State of Emergency – Chapter 23
March 28, 2011
He hit play again.
“You’re supposed to be protecting her.”
The red bruise on her cheek tinged with purple. The diamond-shaped insignia of some class ring embossed on her face. The livid finger-marks on her throat. The blood running from her nose and swollen lip. Her pallor and the way her cheekbones stood out more starkly from the soft oval of her face. The blood in her hair, the eyes red from weeping.
His mind itemized them all, noting them down like items for a shopping list.
Buy milk, tomatoes, get car serviced, mutilate Derek Fitzpatrick.
He hit play again.
“You’re supposed to be protecting her. Get your arse over here and kill this fuck, already.”
The fist tangled in her hair, pale gold strands wrapped around and over the knuckles, holding it like a leash. The man’s body, clad in black, pressed tight against her back.
The white clothes, pristine in places, torn and grubby in others.
With no sign of the clothes she had been wearing.
And Fitzpatrick… touching her like that.
He hit play again, listening to her voice speaking words that weren’t hers. Peony. The sister in her head. Long-dead but still alive in poor Dolly’s fractured, swirling mind.
Until he’d come along. Ian had thought he’d silenced Peony for good, that with him to love and support her, Dolly had been whole. And she had been.
And now something had happened. Something had made his wife’s mind go away, hide somewhere deep in the complexities of her subconscious and now Peony was back. Her sister-protector.
But she was still alive. Only hours ago, she had still been alive.
There was no rage. Only a cold, sick place in the pit of his stomach that it all went to, leaving his mind free to work, to plan, to prepare. His hands clicked the spring of his N-TEC back into place, then hit play again. Walsaw would come through soon. He had to. And then, the only thing standing between Fitzpatrick and death was the space of minutes and the traffic in Anfield.
And Ian knew how to deal with traffic.
The video scrolled to its black end and he hit play again.
The beeping was incongrous; it hadn’t been on the clip before. He’d wound back and replayed twice before he realized it was his phone.
A text from Walsaw. An address.
He didn’t run. He just strode out to the garage and got in the Bishada.
And inevitable as death.