Stopping at a local safe house, I collected some essentials for the trip ahead. I could still smell the stench of burnt hair and shit. I realised, after…almost vomiting from sniffing my sleeve that I would most definitely have to change before catching a flight to New York. I opened the sliding door of the wardrobe and plucked one of the many identical hanging suites from the polished silver bar, before quickly rinsing myself under a cold shower. I listened and tried to concentrate as the cold water nipped at my scalp. I could hear distant sirens, they must have reached the car by now…a faint pink trickle down my arm perked my curiosity as I tracked it back up to my shoulder and realised that I was bleeding. Shit!! I thought about heading back to the car as my mind began to formulate a plot to use my fake identifications and take control of the crime scene before any evidence could be stored…I had grown quite fond of the name Henry Game, I would be loathed to have to change it again. I scarcely dried myself before stepping into my new suit and a faint tapping sounded at the door. I thought about answering it, but stopped myself at the last moment. My hand resting on the handle.
‘Game, less of the nonsense and open the door,’ is that…?Fuck I wish these doors had a spy hole. I remained silent to keep up the pretence. ‘We both know you are stood there, behind the door, so do the sensible thing and open it before I come through it anyway’
‘Catspaw, is that you?’ The handle began to turn. I held on to it with both hands but I couldn’t stop it. It was opening whether I stood there or not.
‘Henry Game…you are predictable. Still using the same bolt holes and not changing them up as often as you should. If I can find you this easily, I’m fairly confident that others can and will.’ His words washed over me like another bucket of cold water mixed with a hint of relief. I stepped away from the door and allowed it to swing inwards.
‘All alone?’ I asked the towering form of Grim Catspaw, that filled the entire width of the door.
‘Am I ever?’ he replied as he swept into the room and kicked the door shut behind himself.
‘Well you just never change do you?’ I asked as he ran his fingers around the rim of his dripping wet fedora hat.
‘You…have a nose that forever sticks in places it shouldn’t. That’s why I’m here.’
‘So you know then?’
‘Of course I know! I always know and most of the time I find it amusing watching you get yourself into and out of all these scrapes, but this time you are walking headlong into something that… put it this way, even I would struggle to…survive. And for all the things you are Game, me is not one of them.’
‘Stop with the fucking riddles! What do you know?’ I demanded, not sure if I wanted to really know the answer. Could I be the only one who didn’t know I had a brother?
‘Lets start with tonight. I know you attended a dinner party, I know about the Archbishop and I know about your little gun battle earlier. The only good part of all of this is that the children of the world will sleep a little safer tonight. However, that does not deride from the complete cluster-fuck you are about to walk into.’
‘Ahhh, ok.’ I had no other words for it.
‘I know you have found out about your brother and you should now just forget about him equally as quickly. He isn’t the sort of person you get to know and have a nice family reunion with. He is not like us. He is a different breed altogether…however, knowing that you won’t simply take my word for it…don’t be a fool Game! We all know bullets can’t kill you, and I am sure as shit that if they know what won’t kill you, they will also know what will. You have been around for a long time, and we both know that if it wasn’t for a certain someone’ he said gesturing to himself, ‘your time here would have been ended a long time ago. So, here is how you will get onto US soil with your head still on your shoulders…Fly from Manchester. Take a cab, not a black cab, find a local firm. Flying from terminal two, you will board the 6.35am flight to Dallas and once you have made yourself comfortable, you need to get off again. Preferably before it takes off, but AFTER the doors have been shut. From the runway there is the baggage loading area, I suggest getting yourself on one of those luggage loaders and driving yourself back to the main airport-
-Fucking Dallas!?’ I interrupted, much to his obvious annoyance.
‘The destination doesn’t matter, that flight isn’t going to land. Once you are back at the airport, find your way to the Costa and someone will deliver you are a care package. From there follow the instructions, once you land over there in the states, you are own your own. Great Whites don’t piss in the same puddles, Game.’
Great whites? Grim leaned forwards and passed over a business card, you know the type you can get for free on Vista print. I turned it over in my hand. It was a website;
‘Yes my own corner of the internet, secure enough for our purposes. I’ll be seeing you Game, or not, who knows? Good luck my friend’ he finished with a tip of his hat and gusted out of the apartment. I turned the card over in my hand again before tucking it in to my pocket. I looked at what I had packed and decided that it would have to do. I grabbed my USA passport and heavy purse of US Dollars before I too, left the safety of my ‘not so safe’ safe house. The taxi pulled up to the pavement as soon as I stepped out of the building. I braced myself as I noticed the driver window slowly wind down. ‘Errr, hi jinx, hi jinx in low places?’ he stuttered to me out of his window. I laughed, I had too. That old fox! I waved a hand in the air just before getting in to the waiting taxi. I couldn’t see anyone watching but I knew he was there. He always is.
TO BE CONTINUED…