The handgun was heavy in Frankie's hand, but it was nothing compared to the burdensome weight that hung on his heart. Despite the lies, the deceit, and that the man in front of him was nothing but an old criminal, full of evil greed, and hatred, still, deep inside, Frankie felt the blood connection and the lost time.
A dizzying haze of emotions, memories, and regrets sang through his mind in a swirl of anger, tears, and love.
“Do it now,” Carter shouted, deep and commanding, above the high-pitched squeals and cries of Frankie's son. “Do it now or the boy dies.”
“Dad,” cried Jake from the shadows. “Dad, he’s hurting me.”
The boy’s plea for help was cut short with a whimper.
At the sound of his son’s anguished cries, Frankie exhaled as if he’d taken a blow to his gut. Then he sucked a deep breath of warm stale air. He panted as if it were the first breath he’d ever taken. Or maybe the last. Heavy footsteps came from the shadows at the edge of his blurred sight. Carter approached, dragging Jake by his throat. The boy’s feet scrambled for purchase on the concrete floor. Frankie, startled, blinked away the tears, then turned to face Carter as he raised his son and held with one hand and held him in the open air with two-hundred metres of nothing but biting, cold air below him.
“All you have to do is pull the trigger,” said Carter. His voice boomed like a drum in the empty warehouse.
A wave of pressure pulsed through Frankie. He hung his head, and let his eyes refocus on the bare and broken feet of his father who sat, stripped to the waist, on a small wooden chair beside him, with his arms bound and with a smear of dark red blood across his torso. Angry blue bruises lay beneath the blood from the brutal beatings the men had delivered.
Frankie met his father’s eyes, but the man who had raised him cast his head down, shame weighing heavily on his mind.
“I’m sorry, Dad,” he said, his voice thick with emotion.
“Don’t be sorry, Son,” came his father’s broken reply. He raised his head to meet Frankie's sorrowful stare. “It’s your turn for life now. So live.” A sudden passion grew in his tone, unfamiliar yet endearing. It would be the last words Frankie heard from his father, they had to count. “Just promise me you won’t make the same mistakes I did. Be there for Jake. Watch him grow. Be a father, Frankie. Be a better father than I ever was.”
“Don’t,” said his father. “Just don’t say it.”
A silence fell, thick and impenetrable like being lost in fog.
Jake struggled. Carter tightened his grip, holding him further out above the drop. Jake stared up at his father with hope,and with fright; his eyes pleading for help.
“Pull the trigger, Son,” Frankie’s father whispered. “Pull the trigger and start over.”
“This is all most touching,” said Carter. “You’ve said your goodbyes. Now get on with it.”
Through the haze of Frankie's muddled mind, he held Jake’s eyes. Carter’s fat hands held the boy tight.
Frankie raised the gun once more and returned his gaze to his father.
“I love you, Dad.”
His father tore his eyes away ashamed of the tears than ran free. His face contorted as he fought the battle inside him to remain strong for his son, and grandson.
“I love you too, Son,” he croaked.
“Finish him,” Carter screamed.
“On three, Dad.”
His father closed his eyes, braced himself and nodded once in confirmation.
“Three,” said Frankie. His voice wavered.
His father’s head rocked forward once as if counting along in silence.
His father took a deep breath through his nose, leaned his head back and, for the briefest of seconds, seemed at peace with the world.
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John Weston was born in London, England, and is now enjoying the crystal clear waters and golden beaches of Dubai with his partner.
His writing is action-packed and fuelled by his passion for creative storytelling.
Best known for the hugely successful Stone Cold Thriller series, John seeks to shock and thrill readers with brutal and honest stories that keep the readers turning page after page; there's rarely a dull moment in any of the Stone Cold Thrillers.
When he is not writing, John is taking photographs, and enjoying the outdoors.
He craves a simple life.
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