Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Running on bloody floors by Malcolm Mackay

malcom.jpg

A short man, chubby, sweating. Dark brown hair that he might have cut himself and a coat made with someone else in mind. He’s nodding at Tom, wide eyes gushing nerves out into the empty bar.

“Doug, is it?” Tom’s asking.

“You’re David’s man, yes?” Every word holding a crackle, a whining tone that belongs either side of a good cry.

Tom’s moving his hands in front of him, the gun in his right. “No, I’m not. You let Mr Currie down; you have to pay for that.”

The rookie on stage for the first time, desperate to deliver his lines. Every word a warning, giving the target a chance.

Doug’s had these stumpy little legs all his life, the thought of running

on them has never occurred to him. Remove that option and there’s only one left.

He’s lunging. He stumbled on the first step, ducking unintentionally on the second. Tom raising the gun, shooting over Doug’s shoulder. Nervous, sweaty hands gripping the gun too tightly. Doug’s second hapless step carries the crown of his head into Tom’s chest.

Doug was going over anyway; he hasn’t had his legs under meaningful control since he started moving them. Tom’s falling with him, suddenly terrified of the gun that was supposed to make this easy.

They hit the wooden floor hard, Tom on his back, Doug on top of him. The gun between them, loosely gripped in those damned sweaty hands. Pulling at it. A shot. Loud and hot, Doug jumping back, rolling on the floor.

The gun’s lying on Tom’s still chest, pointing up at his chin like it’s proud of what it’s done. Doug’s nailed to the spot by fear. Telling himself he already had to flee the city.

This changes nothing. Not true. Killing a man changes everything.

The Necessary Death Of Lewis Winter and How A Gunman Says Goodbye by Malcolm Mackay, out now. To get both for £15, call 01256-302699 and quote ‘9MI’

(Image: Rex)

Related

horowitz.jpg

The ShortList crime challenge

self.jpg

The long drop by Will Self

danny.jpg

The set up by Danny Wallace

Comments

More

Michael Bond, the creator of Paddington Bear, dies age 91

He brought joy to millions of childhoods

by Gary Ogden
28 Jun 2017

Everyone's taking the piss out of Brooklyn Beckham's photography book

Are they being too harsh on the kid?

by Carl Anka
26 Jun 2017

The 30 most memorable literary fathers

These book dads certainly left an impression

16 Jun 2017

I judged the International Booker Prize shortlist by their covers

So the saying doesn't go

by Gary Ogden
28 Apr 2017

Women fancy men who read and this is the book that impresses them most

But it doesn't work the other way

by Tom Mendelsohn
28 Apr 2017

The physical Amazon bookstore is using really cool ways to group books

Online meets the real world

by Dave Fawbert
03 Apr 2017

14 new books you need to read in April

The best picks for your reading pile this month

by Dan Dalton
31 Mar 2017

This bookshop is giving clickbait titles to all the classics

"Teenage girl tricked boyfriend into killing himself" - anyone?

by Emily Reynolds
31 Mar 2017

These bored book store employees deserve all the Instagram followers

Bookface goes French at Librairie Mollat

by Dave Fawbert
21 Mar 2017

Philip Pullman has just saved us all from Real Life

Here's what we know about 'Book of Dust'

15 Feb 2017