Read Gun Online

Authors: Ray Banks

Tags: #Mystery & Crime

Gun (6 page)

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Richie felt his finger close round the trigger. His heart stopped beating, his chest went tight, and he couldn't breathe.

Brandon made a move. "

A loud, dry
and Brandon's head snapped backwards in a pink mist. His legs went out from under him and the bouncer hit the ground in a heap.

Then everything was silent apart from the ringing in Richie's ears, the thud of his heart beating double-time and his breath, rasping hard and painful.

 Richie shrugged out of the
hit the ground in a sitting position. His right hand lay pulped on the tarmac. He couldn't move it. The blood had stained the sleeve of his
. Richie looked up at the gang of Brandon's mates. Or acquaintances, seeing as Richie recognised them all from the pub. The landlord with the shaved head seemed to have lost ten years, looking at Richie like a scared kid. Richie brought the gun up, aimed at the landlord.

"Hang on a sec, mate, it's alright. It's okay. We're all fine here, right?"

Richie felt like crying, but he kept breathing hard so he wouldn't. He drew a bead on the landlord and for a second his finger tightened around the trigger. Not enough to fire.

"Fuck off," he said to the blokes gathered round. "Go on."

Richie kicked at the tarmac, pushed himself up to his feet, his right arm hanging by his side. He kept the gun trained on the men as they backed off to the pub. There was blood in his mouth. He tried to summon up some gob and spat the mixture at the ground.

Brandon wasn't going anywhere.
out on his back, one of his legs tucked under him, the other straight out.
A mess where his right eye socket used to be.
Blood streaked out behind him on the ground. When Richie saw that, his left hand started shaking again and he started breathing through his teeth. It was impossible to breathe through his nose. The smell out here was too bad.

Richie wiped his mouth with the back of his gun hand. Wouldn't be long now, someone would've called the polis, and the fucking Armed Response would be on its way. As if a five-year mandatory for carrying this bastard gun wasn't bad enough, he now had a fucking murder charge to think about.

And he was thinking about it too much. The ache from his hand clouded his brain, the shock of what had just happened doubly so. He closed his eyes for a moment, thought he was going to drop out,
caught himself.

He had to move. He had to get out of here.
A fucking dead body and a smoking gun.
Somewhere out there on the estate, he thought he could hear sirens.

Christ, they were quick.

Richie eased his hand into the
, let it
against the inside of the sweatshirt and looked around for a landmark he recognised.

Failing that, and hearing the sirens louder now that his ears had popped, Richie ran as fast as he could in the first direction he could think of.

He glanced up at the sky. It was already getting dark.






He didn't want to chuck an
in the middle of the
-D's, but if that fat bastard in front of him didn't get his arse shifted quick-smart, Richie was going to use what little strength he had left to put a boot up his ring. He'd been alternating his stare between the two-inch roll of back flab that poked out from under the fat lad's
strip and the angry, pulsing zit on the back of his neck. Meanwhile, Porky fucking Pig was hemming and hawing about whether to have a second meal, and Richie wasn't getting any healthier.

"How," said Richie.

Fat Lad didn't react.

"You," said Richie.

Still nothing.

fat cunt. I'm talking to you."

Fat Lad started to turn around. It took a while because he was playing it like a hard man.

"You want to move this along?" said Richie. "Some of us got places to be."

Fat Lad looked like he was about to say something. Then he got a proper eyeful of Richie and he worked his mouth.
Reckoned maybe that the one super-size was enough for now.
Fat Lad dropped his gaze to the floor, then nodded, grabbed his tray and shuffled off.
Didn't say anything.
Didn't need to – his face said it all. And when Richie moved up to the counter, he reckoned that face must be fucking catching, because the
-D's employee had the same expression, like someone just dumped a load in his

, give us a
strawberry milkshake there, please mate.
And some chips an' all."

The lad behind the counter didn't move. Staring at Richie, and he knew there was plenty to stare at. He was pretty sure he had blood on his face, and he knew for a stone-cold that there was a big red wet patch coming through the bottom of his
. Richie reckoned he probably looked like he was gut-shot. His right sleeve hung useless, and there was the bump of his crooked arm under the
. On top of that, he heard the spat-spat-spat of his blood hitting the floor. This lad in front of him probably wondered who was going to clean it up, and whether it was a health and safety issue. Because this scared lad didn't know that Richie wasn't positive, did he? The way Richie must've looked right now – pale, drawn, skinny as grass – there was every possibility that the lad behind the counter already figured him for a
. And career
aren't known for their impeccable health.

"You deaf, mate?"

"Huh?" said the lad.

"Says I want a milkshake and chips."

"Right," said the lad. "Eat in or –"

"Take out. Give us a shitload of napkins an' all, will you?"

The lad looked like he was about to heave a sigh of relief. Richie reckoned he even caught a smile on the lad's face as he told Richie how much it was. He already knew; he had the right money ready, paying with his left hand. He watched the lad grab one of the paper sacks and set Richie's milkshake going as he went for the chips.

That sack was what Richie really wanted. Everything else was a bonus, a way of keeping his energy levels up, because it felt like he was bleeding hard. But there was a gun weighing the back of his
down and he really wanted to hold that thing at arm's length.

So he was uncomfortable, made worse by feeling like he's the centre of attention in here. Used to be, this was a normal
-D's, but now they've gutted the place, thrown lime green on a couple of walls, giant photo-murals of pebbles or some shit on the others. All the tables and chairs that were previously bolted to the floor were gone now, replaced with brown
half-booths. Richie reckoned it looked more fair trade than fast food.
Trying to fool the
, most likely.

And the
were out in force today. Most of them ghouls, giving Richie
because of the spreading stain. Part of him wanted to kick off, force them into minding their own fucking business, but he knew kicking off wouldn't help matters. First sign of care in the community, there'd be fingers tapping nine on mobiles all through the place. And Christ, if Richie cracked up now, the fucking
be on him like the Fat Lad on his Big Mac. Maybe even quicker than that – Richie thought he remembered seeing a couple of uniforms walking up Northumberland Street a few minutes ago. But he couldn't be sure of much, not with the blood loss fucking with his head.

He needed to maintain. And even if this lad behind the counter was taking his sweet time coming up with a simple order, there was no sense in losing his rag.

," said the lad.

Richie looked up, saw the bag. He tried a smile on for size. From the look on the lad's face, the smile had the desired effect.

Aye, everyone was happy now that Richie was on his way out the door, even if he was leaving a staggered blood trail behind him.

Soon as he was outside, he strode across Northumberland Street, swerving through the cross-stream of people who barely look at him, and heading for the long, sloped alley that ran up the side of Marks and Sparks. The alley led to an entrance to Eldon Square that nobody used, but it was lined with
shutters. When Richie reckoned he was safe, he leaned against the wall, turned in towards it. He breathed out, and his head started to spin. Too much exertion crossing the
got his heart pumping too fast.

He had to remember – his heart pumped too fast, he'd bleed out quicker; too slow, and he'd pass out. Had to maintain a balance if he was going to make it out of this.

He kept breathing.
Slow and sure.
Waiting for the dizziness to pass.
His eyes closed.

Then he pulled open the paper bag, removed the milkshake, set it down on the ground. The chips, he wedged between his hip and the alcove wall. He leaned forward a little, checked to see if anyone was about to come his way. Then he removed the gun from the back of his
and held it by the trigger guard. The smell was a giveaway that it'd recently been fired, but only if you gave it a good sniff. Plus, Richie was hoping that the smell of chips would mask it a bit. He put the gun against his thigh, pulled out the large wad of napkins, and started to wipe the metal down. When half the napkins had been used, and when Richie was happy that the gun was as clean as it was going to be, he eased the weapon into the bag. Then he took the rest of the napkins and stuck them under his
. There was a sudden jab of pain as he broke the blood seal on his hand. He held the napkins tight to the wound, waited it out.

Richie stared at the bag as he waited for the pain to go. Then he removed his hand, grabbed a handful of chips and stuffed them into his mouth. His gut reacted badly, threatening to throw them straight back up. He stopped, froze, willing himself to keep the food down. Then he picked up the shake, thumbed off the lid and took a hefty gulp. After a few minutes of concentrated eating and drinking, his stomach got used to being filled and the nausea melted into the background.

It was just the blood loss, he told himself. The fact that he hadn't eaten since the heavy fry-up this morning, and now this double whammy of what amounted to old chip fat and ice cream didn't help. Not at first, anyway. He managed to finish the chips, most of the shake and then sat looking at the paper bag until it felt okay to straighten up.

Then he reached into his
pocket. Pulled out the mobile and speed-dialled the only contact he had.

Three rings and it
picked up.

"Aye," he said. "I'll be right round."






Richie sat on the Metro, one of the double seats on the side, a copy of the free newspaper in his lap to cover up most of the blood, as well as the bag with the gun in it. He stared through the gap in the bodies at his reflection in the opposite window. Saw the concrete give way to night, the train pulling out from
and heading out towards the coast.

He shifted his gaze, squinted at the Metro map above the doors.
Counted the stops until he had to get off.


Chilly Road.
Hadrian Road.
Percy Main.

Then he had to get off the train.
Which meant he'd have to start thinking about movement when he got to
He'd have to psyche himself up, really concentrate, because since he managed to barge his way into this seat at Monument, the last thing he wanted to do was leave it. The train was packed, too, full of people who wanted to nip in there if he so much as flinched. If he could've moved to check his watch, it would have been about five o'clock, he reckoned. It was dark and cold outside, and he couldn't look anywhere on this train without seeing a suit or skirt. The fuckers had tried to guilt him into moving seats instead of taking up two on his own, but their first glimpse of blood was enough to cut that short. Now they were just avoiding eye contact and willing him to move.

Not that Richie really noticed. He was too busy thinking.
Wondering if he'd make it to The Well without bleeding out on the Metro.
Wondering if he'd be caught before that happened, some civic-minded cunt with a mobile calling him out because he didn't fit the bill of something they wanted to look at on their way home from work.

No, that couldn't happen. And he was pretty sure he'd be alright between town and Goose's house. If he spent hours wandering the
looking for a bus stop and nothing happened to him then, it shouldn't happen now he was close to home turf. Now he just had to figure out what he was going to do when he got to Goose's.

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