This is the sixth preview for the Farewell, Something Lovely short story collection that I will soon be Kickstarting. You can find “the Spear” here, “Flotsam Jewel” here, “For Simple Coin” here, “Of Shadows and Flutes” here, and “A Pound of Dead Flesh” here.
FAREWELL, SOMETHING LOVELY
I didn’t owe Mollo a thing, except maybe a kick in the teeth. A couple of years back, he had threatened to end me. I had beaten him good, made him think, but I wasn’t the one who had given him the second smile just below his chin. That came from someone trying to settle an argument. It hadn’t worked. Word was that he had gutted more than 50 men. I had known some of them. They wouldn’t be missed.
He just showed up one day in the Old Bazaar. I had stepped out of the ordinary where I had eaten a barely passable dinner. The sun had started to set, and there he stood. I gave him the eye, letting him know how much I thought of him without the words. He didn’t leave, just stood there, watching me. I frowned. “I thought you were dead.”
He didn’t react to my comment, just stared hard and dumb at me. “They say you sometimes help people.”
I crossed my arms. “I’m sure it is.”
We stood just inside an alley. The hawkers on the street had begun to make way for the whores. The drunks, nestled in the detritus of the alley, had started to rise from their sleep. My gaze wandered to the square at the crossroads. The children played while their mothers gossiped around the well. “So you aren’t dead.”
“Maybe not to you.”
That forced me back to Mollo and his blank, dead eyes. Did I see regret, maybe sadness there? That stringy monster didn’t look like much, but he had survived the underworld of the Old Bazaar, and that said a lot. “To who, then?”
I didn’t intend it, but that made me chuckle.
Mollo took a step forward. “You think I can’t have a woman?”
“You want another smile?” Maybe Mollo had killed 50 men, but that had been knife work, mostly from behind. I had put a fair number of men in the ground, and each one of them had known who did it.