August 3 at 12:00 AM
Photo by Blake Patterson
I traced my Smith & Wesson over the entire room. "Who's there?" I repeated. The apartment was dim and quiet, just the way I liked it. Even the corpse at my dinner table didn't have anything to say. All this trouble for a damn book? What next? Perhaps my bare-assed guest would start singing and dancing.
The telephone rang. Although it aroused my curiosity, I was inclined to let it keep ringing.
"Answer it," the voice came again.
I spun around, nearly pulling the trigger. "Come out so I can put a bullet in you."
"Just answer the phone," she said.
I looked around and picked up the phone. "Hello?" Heavy breathing greeted me. A moment later the line went dead. I slammed down the phone. "A lot of good that did."
The phone rang again.
"Let me guess, I should answer it?" I said aloud.
"Hai," said the voice.
I nearly fell over. "Indigo?"
I scooped up the phone and listened. More heavy breathing. "Eighteenth and K. Twenty minutes," said a deep voice.
"Or your precious Indigo dies," he replied.
I hung up the phone. Twenty minutes? That wasn't enough time. "Still with me, Indigo?"
"Get out of there," she said.
"Not before I get some answers." I stepped into my bedroom and pulled out the bottom drawer of my dresser. I flipped it over and pried loose the magnum taped to the underside. Superior firepower. Never left home without it.
"Quick, they're already here," said the voice.
"Who's here?" I pulled back a curtain. A black sedan with California plates flashed through the alley.
"Go," she said.
I pointed my gun at the shadows below. Nothing moved. I climbed out of the window and scaled the brickwork, refusing to holster my gun. I latched onto the adjoining fire escape and a few moments later my feet hit the pavement. I hated leaving Morgan behind, but I had little choice. There was no point dying in that matchbox apartment and besides, the stiff already reeked. Too bad I would not be able to dispose of him properly. But I could not go back, ever. I'd have to start over again, like so many times before.
I picked up my pace and rounded the corner, now a full block away.
"Take the metro," her voice rang through my ears.
"It'll take too long. I'll never make it in time."
"Let them wait. You already know I'm not in danger, so why hurry?"
"Because I don't believe you are who you say you are. Besides, I need to do this my way."
The flood of headlights blinded me as a taxi rounded the corner. Quickly I hailed it down, surprised at my luck. "Eighteenth and K," I said to the driver and jumped inside. As we peeled away, a tall man with long blond hair and dark shades emerged from the shadows.
"Don't take the taxi," the voice said.
"My way," I reiterated. And my way usually hurt.