Authors: Bill Carson
Jimmy Costa had decided not to hang around as the fat slugs from the Thompson started to fly around his earholes. He disappeared upstairs to his top floor office. He immediately put a call through to the small annexed house two miles away, where his army of thugs was holed up. In two minutes they would be here to bail him out.
But a lot can happen in two minutes
, he thought, as he loaded his
automatic pistol. He then switched out all the lights and sat in the corner of the office behind the curtain, pointing the pistol at the middle of the door.
The first one through that door will get the whole fucking magazine
One moment the place was full of ear-splitting gunfire and a moment later it had fallen into an eerie cold silence.
John Kane lay flat on his stomach, crawled to the edge of the wall, and poked his head out around the corner of the building to see if it was clear. Ryan saw the sudden movement but missed the opportunity, as John quickly ducked back in. Over to his left and at some distance, Ryan had spotted a strange figure hobbling towards the entrance of the hotel. If neither his eyes nor the thermal binoculars were playing tricks on him, he could swear that the figure was leaving a thin trail of smoke behind it.
“Now, what have we here?” Ryan whispered as he lined the figure up in the night sight. At that moment, out of his peripheral vision, he noted the bright headlights of a column of vehicles coming in his direction. In less than a minute they would be swarming all over the place. At first he thought they might be the police, but as they’d orders to wait for his call – and he hadn’t made one – it must be something else. While Ryan was checking out the vehicles, the strange smoking figure disappeared. Ryan turned on his side and slapped a fresh mag into the rifle and lay flat against the huge branch.
John Kane ran back to the blown-out window and climbed inside. He’d also seen the approaching vehicles, and rightly figured that it was Costa’s henchmen coming to his rescue.
“OK, people, we’ve got a situation.”
“You what?” asked George.
“There’s a line of vehicles heading this way and I don’t think they are coming to book a room, so I suggest we gather up all the weapons we can lay our hands on.”
“Right,” agreed Nick, as he wrenched McConnell’s shotgun from his stiffening, meaty fingers. “Nice work, George,” Nick added as he nodded toward McConnell’s crushed skull beneath the chunky tyre of George’s old banger. “We need to get as many of them as we can while they’re still in their vehicles. Once they spread out, they’ll be a lot harder to nail. George, give me them grenades, will you?”
George unclipped them from his belt.
Nick took up position on the left flank, and John Kane crept around to the right hand side of the building. Andy Ryan saw what was about to unfold.
This is going to be interesting. Got them in a bit of a crossfire
, he thought as Nick pulled the pin and threw the first hand grenade, which landed six feet short of the first vehicle. It just sat there like a little metallic Easter egg, and about as much use.
“The bloody things are too old; their primers must be perished,” he said as he lobbed another.
The last one hit the bonnet of the nearest vehicle with a resounding clunk and harmlessly bounced off onto the gravel.
“We can’t have this now. It just wouldn’t be fair, twenty against three,” Ryan muttered as he aimed at one of the grenades, and a second later the thing exploded with a sharp crack of thunder and blinding white light. Sparks and smoke flew out of it and instantly maimed two of the four armed men as they stepped from the lead vehicle, which was now in flames.
The rest of the vehicles suddenly stopped, and all occupants spilled out quickly. They took up prone positions and started to open fire with automatic weapons, pouring it into the doorway of the hotel. George pulled Anna to safety, and with an immense burst of fear-induced strength he turned the huge oak banqueting table on its side, dragged it to the far wall and hid himself and Anna behind it. He sat on the floor and cradled her in his arms.
Must be a delayed reaction
, Nick thought as the welcome sight of the explosion lit the battlefield. The sound from the old
pistol was deafening as Nick returned fire, but above that he could hear the welcoming steady tap-tap-tap coming from the intermittent bursts of the Thompson as John stitched the rounds into them. But Nick knew they couldn’t keep up this type of defence for long, as their ammunition was already becoming low.
It’s just a matter of time before they overrun us
as he fired the last two rounds from the shotgun at them. He then decided to make his last stand inside the hallway to try and bring them into a choke point and murder them as they came through the narrow gap.
Meanwhile, the strange smouldering figure that Ryan had spotted earlier had made its way undetected into the hotel through the service entrance at the back. It had totally ignored Nick and the rest of them as it went past unseen. The gunfire intensified, and the attackers were now making significant ground. Nick decided to draw them in so he fired two more shots and then crept back inside, reloaded and waited for the first of them to come through the opening.
Twelve rounds left,
he said to himself.
George peeked out from behind the table, and watched Nick blowing great holes into their attackers as each one of Costa’s goons came through the gap. The pistols spat fire and death into their bodies and they stood no chance of survival at that range. Then Nick walked forward and just blasted away at anything that was moving.
The pistols were now empty but they still kept coming. One of the men had managed to crawl inside, and he now had Nick dead centre in his sights on his assault rifle. Nick froze and closed his eyes but then suddenly there were three thunderous pistol shots from behind him. George dropped the gorilla just in time.
“Jesus,” Nick breathed as he looked over his shoulder at George, who was standing behind the table, still pulling the trigger of the empty smoking gun. Nick took it from his grasp. “Well done, George. I think we’ve put a stop to them for the time being, so stay behind here with Anna, OK?” He patted him on the shoulder.
Their last stand seemed to have worked, and Nick had managed to drop eight of them before he ran out of bullets. The others had decided to retreat and regroup before launching another assault. As they did so, Ryan picked a few of the bad guys off. Costa’s soldiers decided to drop their weapons and run back toward the gate once they saw the heads of their comrades being suddenly blown apart by the silent sniper’s shots.
Jimmy Costa was watching all of the action from behind the curtain. As his men ran for cover he decided on doing the same, and began to hastily empty the contents of his safe into a holdall. There was a noise outside the door and Costa blazed away at it with his pistol, shooting the door handle to pieces. Despite that, the door slowly opened.
As he fired his last shot, the first thing Costa noticed was a terrible stench in the air which resembled something like an overcooked joint of roast beef. At that moment Harold Harper booted the door open and stumbled into the office. He grimaced with excruciating pain as only his index finger and thumb were left intact on his right hand. He gripped the pistol between his two remaining digits as he aimed the gun at Costa.
The blast had removed the flesh from the rest of his fingers, and all that remained of them were yellow stick-like bones and some shredded tendons which hung from them like a bunch of thin Chinese noodles. His other arm was mutilated in a hideous manner and had been completely rotated. The useless appendage hung limply at his side.
His trousers were ragged and his legs had been badly seared. One side of his face was coated with huge glistening yellow blisters. Costa dropped the empty pistol, and backed away from the hideous mess of a man standing before him.
“Harold, is that you?” Costa gasped in disbelief, as he eyed the bizarre figure.
“It’s me, Jimmy, thought you’d got rid of me, did you?” Harold hissed as he shuffled forward.
“Listen, Harold, I had nothing to do with that bomb. It must have been down to them others. They done
, not me,” Costa pleaded as he backed off into the corner.
“Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic,” Harold croaked as he slumped into a chair by the door.
“Now hold on, Harold, don’t do nothing hasty. We can still get away with this one if we use our loaves. I’ve got all the money we’ll ever need right here and a fast car outside in the lock up. We’ll take the lift to the basement and have it away on our toes. Fifty-fifty, right down the middle, just you and me, and I’ll take you to someone to get you all fixed up.
say?” Costa inched closer to the desk drawer.
“I say this. You are about to die because you are a wretched cowardly man and that’s all you have ever been and I’m… going… to…” Harold slowly pitched forward from the chair and fell face first into the carpet, where he remained motionless. Jimmy quickly grabbed the pistol from the drawer, snatched up the bag full of cash and jewels, but as he was about to make his escape John Kane suddenly appeared at the top of the stairs. He levelled the old machine gun at Costa’s midriff. Jimmy’s eyes zoomed in on the Tommy gun and he backed off into the office.
“Now don’t be a fool, son, I’ve got a shit load of cash here. It’s all yours – take it. There’s a car outside with the keys in it as well. You’ll be set up for life, here, take it. Look, it was just revenge for my brother. You’d have done the same, now come on,
say?” Costa backed away from him and laid the pistol on the desk. He dropped the bag at his feet. It tipped over on its side, and some of the chunky gold jewellery spilled out onto the floor.
“That’s funny, I seem to remember your brother said something similar before I blew his brains out. Who are you people, anyway? Without your thugs behind you, you’re nothing, just pure scum,” John said, as he ran his tongue over the painful blood-filled craters in his gums.
“Fuck you, I’m Jimmy Costa!” he said defiantly with his arms outstretched, and waited for the machine gun to cut him down.
“Who?” John said.
As he aimed the barrel of the deadly machine gun directly at Costa’s chest, he gripped the
tight and squeezed the trigger. The empty sound of the click of the trigger seemed to be magnified a thousand times. Costa quickly snatched the pistol from the desk, and without a thought quickly squeezed off two rounds. One sent the Tommy gun flying from John’s grasp and the other ripped a hole through his side.
The impact knocked him on his back. He was now as good as dead as Costa loomed over him and came in for the kill. Costa knelt beside him and pressed the smoking barrel of the pistol up against John’s temple.
“Well, there’s a stroke of luck good for me and bad luck for you. You just asked me who I am. Well, I’m the bloke holding the fucking loaded gun at your head, and this is for my brother,” Jimmy said, as his finger curled around the chrome-plated trigger.
While Jimmy had been talking, John had managed to unscrew the cap on the bottle of the
acid that he’d swiped from the desk in the police station. He turned and quickly tossed the contents of the bottle straight into Costa’s sneering face.
The high-pitched scream that emanated from the man was almost inhuman. John watched as Jimmy fired his pistol blindly around the room with one hand, while covering his disintegrating face with the other. He stumbled and fell backwards over his desk, only to rise and fall once more, this time with both hands stuck to his rapidly liquefying features.
The sound of the gunshots had alerted Nick. He raced to the top floor, and as he reached the landing he could see that Costa’s bullet-riddled office door was slightly ajar. He approached cautiously and pushed the door open with the toe of his shoe. As the door slowly creaked open the first thing he saw was Costa lying at the back of the office in the foetal position, his fingers just mere twigs over the dark cavity where his face had once been.
There was a foul and terrible stench in the room, and a strange thin mist of light blue smoke hung in the air. Nick went over and took a closer look at Costa, but before doing so he picked up Costa’s revolver and put two rounds into the centre of his chest, just to make sure.
He pushed Costa’s hands away from his face with the barrel of the revolver and the remaining skin fell away like strips of melting mozzarella. Now he could see that there was nothing left of his face; it had been completely burned away and his teeth and all bone material had disappeared as well. It was as if the contents of his head had been neatly scooped out, so all that remained was an empty shell, totally and utterly devoid of all physiognomy.