Jeff Tsuruoka’s Picture Choice: 1
Title: Night Train Part Fourteen - The Last Chapter
Madeline and I waited for O’Shaughnessy to stick his gun back in his jacket, then stepped clear of the woods.
The rustling of our footsteps in the underbrush sounded very loud in the post-gunfire quiet.
The hint of moonlight that penetrated both the clouds and the tree cover gave the barrel of my Colt a dull glow.
“You’ll do me the courtesy of putting that away,” said O’Shaughnessy. “There’s no need among friends.”
I kept my gun where it was.
“Are you my friend, Ty?”
He reached into his shirt pocket for a cigarette.
“You’re a walking contradiction in terms, boyo,” he replied. “An intelligent lad who asks the stupidest questions.”
I glanced down at Hersch Lerner’s dead face. Death had caught him mid-sneer. He’d croaked with his upper lip curled and his teeth bared.
Better him than me.
“If I wished you dead,” continued O’Shaughnessy,”you’d be on the ground, surrounded by a fine forest fire.”
I holstered my gun.
Madeline stepped around me, failing to not look at Hersch as she passed. She went right to her convertible, as if touching the smooth, red exterior was a source of great comfort. She opened the driver’s side door.
“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Moe,” said O’Shaughnessy. “Step into the light.”
I stepped into the light.
“Tell me, Moe,” he began, “why is it that every time I see you lately you look like someone’s used you to plow a rocky field?”
“Dunno, Ty. Must be my sweet personality.”
Madeline stormed back in our direction, glaring at O’Shaughnessy.
“You’re insane!” she yelled, wheeling on me. “The both of you!”
The two of us stood by and let her scream at us, the safest course of action. She still had her gun in her hand. It waved all around as she gestured while giving us the business.
“Standing around, having a pleasant conversation with a house full of dead policemen in front of you!”
“Dead policemen?” asked O’Shaughnessy. “Where?”
I sighed, my suspicions confirmed.
“Nobody’s dead in there, Madeline,” I said, “unless some dumb bunny shot himself by mistake.”
O’Shaughnessy looked to his man on the porch.
“That didn’t happen, did it Liam?”
Liam shouldered his tommy gun, and glanced behind him.
“No, boss. No one’s bleedin’ now that wasn’t when we got here.”
O’Shaughnessy looked at Madeline.
“It doesn’t do to make enemies and leave bodies if one doesn’t have to,” he said.
Madeline grimaced, shrugged, and rolled her eyes, all at once. She took a second to collect her thoughts, then spoke to me in a cool, even tone of voice.
“I’m gonna get in my car in a second, chouette,” she said, “and in two minutes I’m starting her up and I’m not stoppin’ ‘til I get someplace with a nice stretch of beach. If you’re in the car when I leave, great. If not?”
She went to the car without another word.
“What are your plans, boyo?” asked O’Shaughnessy.
I didn’t answer right away.
“I know what I’d do,” he quipped.
“What’s your plan here, Ty?”
“Oh, I’ll be spending a little time reminding the local constabulary who it was that saved their lives-- Herschel wanted them all dead. And then I’m going home, Moe.”
I nodded, glancing over at Madeline.
“Am I going to see you back in New York at some point?” he asked.
“You think I can go back?”
“I don’t see why not,” he replied. “The city’s fresh out of Lerner brothers.”
He stuck a meaty hand out in my direction.
I shook it.
“Don’t miss your ride, Moe.” He turned and walked toward the cabin. “New York’ll still be there when you return.”
He stopped by the porch steps to watch me climb into Madeline’s breezer.
She didn’t give me time to wave goodbye.
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Jeff Tsuruoka is an author in search of a writing career. He has found a home in the Flash Fiction circuit and is grateful to the blog hosts that give him the opportunity to get his work out there. You can follow him on Twitter @JTsuruoka and be sure to keep tabs on his weekly contributions to Daily Picspiration.