Excerpt

I crossed the street and went through the large gate of the cemetery. It was quiet here and I could see the beginnings of spring blooming. Crocuses and large buds on the trees lining the walkways. I knew my trackers could see me through the wrought iron picket fence, so I slipped around a two-story brick building that served as the cemetery office. A bronze plaque gleamed in the sun. Dei Gratia, it said. I sure hoped so.

I strolled down the lane, waiting for them to catch up again, knowing they would hurry once they lost sight of me. I wandered in and out of the monuments to southern New England lost clans: the Dinsmores and Judds and Cookes and Bishops and Hughes. I approached a tall redstone stele, one

of a forest in this section, looking at it, pretending to read the names and dates inscribed on its marble base. I leaned over to more closely inspect it, sliding my right arm under my windbreaker and snatching out the CZ.

A gust suddenly blew up, swaying the bare branches on the trees. I felt a chill, knowing that it was crunch time. I stood up, the CZ down along my side, in my hand, and I started walking toward the other side of the cemetery and a high stone wall. I could hear footsteps behind me now. They were closing in, the scraping of gravel too loud in my ears.

Then a sudden explosion slapped my eardrums and the ground shook, and as I heard the sound, I spun around and dropped to one knee beside the gray granite upright slab belonging to one long deceased Joshua Osgood.

I could see them clearly, standing there frozen in shock, two of them, and only fifteen feet away. One was tall and thin with a black leather jacket; the other, shorter and bald, wearing a trench coat. I didn’t recognize them but they sure knew me.

“Don’t move,” I said.

The skinny guy already had his gun out and was raising it in my direction when I squeezed off two rounds, sending him sprawling on the dirt. Baldy was still fumbling for his gun when I shot him in the knee. He started screaming in pain and I walked over and jammed my foot on his mouth.

“Shut up or I’ll finish you.” I kicked his gun away from him.

“Please don’t,” he said. His words were a pathetic gurgle through the rubber sole of my Adidas.

I looked around and didn’t see any others. I patted Baldy down. Clean.

“Don’t try anything,” I said. “Just listen.”

He nodded his head, tears of pain streaming down his jowly face.

I looked around again. No one else appeared. I could smell burning rubber and gasoline. Outside the cemetery a plume of smoke was billowing up on University Street. I could hear the wail of fire engines in the distance.

“We don’t have much time,” I said. “I’m letting you live because you’re going to carry a message: Tell Jimmy Murphy to back off, back way off. Got it?”

Baldy nodded his head again; his eyes squeezed shut in pain.

“Open your eyes, motherfucker,” I said. When he didn’t I kicked his knee, the one my bullet had shattered. He howled in pain but now I could see his pupils clearly.

“Look at me,” I said. I put the barrel of the CZ to his lips. “The next time I’ll kill you.” I told him to clutch his knee with both hands and when he did, I yanked off his belt. “Here, wrap this around your leg. I don’t have a stick for leverage but this’ll stop the blood flow for a while.”

Done with him, I stood and picked up the two guns and threw them over the stone wall. I left Baldy lying there, squirming in agony, and walked back to the cemetery entrance. Hank’s car was sitting in the front, the engine running, the passenger side door open. I ran quickly from the gate to the car, hoping to dull any description of me in case we were being watched. Hank was pulling away before I could slam the door shut. In five seconds we were on the other side of the cemetery and heading towards I-95.

“What the hell was that back there?” I said.

“Plastique,” he said.

“Military issue?” I said. “How much?”

“Just a brick. Under the gas tank.”

“That wasn’t in the plan.”

“No,” Hank said. “It wasn’t.”