the people to do it, he couldn’t think of anyone better than his daughter.
- February 2018
- January 2018
- December 2017
- November 2017
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- November 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- October 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
Higham Writers Group