“66 Metres” by J F Kirwan (Excerpt from Partners In Crime Tour Stop)

Excerpt | 66 Metres by J F Kirwan

‘Let’s see if you can really shoot. Give her your pistol,’ Kadinsky said to one of the henchmen, the one with a pockmarked face – Pox, Nadia named him – who immediately lost his sense of humour.

She took the weapon from his outstretched hand, weighed it in her palm. An old-style Smith & Wesson. God knows why the guy had it. Most blatnye preferred semi-autos, Makarovs or the older but higher-velocity Tokarevs. She checked that it was loaded, all six bullets nestling in their chambers. She glanced at Kadinsky, thought about killing him. But the other henchman, the fat one with slicked black hair – hence, Slick – had his Glock trained on her, his lopsided leer daring her.

Kadinsky waved a hand towards Katya, five metres away. He tilted his head left and right, then settled back against the soft leather, took a gulp of whiskey, and smacked his lips. ‘The red rose in the bowl of flowers behind her left ear. Shoot it. From where you stand.’

Slick’s eyes flicked toward Katya, gauging the angles. His leer faded.

Nadia stared at her sister and the rose. Most of it was behind her head. Only one leaf of the scarlet blossom was exposed. She swallowed, then lifted the revolver, and took up a shooting stance like her father had taught her. Right arm firm, elbow not fully locked, left hand under the fist, prepared for the recoil. She had to do it before anger built and disrupted her concentration. She cocked the hammer, lined up the shot, then spoke to Katya’s serene, trusting face: ‘Love you,’ she said. Then she breathed out slowly, as if through a straw, and squeezed the trigger.

Masonry exploded behind Katya. The crack was so loud that three other men burst into the room, weapons drawn. Kadinsky waved them back as Pox peeled the revolver from Nadia’s stiff fingers. Petals fluttered to the floor amidst a plume of white powder from the impact crater in the wall. Katya sat immobile, pale, the hair on the left side of her head ruffled as if by a gust of wind. A trickle of blood oozed from her left temple, and ran down her cheek.

Katya, lips trembling, beamed at Nadia. ‘Still alive,’ she said, her voice hoarse. She touched the graze with an unsteady forefinger.

Nadia began to shake. She folded her arms, refusing to give Kadinsky the satisfaction.

Excerpt from 66 Metres by J F Kirwan. Copyright © 2017 by J F Kirwan. Reproduced with permission from J F Kirwan. All rights reserved.

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