The Roaring Mouse will be out 12/16 (Free review copy? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
This is a surprise. A real one. Honest to fucking God in a million years Bohdan wouldn’t have guessed this would be Finch’s move. It’s not at all her style. It’s not in the remotest way sensible. The condemned firehouse was in a bad neighborhood, a lot of foreclosures, a lot of supposedly abandoned buildings, but there are still a thousand people in this part of the city, and it’s a large fucking city, and even though the authorities probably don’t give a shit about any of the bums around here, they’ll have to respond to reports of an explosion eventually, if for no other reason than the PR nightmare if they take too long.
Through that rushing in his ears he wonders if he can’t already make out the sirens.
No. This isn’t like Finch at all. She’s a pro. She’s a shadow that slips in through the other shadows in the night and she kills you even though you’ve been sleeping with one eye open and you’ve been waiting for her. And she’s as silent as a shadow. So she can leave your room, slide down the hallway, and murder the next man. Repeat. Repeat. As many times as necessary.
She’s a sniper rifle from a mile away.
She’s careful machinations so it looks like you drowned in a deep sea fishing accident, or managed to mangle yourself in a farm machinery malfunction, or you simply slipped on that ice you kept meaning to salt, just off your stoop, cracked your head open on the concrete steps.
She’s a professional.
Not a bad action movie: six charges set where not one would be prudent. The whole city will have their eyes turned this way tonight. The police will be forced to put in at least the show of a thorough investigation.
It makes no sense.
It’s… brilliant, he realizes.
The Barracks men been so sure they knew her, knew all the cracks in the wall she might slip through, every window where she might jimmy a lock, the roof with its escape hatch that could be used just as well to get in as out, the thick, frosted glass looking down into the basement, too thick to break really but they’d rigged that too, just in case. She never would have gotten in. And even if she had, there would have been no way out alive. Three of them on guard for every shift, six four-hour shifts, seven days a week…
Even Finch couldn’t face down ten men at a go and make it out the other side.
So she’d elected not to run the gauntlet.
She’d simply blown it all to hell.
Bohdan would laugh if he could stop choking on his own blood long enough.
He’s sure, now, that he can hear the sirens. He still can’t make out how near they are but the wail is unmistakable. They’ll be here in ten minutes, twenty, thirty. She’ll be long gone by then.
A shot rings out and the groaning to his left suddenly falls silent.
Another shot and there’s still where the rubble was shifting.
The crunch of what was once a building beneath her feet. Her steps are steady.
This is the Finch Bohdan has always known. Walking calmly throughout the rubble, executing them one by one. Likely she’s shooting them right between the eyes. No mistakes. Likely she’s shooting even the men that are rapidly cooling, that have pasty white faces, whose dead eyes are staring up at a starless sky.
Finally, the crunching steps draw closer.
Her face, hovering over him now.
Strange, he’d never noticed how lovely that face is before. Her sad eyes. Her jaw clenched. Her brow lowered and her shoulders stooped.
He has seen her nearly every day of her life but she has never looked more beautiful than she does in this moment, scab scarring pink across her cheek, soot along her jaw, looking defeated as she stands here, in the very midst of her victory.
“Bo,” she sighs. The only one who ever called him that. The only one who ever dared. Why is it only now he’s wondering if she isn’t the only one he has ever let call him that?
Or maybe that’s all foolishness.
Bo is one of the best. Bo is one of the scariest men on the face of this Earth.
But Finch is the best. And she’s even scarier, once you know, because you would never have suspected.
Bo waits to die.
He hears the slide of a new magazine going in. Hears the scrape as she racks back.