You heard me. Let someone else send you to your blaze of glory. You're a speck, man. You're nothing. You're not worth the bullet or the mark on my soul for taking you out."
You trying to piss me off again, Patrick?" He removed Campbell Rawson from his shoulder and held him aloft.
I tilted my wrist so the cylinder fell into my palm, shrugged. "You're a joke, Gerry. I'm just calling it like I see it."
Absolutely." I met his hard eyes with my own. "And you'll be replaced, just like everything else, in maybe a week, tops. Some other dumb, sick shit will come along and kill some people and he'll be all over the papers, and all over Hard Copy and you'll be yesterday's news. Your fifteen minutes are up, Gerry. And they've passed without impact."
They'll remember this," Gerry said. "Believe me."
Gerry clamped back on the trigger. When he met my finger, he looked at me and then clamped down so hard that my finger broke.
I depressed the trigger on the one-shot and nothing happened.
Gerry shrieked louder, and the razor came out of my flesh, then swung back immediately, and I clenched my eyes shut and depressed the trigger frantically three times.
And Gerry's hand exploded.
And so did mine.
The razor hit the ice by my knee as I dropped the one shot and fire roared up the electrical tape and gasoline on Gerry's arm and caught the wisps of Danielle's hair.
Gerry threw his head back and opened his mouth wide and bellowed in ecstasy.
I grabbed the razor, could barely feel it because the nerves in my hand seemed to have stopped working.
I slashed into the electric tape at the end of the shotgun barrel, and Danielle dropped away toward the ice and rolled her head into the frozen sand.
My broken finger came back out of the shotgun and Gerry swung the barrels toward my head.
The twin shotgun bores arced through the darkness like eyes without mercy or soul, and I raised my head to meet them, and Gerry's wail filled my ears as the fire licked at his neck.
Good-bye, I thought. Everyone. It's been nice.
Oscar's first two shots entered the back of Gerry's head and exited through the center of his forehead and a third punched into his back.
The shotgun jerked upward in Gerry's flaming arm and then the shots came from the front, several at once, and Gerry spun like a marionette and pitched toward the ground. The shotgun boomed twice and punched holes through the ice in front of him as he fell.
He landed on his knees and, for a moment, I wasn't sure if he was dead or not. His rusty hair was afire and his head lolled to the left as one eye disappeared in flames but the other shimmered at me through waves of heat, and an amused derision shone in the pupil.
Patrick, the eye said through the gathering smoke, you still know nothing.
Oscar rose up on the other side of Gerry's corpse, Campbell Rawson clutched tight to his massive chest as it rose and fell with great heaving breaths. The sight of it-something so soft and gentle in the arms of something so thick and mountaineous-made me laugh.
Oscar came out of the darkness toward me, stepped around Gerry's burning body, and I felt the waves of heat rise toward me as the circle of gasoline around Gerry caught fire.
Burn, I thought. Burn. God help me, but burn.
Just after Oscar stepped over the outer edge of the circle, it erupted in yellow flame, and I found myself laughing harder as he looked at it, not remotely impressed.
I felt cool lips smack against my ear, and by the time I looked her way, Danielle was already past me, rushing to take her child from Oscar.
His huge shadow loomed over me as he approached, and I looked up at him and he held the look for a long moment.
How you doing, Patrick?" he said and smiled broadly.
And, behind him, Gerry burned on the ice.
And everything was so goddamned funny for some reason, even though I knew it wasn't. I knew it wasn't. I did. But I was still laughing when they put me in the ambulance.