The Killer's New Wife
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Also by BB Hamel
Copyright © 2021 by B. B. Hamel
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Ash from the burning building drifted down and landed on my tongue like a snowflake. I swallowed and felt burnt wood stick in my throat.
The girl knelt in the dirt in front of me as the Philly row home blazed at my back. I could feel the heat melting away layers of insulation and metal, licking up all her lost memories, all her family photos, and her father’s corpse lying in a pool of its own blood in the living room. Soon enough it would all be gone, her father included, only a memory for her.
It was a comfortable summer night and the moon shone along her skin. Her eyes were dark blue in the flickering orange firelight. She had long, thick auburn hair, gone wild. Her full pink lips pulled back into a snarl and she wore a simple pair of tight black jeans and a black The Shins t-shirt. She was pretty, and pissed off, and I couldn’t blame her. I had just murdered her father, after all. That usually made people mad.
Dean stood off toward the fence and peered out to the street. He was the son of the Valentino Don and should’ve been a spoiled little prick, but he actually wasn’t so bad. Came with me on the hit which was more than I could say for the other Valentino Capos. They hid behind their soldiers whenever the real shooting started.
Not me, they sent me in first to make the blood fall like rain.
“We need to get moving,” Dean said, frowning back toward me. “That house is going to drop soon and the cops are on their way.”
I nodded slightly and didn’t take my eyes from the girl. I knew she was dangerous and liable to spring up at any moment. I could see it in her face, despite the gun I held at my side. She was angry, and no amount of pain would make that go away.
I knew something about pain and anger and dulling it all, except I had a very specific sort of outlet and I doubted she’d be interested in all that.
“Got to do something with the girl,” I said. “Can’t just leave her here.”
“We’re not,” Dean said and walked over. He was about my height, with an athletic build and an arrogant smile. “You’re taking her home.”
I frowned and looked at him. “The hell I am.”
She made her move then. Smart girl. She leapt at me like a tiger, hands flying out, fingers in claws. She tried to jam her nails into my face and might’ve pulled it off if I hadn’t been ready. I caught her by the wrists and wrestled her down to the ground with ease. I had sixty pounds of muscle on her at least, and years and years of experience fighting on the streets. She was some twenty-three-year-old girl that lived at home with her rich sex trafficking father.
Fucking girl had no chance. I put her down on the dirt, face in the grass, hands wrenched behind her. She gasped but I didn’t put enough pressure on her wrists or her elbows to break anything—only enough to keep her immobile. I got a nice view of her ass and her lower back as her shirt was pulled up from the struggle.
“That’s a wild one,” Dean said with some amusement. Easy for him to think it was funny considering it hadn’t been his eyes the girl wanted to tear out.
“I’m not taking her home with me,” I said and glared back at Dean. “Absolutely not. She’s your problem.”
“Kill her then,” Dean said, waving a hand.
I grimaced. He knew me well enough to know I never would. I had very few rules in my life, except for two: no kids and no women.
I’d kill, mar, torture, steal, fight, hurt, or do just about anything the Valentinos asked me, but I wouldn’t hurt a woman or a kid.
I was just principled like that. A man’s got to have a code, and I’d known women all my life, women that suffered quietly under the hands of shit-stain men. I wasn’t going to be like one of them.
“You know I’m not going to,” I said, and the girl stopped struggling and started to listen like she was curious.
“Then take her home.” Dean looked over his shoulder as a siren blared in the distance. “Better hurry. Firefighters or the cops are almost here.”
More ash fell around us as the breeze picked up. I hated this goddamn decision. Normally, I would’ve let the girl go, but she was too connected to the Healy family and now she knew both our faces. She was a witness, and I didn’t leave witnesses behind, at least not witnesses that could talk.
I hauled her up to her feet. She struggled but I held her by the arms and showed her my teeth. “You keep fighting, and I’m going to use your shirt to tie your wrists together. You want that?”
Her lip curled up but she shook her head and spit on the ground. “Let me go,” she said. “I’m dead weight. You need to run, right?”
“You need to shut your mouth,” I said and she stared at me defiantly, but didn’t speak again.
“Make up your mind,” Dean said, the sirens coming closer. “You’ve