The Gun-Metal Blues
Little China Girl
T1Legend – Sam’s nose was immediately assaulted by the smell of the place. It was a scent that was heavy on basil, fried chicken, and egg drop soup. There was the constant clatter of glassware—distant and muffled by the walls. He nodded to the woman that pointed to the stairwell. Something about her raised his hackles, though he didn’t know why.
Soaked to the bone, Sam followed Natasha into her apartment. The family living in the room below hers had the television turned up too loud—it was a news anchor bemoaning the rise of the liberal media. He could hear their voices coming up out of the floor; they sounded angry. Somewhere, a baby cried.
The place didn’t look like it was lived in—but it was more than the sheets that covered the furniture. It didn’t feel like it was lived in. There were no personal effects. There were no pictures hanging on the wall, no magnets hanging on the fridge, and the apartment smelled vaguely of mothballs.
Sam closed the door shut behind him, but didn’t step much further inside. He watched Natasha approach the window and the blinds lit up with alternating tints of red and blue as the patrol cars passed.
“I owe a guy some money I probably shouldn’t. Hard to pay him when there hasn’t been any work.” He said, shrugging cautiously. He had questions of his own—like ‘Who the fuck blows up an entire club’, for instance…but he knew when not to press his luck.
“Look, I’m going to go downstairs and get us something to eat. I have a few questions for you, too. We can talk over Chinese.” Sam turned the knob and stepped out. He considered that now would be a good time to get lost while the going was good. He could just walk down the stairs and forget he ever saw the crazy—and quite lethal—Russian girl. He could just—
That was when Sam looked up and Saw a man rounding the corner with an Uzi in his hand. The man was Chinese—dressed sharp in that businessman sort of way with dark shades—and Sam would have bumped into him were he not paying attention. There was a moment when neither of them did anything.
And then they both reacted at once. Sam reached for the man’s gun and grabbed it by the barrel. It went off, spraying a line of bullet holes in the floor. He heard a commotion coming around the corner. There wasn’t much time left. Sam reached back around behind him and pulled out his pistol. He thrust it beneath the man’s chin and fired once. The Chinese man’s black hair puffed upward as though blown by a strong wind.
The Uzi fell from the man’s hand and Sam grabbed it before it hit the floor. A trio of similarly dressed Asians rounded the corner, but Sam was ready for them with the Uzi. He squeezed the trigger and motioned the gun gently from left to right, painting the general vicinity with gunfire. The men tumbled over on top of themselves and Sam decided that now was a good time to get going. He took off running down the hall and rounded the corner to take the stairs.
Something rushes past Sam’s face so fast that he can’t see it; so near that his beard stubble prickles with the phantom touch of bullets that are too close for comfort. Wall plaster explodes in a puff of dust against Sam’s cheek, coating it in white powder that looks likes flour. His natural instinct is to dodge away from the gunfire even though the projectiles have already missed; he leans back at the waist while twisting both hip and shoulder—his momentum goes out from beneath his feet. The woman in the red dress is standing ten steps below him with a snub-nose in her hand—the kind that fits snug in a garter.
He had stopped too quickly and leaned too far; Sam has a moment of vertigo at the height of the stairs
(Should have taken the elevator, Sammy-boy. Mind that last step, it’s a doozey!)
where it is all too easy to imagine his body lying across that last step, crumpled and broken. Sam knows that he is going to fall—he is falling—there is nothing he can do to keep from tumbling backward as his momentum carries him forward.
And so he doesn’t fight it. He falls and his back slams against the rail. Laying against the railing for support, Sam’s back slides along the staircase while his legs high-step their way down. The gunfire continues—it had never stopped—but everyone was aiming at where he had been standing. With a gun in each hand, Sam stretches out his arms.
The left index holds the Uzi’s trigger down—it sprays bullets generously—while the right squeezes the 1911 in time to a rhythmic beat so that it discharges to the pace of an up-tempo metronome. Wood bursts into splintering fragments all around him, the sound of ricochets ring in Sam’s ears.
The Chinese woman’s body jerks with each gunshot so that she appears to be doing some strange, epileptic dance. Her red dress turns a darker hue and she teeters backward on her heel, tumbling backward with the gravitas of a falling oak tree. She bounces down the stairs like a ragdoll, bowling over the person next in line and setting off a domino reaction.
A man spills over the edge and holds his arms out, flapping them as though he might fly. Wind ripples along the fabric of his expensive pants and his tie hovers before his face, defying gravity. But he and his tie only defy gravity for so long before he splatters against the ground the crunch of snapping bones, the front of his skull flat and caved in with his body and limbs twisted in a shape that looks like a pretzel.
Most of the others die in a less spectacular way—clutching the wounds in their chest and simply sagging to one side or the other—but one gentleman in particular followed after his swan-diving compatriot, except he landed neck first on the rung of rails two stories below, ping-ponging back in forth head over heels until he too joined the pile of bodies at the bottom.
Sam never stops squeezing the triggers—not even after the Uzi has jammed and the 1911 is spent. He has both guns in a death grip, and by the time he gets to the bottom his legs are numb and there is a dull ache in his back. He just lays there, sprawled out on the rail with his guns pointed out before him. A sliver of blue smoke seeps out of both barrels, smelling like gunpowder and lead.
“Christ!” He said, slumping to the floor. He viewed the unreliable Uzi and his old standby with a dubious expression, twisting them this way and that.
“I need to get a bigger gun,” He said, only to be interrupted by a new squad of goon-replacements that came bursting through the door. Only these were wearing SWAT style body armor and he was out of ammo. Sam dropped his guns and lifted his hands into the air. The police pointed their hardware at him with a single loud, synchronized hammer cock.
Sam said, “If you surrender now, I’ll see what I can do about getting my partner to take it easy on you.”
CharlotteCarrendar: – Natasha toyed with the zippo lighter in her left hand, while peering out of the shutter blinds at the passing traffic. For now it seemed that the immediate danger of being detected by the corporation had passed. The Russian lowered her head a touch, releasing the blind from the pinch of her fingers. This would be the last place they would think to look, right? I mean, the district was more famous for its egg fu young, than a runaway agent. Taking a step away from the window, Natasha pulled out a drawer from one of the uncovered pieces of furniture – a bureau. Inside, a packet of cigarettes, that wasn’t water damaged. She moved to tuck the packet into the pocket of her jacket, when her new companion had an attack of the munchies.
“Look, I’m going to go downstairs and get us something to eat. I have a few questions for you, too. We can talk over Chinese.”
Just as Sam turned to leave, Natasha blurted with a disgruntled expression; ”I hatez chineze.” But it went unheard, as outside the apartment, someone was coming up to greet them. It was then she heard it. The electric sound of gunfire, and not just single shot weapons, one of them sounded like a Uzi. Who the hell did this Sam piss off? The Russian didn’t wait around to find out the answer. Tearing down the blind which landed on the floor bent and broken, she snapped the lock on the sliding window panel and slid it back. Leaping out the window onto the fire escape, she could see the red glow of gunfire, as Sam went on the offensive. The sounds changing momentarily, before the rat-a-tat started once again in earnest. Was he taking on the triad in one sad rundown Chinese restaurant. This couldn’t be happening, not just after what happened in the club. The Russian wasn’t stupid, she knew that this was going to attract a lot of attention and possibly get them both taken in. She didn’t doubt for a second his prowess with firearms, but the odds were stacked, and it wasn’t looking pretty.
Inhaling sharply through gritted teeth, as she flicked at the zippo lighter, she spotted something that suddenly made her bare a malicious grin. The gaudy fluorescent lights that were on the warehouse across the street happened to be that of the Lucky Dragon Fireworks Factory. A silver fleck was set off in the Russian’s irises, a reflection from the steel construct of the Factory.
What was going through the Russian’s mind you might ask? Well, let’s just say that the fourth of july was going to have nothing on this. As she was about to reach for a clothesline rope that ran between buildings, and was on a downward angle to the house across the street, that was when she spotted the oncoming of SWAT team trucks. Great, it was the Calvary. This meant she didn’t have a hell of a lot of time. Sam sounded to be mowing down the Chinese like it was barrel shooting game, but he couldn’t hold on in there forever.
Gripping the rope, she sailed down between the two buildings, and over the top of the SWAT team truck undetected. Landing on the balcony on the other side of the road, she climbed up to the roof, and then made a run across, the dark of night creating a cloak for her movements. One of the top wind air vents was rusted on the Fireworks factory, and Natasha gripped the sides of it, teetering it back and forth until it snapped free. She set it down to her right, then gazed through the gaping hole. This factory was loaded. Every kind of firework and rocket imaginable, as well as drums of gunpowder, explosive charges. It was every kid’s dream, and right now, it was going to be Sam’s salvation.
Natasha dropped down through the air vent hole, and onto a top walk way, where she could see a lot better inside the factory. There was a truck filled with a load of fireworks parked just inside the roller door. Running down the metal framed gangplank, she took the stairs and slid down till reaching the bottom. The truck just so happened to have the keys in the ignition. Another lucky moment for sure. Time was now going to be critical, as the Russian set her plan into action. She picked up a small drum of gunpowder, punching a hole into it and then resting it on the back of the truck, after making a long line that led to the major holding of fireworks. That done she went to the roller door, and pressed the button for the roller door to open. Running back, she got into the truck – starting her up, she put it in gear, and jumped out of it as it started to slowly move on its own as she had placed a wheel lock brick on the gas. The truck was heading right for the SWAT team van, as the Russian raced across the road, only to come in behind the SWAT team, that were all armed and pointed at the man known as Sam.
“If you surrender now, I’ll see what I can do about getting my partner to take it easy on you.”
As they would turn around, the fireworks truck hits the SWAT team van, and there is a few seconds pause as a fuel line breaks under the truck. Fuel is pouring out under the vehicle as Natasha lights a cigarette.
”I never takez prizonerz.”
She flicks the cigarette back at the truck and that was when it the fuel caught fire, the fire tearing along to the falling gunpowder that was still pouring from the back of the truck. No doubt the severity of what was about to happen, was not lost on the SWAT team who were now all running for their lives as China town was about to have its biggest bang of the year.
In behind Natasha, it was like a massive array of fire and explosions – massive rockets going off, the truck and the SWAT van being blown sky high by the force of the fireworks pay load that was on the delivery truck. Natasha ran through the Chinese shop, leaping over bodies as she reached for her companion’s hand.
She had never been more serious in her life.
The fireworks factory then erupted in a blast that was akin to a small nuclear explosion, with radiant colours filling the night sky. The ground shook and tremored from the blasts, that continued to go off without stopping. Townspeople and pedestrians were blown off their feet, windows were blown out of cars, and alarms were going off at a dizzying rate.
It was apocalyptic.