Chapter Two

The Police were lined outside the store, SWAT jackets covering Kevlar cops. They held onto assault rifles and some hid behind mounted submachine guns. German Shepherds snapped their jaws together impatiently as the atmosphere dropped to a murmur. They began to sip at their coffees and settle down in the warm cars as the night became a deeper shade of black.

The stars looked like tiny silver bullets surrounding a shimmering black pearl as the moon moved into the waning crescent. Salisbury looked up at it from one of the windows with glee, the handgun lowered to his side.

“And as Arctac looked at Kymooshiji his eyes glimmered. ‘By the moon, my princess, you will have the dragons’ tooth,’” he quoted, his mind playing through his work of art. He couldn’t see why others couldn’t see what he did, why they didn’t get the story, though their ignorance could not pull down his good mood; although he was a little – cautious.

As he had left the group to gaze up at his Muse, the group had begun to talk in hushed whispers. He didn’t like that, his fingers clutched tighter around the hilt of the weapon, although his finger was a feather-weight on the trigger, “we don’t want any accidents now, do we?” He muttered to himself as he adjusted his tee and walked back to his audience.

The Police had decided another approach and the man with the microphone took up his position again. “Come now, Mr. Frood... if you wish no one to be hurt then send someone out, as a gesture of good will.”

The man’s face was lined with age and his eyes were heavily set in their sockets as he gazed at the bookstore, brightly lit on the dark street. It seemed the whole world had gone to sleep besides the tiny speck of commotion at number 34. Mr. Microphone scratched at his beard; the grey hairs were brittle against his rough fingers as he stroked them thoughtfully. “Now, Mr. Frood, think about what you’re doing... we could work something out if you give yourself up now...”

The Glock 26 glimmered in the garish yellow lights that made the small Ohio bookstore glow radioactively in the dark night. “Alright,” Frood announced, a Cheshire smile pulling his lips up, ear to ear as an idea played in his head. “Everyone... up against that wall,” he gestured with the handgun to the far wall where the ‘politically correct’ books were stacked. They all clambered to their feet and stumbled to the wall, moans slipping from the small exodus of people. All but one.

His name was Drake, Drake Abernathy. His sandy smile was set in sandy skin as he stood and worked at the rope that bound his hands behind his back. His thoughts were clear and set, “This guy’s an amateur, his ropes are slick but the double knot is easily undone...” His hands slipped from the rope with a flick of his wrists, sliding effortlessly like melting butter on a hot pan.

His decision was bullet quick, he’d always dreamed of such things ever since he’d read his first comic book at the age of nine. Drake flung himself before Salisbury, grasping at the gun. Shots flew around wildly and the manuscript in his opposite hand flung into the air. Pages scattered and flew about in the cool AC as pulses echoed like war drums. Fingers slipped. Shots were fired. Drake had in one moment taken the Glock – in another it was pointed at his stomach.

Frood frowned as Drake bounced to the floor, his head colliding with the marble flooring. “My work! My precious work!” Salisbury took a sharp intake of breath and began fluttering around the store gathering as much paper as he could, muffled cries and moans escaping his lips every second moment. But the shot still rang clean in the air as Drake closed his eyes, ‘Golden Brown,’ echoing in his mind as pictures of her replayed.

It was her song, with those dark honey locks falling down her back like a treacle waterfall tied up with a black ribbon. Her shimmering chocolate eyes were looking at him in the rising morning sun and her cupid-bow lips parted slightly as she rose. Her bare form silky smooth and her creamy, ethereal body curved in all the right places.

She slipped on her dress again and looked back at Drake who lay on the bed gazing up at his angel. Her lips moved gracefully, but no words came out. He remembered replying, but no words met hers... only his lips on hers. Then he remembered, her trembled answers, her quivering form as the shot rang out. “What was her name...? Oh yes.” He smiled a little, his eyes peacefully sliding closed, “Nell.”

The End

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