I listened to the sounds of the night. A mockingbird called through the brush, far off, maybe halfway across the lake. The cool wind rustled the tops of the trees and they whispered together. The ker-klack sound of the horses going down the trail past the lake was almost hypnotizing.
Don't get me wrong: Blackbirds is wildly violent, wickedly chaotic, like those old wooden roller-coasters that rip you this way and that, make you call a chiropractor when you wobble off.
Finally, as time begins to catch up with itself, the sound of a wailing siren pierces the distance. Only in that moment might anyone who saw what had happened at the Lucky Dragon Tea & Coffee shop have believed that help was on the way.
Toby Burnhouser was bigger than Brick, and he held my right arm down. Toby gritted his gums and breathed hard through his nose. He took his job as one of Jimmy’s henchmen a little too seriously. My right hand started to go numb as Burnhouser pushed down harder into the short-pile race-track play carpet.
I've had a few things moving around in my head for a long time. The last two months, I've been able to do some reorganizing. Call it mental spring cleaning.
The older one released the cylinder and spun it once. Then he tipped it back, emptying the six chambers of the cylinder. Then he let one shimmering, gold bullet in between his black-dirty thumb and forefinger, and loaded one chamber.
In the clearing ahead, the brush rustled and the pebbles at the edge of the stream registered the sound of hooves. As the blood in his veins turned as black as the evening shadows, he steeled himself for the shot. And for his final choice.
Sitting in the seat of the big Cadillac, he clicked the freshly loaded clip back into the Beretta and checked the safety, slid it comfortably back into the holster, like a hand going into a waiting pocket. He was glad the running was over, glad that he would be able to ask for the bonus without any guilt this time.
The Praetorians will take me, I’m sure of it. One last walk down the low-lit red corridor to the mess hall to be with my girls.