Hood up, eyes down, stick to the plan.
It was 3am and I was only just approaching the pick up point. I was already half an hour late. Shit I hope they were patient. Drug dealers don’t tend to be patient I doubt though. I passed through the entrance of the park, a streetlight made the skin of my sweating palms look ominously orange. I could see a group of dark figures ahead. That must be them. I can’t believe I was going through with this, alas he needed me. My husband needed me. I did take a vow, to care for him in sickness and health. Well if this was his version of ‘caring’ through his illness then so be it.
I got closer still and faces started to become visible. One approached me.
“I’m here for my husband. He said you had our money and I’m here to collect it” I stated him, wringing my palms together, picking at my chipped nails.
“You’re very late,” is all the man said in reply. A Spanish accent I detected.
“I’m sor-sorry I got lost you see and I-”
“Not good enough. We told him 2.30am and it is now 3.05am. Of course we had to discipline this kind of tardiness before it became a regular thing. So here is your punishment” he said and moved to the side as did the rest of his ‘gang’. As they moved a body was revealed. I felt the blood drain from my face as I realised it was the face of my brother. The world stopped. It felt as though I had tunnel vision. All I could see was the body. Suddenly all fear drained out of me. The heavy weight of the gun tucked in my jeans became present. I forgot he gave me that gun.
“There’s your money girly. Don’t be late next time,” the man blew me a kiss, throwing an envelope my way whilst his men retreated laughing.
The world ran in slow motion from this point on. My hand moved as a blur as I brought the gun into view. The men were facing away from me, they didn’t know what was about to happen. There were five in total. I pointed the gun at the middle one.
Four. The others started to turn. The gun moved slightly to the left.
Three. The men had hold of their own weapons now. They were starting to raise them. The gun moved to the right.
Two. No more time for quick easy shots. I had to move. The two remaining men both fired but I had already dived to the side, landing on my forearms and rolling to a standing position again. The world slowed down further . Gun raised again.
Bang. That wasn’t my gun. Then the pain hit me. I looked at my shoulder in disbelief as I felt the fabric of my tattered hoodie become saturated with sticky blood. I raised my head again just in time to be punched in the face. I fell backwards gun still in hand. The world moved slower still. As I fell, my gun raised and –
My head hit the pavement first, my ears started to ring,. I had eliminated the threat. I was safe. Unless I bled out first. No. I had to get back to my husband. He had no one else to look after him. But he could wait for a while, I thought looking up at the dark sky. I just needed a minute. I was so tired. Fuck, I thought as I let my eyes close.
IF YOU WERE THERE, BEWARE – ARCTIC MONKEYS