Sunday Serial – Karma (4)

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Barry ducks down below the sink and stays there on his hands and knees. Through the opaque windows in the door he can see a big shape, the arm up against the door frame, the head looming closer as the cop tries to look through the frosted glass.

Bam, bam, bam. He crouches lower and holds his breath. They’re on to him, so quick. He must have told her his name and all. But then she isn’t dead if she can tell them his name. Or wait. His fingerprints on the glass.

The beer is still fizzing in the sink above him, as loud as a firecracker about to go off. They can hear it, he can tell from the listening tilt of the head at the door. They can hear it and they can see him crouched there with blood all over him. The handle rattles and he shuts his eyes.

When he opens them again the shape has stepped back from the door and he hears the crunch of steps going round the side of the building. There’s a scrabble outside the kitchen window, a grunt, and the shadow of a head falls on the tiles in front of him. He hears the pipes crack under the weight of the person trying to peer in. He smells his own sweat mingled with the beer dripping from his ruined hand onto the tiles. He puts his head down and licks his hand, lays his cheek across it and stares at the tufty-haired shadow. The floor tilts and one of his ears begins to ring.

The head disappears. He lifts his head to follow the steps crunching back round the building. The shadow reappears at the front door, bends and stuffs something under it. Then footsteps going away down the path and a car door slamming.

He lets himself slide down till he’s lying on the floor. He stays there a while just in case, then crawls towards the front door. On the carpet lies a red card. $pa$ibo Debt Collectors in jagged letters above the heavy shadow of a hammer and sickle. Oh, thank Christ.

 

Come back next week for more of Barry

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