Not sure I’m happy with this one.  Not fully anyway.  But, this is what happens when you are writing a largely improvised webnovel I suppose, especially when you are anxious to get one final post done before you go off on holiday.

Anyway, I hope you like it.  There won’t be another one for at least a week as I’m off to France.  See you next saturday!


‘Bigger order than usual, sunshine,’ the man said, his eyes carefully studying the figure before him.

Eldred didn’t like this part of his job. Dealing with the sort of people who look like they get all their dental hygiene from the chewable toothbrushes you can buy in a pub toilet was never going to be something he enjoyed, but it was a necessary evil.

‘I have a fluctuating client base, sir. I don’t always need a consistent amount of product.’

The man snorted and handed Eldred a cardboard box wrapped in plastic. Inside he could just make out a few stacks of shiny metal patches. Eldred pulled a fresh roll of cash from his jacket and handed it to the man, who then insisted on counting it.

Eldred really disliked Misery dealers. Misery was a designer drug that had cropped up overnight, crushing trade in the more common narcotics within a month. It played upon the thrill of cheering up, making you miserable for a period of time purely so you could experience the unbridled flow of happiness when it finally wears off. The longer the Misery lasts, the more potent the happiness at the end of it.

This chemically induced misery, however, had a side-effect. It was full-blown resignation misery, the sort that makes you just give up and lie down. Portable surrender, and that was why Eldred had taken to buying the stuff. He had weaponised it. Sometimes, when you needed information or a live capture, a quick dose of Misery would be all you’d need to take the fight out of your target.

When the man was done counting his money, Eldred exited to the street outside. It had been raining, and the pavement was littered with puddles of varying sizes. The council had let this place rot, which was why it was such a perfect place to resupply his Misery, and occasionally sharpen his other skills.

Eldred wasn’t jumped much anymore. He had a reputation now, thanks to how he had treated the last prospective mugger, but sometimes people thought they could get away with it, catch him on an off day. Today wasn’t an off day, but someone tried it anyway.

He heard the click of the gun (the second of the day) before the shot, which was probably what saved his life. It was a distant click, not the point-blank of the previous gun, which gave Eldred plenty of time to plan his moves. The gun roared and Eldred rolled to his left, taking cover behind a nearby post box. He ripped the plastic topping off the box of Misery and poked his head around his makeshift cover.

The street was empty but there was any number of places the gunman could be hiding. He reasoned that the most likely place would be a tall building about halfway down the road from his current location. It had a lot of windows, all of them broken, and gave a pretty decent view of the street. A second shot, complete with muzzle flash, helped to prove him right. It also gave him a target.

Taking one of the patches between thumb and forefinger, Eldred spun out from behind the post box and threw it like a throwing-star. It spun gracefully through the air and disappeared into the window he had picked out. He went back to his box of Misery, picked it up and began to walk away. He didn’t need to check, he was incapable of missing at that distance. It was only two hundred metres.

Two attacks in a single day. It wasn’t the most he had ever had, but it was enough to become an annoyance. His next contract wasn’t due for another couple of days, perhaps he had earned a day off. Perhaps he should get out of the city for a day, go home. At least when people at home tried to kill him they did it face-to-face.


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