So it seems that the verdict on the last installment was that it was rather… light. In my defence, I was really tired and had the closest thing to a ‘bad hangover’ I’ve been able to force upon myself in about 3 years. So here we go, the next bit.
The Patron : Part 8
The ship was shrouded in the mist like the devil come to Whitby. The Patron’s shoulders tensed, waiting for the crash of thunder. It was calm though. He supposed for tonight, he was walking the eye of the storm. He stumbled on towards the ship.
His throat burned, a line of fire from one side to the other. He knew he was lucky to feel anything at all. That desperate gamble with the last oxygen being sucked out of him had broken a rib, but at least the pain reminded him to keep going. All of him ached now. He was too old for this kind of game. Some fool would catch him a second too slow and that would be that. Not much longer to play though. He was at the edge of the docks now.
Metal rang against concrete behind him. He whirled around, reaching for his pea shooter. It was out a second later, wavering on an exhausted arm. It was pointed at Jin.
“Néih hóu guv’,” Jin said. “I wondered when you’d remember you had that thing,” he nodded down to the gun in The Patron’s hand. “Think maybe you coulda used it when that boy had a rope around your neck?” he asked with a grin.
“Shit,” The Patron replied, tucking the gun away with a rueful smile. “Might have been handy.”
“Might have been,” Jin said. The coin had somehow appeared in his hand to dance over his knuckles.
“That was you back there? Cleaning up the trash?” The Patron asked, eyes glancing back towards the darkness between shipping containers.
“Thought you might need a hand. Damn near killed myself climbing up to reach that coward with the rope,” Jin said. His smile was gone. His eyes were fixed on the dried blood that ran up his arms. “Messy night in the city guv’.”
“Messier yet to come Jin. You best get back to the cafe. This isn’t your fight,” The Patron nodded over to the cargo ship. The shadow of it’s lights reached out from the dock side.
“True story boss. Just thought maybe I’d give you a hand getting here is all,” Jin said. He turned to leave, paused a second with his back to The Patron. “You know it doesn’t have to be this way, right?”
The Patron’s shoulders slumped. His head dropped down to stare at the blood dripping to the concrete from the cut at the side of his head. “It’s the only way left Jin,” he said with weary resignation.
“Could be you’re right boss. I’ll be seeing you,” Jin said, with a wave. Then he slowly strolled back into the mists towards the lights of town. He was lost a second later.
It’s good to have a friend, The Patron thought. But when it came to it, it was just another angle they could use to take him down. He had to end this on his own. First though he had to get on that boat. He could see shadows walking in front of the lights, stick men with stick guns hiding in the fog. The gantry was down but that was where they’d be looking. He pulled the cane from his sheath, ready for what was coming.
There was a chain reaching out from the water to the foredeck of the boat. It was slick with the damp of the fog. The Patron’s hands were slick with blood. He’d done it before, in Singapore. It was a different job, a different gang, less personal. That was fifteen years ago though. That was when he still had family to back him up. That was when he was young.
He looked around for an answer. There was a loading crane reaching out of the mist behind him. A lot of potential on that maybe. The ladder looked unguarded, but he could barely make out the top. There could be a hundred hired-help up there, waiting for a tired old man with an aching side and a thirst for revenge. There was too much at stake. The Patron shook his head with a sigh. He just wanted it over.
He slowly slid the cane back into it’s sheath. The metal rasped in protest as it dissapeared. The blade wasn’t always the way. He checked the pea shooter, tucked away in a hidden pocket in his jacket. Everything was where it should be. And he knew where he would be. He would be where he should be too.
The Patron leaned heavy on his cane as he moved forward. His whole body ached, but none so much as his memories. They were down there, below a different kind of fog. They were down there, somewhere in that ship. And as he reached the end of the gantry, he stopped, holding heavy onto the cool, damp metal of the rail.
“Excuse me,” he yelled up to the figures staring down, silhouetted by the lights. “I’m here to see your boss.”
The night was filled with the metallic clicks of guns being cocked.