A Dangerous Line Of Trade

Submitted into Contest #96 in response to: Start your story with the arrival of a strange visitor in a small town.... view prompt


Contemporary Suspense Fiction

The moment McKenzie landed in this small town, on the outskirts of Scotland, he knew he was going to have a good time here. Stonehaven was a harbor located to the east of Scotland, distinguished for being a lovely spot to stay. And now he understood why. This little borough had it all: the lush greenery, the lovely folk, the tranquil tourist spots, and above all, the serenity it held. That was what drew him the most.

But, he was not here to stay; he had only one job to do here, and it had to be a quick goodbye. David, for one moment, wished he was just like everyone else: a happy family, a tedious office job, a stable retirement, and a place like this to spend his last days. But, he was not like everyone else; he shared a dangerous line of trade.

David McKenzie was a rigid man in his early sixties, but his physique was as stocky as a middle-ager. Yet, his features did nothing to conceal his age; the wrinkled skin and the neat hair combed over to the left gave away the gentleman’s love for the ’60s. He always wore a suit; his line of trade persuaded him to do so, and he had no reason not to love it. He perfected his coat as he got out of the cab--work habits.

David had left the resort almost twenty minutes ago; an overnight stay to get him ready for the job. A flawless false ID won him all the way through until then, in this little town, but he could not ignore the possibility of doubt in the dubious of minds: the local souls. So, David had to get it all over soon, before things got out of hand. He raised his head and assured whether he was at the right location, and for someone’s misfortune, he was.

The pawnshop looked nothing more than ordinary. But this day, it meant a lot, lot more for some personages. It homed some treasures that it could never have even dreamt of possessing; some valuables that belonged elsewhere, in safer, more powerful hands. And that was the reason why McKenzie was now in front of this store. He had some possessions to retrieve.

David pushed open the front door and let himself in. The insides of the shop lit by the evening sun, it all was perfectly normal. A stout young man came in from behind the hall; his brown hair all messy, his eyes red and sunken. David could now understand what he was dealing with; it had made things easier for him. The young man observed David top to bottom; he didn’t have many customers in suits. And when he had them, it meant jackpots. So, the ‘junkie’ was undeniably interested in the deal that was about to happen; so was David.

“Well, sir. How can I help you?” the ‘junkie’ asked, his tone almost mocking. He was already awaiting someone, and this stocky, aged man seemed to satisfy the criteria. But he needed to confirm, and sure as hell, they had their silly little passcodes. “Well, I share a dangerous line of trade, kiddo,” David replied casually, resting his arms on the desk; this was a procedure with which he already accustomed. And his years of experience had him report this line even more times than he ever beckoned his mother.

The young man smirked at the comment and retraced his path, back to the hall behind the desk. “Come with me,” he announced as he stepped outside the room, and McKenzie followed. The ‘junkie’ locked the door behind them as McKenzie entered, and strolled over to the opposite side of the hall. The hall was gloomy and was a complete mess; overturned chairs and a heavy wooden table filled the room. But, David couldn’t notice any other cabins inside; his confused eyes followed the young man.

“Name’s Chris,” the young man spoke as he pushed the heavy, wooden table out of its position. A hidden vault, McKenzie was enjoying this endeavor; it was approaching his expectations now. He assisted Chris in moving the table over. The young chap was in no condition to move the furniture all by himself. When the table was out of frame, Chris hunched down on the floor and yanked open a tile, and as David anticipated, he found stairs that led to a bunker. Now, this is getting better.

Chris hopped down the stairs and switched the lights on. But as fit as he was, David still found stairs difficult; his legs had faced grave injuries in the tumultuous past, and the pain grew with him. When he reached the ground, he was impressed by the little cellar; the insides were mostly wooden, illuminated by an ordinary filament bulb. The yellow light almost strained his eyes; old age was affecting him in various ways. The cellar was not very spacious, but it provided enough space for these two to move around.

Chris tossed many items around, grabbed a suitcase, and sprang onto the slab, his eyes inspecting David all over again. “So, how about the payment, old man? You got cash? Cheque? ‘Cause cheques don’t work for this stuff.” David stayed silent for a moment. Then, he pulled something out of his coat pocket and walked towards the young man, “I was thinking about an exchange.” He slipped the thing that he carried across the slab. The ‘junkie’ leapt off abruptly on the shocking sight, his eyes and mouth hanging open.

“That’s, that’s the Medallion of Orkzestar,” he stammered. “Freak, this stuff can get you millions, if--if not billions. And you want to swap this with some silly papers from the 15th century? You are a psychopath.” David smirked at the comment, and replied, “Well, it’s an emotional thing.” His reply was brief, and Chris was beyond amazed by this gentleman. He sauntered over to the other side of the cellar, swaying his head sideways; something seemed wrong about all this; but still, the amount of profit blinded his intuition.

“Alright, it’s all in the suitcase. Farewell, sir, may we never see each other again,” Chris stepped back, saluting David with a confused look on his face. Child’s already dreaming, David grinned.

He leveraged the suitcase from the desk and turned about to face Chris. The next thing he did, however, drove Chris bothered; David again pocketed the Medallion. Now, he was preparing to leave with both the Medallion and the suitcase. “What are you doing, man? You can’t do that. Put the rich stuff down.” David didn’t bother; he just continued on his way to the stairs. Chris could not hold it in anymore; he grabbed his pistol and pointed it at David, “You are not going anywhere, sir.”

The next few seconds were too quick to perceive; the moment the bullet left Chris’ pistol, McKenzie made a swift turn, impossible for his age, grabbed his gun from behind, pulled the trigger and Chris was down on the ground. “Ah, shit! Shit! What’s the problem with you, dude?” Chris muttered loudly; deep in pain, he clenched his teeth together at the sight of a gap between his elbow and palm, his flesh hanging limp, blood now flowing in all directions. But, David did not stop; he came closer to Chris and pointed the gun at his temple, his face stagnant of expression.

“Woah, Woah, cool down, man. Just leave. Take whatever you want. Please don’t kill me. I am sorry. Sorry. Jesus! You are a freak. Give me, give me a chance, man. I won’t do anything. Just go, please.” David didn’t flinch; he kept the gun pointed at Chris’ temple. “I don’t believe in second chances, kiddo, ’cause I never got one.” Another gunshot reverberated inside the cellar. David climbed back up and arranged the hall all over again, the table back in its position. A hidden vault; it’s always interesting.

June 03, 2021 18:28

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