Chapter 55

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It starts raining sometime during the night. I can hear it pounding on the tin roof, hear the drips coming through the decayed ceiling. My eyes are sticky from tears and my head throbs. I sit up and stare into the darkness. I can see clearly now that my eyes have adjusted. I imagine what this place used to look like filled with bodies, a pounding base and flashing strobe lights. Filled with life.

I hope no one finds me here. I'm considering just moving in, living in the shadows. The Mafia will find me eventually. But by that time, Lizzie and her family will have hopefully recovered from witnessing their mother's suicide. I'll give it another shot then.

I curl up against the slab of wood and close my eyes, thinking of Nick. I hope he's happy. I hope he's trying to get over me and move on and find a more mentally stable girlfriend. I imagine his face, the way he looks when he smiles and says my name. I can almost hear his voice, speaking to me softly ...

Wait. I do hear his voice.

Torchlight sweeps across the room. The sound of footsteps crunching over glass and rubble makes my heart pound faster than a jet engine. I duck down behind the bar and freeze, even though there's something sharp sticking into my back. I can see in the reflection of broken glass just a meter to my left that there are men walking into the club. And I know one of them is Nick. I'd know his voice anywhere.

"The report said there were gunshots," he says to what must be another officer. "But we checked it out yesterday and there's nothing here."

"New evidence has come up," says the other man. "I want to do a full sweep."

I try hard not to gasp. They're going to find me. What if Garcia told them I killed Carole? What if I'm wanted already and I haven't even killed anyone yet?

"Detective," says Nick and his tone is strained. "Look at this."

He walks over to Nick. I wait in agonizing silence.

"It's bleached," says the detective eventually.

"Could just be from the explosion?"

"We'll need to get it tested. Get a sample for me Bronson."

"Yes sir."

He opens a plastic bag and begins extracting the blood sample. Todd cleaned up, but not well enough obviously. They're going to find Mercy's DNA. They might even find mine.

"Do you have a lead on Von Tesse yet?" asks Nick.

Von Tesse. That was the guy he asked me about the day we met. Something to do with the biker that chased me. He's still working on that case? I never spoke to him about it.

"That's actually what I asked you here for, Bronson."

Nick waits. I wait.

"I want you on the squad tonight."

"Sir?"

"Von Tesse's authorizing a shipment at the docklands. I want you there to bust it. We've not yet been so close to apprehending him – he never makes an appearance. This time we have him. Our inside man confirms his security detail will escort him to Bay 5 between eight and eight thirty."

I immediately cover my mouth with an inaudible slap. The docklands. Eight pm. Bay 5.

Garcia.

Von Tesse is the supplier and Garcia is the buyer? Or are they the same person? It doesn't matter. The point is, Nick is going to be there. And if Garcia is there, someone will get hurt.

"I'd be honored sir. I've been trying to catch Von Tesse in the act for months now."

"Good," says the detective. "There'll be a briefing at five pm tonight at the station. Be there at four."

"Yes sir."

"And make sure that sample gets to the lab as soon as possible. I don't know if this is connected, but I have a feeling in my gut."

"Gut feelings are usually pretty reliable," he says. "Sometimes."

I bite my lip. Is he talking about me?

"Right, well let's get out of this dump. My nose is starting to putrefy."

Nick zips up his back and their torches dart across the gratified walls of the club. I watch them walk away and swing the iron door shut behind them. Then it's just the sound of the rain on the roof and my thoughts whirring inside my mind.

I know I have to do it tonight. I have to kill him. It doesn't matter what fragile state his family is in or how many security detail he might have or how dangerous Von Tesse and his crew are. What matters – what has always mattered – is protecting those I love.

Ijust need back up. 

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