Sunday, 3 May 2009

About 'The Hit'...

The following short-story was written for an on-line 'flash-fiction' site. I was attracted to the idea of flash-fiction, because it gave me a chance to educate my 'writing-muscle' to producing a complete work, within the frame of a low word count. The object is to tell a tale, whilst losing nothing that you would expect to find in a normal length story. Also, the limit of the word count goes some way towards immediacy. I just had to start in the midst of it all. I hope I succeeded:


The Hit

For some time now, Lou Garino had started to feel sick after a hitting a mark. He stared at the two bullet holes he had just put in the man's forehead, and swallowed sour bile. He wondered. Was he getting too old for this stuff?

Garino started then, as he heard a door close somewhere along the landing outside. He half turned and froze, watching the door he had left on the latch. His heart thumped heavily, as he waited not in panic, but listening, his gun ready. There was nothing. Just a neighbour? Probably, but he was sure no one would have heard the slight pop of his silenced .22 automatic.

Happier now, Garino turned back to the corpse. He grimaced again, seeing the head and shoulders thrown into grim relief, by the glow from the PC screen behind the dead man’s chair.

Garino hated computers. He kept away from them as much as he could. Now, what he could see of the monitor seemed to be mocking him, the sickly yellowish hue of the screen’s wallpaper making him feel worse. He noticed his hand was shaking. That was something else that had crept up on him lately. Could be, it was time to get out of this business. He shook his head clear and leaned forwards to check the pulse in the fat man's throat.

There was no real need to do that, but you could never be sure with just a .22 and if nothing else, Garino had always been thorough. One of the reasons he had lasted so long. The guy was door-nail dead. Job done.

Then there was a foot-scrape from the landing, and a sudden draught from the door.way. Garino's heart flipped; almost stopped and he whirled around.

In the open doorway stood a young, slim guy in shirt-sleeves. The man had his jacket slung over his right shoulder, his tie was half-undone and he was wearing a shoulder holster, packing what looked like a .38. Something else caught Garino’s eye. The polished gold-shield tucked into the guy's shirt pocket.

Christ... A Cop. An off-duty Cop?

Garino recalled hearing the door earlier. The guy must live on this floor. Why hadn't he been told about this?

The Cop spoke, “Who the Hell are you?” He was frowning, trying to peer around Garino. “And what the frig's up with Pete?” Then he must have noticed the .22, because he went for his own weapon.

Garino didn't hesitate.

The Cop was gazing down at a red stain spreading across his chest. He looked up at Garino, a brief bewildered glance, an unspoken question in his glazing eyes. The revolver fell from dying fingers. He staggered against the door frame and slid downwards. He was dead before his body reached the floor.

There was a moment's panic, unsettling even Garino's cool, professionalism. A Cop for God’s sake… He’d killed a Cop. Garino fought against the nerves. Damn it. He had to stay with it. It was no problem. No one knew he was here. Besides, it wasn’t the first time he had needed to close down a witness to a hit. But a Cop for Chris-sakes. A Cop. He fought the panic.

Eventually he managed to regain his composure. The ice came back into his soul and he finished the job with a second tap to the Cop’s forehead. Then he slipped the automatic into his pocket. Without a glance downwards, he stepped over the body as he would a sleeping dog, and headed for the stairway.


Some three thousand miles away, in her London apartment, Sarah James was stirring a fresh cup of coffee, as she shuffled back towards her PC. She wanted to carry on her Yahoo chat with Pete. He was well-versed, educated. It was a delight to chat with him. Also Sarah never ceased to marvel at being able to speak to and see him from all the way over there in New York.

She glanced at the screen. Pete's chair was facing away from her. Then her coffee cup dropped unheeded to the floor, as she saw a man in front of Pete; a man raising a gun. The movements were jerky, but she saw the double flash of the gun, and heard the two slight 'phuts' over her speakers. Then the murderer just stood there, doing nothing, his face bathed in yellow. He looked ill. God she felt sick too. This was unbelievable and her eyes widened in macabre fascination, as she watched the rest of the horror show unfold.

Frustration almost overwhelmed her. There was nothing she could do, but watch this animal going about his work. She realised she was biting her knuckles so hard they had started to bleed. Holding back the need to vomit, Sarah pulled herself together and she stretched out a trembling hand. The killer had barely glanced at Pete's screen, so Pete must have minimised her image on the monitor. The trembling abated and, with remarkable presence of mind, she checked that her web-cam had been on record. She clicked her mouse and saved the Quick-Cam video. Then she reached for the phone.


  1. Hi, John.
    Loved the story. Your style would suit Thrillers, Killers N Chillers. Have you read it yet?

  2. Hi there Col,

    Glad you enjoyed this and my thanks for the comment. It's appreciated. I am finding ever more connections through blogs and sometimes my PC gets lost (or is it me), but yes I have visited TKNC. In fact I am thinking about a submission, but it's a bit wordy at the moment. :)

  3. Okay, no rush.
    Agreed, it's a big old world out there in the blogosphere with opportunities aplenty!