south, municipal workmen in orange boiler suits transferring the contents of the overflowing bins into the gnashing jaws of their truck. Pedestrians were about, some of them carrying styrofoam cups of coffee, others with their phones pressed to their ears or held out in front of them so that they could read from the screens.
The four men and Antonietta were walking towards the row of parked cars.
“ Mi scusi ,” a woman said, standing before him with a key for the post office door in her hand.
“ Scusate ,” Milton replied, standing aside.
Milton saw Antonietta looking down the street.
He followed her gaze, looking for the shooter, and saw the motorcycle rumbling across the uneven cobbles towards them from the south.
The man on the motorcycle wasn’t wearing a helmet. His face was black with ink, almost as if it had been stained. Heavily tattooed, like a Maori warrior. It was only as he drew closer that Milton could make out the shape of the spider that had been drawn there, the legs reaching back around his shaven scalp, on his cheeks and beneath the line of his jaw.
Antonietta saw him too. She was looking in that direction and, had the four men been paying closer attention, or had they displayed the wariness and suspicion that should have been automatic when dealing with the Camorra, they might have seen him, too. As it was, they were distracted and by the time they saw the man, it was already too late.
Milton pushed away from the doorway, stepping around the woman with the key and reaching into his leather jacket for the P226.
The man on the motorcycle was less than ten feet away when he rolled to a stop.
Antonietta yanked her hand from Curtis Patterson’s grip and started to run.
Milton was behind the man with the tattooed face, unseen.
The rider reached into his open jacket for the 9mm mini-Uzi submachine gun that he wore on a sling. The buttstock was folded back and he held the weapon in both hands.
He fired, fully automatic, six hundred and fifty rounds a minute. The Pattersons were the main focus of his attention, the brothers taking the majority of the rounds, arms windmilling as they stumbled backwards, tripping over the curb and landing on their backs. The two security men reached for their hidden weapons but they were too slow and there were more than enough bullets for them, too.
The woman from the post office screamed.
Milton raised the P226 and drew down on the rider. He was too close to miss. He aimed into the man’s body and fired. The round hit home, punching into the man’s ribs. He swung around but the pain in his side robbed him of his ability to rotate quickly and the Uzi was in the wrong hand.
Milton took another step, aimed again, and fired.
The bullet punched into the man’s temple, a plume of blood following after it as it exited through the opposite side. His body jerked and then went limp, his standing leg collapsing and the bike tipping over. He fell to the road and lay still, the bike pinning him there.
Milton stepped up so that he was over him, aimed down, and fired a final time. The spider tattoo was punctured, blood running down and obscuring the lurid ink. It trickled down his scalp, dripped down, and pooled between the cobbles.
He looked up at Antonietta and raised a finger to his lips.
She stared back at him in terror.
Milton holstered the pistol, walked quickly to the bike and swung his leg over it. The woman from the post office backed away from him. He saw other pedestrians, some pushed against the wall as if praying to be absorbed by the bricks, others turning tail and fleeing. He gunned the engine, released the brakes and bounded forwards and away into the traffic.
THE LADY VICTORINE was a large thirty-four metre catamaran. It had four decks and offered six well appointed staterooms, a separate dining room and lounge with a cocktail bar. It had cost Ernesto Gorgi Di Mauro twenty million Euros, but it had
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