State of Emergency – Chapter 7

December 31, 2010


Ian CarlyleChris sat up slowly, supporting himself on one arm and keeping his eyes on Carlyle. Raw white hatred seethed in the pit of his stomach, mixing with a thin, cold trickle of fear that only built the rage higher. The Beretta tracked his movement, finally tapping him right between the eyes.

“That’s enough.”

He glared up at Carlyle. “Why don’t you just kill me and have done with it?”

The footballer snorted, shifting his weight casually to his other foot. “Because you’re not a fucking threat. Besides, I need some answers.”

“You and me both.” Chris sighed quietly, shoving a few stray wisps of hair back off his face then, with an annoyed click of his tongue, reached back to retie his ponytail only to be stopped by a quiet click as Carlyle cocked the pistol. Carefully, he took his hands away from his head, showing his palms empty, quivering with frustration. A fluffy white-and-grey puppy sniffed curiously at his shoes. “So what’s your problem then? Something disturbing your perfect life with your money, your cars, your big house and your beautiful…”

Every sense screamed danger. Chris shut his mouth with a sharp click of his teeth.

The muscles were clenched along Carlyle’s jaw and the veins stood out along his forearm, the urge to kill visibly throbbing in his blood. Then something shifted; he sank down to a relaxed squat, shaking his head with a wry half-smile. “As a matter of fact, you’re right. Someone whose well-being concerns both of us, if I’m not mistaken.”

Shock jolted through the enforcer. “No! I don’t… I’m not… I just…”

“Shut the fuck up.” Carlyle’s tone was bored, exasperated. “Look, I know you’ve seen her file. You’ve told me you know so much about her? Well, now’s your chance to prove it.” He leaned in, his face inches away, the gun held in a deceptively easy grip across his knee. “What was she on, Walsaw? What drugs does she need? What doses?”

Chris shook his head. “I… I can’t remember just like that!” He held up his hands as the thief tensed again. “But I can look it up! I have the file, I just… You can’t just put her back on the drugs. They have side-effects… she needs a doctor, she needs proper care!”

“And you’d get her that, would you?” Carlyle’s lips twisted sceptically. “Just pop her back in the asylum where she’d be nice and safe and protected just like she was for the last ten years? You watched us – you want to tell me why she cries at night? Want to tell me why my wife kisses like a virgin and fucks like a whore? And you’re just going to take her back there? I mean, if someone’s gonna roll her while she’s too drugged up to notice, might as well be you, right? Right?

Carlyle’s fist clenched and Chris reeled back as if he’d been punched in the face. “No! Oh god, no!” His feet scrabbled at the leaf-strewn dirt for purchase, then he propelled himself swiftly to his feet as the footballer – the thief, the killer – slowly began to straighten up. The contents of the bag clutched in his hand flashed through his head and what started in his stomach as a scream came out of his mouth as a pained moan. “I’ll get it… I’ll get you the prescription, but I wouldn’t… God, no! I’d never… I just want to know! I have to know who killed them!”

“My wife is still alive.” The gun was coming up; Chris’ eyes widened. He froze for an instant, then his toes bit into the ground and he was fleeing through the woods. A shot rang out behind him but he was running too hard to know if it hit.

He just wasn’t sure if it was the gun he was running from, or the words.

***

Carlyle let the shot go wide, then slowly lowered the gun, letting it cool with his temper and watching the branches swish in the enforcer’s wake while Gerrard strained at his leash and barked after the old cop. His eyes were narrowed behind the dark glasses, calculating. Finally he turned away, shoving the pistol into the back of his jeans.

“Prick,” he muttered under his breath.

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