Aiming for a creative life

I Am Santo

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Day continued its somersault between grey and brilliant hard light, shadows scurrying around the jagged edges of the uneven sidewalk and the brick walls closing in around Simon as he strode to Gammons Boulevard. The world went monochrome as a cloud shuttered hope, and he gripped the mask hard, his fingernails snagging in the wool fabric. Hess Street was the next corner up. Around him, tall apartment and office buildings competed with the sky for favor, and the sun sheepishly avoided both, surrendering its gleam to those stormy clouds gathering like sin in the heart of an unfaithful lover. That thought urged Simon further, hot anger swirling in his blood like a cocktail, releasing feelings he’d trapped under a cool exterior while doing whatever he could to keep Alec and Kailey in a normal life. Keep them fed and warm. Happy. So close now. He was inching to the target location, seeing it in the shade of striving concrete and empty sidewalks, seemingly far from the elegant hustle of the shops at Hastings Corner. This place was quiet, but he felt eyes everywhere, as if they were trained on the red searing rage propelling him; their vision revealing his ugliness as if infrared. He imagined them all stepping to their windows to see this human torch, and Simon ducked into a thin alley in the middle of the block and thrust his back hard against a wall. Two hundred feet at most away from the target, the corner of Gammons and Hess. Across the street, a lone streetlight arched like the Loch Ness monster in a grainy photograph, the neck curving as if ready to crane down and snap. He wanted it to threaten him, coax him into action but it loomed motionless instead, a faux centry at the gates of success. He checked the phone. Two minutes until the target would allegedly arrive. Simon pulled out the mask, thinking of ice and a winter plain stretching into woods. He wanted the calm of cold to soothe his hot skin. He withdrew the mask and pulled it over his face, then withdrew the pistol from his pocket and inhaled deep. The Loch Ness monster sneered impotently. Simon exhaled, breath hot and stepped out from the corner, gun close to his waist. (To be continued…)

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