PART 1 - PAYBACK


Jess disconnected her ancient Autopro timing gun from the old '71 Mustang and smiled at the immaculately show chromed big-block engine that had been cleverly shoehorned into the beautiful engine bay.

She loved this car.

Memories a vivid flash as she lived again in that instant the sixteen months of pleading with her mother to let her have the car. The bright yellow Mustang had been a gift to her mum from her mother's last boyfriend Mick, the only one that had ever treated her well. Unfortunately the car was so powerful that it scared the hell out of her Mother and consequently she actively avoided driving the "Crazy Horse".

Jess had though. She had destroyed many an ego and many a wallet with her sultry good looks, big dark eyes and deft wheelmanship whenever she went street racing down in the big smoke.

Closing the hood, her slender fingers traced the graceful lines of the fastback as she walked towards the drivers door and with a lithe little twist and a quick flick of her slender hips she slipped past the six point roll cage and into the spartan racing wraparound seat. Eyeing the chromed instrument pods, she thumbed the large red starter with a practiced ease.

VROOM!

The big block struggled to turn over before it violently barked into life like some madman's evil creation and settled into the rugged loping idle that only a highly modified V8 engine can.

Another smile, another second ticked past.

The rear of the fastback leapt sideways as quick as lightening as she dumped the clutch and pointed the sleek nose Westwards towards Stymsville. Plumes of white smoke poured from the wheel arches as 650 horsepower clawed and ripped, torturing tar and rubber alike in a vain effort to grip the blacktop.

The noise, the smoke, the acceleration ............... she loved this car.


400 miles to the South another engine beat in time with a young man's heart, steady, slow and deep. He glanced at a gold rolex that once belonged to his grandfather, it read 8:45am.

"Nearly time," he mused as he flicked a dull red cigarette butt and once again completely stripped, cleaned and reassembled a Winchester shotgun and a Smith & Wesson pistol on an old roadside billboard that had long since collapsed. The guns were old too. Once his Grandfathers before he passed on and left them to Troy along with the other things he cared about most; a gold Rolex expedition model, a Smith & Wesson .357 six shooter, a combat model Winchester pump action shotgun, an immaculate ruby red 1959 FLH Harley Davidson and a cool ten thousand in untraceable notes.

"Yep Grandad, you were one bad-ass motherfucker," Troy said quietly, a bemused smile slowly etching across his features as he loaded the pistol. Holstering the gun, he turned and paced exactly 37 steps before abruptly turning 90 degrees, dropping to one knee and drawing to fire.


BLAM!
BLAM!
BLAM!
BLAM!
BLAM!
BLAM!

Like an old bean can full of firecrackers, the battered green jerry can danced and wheeled in the red morning dust as the six magnum rounds mercilessly slammed home. Smiling, he blew the smoking cordite from the end of the nickel plated barrel before carefully re-pacing the 37 steps as he reloaded.

9:52am

Time to go.

A rooster tail of red dust and a deep roaring bellow spat from the rear of the Harley as Troy shifted the old bike into third gear across the gravel road and headed West towards the small intersection at Howard's Crossing.

"1010 miles to Stymsville," he read out aloud as he passed a faded road sign, shifting into top gear.





PART 2 - SPEED

Stereo blasting, Jess belted past the town limits at well over the ton. The fastback was loping along at a relaxed 2600rpm in top gear and chewing up the miles with contemptuous ease. She noticed the countryside quickly change from the welcome rolling greens of her home to the ugly flat greys and browns of the badlands.

And she hated the badlands.

A crooked smile tugged at the corners of her soft mouth as she mashed the accelerator to the floor. Sheer ferocity pinned her back in the seat as the rear of the Mustang squatted and roared, kicking dust and bellowing down a deserted road in the middle of nowhere.

Only minutes later, a furrow creased her pretty brow as she thought about that bastard Nolan. The man who had took her mother's life in a hail of semi-automatic fire in a drive-by shooting at the 7-11. Christ, she and Mick had just gone out for milk, nothing more. Jess' eyes narrowed as she swore that she was going to make that slimy piece of shit pay with his life.

Jess had practiced hard out in the boondocks for months with a stolen Winchester .338 magnum rifle, ex-army night vision gear, a 10x scope and 225 grain boat tail rounds. She knew full well she could group a full mag in an 8 inch radius from 500 yards, day or night and still hit her target from that far out with enough force to drop something the size of an Elk. Yep, she was going to get that bastard Nolan alright and he wouldn't even see it coming.

675 miles to the South East, Troy hustled the big bike through the first series of sidewinder sweepers that heralded the start of Route 33. It was a challenging road that twisted and snaked along the Mountains for over 400 tumultuous miles before wildly plunging into the flatlands to the West.

The old Harley had a note like no other as it boomed across the canyon cuttings through its baffleless shotgun pipes. Urgent now, the loping steady heartbeat of the bike replaced with the racy staccato of a hot rodded engine.

"Gramps, you sly old dog," Troy laughed between gear changes. The Harley went way too fast to still possess a standard motor.
"Sure, it looks like a stocker," Troy chucked, "But it sure as hell doesn't go like one!"

"My last trip as a free man is at least going to be fun," He hissed through gritted teeth, twisting the throttle to the stop.

Many miles later he thought some more about his Grandfather. Mick had been a solid man and a war veteran, a tattooed giant of a bloke with a heart of gold. He had taken care of Troy since his father disappeared suddenly when he was the tender age of 9 years old.

He reflected on his childhood with Mick, indeed his had not been like the other kids. He'd been surrounded by cars, motorcycles and guns for as long as he could remember. When most kids his age were getting shiny new bicycles and skateboards for Christmas, he got an old beat up 350 Camaro and a second hand Winchester .22 rifle.

Yep, growing up with Gramps sure had been different but it'd been very, very cool.

A cold shiver brutally ripped up his spine as he vividly remembered the night of his school prom. Mick had received an angry phone call from the school principal to come and collect his drunken grandson. Even through his drunken haze, Troy had been fearful that his Grandfather would be embarrassed and angry, however when Mick arrived on his Harley he had just given his Grandson a big hug and a knowing smile.

"Just get on," He'd said and they rode off into the night, the tail light a dull red ember as it disappeared into the distance.

Mick didn't take him home.

Instead they rode all night until Troy had sobered up, eaten a huge greasy breakfast at a roadside diner and spent a week on the road until they were clean in the middle of Nevada.

That was where Mick gave his only living relative his 17th Birthday present.

Time rolled on.....

Troy's thoughts strayed from the happy times of old to the darkness that was the here and now.

Nolan.

He was going to gun that dirty bastard down just like he'd done to Mick at some 7-11 last year. It had taken Troy six months to track down his Grandfathers killer and it had come at a hefty price as well as bruised knuckles on both fists.

Nolan............ Nolan was a dead man.

Troy made camp that night under a shimmering blanket of stars, high up in the Rockies where even in summer the night time temperature plunged to near freezing. Flicking a stray ember back into the small fire, he decided to leave the Harley, the cash and the shotgun out of town giving him getaway transport that no-one was going to see.

He'd do it with the .357 he thought, up close and personal.

Because this was a personal as it gets.

He'd make his initial getaway on foot and once a dozen blocks clear just disappear into the crowd at the mall. After that, who knows, he'd just drift wherever he wanted until the cash ran out. There was nothing left for him around here anyway, he reflected.





PART 3 - THE ANGRY SHOT (FINAL)

Jess dropped in another quarter and panned the heavy steel pay telescope slowly to the right, following Nolan as he left the bright kitchen and walked into the lounge room of his spacious modern brick home. For months she had been conducting surveillance on him from this little known lookout she'd found on one of the many foothills the town had been built on.

Carefully she logged his movements in a well worn writing pad and true to form at exactly 10:15 am he walked right up to the full length sliding glass doors to watch the two female joggers that passed by his house every day without fail. The perfect opportunity.

Tomorrow was a Tuesday. "Its only fitting," she whispered to herself. Nolan had shot her mother on a Tuesday.

The following day saw Troy struggling to fasten the buttons on his stolen Fed-Ex delivery uniform. It was a tight fit over the other clothing he had on underneath but he thought it was passable none the less. Slowly and deliberately he loaded the .357 with evil hollow point rounds originally designed for maximum deformation on impact with big game.

"I'm going to blast that fucker to hell," he growled, tucking the pistol into his waistband. It felt secure against the small of his back underneath his shirt.

He ran through his final checklist;
$1000 cash .......... he patted his right pocket.
Gun .......... secure in his waistband.
Shoes .......... he'd left his boots stashed with the Harley and bought runners.
Hat .......... a baseball cap to help conceal his identity.
Glasses .......... black wrap around style, his favorites.
Getaway transport .......... he'd already bought a small trailbike and secured it on the ground level in the mall car park affording him three separate exit points.

He made the call from a pay phone less than two blocks away from Nolan's house.

"Mr Nolan?
Jim West from Fed-Ex delivery service here, I'm in your area and I have a high priority urgent package for you," Troy said in a muffled voice. "Yes," he continued, "Its postage paid, sign on delivery ............ yes Sir, two minutes Sir." He hung up.


10.09am ..... game on.


10.11am ....... Jess peered through the scope, her blood boiling as she watched a young Fed-Ex delivery man knocking on Nolan's door, a plain brown parcel in his left hand. "Fuck", she hissed through gritted teeth.

10.12am ....... She watched as that arsehole Nolan opened the door and reached for the package. "C'mon ... hurry up you bastards," She breathed down the scope, her finger slowly closing tighter around the trigger.

10.13am ....... It happened so fast and seemed so slow.


Nolan's arms flung into the air as he started to turn, to run. The Fed-Ex man lit up in a hot orange silhouette as six thunderous shots rang out in rapid succession.


Huge red holes where Nolans face used to be.


The Fed-Ex man stepped over the disgusting bloody mess that was Nolan, disappearing inside the house.

10.14am ....... Rage consumed her .....


"I've waited so fucking long for this you bastard..... and you fucking stole it ....... arrggggghhhhhhhhh!!!!," She growled.


She struggled to hold the barrel steady, her breathing ragged, eyes wild.

10.15am ....... A single angry shot rang out.

The Fed-Ex man was violently wrenched from his feet and brutally hurled backwards through the doorway as a hot boat tail round slammed into his chest, dead centre. The laptop case he was carrying spun slow lazy circles on the porch.


10.16am ....... Movement in the scope, just inside the doorway ... carefully she panned a little left ..... there ......she saw him ... struggling to sit up, one hand clawing frantically at his chest.


10.17am ....... Another shot, vicious this time. That Fed-Ex bastard didn't move anymore.

10.18am ....... Breathless, a 150 yards back down from the treeline, she fired up the "Crazy Horse" and hammered it due East down the back roads out of town, sirens a distant comfort.

It was done, but it was all fucked up ................


"Who the hell was that Fed-ex bastard?" She wondered out loud as she blasted out of a long sweeper, her hands still trembling.



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