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Dead Good Christmas: An exclusive short story from Will Jordan

On the second day of Christmas….

Here’s the second of our Dead Good Christmas offerings – exclusive free short stories, lovingly crafted by some of our best selling crime and thriller authors – and our December gift exclusively for Dead Good fans.

This short story is from author of the Ryan Drake novels, Will Jordan, and is called ‘A Good Deed’.

‘A Good Deed’ ©Will Jordan

You think you know me.

You don’t.

You tell yourself I’m evil, that I derive pleasure from each life I take.

You’re wrong.

If only I could make you understand the truth. If only you could see the world as I see it. If only you could feel as I feel.

I walk unseen, unnoticed down a busy street. It’s early evening in December, the air smells of snow that I know won’t come. Lights have been strung up and clichéd Christmas music plays from shops, bars and cafes – artificial cheer for an artificial world.

People are everywhere, many trudging home but others lingering for an after-work drink.

Moving amongst them now, I see so many deserving of my attention.

The investment banker sipping back on a whisky and coke in a pretentious looking bar, who sold all his stock before the company went under, caring nothing for the people who trusted him with their money.

‘So sorry about what happened,’ he’d say with false sympathy. ‘It’s just bad luck really.’

Bad luck. I know all about bad luck. I see it every day of my life.

So many lives I’ve taken for nothing more than bad luck.

I’m so wrapped up in these thoughts that I barely brush past a young man in faded jeans and a scuffed leather jacket. He doesn’t even spare me a glance.

But I see him. I know him.

I know he lost his job. I know that two weeks ago he drank too much, got into an argument with his girlfriend and lashed out with his fists. I know they both made excuses the next day, pretended it was just an accident and they still loved each other.

But the pattern’s been set. It’ll happen again.

I want to take him at that moment. I want to take him so badly that I can feel it boiling up inside and I have to clench my fists and force myself to move on.

I’ll get to him eventually.

But not today.

Today I have a different mission.

I push on down the street, heading for the little café where I know she’ll be. She goes there often for coffee on the way home from work. A cinnamon latte.

I linger on the opposite side of the street, waiting patiently for her.

I watch as she steps out into the night with her takeaway cup. She’s wearing a heavy overcoat to ward off the chill breeze that whips down the street, carrying with it dead leaves and the smell of snow that I know won’t come.

She’s young, not even thirty. Short and petite, with long chestnut hair and freckles across her nose that makes her seem a lot younger. Still in the full bloom of life.

She turns right, heading downhill, and I follow a short distance behind. Unseen, unnoticed. It’s amazing how people ignore what they don’t want to see.

I increase my pace, drawing closer. I can smell the faint scent of her perfume and the spicy tang of cinnamon.

I don’t know her name. I never know. A name is just a word. It does nothing to convey who a person is, what they’ve done and what they might yet do.

That’s what interests me.

In that way, I know her. I know she works hard as a PA to some manager who doesn’t pay enough. I know she’s single, that she’s had previous boyfriends but that it just hasn’t worked out. I know she’s a good-natured person who laughs easily, who other people instinctively warm to.

And I know that in less than sixty seconds she’ll be dead.

She stops at a pedestrian crossing with a dozen other people, waiting for the green light while traffic surges past. I watch as she tilts her head down, her lips pursed as she sips from the steaming cup. A loose strand of hair has fallen in front of her eye but she makes no move to brush it aside. Instead she adjusts the strap of her handbag, finding a more comfortable position.

I’m not the only one watching her.

Another man is there, standing just yards from me. I can feel his nervous anticipation, the sweat coating his palms, the adrenaline coursing through his veins.

I see it playing out. I see him rushing forward, making a grab for her handbag. I see her grip tightening, trying to fight him off. I see them briefly wrestle over the prize while everyone else at the crossing stands there agape. But her small size will betray her. I see her shoved backward, into the path of a taxi speeding around the corner.

I see it all happen in an instant.

He’s making his move. He takes a step, then another, building momentum and aggression. His hands are by his sides, twitching and eager, all his attention focussed on the bag as he takes the last step.

Then something strange happens. Something even I didn’t expect.

I reach out and touch him.

His foot catches on an uneven paving slab and he pitches forward, his own momentum carrying him right past her. He lands with a heavy thump on the road just as a black taxi speeds around the corner.

It’s over in a heartbeat. I hear gasps of shock and the screech of brakes as I turn and walk away, back towards the cheap lights and the clichéd music and the artificial festive cheer.

I feel something land on my face, and I look up to see a snowflake drifting down from above, soon followed by others.

For the first time in a long time, I smile.

Perhaps things don’t always work out the way we expect, and that’s just fine with me.

My smile persists as I walk off into the night with snow falling around me. There will be other work tonight; there always is. But just for this moment, I feel good.

Just this once, I got to save a life.

You think you know me.

You don’t.

The End

Well, we hope that you enjoyed our second short story. In case you missed the first it’s here – Christopher Fowler’s ‘Bryant & May On The Beat’.

Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter below and join our Facebook or Twitter pages to ensure that you don’t miss a single short story this December. You will also receive news about future exclusive promotions and goodies in the New Year.

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