Knock Out

Knock Out

Page 2

Her voice pumped with adrenaline, she said, “Hey, jerk, you are him, aren’t you?”

Savich looked up full into her masked face. She was fine-boned, thin, probably had to stretch to make five-foot-three. He stared into her wild, excited dark eyes glittering behind the black ski mask. “Yeah,” he said, “I’m that jerk.”

She sang out, laughing, “I got me a bona fide FBI agent, right here at my feet. What a suuuprize! You scared yet, big man? I’m gonna get to kill me a real-life FBI agent!”

Jeff said, “Until we’ve got our money, we’re not popping anybody.” Jeff sounded on the manic side himself, forty years old, maybe fifty, a smoker’s voice, and, like the girl, he seemed to be in perpetual motion.

Savich heard Mac Jamison yell, “No!” Then there was a single gunshot, obscenely loud in the close confines of the vault. The two robbers came running out carrying dark cloth bags stuffed with money. In a voice frenzied with manic pleasure and excitement, the girl sang, “You got my birthday present?”

The woman yelled, “I sure do, sweetie! Now, let’s get out of here. Okay, Jeff, take care of business!”

“I got me some business too!” the girl sang out, her voice jumping high and uncontrolled.

Jeff, the robber holding Riley, shouted out, “Bye-bye, dirtbag!”

Savich had a second, no more, and no choice.

He rolled into the young woman’s legs, knocking her off balance, and kicked up hard into her stomach. She yelled in pain as she staggered backward, dropping her Colt as she waved her arms to keep her balance. As she fell, he pulled his SIG from his belt clip, rolled, and shot the man holding Riley in the middle of his forehead.

Riley ducked down fast, whirled around, shoved the man backward, grabbed his .38 right out of his hand, and opened fire at the man and woman holding the money. The woman yelled and fired back, spraying bullets everywhere, into the furniture, into the walls, shattering windows, kicking up shards of marble. People were screaming, some trying to scramble to their feet, others curled with their arms over their heads. This wasn’t good; people would die.

“Everyone, stay down!” Savich yelled. He lunged behind a desk as bullets ripped through the computer monitor six inches above him, spraying chunks of glass into the air. A bullet struck the keyboard, kicked it into the air, and it shattered, raining shards of plastic.

Too close, too close. He rolled to the far side, came up onto his elbows, and fired at the robber whose weapon was swinging around toward him. He shot him in the arm. The robber yelled in pain and anger, and fired back, a hot, fast dozen rounds. When the Colt’s magazine was empty, he didn’t seem to realize it at first and pulled frantically on the trigger, cursing. He threw the Colt to the floor as he ran for the front door, a sack of money over his shoulder like Santa carrying a bag of presents. He pulled a pistol out of his jacket and yelled, “Let’s get out of here, now!”

The woman screamed, “No! Jay, come back here! Help Lissy! She’s down!” But Jay didn’t stop. She began firing again, not at Savich this time but at Jay, who was running out on her. He heard screams and yells, a crazed dissonant cacophony of sounds, male and female, saw people pressing together, their arms over their heads. He prayed as he came up fast and fired. She jerked when his bullet hit her in the side. Her curses mixed with the screams, but the bullet didn’t stop her. She was firing again, wildly, out of control. It would be a matter of seconds until people started dying. Savich fired again but missed her as she jerked to the side. Suddenly Riley shouted at her. When she whipped around toward him, Riley fired a single shot. Her neck exploded, and blood fountained out in a huge arching spray. She dropped her weapon and the bag of money, grabbing her neck. Savich watched the blood spurt out from between her fingers. Her Colt skidded across the floor and fetched up against the tellers’ counter as she fell, gagging and keening as she choked on her own blood. The bag of money went skating the other way, hit a desk, and broke open, sending sheaves of hundred-dollar bills billowing out, fluttering down over the people on the floor. Savich saw the girl he’d kicked in the stomach elbowing her way across the floor toward the downed woman, sliding in the blood, screaming over and over, “No, no, no—this was supposed to be fun, this was our big score—”

He brought his boot down in the middle of her back, flattening her. “Stay still. It’s over.” She was crying, gasping with pain, trying to bring her legs up, but he held her still.


He turned toward the most beautiful voice he’d heard in his life, Sherlock’s voice. His foot lightened, and the young girl reached under her black sweater and jerked out a .22. He saw the flash of movement as she yelled, “Die, you bastard!” He felt the bullet split the air not an inch from his ear. He dropped his full weight flat on her and slammed his fist against her temple.

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