The Cube

Alex Salter stood in the alleyway next to The Cube. He lit a cigarette to kill time. The flame briefly lit up his face, which was masked by his cap and the hood of his jacket which he’d pulled up to make himself less recognisable. As he waited he went over the plan in his head, anticipating the finale; a grim smile crept onto his lips.

As Alex came close to the end of his cigarette he heard the doors of The Cube opening and closing, so he put it out and leant up against the wall. He was well hidden because he was set back from the street and streetlamps, and the walls on either side of him cast great shadows that completely concealed him. He put his gloved hand into the pocket inside his jacket and removed his gun from it, putting it into his jeans, leaving his hand holding it there. Alex listened carefully as his victim locked up the club and walked towards his car. He heard a click as the car was unlocked. Alex stepped out of the shadows and walked towards the vehicle where his victim was getting in, he opened the passenger door.

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“Good evening Mr O’Brien.” Alex revealed the presence of his gun which he held ready for use. “Drive,” he continued, and got in next to him. O’Brien cursed under his breath. He had no choice but to follow Alex’s orders.

The journey was silent except for Alex’s directions as to where O’Brien was to drive. O’Brien was considerably calm. He knew he’d be able to get out of it. He was Terry O’Brien. He owned The Cube, the classiest nightclub in the area. He had all the right contacts and he had all the girls he could possibly want. He was invincible. Of course this wasn’t going to be a problem.

Eventually they arrived at an old, disused dock. Alex commanded O’Brien to stop the vehicle.

“Get out the car with your hands on your head. Leave the keys in the ignition,” explained Alex with beautiful articulation. “Oh and Mr O’Brien. Don’t get any ideas; I’ll only shoot you.” O’Brien did as he was told. Alex got out of the car watching the victim, his gun ready to fire if necessary. A cold breeze floated through the desolate setting. An old plastic bag danced in the wind’s embrace.

As O’Brien was led to the water’s edge it occurred to him that maybe there was no way of stopping the inevitable. Maybe this was the end. He felt a sickening feeling in the pit of his stomach.

“So what’s this all about?” he asked, attempting to cover up his growing fear.

“On your knees please Mr O’Brien. Keep your hands on your head and don’t move,” Alex said, indicating the ground with his gun.

O’Brien gulped, “You know if this is about Tracy, it was a mistake. She knows about it and she understands.”

Alex lit up a cigarette masterfully with one hand, the other held the gun.

O’Brien tried again, “Look if it’s McQueen, he was asking for it. He didn’t pay up, he said there was a raid.”

Alex smiled. He loved it when his victims tried to make excuses.

O’Brien continued, “Look mate. You’re still young. You’ve got your whole life ahead of you, why waste your time doing this? I could find you a decent job with decent pay, doing decent things. You could do better.”

Alex laughed and shook his head. He’d heard it all before. The victim trying to touch his heart! Of course this wasn’t possible. Alex’s heart was numb.

“Please, mate, please. I’m begging you. Just give me one more chance. I won’t do anything wrong ever again. I’ll even give up The Cube. Please.”

The blood pumped faster around Alex’s body. O’Brien was desperate. Alex’s skin tingled with glee as he watched a man fall apart in front of him.

“How much do you want from me? I’ve got cash, an expensive watch, a decent phone if that’s what you’re after,” O’Brien moved his hand from his head and reached into the breast pocket of his jacket.

Bang.

“Ah aah,” gasped O’Brien in pain.

“I apologize Mr O’Brien. I obviously didn’t make it clear enough that you’re not to move.” Alex gazed in wonder as the clothing around the bullet wound in O’Brien’s arm soaked up the blood that was gently seeping out. He smiled at the piteous sight of O’Brien groaning and swaying in agony. He waited until he’d finished his cigarette, still staring at the broken man before him, then he walked over to O’Brien. He lowered his head to O’Brien’s ear and whispered, “It’s been a privilege to have met you Mr O’Brien.”

Click.

Bang.

For a few seconds O’Brien wobbled slightly from side to side.

Thud.

O’Brien lay on his front. Blood trickled out of his mouth and his hair became matted with the blood that was pouring out of the hole in the back of his head. Alex rolled over the corpse. The eyes were open, empty. The jaw was dropped and the mouth was bloody. Alex had done this.

It was at these moments that Alex completely understood why he had chosen to pursue this career. He didn’t want any old office job, he didn’t want to drive a bus, he didn’t want to work in a chemist or shop.

Alex Salter had the ultimate power of life or death.

Alex stood for a minute or two indulging in the moment then he got down to work. He rolled the body into the dirty, murky water and watched it sink out of sight. He pulled out a small can of diesel and poured it over the bloodstains on the ground so it wouldn’t appear to be blood should anyone look.