Straight through the heart
This story was published in ZineWest 2007, and gained a Highly Recommended nomination in their annual competition. I also posted this on my Facebook profile a while back, but I think it will find a better home here. Enjoy.
One morning, Thomas prepared for work.
Mobile phone, jacket with big pockets, USB, matchbox, packet of cigarettes, balaclava.
He picked up his gun and caressed the length of the double barrel, the polished wooden handle. At a touch of his finger, the magazine opened. He slid open the matchbox and took out the bullets. Two of them, polished to perfection and gleaming in the morning light.
His phone beeped.
Holding the gun in one hand, he grabbed the phone and looked at the screen. SMS from the boss. Target moving towards the station.
OK, time to roll. He tucked the gun under his jacket, slipped the phone, USB and cigarettes in his pocket and left the house.
Rain-slicked roofs glistened under a dead grey sky.
The pedestrian crossing in front of the station was a churning sea of umbrellas. Thomas waited next to the newspaper stand, the gun heavy in his pocket.
There he was – Andrew Macauley, the young accountant with the serious look permanently glued to his face. Clutching a black umbrella, he sprinted across the road as the light flashed red.
Thomas looked at his watch, sauntered to the traffic light and pressed the button. There was plenty of time. Andrew was always early; the train wouldn’t leave for another five minutes. Punctuality, grey suits, a copy of the Business Review under his arm. The man was such a bore. And such a delightful target.
Traffic roared across the intersection. A car honked and a bus splashed across a puddle. Splatters of water arced in a wide spray.
A high-pitched shriek and a female voice. ‘Oh – look at me!’ The woman had bright red hair tied in a ponytail. Spots of mud dotted her blue skirt and jacket.
Thomas grinned, stroking the barrel of the gun through his jacket. He inched through the waiting crowd, closer to the woman, who had opened her laptop bag and attempted to wipe herself with a tissue. Yes, she would do perfectly. How he loved his job.
The light turned and commuters spilled onto the road. Thomas followed. Into the station, through the turnstiles, onto the platform.
Andrew sat at a bench, his attention firmly on the magazine.
The young woman stumbled past, wiping her arm with ripped tissues.
Thomas inserted his hand under his jacket. Took out the gun. Aimed. Pulled the trigger. For a split second, the world went pink.
Andrew stretched out his legs. The red-haired woman tripped. Her bag went sailing, spilling newspapers, tissues, her phone and purse onto the concrete.
Red-faced, Andrew stumbled up. ‘Oh, I’m so sorry.’ He scrambled to pick up her belongings.
She thanked him, wide-eyed.
His face still red, Andrew stammered, ‘Look, can I buy you a coffee?’
Thomas turned; tears pricked in his eyes. Best not to watch too long – he would start feeling lonely. He took his phone from his pocket and sent his usual message, Straight through the heart – next please.