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Sold to the Hitman
Author: Alexis Abbott


 


PART I

 

 

SOLD TO THE HITMAN

THIS COPY OF SOLD TO THE HITMAN INCLUDES BOUGHT BY THE HITMAN. THESE ARE BOTH INDEPENDENT STAND ALONE NOVELS WITH NO CLIFFHANGERS.

 

 

1

ANDREI

I never feel out of place in the unique stillness that the streets of this city maintains at night. Even if the noise in Brighton Beach keeps on at a dull roar long into the late hours, there’s a certain sense in the air that in this little corner of New York, the gears of the city are taking a rest.

And these special hours give me my hunting grounds.

I’m leaning against the brick wall that makes up a side of The Vixen, a gentleman’s club that seems to draw just about every man in the city through its doors at least once. Its reputation and popularity have made it a true asset to its owners, my associates of the Bratva — the brotherhood we Russians in Brighton have established.

The men who come through this club couldn’t be more useful. They drink in the front, they gamble in the back, and they’re loose with their words in both.

All of this and more is what I suspect my target is doing while I wait for him. I take a drink from the flask in hand and check my watch before glancing around the corner — 2:24 AM. Most of the time I’m faking the swig, but a forlorn-looking Russkiy drinking outside a strip club looks less suspicious than a large man waiting outside it with arms crossed. Not that it matters. According to my client, the target should be stumbling out any minute now, and in no state to notice the difference.

And nobody in their right mind would question me.

As if on cue, the man my client wants dead staggers past the haggard-looking bouncer, narrowing his eyes at him as he does. He’s got ratty, thin hair tied back in a ponytail that’s graying, and he hasn’t shaved in a few days, a patchy, greasy beard sticking out from pale cheeks.

“The fuck you lookin’ at, ya thin-dicked cock-splatter?” he sneers at the bouncer.

The bouncer just gives him a brief glance before going back to his phone. He has impressive patience. My target spits on the ground and starts off towards his apartment. He’s wearing a nice suit that fits him poorly, and it’s got visible stains on it. He reeks of sleazy, ill-gotten gains, just as expected. The kind of man who steps on others to get where he’s going and makes a fool of himself with the spoils. I wait half a minute before starting after him, silently. The bouncer pays me no mind.

I feel good about this job. That seems to be rarer these days, but this particular hit has a few things going for it — the first being that this sleazebag has it coming.

This is a freelance contract, meaning I’m not being sicced on someone for my boss. My boss is one of the most feared men in Brighton Beach, in part because of how wantonly he doles out violence against people he thinks are his enemies. My last hit was on a man I knew to be innocent — a simple man vaguely tied to the Bratva, but guilty only of making some small slight against my boss.

And if my boss ever discovers how I really handled that job, it will be my name next on his list. The memories flash in my mind’s eye.

I’m tailing the man on his drive to his beach house. He pulls over at a gas station and heads into the bathroom. I leave my car beside the dumpster and head to his. I slip into the backseat and lie down. A few minutes pass, and I hear him open the car door, not suspecting a thing. He pulls out of the gas station, and once he’s back on track, speeding to his home, I cock my gun in the backseat.

I come back to reality with a start, and I remind myself that the man I’m following tonight is no such innocent by any measure. My client was nearly incoherent with fury when he contacted me, so I figured this was something very personal. After I got the essential information from the client, the rest of the story fell into place with only a little digging.

The scum I’m walking twenty paces behind through Brooklyn runs a string of payday loan offices. When he isn’t drinking on the job or conning the working-class clients who had to turn to him, he was making advances on one of the poor employees who worked full-time at his office not far from here — my client’s sister.

Four days ago, this woman was reported missing. Two days after that, my client contacted me.

He knew what had happened to his sister. Just before disappearing, she had come to him in tears over how her boss had been unusually aggressive in his advances that day, grabbing her and saying unspeakable things to her. She rejected him, and he threatened to fire her. It didn’t take a genius to figure out why she disappeared shortly after. But the investigation went impossibly slow; this scumbag had bought men on the local beat. Moreover, he knew the law never cared for the poor folk barely scraping by in the best of cases. So like many helpless souls before him, he turned outside the law.

The other upside to this job is the pay. This is one hundred grand I’ll be making with a clean conscience, for whatever my conscience was worth.

The target is ahead of me, still staggering, but I’m impressed by his ability to keep his eyes forward. Drunks are often easily distracted, but I can tell this is a walk this sod has made many, many times. He has a remarkable ability to shake from his mind that he’s guilty of murdering a young woman.

I wonder how his candor would change if he knew this stumble home would be his last.

The target was finally reaching his apartment, and I slowed to a halt and pretended to turn off into an alleyway as he bent over near a storm drain to start puking his guts out. I’m silently thankful I won’t have that mess to deal with in a few moments.

As I hear the target stop, I slip out from the alley and watch him head around the apartment building towards his own underground residence. Despite my bulk, I’m able to move behind him like a shadow drawing ever closer.

When I was being trained, my partner at the time thought it was amusing, the sight of such a large man dressed in all black slinking around like a predator. He was the first one to call me Shadow, and it seems to have stuck.

Still far enough back that I’m out of sight, I hear the target’s keys scrape and clatter on the metal lock as his drunken stupor makes him struggle with the door, and memories of my last job flood back to me.

He struggles with the lock, his hand shaking violently with fear as he feels the cold barrel of my gun pressed to the back of his head. “Faster!” I bark, and he drops the keys with a whimper. When he finally manages to get the door open, I take him by the scruff of his collar and toss him inside, and he sprawls out onto the floor of the sparsely furnished home he can barely afford. The man is jelly, looking up at me with tear-streaked eyes.

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