James Hayman: Those of you who have been following the adventures of McCabe and Savage in The Cutting and The Chill of Night will be pleased to know that the third in series, Darkness First, will be coming out at the end of June. I’ve gotten so many emails asking me when the book will be available that I thought a little sneak preview would be appreciated by those who’ve enjoyed the first two. I posted the first half of the prologue on December 12th. For those of you who missed it just check Jim’s posts. Anyway, here is the second half. Hope this preview entices you to read the rest of the book when it comes out.
“Where’s the gun?” he asked Rory.
“Yes, the gun. You know, the one you shot the guard with.”
“It’s in there,” said Rory, gesturing at the kayak. “In my bag.”
“Yeah. Minus two.”
“Did you wipe your fingerprints off?”
“Not yet. You want me to do that now?”
“No hurry. Finish your beer first. Anybody see you on the way back to the beach?”
“Nope. Nobody. A few cars passed, including one cop car tear-assing to the building. Staying out of sight is why it took longer than we thought getting back.”
“Nobody saw you at the beach?”
“No. Nobody. It was late. It’s January. The place was empty.”
“Okay. Good.” Everything was going according to plan. Time to tie up the last of the loose ends. The man didn’t like loose ends.
He went up to the wheelhouse and pulled on a pair of latex gloves. Then he removed a Heckler & Koch 9 mm USP compact tactical pistol from his sea-bag and screwed on an 8-inch suppressor he’d crafted for the purpose. He didn’t plan on shooting anyone tonight, didn’t want the boys’ blood on the boat, but he was a careful man and if it turned out he had to, well, sound carried too far at sea to risk anyone hearing the unmuffled crack of a shot. He slid a fifteen-round magazine into the gun and chambered a round.
He went back to the cabin and pointed the gun at them. Both boys stopped sucking their beers. They stared at him wide-eyed. “The fuck you doin?” asked Rory.
“Oh this?” the man said in a casual voice indicating the gun he was holding. “Don’t worry about this. I’m not going to shoot you. Not if you do exactly what I tell you. Now put your beers down, stand up, put your hands behind your heads and go on deck.”
Neither of them moved. Just kept looking at him like a pair of deer in the headlights.
“C’mon, now” the man said, his tone harsher, more threatening. “Up and out. Or I will shoot you and I really don’t want your blood all over my nice clean boat.”
The boys looked at each other and clambered up the three steps to the deck.
“Good. Now move to the stern, turn around and face the water.”
“Hey, man, c’mon,” said Scott, his voice quavery, uncertain. “What are you doing this for?”
“I said turn around.”
They did as they were told. “What is this?” asked Rory.
“Give me your wallets.”
“The fuck you want our wallets for?”
“Just drop them on the deck.” Both boys reached into their pockets and extracted small leather wallets and let them fall. They were already shivering with cold. Or perhaps it was fear. The man checked each wallet to make sure photo IDs were still inside. “Okay,” he said, “now I’m going to count to three and you’re going to jump in the water. Otherwise, I’m going to blow your brains out and throw you in.”
“What? Are you crazy? That water’s fucking freezing.”
“Yes it is, Rory. And you’ll both probably drown. Or maybe die of hypothermia. But who knows? You’re both young and strong and good swimmers. And look at the lights over there.” He pointed at Saint John. “It’s not so far. Maybe you’ll make it. And if you do, yes I’ll have the drugs, but you’ll have your lives.
“We’ll tell the cops who you are.” said Scott, “what you done,”
“Unfortunately for you, Scott, you don’t know who I am. Conor Riordan doesn’t exist. I’m just a guy with no name and a boat. Now jump, or I’ll shoot. And trust me, I’m a crack shot.”
“It’s your choice. Jump, swim hard and maybe make it to shore. Stay here on board and die for sure. Now, I’m going to start counting.”
Rory jumped first. Scott didn’t follow until he heard the man start to say three.
The man looked down and smiled as Rory and Scott started swimming toward the lights. He knew there was no way in hell either of them was going to make it. Not that far. Not without wetsuits. Not in forty-degree water. And especially not in the Bay of Fundy with the tide on its way out.
He watched through the binoculars until he couldn’t see them thrashing around anymore. Emptied the beer bottles and carefully wiped off their fingerprints. Washed and dried them to remove any trace of DNA and tossed them into his recycling bin. Next he pulled out the small bag they’d stowed in the kayak. He checked the Glock 17 Rory used to kill the guard. Confirmed two rounds had been fired, put it back in the bag, fingerprints intact. Then he put their wallets with their New Brunswick drivers’ licenses in the bag as well. If the bodies weren’t found or if eventually they washed up bloated or half-eaten, a ballistics check, the surveillance video, the prints on the gun and the IDs in the wallets would all tie them to the theft and the killing of the guard. There was nothing at all that would tie them to him.
He zipped the bag and put it back in the front of the inflatable. That done, he pushed the kayak over the side and threw the paddles in after it. He didn’t know if the cops’d find the bodies or the capsized kayak first. Didn’t much matter. Either way, they’d never find the tablets. Sunk, they’d assume, to the bottom of the sea. Where the fishes, no doubt, would be enjoying one hell of a high.
Finally the man removed the latex gloves, started the ancient diesel engine, shifted into gear and headed down the coast. He took a cold bottle of Stoli and a plastic glass from the cooler. Poured himself three ounces over ice and raised a silent toast to the memory of his two young helpers and to the very first day of the rest of his life.