• Alex

A Job to Die For


-- This is an excerpt of my short story A Job to Die For, which can be found in the TL;DR Reddit Writers Anthology on Amazon. --

From a filth-encrusted alleyway in the underwarrens, Finch watched harsh rays of simulated daylight be replaced by a softer halogen tone, meant to represent a moon that hadn’t been seen in decades.

Moon. She tried to recall what it was supposed to look like. Years ago, on another job, she had stolen a painting; a white-yellow sphere, hung in a sky untainted by toxic clouds. It had sold for millions, last she’d heard. Probably strung up in some skycity gallery now, the proprietor pretending he had acquired it through totally legitimate means.

She shook her head to disperse the memory. Tonight definitely wasn’t the night for stray thoughts.

The set of dilapidated doors in front of her looked as if they could be smashed off their hinges with a good kick. From somewhere beyond them drifted the noxious stench of phosphorus and sulphur - a chemicals plant was always a good cover for seedier business. Finch wrinkled her nose at the smell. She knocked - three shallow taps with one knuckle then a flat slap of the palm.

“Password?”

“Fuck off.”

The snap of a bolt being drawn back echoed down the alleyway. With a brain-itching screech, one of the doors opened inwards. Behind them stood a well-built man in the dirtied purple overalls of a sulphur processor. His skin, drawn tight over his skull, was filth-encrusted. He grimaced.

“Finch. Hasn’t anyone murdered you yet?”

“Plenty have tried, Larkin,” she answered. Every second Finch spent around the greasy pissant she felt like placing a bullet between his eyes.

From the look in the henchman’s eyes the feeling was more than mutual.

“Where’s Sparrow?”

“Hell if I know. We’re not joined at the hip.” Finch gestured at the passageway behind the dim-witted guard. “Look, as much as I enjoy our conversations, I’m here to see your boss.”

Larkin’s dull, dust-coloured eyes fell to the satchel slung across Finch’s back.

“Is that..?”

“Not for you.” Finch spat into the dirt. “Larkin, I’m losing my patience. When I lose my patience my trigger finger starts to itch. I really don’t want to have to explain to Rezak why his favourite idiot’s brains are decorating the entrance to his hideout, so can we get on with this?”

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©2020 by Alexander Hamilton.