He elbows me in the throat, knees me in the groin and kicks me in the face. I crumple to the snow smothered ground as he picks up a crowbar and slams it against my right knee cap. And then the left. Things start to go downhill after that.
A month in hospital and a year or so of physiotherapy. And time to think. For thoughts to bubble and boil.
The motorcade of wheelchairs is an uncoiled python creeping down the boulevard toward the stark white church. A clutch of cripples on crutches shuffle along – some behind, some in front. A group of burly men carry a large white cross toward the man with the beard and the white robes, who is stood on a podium in front of the church.
They stop and, struggling, put the cross upright. The man with the beard sings an old hymn as he holds hands with a tall blond girl. Annie. My Annie. Or so she used to be, until Reverend Francis J Baker messed with her brain using a lethal cocktail of religion and white supremacist crap. Add to the ingredients two overweight skinheads who take me out of the picture and now she’s a member of the Imperial Order of Knights, the Ku Klux Klan’s even uglier and more stupid kissin’ cousin.
This meeting is known as The Awakening. It’s where Baker fleeces the sick and gullible by giving them false hope. He promises to cure them and cleanse them of their sins. For a price.
I roll the wheelchair slowly towards him. Luckily I’m wearing gloves, the amount of shit on the street is almost as much as that coming from the good Reverend’s mouth.
‘Who wants to be healed?’ he shouts. ‘Who wants to be saved?’
There is a sound not unlike that of rats thrown into a cage. Shrieking. Screaming.
The cross is set alight. It crackles.
A raggle taggle group move toward Reverend Baker. He sings. He prays. There’s chanting. Moaning.
Some cripples begin to move.
’I can walk!’ screams one, who bares more than a passing resemblance to one of the thugs that beat me up.
This happens two or three times and then a collection plate is passed around.
I wait. I’ve grown patient.
As I get closer, I get to my feet.
I can walk!’ I scream.
Baker doesn’t recognise me, of course. He wouldn’t since I’m dressed like a sweet old lady. When I’m almost in his face I pull off my wig. I wipe the make-up from my face and pull a Colt Anaconda from under my tweed skirt.
Recognition hits Baker like a Rocket To Russia.
‘I guess I’m just too tough to die,’ I say.
Annie screams. Reverend Baker is apoplectic, babbling.
‘Gabba gabba …’ says Baker, in his moment of clarity.
‘Hey,’ I say, before blowing his brains away.
Bio: Spinetingler Award nominee Paul D. Brazill was born in Hartlepool, England and lives in Bydgoszcz, Poland. He started writing short stories at the end of 2008 and his writing has appeared in all sorts of print and electronic magazines and anthologies, such as Beat To A Pulp, Crimefactory, Dark Valentine, Needle- A Magazine Of Noir, Radgepacket and the 2011 Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime. His blog is YOU WOULD SAY THAT WOULDN’T YOU?