The One Who Knocks

Music throbbed from behind the reinforced steel door, like a caged thing beating against the limits that contained it.

Mikhail screwed the silencer into place. He hadn’t had time to replace it and found himself filled with an automatic concern over its performance. He chided the professional voice for not considering the ambient noise. If what was coming through the thick barrier in front of him was any indication, he’d be able to fire a machine gun inside without drawing much attention.

He pocketed the silenced weapon and stood, brushing down the front of his coat. The few flakes of snow that had managed to collect on his shoulders had already melted, and the black velvet rolled sleek and smooth under his gloved palms. He scuffed his boots against the thick mat in front of the door and then kicked twice at the base of it, steel-toed impacts ringing in the closed space of the entranceway.

A slide was pulled aside and a blast of sweaty air blew out, hot and filled with the electronic pulse of music. A pair of bloodshot eyes set into a black face regarded him with malicious suspicion.

“Mike Horn to see Mister Versailles,” Mikhail shouted, and hoped the owner of the angry eyes would open the door before closing the peep slot.

The eyes narrowed, and Mikhail looked up at the security camera he’d concealed the silencer from. He gave a little wave and a smile, and a moment later the sound of a heavier slide being pulled free filled the entranceway. He shoved the elongated barrel into the open slot and pulled the trigger twice, the gun coughing softly and hot blood covering his hand. He yanked the door open and spilled the crumpled body of an extra-large human out into the cold. There’d only been one man on the door, and Mikhail breathed a silent prayer in thanks. He stepped over the dead guard and entered the club.

2014.10.09 – 2023.06.01

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