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by Benedict J Jones

What gets me first is how heavy it is and I don’t mean that in some metaphorical, a machine of death weighs heavy in the soul, sort of way. The revolver is fucking heavy. Turn it over in my hands and see three numbers stamped on the barrel — .357. Nod at the man. Take the cash out and hand it over. He counts it and passes back a zip-lock bag with six brass jacketed shells inside.

“Sorted?”

I nod and he smiles.

***

Dougie was shagging my mum a couple of years back, stopped when Mack came on the scene. Stopped about the same time mum started getting the bruises. He lives on the same shitty estate he always did. I knock — twice because the first wouldn’t have roused a mouse. Dougie answers wearing a fake Converse tracksuit he probably got down the market.

“What you doing here?”

“Need some gear.”

He raises an eyebrow. I can almost hear the cogs turning in his brain. Should he, shouldn’t he? He unlocks the cage door deciding he should.

“Suppose you ain’t got the cash …”

Give him my best smile.

“I do, right here.”

Reach into my bag and feel the heavy solidity of the waffle patterned grip. Pull the .357 and his eyes go saucer wide.

The shot is loud, loud enough that it mutes the world. I don’t even hear the second.

***

They come before dawn. I’m lying awake, expecting them. I hear the front door smashed in, the shouts, mum screaming and clomp of combat boots through the flat. From the door of my room I watch Mack struggle, all slabs of muscle and bad tattoos. The gun butt hits him in the head once, twice. He stops struggling after that.

Tears streak mum’s face but I know this is for the best. It doesn’t take the coppers long to find the .357 under Mack’s side of the bed. They sit mum down on the sofa and give her a sweet tea.

One of the WPCs asks if I’m okay. Shrug, adjust my skirt and off to school thinking about how heavy the .357 felt.


Benedict J Jones is a writer of crime, horror and western fiction from southeast London. He has had around thirty short stories published in a variety of anthologies, magazines and on websites. 2014 saw the publication of a collection of his work entitled Skewered and Other London Cruelties and his debut novel, Pennies for Charon, both from Crime Wave Press.

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