29 October 2009

Unholy Crusade, part eighteen

Chapter Seven


After the first target arrived, time passed so slowly Seth could almost imagine he felt his fingernails growing. This was the worst part of any job: knowing something is going to happen but being unable to interfere lest you make it worse, or stop it happening altogether. They had to hold off until the purpose of the meeting was established, and it became clear just what kind of crime was being committed. Without that, they were powerless to act.

The next car arrived twenty minutes later, amidst radio silence. Seth watched the silver Toyota pull into the yard and four men climb out. He did not recognise them immediately, but Cartwright did.

'That's Dupont,' he said. 'The one in the blue suit.'

Seth sipped his tea. The lukewarm liquid coated his dry throat, seeping its way through tensed muscles.

Dupont. The man who had ordered the hit on his son.

He would be his priority.


Gretl scoured the screens before her, searching for any clue about what Allemand intended to do. The old man was hiding the shadows between two storage tanks, near enough that he would be able to see and hear everything that happened at the meet, but far enough away that anyone in the yard would never spot him. He stood motionless, a feat rarely achieved by mortal and immortal men alike. She wondered how long he had practiced.

The radio crackled. She ignored it; paranoid that the moment she turned away from the screens, Allemand would disappear. She had come too close to let him slip away now.

'Black Mercedes on Woodrow Lane, heading to junction with Strathclyde Road,' said the radio.

Another voice crackled over the channel. She did not recognise it. 'Any word on the occupants?'

'Three men,' said the first voice. 'Looks like Dixon and Pellier in the back. Unknown male driving.'

'Here we go,' Gretl told herself. Leaning forward, her head almost pressed up against the largest of the monitors, her eyes fixed on Allemand. 'Let's see you get out of this one, you bastard.'


'We should be there in a minute, sir,' said the driver.

Reggie Dixon said nothing. Jeremy Pellier shifted uncomfortably in his seat. The gun the German had given him was taped uncomfortably to his thigh, hidden under his trousers but still conspicuous in how it made him walk. He wanted this over with quickly before anyone spotted anything amiss.

'When we get there, you keep close to me,' said Reggie. 'I don't trust this French tosser to play straight, so when he makes his move, I want you there to deal with 'im, got it?'

'Got it,' said Jeremy. God, he wanted this night over with.

The car pulled into the yard. There were two other cars already parked there, at the back; cutting off a clear run into the building. That was okay by Jeremy. What he wanted was a clear run out of the yard if things got bad.

'Here we go,' said Reggie. 'Remember: stick close to me.'

'I'll remember.'


'Mister Dixon,' said Dupont. The fat bastard was all shining teeth and crocodile smiles tonight, Jeremy noted. 'We meet again.'

'Dupont,' Reggie replied, making no effort to pronounce the name correctly. If Dupont minded, he made a good show of hiding it.

'Let's get straight to business, shall we?' said the Frenchman. 'I take it you have the money?'
Reggie grunted. 'I have it. Do you have the goods this time?'

'You need to ask? Mister Dixon, I am shocked. I really am.'

'After the shit you pulled, you're damn right I'm asking. I lost good men because of your fuckup.'

Dupont stepped forward and seemed to grow in size. 'I don't care for your insinuations, Mister Dixon.'

'Fuck you,' Reggie spat. While Jeremy had fought against his instinct to grab at his gun when Dupont moved, Reggie had not so much as flexed a pinkie. 'You want to make this trade or not? I don't have all night.'

'I'm afraid not, Mister Dixon. Not with you, at any rate.'

For the first time, Reggie's mask slipped and Jeremy saw the morass of range that boiled beneath the surface. In a blink of an eye, it was gone.

Jeremy knelt and made as if he was fastening his shoelaces.

'What are you talking about?' asked Reggie. 'You want to deal in this town, you deal with me. There's no one else. Get up, Pellie. For fuck's sake try to look professional, will you?'

Jeremy stood. 'I'm sorry, Reggie.'

'So you bloody should be. For fuck's sake man, we're supposed to be...'

His voice trailed off when his eyes latched on to the gun in Jeremy's hand. He began to ask what Jeremy thought he was playing at, but he did not have the time.

Jeremy squeezed the trigger three times. Reggie's body shuddered as each bullet cut deep into his chest.

He sank to the floor, coughing up blood and curses.

Finish him. The voice echoed in his head. He recognised it but did not know from where. Remember what he did to you. Finish him now!

He raised the gun to the old man's head, and fired.

No comments: