Read Stockholm Syndrome [01] - Stockholm Syndrome Online

Authors: Richard Rider

Tags: #Contemporary, #Romance

Stockholm Syndrome [01] - Stockholm Syndrome

BOOK: Stockholm Syndrome [01] - Stockholm Syndrome
11.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Stockholm Syndrome

Richard Rider

Dedicated to LJ.

Copyright © by Richard Rider 2009

Lindsay Brown


August 2007

The alarm is right above him, shrieking worse than those women over the road. His head's ringing, like his brain's rattling around in there pinball-style and pinging off every curve of his skull. The kid's gone limp in his arms, breathing rapidly like a wounded animal and sagging against him until his wrenched wrist throbs with the effort of holding him up, so he risks it now the little bastard's stopped struggling; he takes the revolver away from where he's rammed it against the kid's ear and then there's the crack of six gunshots and a gurgling sort of wail as the alarm finally dies. The alarm and his own hysterical laughter trail off into nothing at exactly the same time. It's eerily silent then, like those women suddenly feel foolish screaming on their own and shut their mouths.

Lindsay brings the empty gun back to its old place against the kid's ear, and hopes to god he's too scared to count and realise it's empty now. It can't have even been half a minute yet. How can things get
this fucked
in less than half a minute?

"Get in the car, you're driving," he says. Danny stares at him dumbly for a second. "Move!"


C H A P T E R 1

"Claxton's dead."

"I'm not fucking blind. Move him over and get in the car."

"There's blood in it."

Get in the car

Danny snaps to, suddenly, and does as he's told. The noise is starting up again, people crying and running. Ty goes to give Danny a hand shifting the body. Lindsay throws the kid away from him like an empty crisp bag and he's about to go and join them, waste valuable getaway time trying to manoeuvre a corpse and avoid shattered glass and brain matter on the seats, but the quiet, frightened voice just behind him stops him where he is.

"Sorry about your mate. You can take my car if you need it. If I can come?"

Not enough time to try making sense of this madness, Lindsay just says,

"Where is it?"

"Right here, I was just gonna get in when you grabbed me, it's this one here, look, here's my keys." He digs in a jeans pocket that looks far too tight to contain a bunch of keys and keyrings the size of the one he produces.

"Follow them." He folds himself into the passenger seat of the Mini and the kid immediately gets the car rolling, picking up speed and clinging to the bumper of the Golf like it's being towed. Forty-five seconds, can't have been any longer than that. Still a good enough headstart on the police, surely, and where the fuck did that first police car come from, anyway? Must have just been completely coincidental, just happening to drive past a jewellery theft in progress. Shitty timing all round, both sides, and now there's three dead and everything's

Two and a half minutes to the multi-storey car park. The kid keeps glancing at Lindsay, like he's checking he's doing it right, following the others to the end of the row, waiting for a moment while Ty jumps out and unhooks the chain and the No Entry sign, driving in, pulling up next to the van parked in the



corner of the otherwise empty basement level. Four minutes now since it all went wrong.

"Who's your new friend?" Ty wants to know, when they all get out of the cars, but Lindsay shuts him up with a stare and he turns to open the back of the van in silence. They work quickly, slinging bags in the back, hefting the body in after them. The kid stands there watching, chewing on his thumbnail. He's stopped looking so scared, he just looks interested now.

"Okay, I get you have to swap cars," he says, "but you do know there's cameras all over the car park, yeah?"

"Oh no, I never knew that, cos we're amateurs, we've never done this before," Danny says, immaturely sarcastic. The kid frowns slightly. "We fixed all the cameras, I work here, I fixed 'em up on a loop. Might be cameras on the street saw us come in and cameras on the street seeing the van come out but there ain't no way anybody's gonna know what we switched to."

"That's right, give away trade secrets," Ty mutters. He slams one of the van doors shut and looks at Lindsay. "You gonna deal with him?"

The kid interrupts before Lindsay can even take a breath to speak. "He said I could come."

"The fuck did you do that for?"

"I didn't."

"Yeah you did!" the kid says, indignantly, and Lindsay wishes he hadn't wasted all his bullets on the alarm. Nearly five minutes. Cutting it too fine, now.

"Shut your mouth. Get in the back, if you're coming."

"Are you fucking nuts? I ain't leaving my baby here." He takes a step closer to the Mini. Lindsay wants to wring his neck, manages to hold himself back,
manage to resist the urge to stride forwards and whack the kid across one sharp cheekbone with the handle of his gun. It's not even that hard, it's just a warning, but it still snaps his head back on his neck like a broken flower.

Five minutes is getting dangerous.


C H A P T E R 1

"Get in the van."

He's standing there, hand clamped over his cheek, suddenly breathing again in that strange way he'd been doing earlier, five minutes and ten seconds ago, quick and shallow. His eyes are squeezed shut, and watering when he opens them. "Can I get my stuff, then?"

Ty gets in the front behind the wheel. Danny jumps into the back. Five minutes fifteen, and he doesn't know why he hasn't reloaded and slammed a bullet between this idiot's eyes yet, except that he can't forget the wide-eyed terrified look on the kid's face earlier and the way he'd babbled out a string of panicked nonsense that worked together with Lindsay's own mounting hysteria to made him laugh so hard he nearly dropped his gun. He doesn't answer. The kid seems to take that as a yes; he snatches his car door open, grabs his backpack, slams it shut again, and finally climbs into the van. Lindsay gets in after him and Ty's got it moving before he's even shut the door behind himself.


Lindsay feels stupid, suddenly, realising he's still got his balaclava on.

He drags it off and throws it somewhere, pinches his contacts out and throws
somewhere, and asks Ty to pass his glasses back from the glove box. He feels slightly more like himself, then. Slightly less like he's losing his mind. Only slightly.

The van lurches, turning a corner. Lindsay tries to settle and find a spot to sit where he doesn't get thrown around too much. It's definitely not a van built with passengers in mind, but the trip shouldn't be too long.

"Move up," he says, abrupt.

The kid scowls, sitting in a twisted uncomfortable sort of way to try and keep any parts of himself away from Claxton, still gently touching his swelling cheekbone with his fingertips like he's trying to gauge exactly how much it hurts.

"How come
have to sit with the fucking corpse?"

"Because you're the one most likely to end up looking like it if you don't do as you're told in the next half a second."



"Jesus," he mutters, but he moves up, bracing himself against the back door with one hand.

The silence that follows is even shorter than the last one; clearly this kid is the kind of person who can't keep still for long and can't keep quiet at
, which isn't what you need at a time like this. Lindsay starts reloading his revolver casually as he speaks, just in case. He's the only one who's never shot someone before, but he's wired enough for today to perhaps be the day.

"What're you looking at? He's looking at me. I knew I shouldn't've got in your fucking rape-van. You touch me and I'll have you, mate, I swear to god, anything you put in my mouth you're gonna fucking lose."

"I ain't looking at you!" Danny says, defensively. "I just...
you. Do I know you?"

"I dunno, do you?"

"I'm fucking
I know you. You on telly or something?"

"Not yet. I
be when my band kicks off. Maybe you've come to a gig."

"Oh yeah, where've you played?"

"Well. Students' Union," he admits, "so maybe not."

Lindsay's starting to feel hysterical again, that crazy bubbling laughter rising up like too much froth on a cappuccino. He rests his forehead against his drawn-up knees and rides it out silently until it passes. Danny and the kid are still eyeing each other warily when he finally looks up, calm again, and asks, "What's your name?"

He pulls a face. "Philip."

"Philip what?"

"Valentine. My mates call me Pip. It's arse, innit? So what's yours?"

He wonders later exactly when it was that he stopped being so cautious, why he didn't give a false name. "Lindsay Brown."


C H A P T E R 1


"You want another punch?"

"No, mate, I ain't taking the piss, honest. That's well cool, it's like Lindsay Anderson."

"FUCKING HELL!" Danny yells, and Ty jumps and swears, swerving slightly before he gets the van back in a straight line.

, Danny, I'm driving here!"

"Sorry. No, I
I knew you, your family was on Richard and Judy, yeah? Three, four years ago? I was working security at the telly studios. Your mum and dad won that..."

His words fade off to nothing. Suddenly something's changed in the air.

"What did they win?" Ty prompts, from the front seat.

"Bit over twenty million on the Lottery," the kid says, casually, like it's nothing. "Why, you gonna hold me to ransom now?"

There's no more talk of killing him after that.


They change vehicles again in a little village in Essex, leaving the hired driver's body, their guns and their bloodstained clothes in the van, parked in Ty's brother's garage. "Undertaker," Lindsay tells Valentine, taking pity on him a bit; the kid looks slightly shell-shocked by the new plan, even though it was his idea, really. "He'll bury the lot six feet down, stick a headstone with a fake name over the top and there it is, the perfect cover-up." Valentine seems startled, then thoughtful, then seriously impressed.
, he keeps saying.
That's well
. It is, really, Lindsay thinks.

The drive back to Manchester seems to take forever, although the roads are fairly quiet. Nobody speaks too much; even Valentine seems to have got the



message that they don't need him running his mouth off any more and just sits there in the back with his head leaning against the window, staring out and tapping his fingers against his thigh in a quick, endless little rhythm. It's the wind-down from the job, it twists time all around on itself. It's always the same, only now it's the nervous wind-down and the overexcited build-up to a new game all at once, and it's unbearable. Things ease off a tiny bit when they finally get off the motorway and into town, and when they're actually in Danny's massive top-floor flat overlooking the city, squabbling over which two of them get to use the showers first and who has to wait, it's almost as if nothing's happened.

Lindsay looks old in the harsh fluorescent bathroom lights, when he comes back from fetching his razor after his shower. His reflection stares back at him and it looks like a stranger – an
stranger, with dark circles under his eyes that aren't nearly this obvious when he's wearing his glasses, the beginnings of deep lines at the corners and on his forehead, and lurking streaks of grey just threatening to show in his hair. He's too young to start looking like his dad, he thinks, and he kind of wants to flick off the lights and slam the door and go and have a sulk somewhere dark but that's stupid. He just gets on with it. Brush, soap, face. The razor feels clumsy in his sprained hand but he can't use his left, he's never been any good with it, so he ignores the heaviness and the twinge of pain. It's much easier than ignoring Valentine. The kid's standing in the doorway, leaning against the frame. Lindsay can see him in the mirror but he doesn't look up, it's just a vague awareness in his peripheral vision that there's somebody standing there in a pink t-shirt. That's what narrows it down from the three possibles to only one.

"Alright?" Valentine says, when it's obvious Lindsay isn't going to speak to him first.

"Yeah. What do you want?"

"Nothing. I'm bored."

"I'm not a performing monkey. Go and read a book."


C H A P T E R 1

"You want some help?"

He does look up, then, meeting the reflected eyes with a disbelieving, eyebrow-raised stare. "What?"

"You want some help? I mean, your wrist... you'll cut your nose off or something."

"As if I'm going to let you anywhere near me with a cutthroat razor."

The kid rolls his eyes and comes forward anyway. "I ain't trying to murder you, I swear. I just wanna help. I know what I'm doing."

BOOK: Stockholm Syndrome [01] - Stockholm Syndrome
11.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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