14 Oct

It runs, and runs. Over, and over, and over. Like a movie.  Twenty times? Back-projected on the inside of my lids. A hundred times? More. Jessie rattling pans in the kitchen becomes smashing glass. Again. The reversing van outside summons the screaming alarm. It wasn’t meant to be that way, it wasn’t supposed to happen. Each time it spools, the same excuse. The same accusation, the same feeble recrimination. Each slam of a door and I find myself, again, ears suddenly full of cotton wool and hissing static, and somewhere, distant, the faint underwater screams.  Each time, holding the empty gun.

I can feel the chill sweat sitting in the nape of my neck, and the small of my back. The muffled screams crystalise; Jessie singing over her baking. I smell brownies, incongruous through the lingering cordite. I grip the cold enamel sink beneath my fingers, anchoring myself here, and now. But leaning over I see his reflection not mine peering up at me from the basin, eyes wide, glassy, reaching out to me even as I recoil, silently mouthing my name. It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t. An empty mantra. He bought the gun. He planned the job. He knocked over the chair. All I did was trip. But I can’t say it to his face, I see his eyes and it withers on my lips.

The first few hours were easier; plenty of adrenaline, plenty to do. Crash out through the back, drive fast but not conspicuous, torch the car, ditch the gun, lose the clothes. Put some distance between myself and the scene, but not too much, so I won’t appear to be fleeing. Stick to the plan, think methodical, look ordinary. But then the waiting began. Noting else to do, fate out of my hands. The niggling doubts – did the mask slip? Did a traffic camera spot me? Did I remember to wipe the gun for prints? The police would be milling around like ants, looking, checking, measuring, threading together the shreds of the afternoon. No job is perfect, there are always traces.

Scratching through the channels, hoping there’ll be something, hoping there’ll be nothing. News reports, all chewing over the same sparse details. Then the hacks find a name; a younger Danny stares out from a slack-eyed mugshot, taken the first time they put him away. No trace yet on his face of the wrath, the panic. Next to him a greyed-out silhouette, the wanted man. Does it have my chin? My nose? A press conference, the stone-faced DCI, speaking in precise, clipped tones. Laying down the facts, piece by meticulous piece, hinting at leads. No begging aimlessly for information, body language very much a hound with the scent. I can’t run, I can’t hide, all I can do is wait.


One Response to “Wanted”

  1. jeanosullivan October 15, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    Awesome restrained anxiety/forced calm. Wonderful piece!

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