I rise from the bed, approach the open window to take a breath of night air—and jump, for there’s a sudden burst of gunfire. I step back, reach for the light switch and turn it off, then back to the window and peer around the frame to the right, where the shots were. Further gunshots sound, then shouts from the same direction—three or four blocks away, I’d guess. There’s a screech of fast tyres, a receding car engine, then silence.
I sit on the bed, close my eyes and fire out my sight for a shared tune-in to Lucan and Damian, both of whom I find being driven by Kev at high speed, presumably away from the action I just heard. “Red Bank’s dead!” declares Lucan, with vicious jubilance. They must have raced away westwards from the location of the gunfire, for they are now heading south on Memorial Drive on the other side of the railway line, just across the tracks from where Shigem and Kim slipped away in the opposite direction a few minutes ago. (Shigem escaped!)
“Yeah, their operation’s crippled, with those three guys gone,” agrees Damian with grim satisfaction. But then he turns to Kev, and hatred so suffuses his face that it twists out of shape as he grates out: “But you killed Pippa, Kev. That was your bullet…”
Alarm flashes through me.
“Yeah, sorry Lucan,” says Kev. “Slip of the hand. Didn’t mean to do that.”
Lucan stares out through the window a moment, then pronounces: “You were stupid. You didn’t need to fire at that moment. She was cool.” He shrugs. “Still … wrong time, wrong place.”
Bitter anger continues to boil in Damian. “I respected her,” he growls, leaning forwards behind the driver’s seat. “If this were Vietnam, I’d shoot you in the head.”
“Oh, you and your Vietnam,” moans Kev, coasting the Cadillac to a halt outside Downstairs. “What the fuck was World War II about, anyway? It was about the Panama Canal, right?”
Lucan laughs out loud.
“OK, OK,” says Kev as he locks the car, “my history’s shit, I know it. And my math is shit too… But not my lovin’, if you know what I mean.”
“I throw up, just to think of it,” spits Damian in pain.
“Damian couldn’t score in a barrel of pussies!” mocks Kev, sniggering coarsely.
A quiet grinding and clicking emanates from Damian, as the three of them cross the pavement to the door of Downstairs. “Within one year,” he grates at Kev, “you will be dead. But we’ll both be here still—happy that you suffered when you died. Because I’ll make sure you do…”
Smiling, Lucan reaches for the back of both their necks and clenches extremely hard, without exertion, as I once saw him do to Flames. Resistance in both of them crumples. He takes his hands slowly away again and coos, “Hush!… Or you’ll both end up like Pippa, may God take her soul.” He lifts his crucifix pendant to his lips in a leisurely fashion and kisses it, and they all three vanish into Downstairs.
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