I'm not exactly sure how long we were at it, but the sun had started go down before we gave up. When he wasn't smacking my left hand into a pulp, he started going at my beck or legs. It felt like he'd smashed my left hand into jelly, but I was able to hold things with it later so it must not have been that bad.
"Please." Knock said holding his hand up in a gesture of pleading. "If you don't want to think about yourself, think about me."
"What?" I looked at my bloody and possibly mangled fingers.
"Think about how this is affecting me." He said holding his hand to his chest in a manner that looked almost effeminate. "Do you think I like breaking your fingers like this?"
I looked into his face a moment and under the mask of concern and worry, saw only malice.
"Yes!" I nodded vigrously.
"Well, you're right, but I might have hated it." He said as he brought the sap down on what had once been my hand again.
"Fuck!" I shouted.
"You're not going to confess for me?" He asked.
I had to take a second to breathe and over come the pain. I was about to try and hit him again, but I found I only had enough strength to talk at the moment.
"Nope." I shook my head.
"I guess we'll have to do this the other way then." He sighed. "I can do it the other way, but it'll cause more trouble."
He grabbed me by the collar and yanked me up to my feet. I stood up and grabbed at my left hand. The fingers moved, even though the fingers and palm were blackened from the leather and the bruises. He threw me into the doors and yanked them open while I stood there. He slipped the sap into his pocket and picked my Webley up from the top of the car. He tossed it into his left hand and aimed it at me.
"Get in to the front seat." He told me. "I don't want you behind me having any bright ideas."
"Sure." I said getting into the car and buckling the seat belt.
He got into the car, keeping the gun in his left hand aimed at me. He started the car and we drove out into the country. Eventually we got out to thirty-eight mile road, then started to turn down one road then another until we stopped under a lone street light that had been erected. He turned off the car and opened the glove compartment. He nodded to himself and took my ipod out of the glove compartment and slipped it into his pocket.
"I'll take care of this myself I think." He said smiling at me. "Let's go."
He opened the door and I opened mine to get out. We walked out of the car and stood together under the light. He kept the gun in his left hand, never changing it to his right or failing to point it directly at me.
"Over there, into the field." He said waving with his right hand.
I started to walk in the direction indicated, looking to my left to see the sun drifting below the horizon. The clouds would probably cover the sky completely soon, but for the moment there was a strip of sky where I could see the last remains of the setting sun's light. I sort of wanted some rain, but all I got was clouds and wind.
"Across the field and into the forest there." Knock said from behind me.
As I walked through the field, I saw plants and remembered their names. The names for different kinds of thistles and autumn flowers came to the front of my mind as my eyes happened upon them. It wasn't anything I could control, or anything that would get in the way of my thoughts as I went. It was just something that went on as a background process.
We walked to the forest and I could see where he was leading me. There was a shallow ditch about eighteen inches deep, two feet wide and nearly six feet long. A shovel was stuck in the mound of earth that had already been dug up for what was undoubtedly supposed to be my makeshift grave. I looked at the shovel and the hole and then looked over to Knock.
"Nice hole." I said.
"Get in and dig." Knock said.
"No." I said.
He didn't argue, just pointed the gun at my feet and fired. The bullet tore up the ground and turf between my shoes and threw dirt onto my pants. I looked at the ground and then at him as he cocked back the hammer again. I looked at the hole and turned towards the shovel. I got into the hole and stuck the shovel into the dirt. I then leaned on it.
"Why?" I asked softly.
"Hmm?" He asked taking a few steps closer.
"I said why." I told him. "Why all this?"
"You wouldn't even begin to understand." He said as I tossed some dirt onto the pile.
"Oh, come on." I said, trying to egg him on. "Try me."
"Dig." He commanded, talking a few more steps towards me. "Come on."
"What's the skinny?" I asked sticking the shovel into the ground and leaning on the handle.
"Hop to Hop Sing." He said standing on the dirt mound. "Just be glad that I'm going to take good care of your car and this gun. I like them, good car and a good gun."
When I was a kid, about ten or so, I got a cap gun for my birthday. Something went wrong with the gun though, a spring I think, and I asked my father to fix it. He opened the gun and put the spring back, or whatever it was, and announced it fixed. When he closed the gun and checked it, he had to fire it a couple of times to make sure it worked. The gun was a child sized revolver, and it was small in his hand. Looking at my gun in this mountain troll's hand, it reminded me of that time. It was different, but it looked enough like that to cause me to have a moment of recall.
I picked up the shovel, grabbing the end in my left hand and holding my right hand near the head. He stuck his hand out and shot the ground behind me. I turned my head to look and heard the hammer draw back again. I looked at his hand, extended out as it was, and swung the shovel as hard as I could. The point of the shovel smashed against his left hand, and another round fired from the gun. He screamed and the gun flew from his hand. As he held his hand up I saw that the dropping of the gun was less than voluntary. Three of his fingers were missing and a chunk of hand under the knuckles was missing as well.
I stabbed the shovel forward and caught his leg right under the knee. His screaming restarted and he reached for his leg. I then swung the shovel up and smacked his face with the pan. He fell back and I leapt up onto the pile and put my foot on his chest. I lifted the shovel over my head, ready to bring it down on his neck and take his head off. With a yell I brought down the point of the shovel and missed my target.
The shovel his about five inches too high and went through his mouth instead of his neck. The shovel smacked something hard and stopped, but didn't go through. His eye opened wide and he reached for my leg. I brought the shovel up again and decided to bring it down on the exact spot, but I missed again.
The point of the shovel went through his forehead this time, but again refused to go the whole way through. His hand tightened around my pant leg and I shook him off. I then grabbed the end of the shovel, shifted my weight and stepped on the handle of shovel. The top of the head split open as I kicked the handle as hard as I could. The brain splattered on the ground and his hand let go of my leg. I slipped back and fell down into the hole, which was at least sort of soft from the freshly turned earth.
"Didn't they tell you?" I asked him panting. "I'm Jack the Giant killer. Seven with one blow, bitch."
I got up and looked to my left, where my gun had fallen. I pick it up and looked at the handle. The scale on the left side of the gun had been broken and the top half had fallen off. I would never find it in the dark like this. It didn't look like it would be able to be fired without cutting my thumb from the shock. I put the gun into its holster and then walked towards what was left of Knock. I went through his pockets and started to reclaim my belongings. I pulled the keys from his pocket and stuck them in my coat.
"Got my gold, well brass plate anyway." I then patted my side where the gun was. "Got the hen that lays the eggs. Well, gun that shoots the bullets anyway. Now to get my harp."
I pulled the ipod from his pocket and walked back towards the car. I got into the car and started the engine. I got my cellphone out of my pocket and scrolled through until I found Crammer's number as I drove to the corner so I could read the street signs.
"Yeah?" Crammer's voice came.
"Knock's your man." I said. "He smacked my hand into a pulp trying to get me to sign a confession admitting to everything. When I wouldn't he took me deep into Armada to kill me." I told him the two street corners and explained where they could find Knock's body.
"You wait there for us to get there." He said.
"I can't do that." I said. "I know who the killer is, and you'll never be able to touch this person because they're supposed to be dead already. Can you claim that an anonymous source gave you this information? Just say that one of your snitches saw him?"
"What are you going to do?" He asked.
"Go work it out." I said. "If you can't hold them responsible, I'll make sure they get to someone who can."
"I'm going to trust you on this one." He said. "But it could get you in more trouble than it may relieve."
"Usually to me." He said. "Talk to you later."
"Yup." I said and finished the conversation like I always do. "Bye, bye."
When he hung up I hit the engine and started away. Years of driving those back roads from a desire to be alone gave me a perfect map in my head. I stayed off the main roads and just went down the old dirt drives to stay out of the way. I made it back to the office without being seen, and I thought it was a little suspicious that Crammer didn't call to bawl me out for leaving the scene of a crime.
I got to the office where Debbie was still on the phone to someone. She looked up at me as I entered the office, told who ever it was goodbye and hung up. She looked at me with a bit of horror on her face. I touched my forehead and looked at the blood.
"Been a bad day." I said holding my left hand and working the fingers
"I guess." She said. "Crammer says whatever it is, he'd better not find out about it."
"Okay." I nodded and took the gun from its holster. "Here, you can have this as a going away gift."
"Your gun's broken?" She said, concerned.
"Yeah." I said. "It's no big deal, just like the Marley. I mean my grandfather only gave me this gun the day I got my license because he said a detective would need the best hand gun ever made."
"Jack." She said.
"I don't think I'll ever want to shoot it again anyway." I took a step towards my office and stopped to tell her, "You can call Crammer again and tell him that I'm just going to leave town. They should be able to figure everything out without me."
I went to the office and looked around it for a moment. The light from across the street shown in through the window. I walked to the bathroom to have a look at myself. I was the very mask of the red death. My face was dabbled and sprinkled with Knock's blood. My shirt had been sprayed with the red horror, and for a moment I wondered if anyone was going to let me just go or was I going to be hung from the battlements in the morning.
That didn't really seem to matter right at that moment though. Now was a time for some old school vengeance. It was a time when a man like myself would have to do something thoroughly unpleasant to cleanse the land of darkness or some crap like that. I kept a change of clothes in the office for just such an occasion and I used it, leaving the blood splattered gear in the bathroom.
I walked to the cabinet and opened the drawer where I kept the knives from Mina and John. I took my coat off and tossed it to one side, letting it land on the floor. I grabbed the bowie knife and used the straps on it to tie it to my shoulder holster under my right arm. I tied it up in such a way that the handle was down by my waist so that I could just reach in and grab it. I then picked up the kukri and stuck it into the holster for the gun, tying it down as well as I could. I walked out to the outer office and looked at Debbie, who stopped typing and looked up at me.
"You're going to have to tuck that one on your left a little better." She said.
"I'm going to come back in a little while." I said. "Will you be here?"
"No." She shook her head. "I'm going to Metro right now, I'm going to fly to O'Hare and my sister is picking me up. I'll get a place there and come back to tidy up in a when I get a place and everything."
"Okay." I nodded. "I'll mail you the keys or send them here or something."
"Just hold on to them." She said. "I'll tell them to change the lock if I decide to close this office. I might keep it open. You know, just in case."
"Thanks Deb." I said and walked through the door.
I adjusted the kukri as I went down the stairs, and got into the Hudson. I drove carefully, making sure not to break the speed limit as I went. I did my best not attract any extra attention than normal. My only hope was that no one had a call out for me and my car. I couldn't be sure if Crammer was calling those shots, or if his word was going to be good to me. If anyone was on the look out for a dark blue classic, specifically a Hudson Super Six, I was going to get nailed.
I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket and scrolled through for a number. Finding the one I wanted took me a moment while I drove, because I had to keep my eyes on the road as well. When I found the number I hesitated before pressing the button that would send my call. I always hesitated before calling her, and three times out of four I put the phone back down before calling. This time I couldn't just put it down though, I needed her this time, so I pressed.
"This is Alice." She said answering a call that clearly was coming later than a call would normally.
"Hi Alice, its Jack." I announced.
"Oh, hi Jack!" She said, and I was almost happy to hear the smile in her voice. "What's going on?"
"You remember how back in the old days you guys would get something on a guy or get a beautiful agent to seduce him to get him to join up?" I asked.
"I remember some of the older agents talking about how they'd seduce men and get them to join." Her voice got playful. "Are you saying you'd like me to come seduce you? I'm in Washington right now, but maybe we could get together later this week?"
"That'd be too long." I said. "And it'll be easier than that for you. What I need is a bag team to come take care of a body for me."
"What do you mean Jack?" She asked. "We don't do that sort of thing."
"Don't play dumb." I told her. "We both know you can get a bunch of guys to come clean up a place. This is important."
"How important?" She asked.
"Well, as I started saying, you could probably need a guy who has a legitimate excuse to go around with a key fob reading seven with one blow." I told her. "I find myself out of a job and probably without a license to detect privately very soon. I think I'm going to need the protection the Agency could provide."
"So you need a new job and a place to hide?"
"I need a reason not to have to hide." I told her. "But I could use a job."
There was a long pause, and then she spoke again.
"Do you have an address where I can send them?"
"Yes." I said and gave her the address.
"Okay." She said. "It'll take them an hour or more."
"That's okay." I said. "I've got a use for the time. I'll need to start right away, the longer I'm around here the more I'm likely to get hit up for something."
"Can you come down to Virginia tomorrow?" she asked.
"Yeah, I can do that." I said.
"When you get ready to go, give me a call."
"I'll call you from the road if all goes well." I told her.