‘I’m just a walking cliché,’ growled Rector.
He sat at a table in a dark corner of The Essex Arms. His black clothes melded with the pub’s shadows. His bony hand reached out of the darkness and scratched his unshaven face.
He took a sip of whisky.
‘Look at me. I’m a contract killer going from town to town, city to city, from country to country, from hit to hit. With no family. No friends. A loner.’
‘You have one friend,’ said Kitty.
She leaned close to him. Her green eyes and emerald ball gown shimmered in the wan light. ‘You’ve got me.’
Rector looked at her and smiled.
‘You know, that doesn’t really help matters,’ he said. ‘Appreciated though the thought is. But your existence only adds to my cliché status. You’re not real, after all. You’re the ghost of one of my victims. Or maybe a guilt fuelled illusion. Or maybe even both.’
Kitty patted his hand. Her touch was cold, as always.
‘But I’ve got you babe. And you’ve got me. Forever,’ she said.
Rector was immediately jerked back into an unpleasant memory of a perfume soaked dressing room in a Dublin nightclub. His one mistake. The bullet hitting Kitty straight between the eyes.
He stroked her forehead although there was no bullet hole.
‘You know, there is a way to end this,’ said Kitty. ‘A way to erase the memories.’
‘I know. But not yet. I’ve still got things to finish with Spectre.’
He rubbed his eyes. When he opened them, Kitty was gone.
He finished his drink and left the bar. The cold north wind bit into him as soon as he stepped out onto the rain soaked street. A big Black Mariah skidded around a corner and screeched to a halt in front of him. It dimmed its lights.
On the corner of the street, beneath a blinking street lamp, a tall man was smoking a cigarette. His silhouette appeared and disappeared like warm breath on a cold window pane. The man got into the car and it drove away.
Rector walked to the end of the street and stopped outside a closed down church that was being converted into a wine bar. He listened for a moment and heard the sound of an engine running. He stepped into a dank alleyway.
A click, and Rector saw the tall man lighting a cigarette with a zippo lighter. Two thugs stood beside him.
‘That shit’ll kill you,’ said Rector. ‘If I don’t first.’
‘Funny man,’ said Louise Spectre. ‘Don’t give up the day job.’
Kitty stepped out of the darkness and stuck her tongue out at Spectre. Did a can-can in front of him.
‘So what’s the deal?’ said Spectre. ‘Why did you call me?’
‘We end it,’ said Rector. ‘We end it tonight.’
‘Alright,’ he said.
Rector winked at Kitty and pulled out his Glock. Fired. The gun clicked.
Spectre grinned. He pulled out his gun and fired, hitting Rector twice in the chest and once between the eyes.
Rector’s corpse slammed the ground and Spectre walked over to him.
‘Well that was easier than expected,’ said Spectre.
Kitty walked toward Spectre.
‘Really?’ said Kitty.
‘What the hell?’ said Spectre. ‘Kitty? How? You’re …’
Spectre clutched his chest.
‘It was hard for me,’ said Rector’s ghostly form. ‘Bloody hurt.’
He rushed at Spectre who felt as if an elephant were on his chest, pressing hard.
Spectre collapsed to the ground, clutching his chest. His thugs ran to help him.
‘He’s not dead?’ said Rector.
‘No,’ said Kitty. ‘He’ll hang on in hospital for a while. Suffering. We can visit him whenever we want. Make it worse for him. Make him wish he was dead.’
She took Rector’s hand and they walked out of the alleyway.
‘Funny, you don’t feel so cold now,’ said Rector.
‘No, but my father does,’ said Kitty Spectre.
© Paul D Brazill 2016.
Paul D. Brazill is the author of books like The Last Laugh, Guns Of Brixton, Cold London Blues, and Kill Me Quick! He was born in England and lives in Poland. His writing has been translated into Italian, Polish, German and Slovene. He has had stories published in various magazines and anthologies, including The Mammoth Books of Best British Crime.