I don't know where this came from, but it was written from twelve to four in the morning.
Kirsty has to do something she will regret. But who is she losing? Her childhood friend or her malicious leader?
Kirsty closed her eyes. She'd known this was coming for a very long time; it shouldn't scare her now when she'd had so long to think of it. She had all the chances to say goodbye, even if she didn't use them. She could hear her mother's voice on her birthday.
"Look at her! Seventeen years old and her whole life in front of her!"
But the last time they'd seen each other; her mother had taken her cheeks between her palms and spoke in a strong voice. "Run. And don't let them take you." Her mother had then run off to stay with her sister, giving no reason for the sudden warning. But who was them? Who were the good guys? Kirsty could only hope she was with them now.
Unlike her old friends, she had morals. She'd killed people, but all of them had reasons. She didn't want to hurt an innocent.
Taking another deep breath, she rounded the next corner. Tracing the sandy walls with her fingertips, she drew back the silken drapes covering the doorway. They were blood-red. Maybe that symbolised something.
But she could think about that now because he was there. James Kiano. A douche. A bastard. Her best friend. He didn't look so terrible as he dreamt. It was so cliché, but James looked younger. A lot like the nine year old boy she'd met all those years ago. He was practically family; her mum always knew they were meant to be together. But Kirsty belonged to someone else now. No matter how much this would hurt, she had to do it. For them.
As she pulled the revolver out of the waistband of her jeans, she remembered the first time she'd touched a weapon like this. She was eleven. James had taught her to shoot properly, but she was one of the few in the group that had a natural knack for shooting. Back then, he'd been a helpful follower. Now, he was the leader. She and him made up two out of the three people who were from the original gang. Everyone else had either moved on or died. People moved on because James as a leader was unbearable. They'd died because they chose to do something about it.
It didn't matter much nowadays; James was the faceless leader or a gang that had members from here to the hills. To most, James was Keys. To Kirsty, he was James. She had to try and believe that James died years ago. That she was doing the world a favour for ridding it of Keys. But she was signing her own death warrant too.
He looked too peaceful when he was asleep. And she couldn't hurt an innocent. Her gun was poised at the ready so long that her arms almost cramped up. She couldn't do it. Not yet anyway. Any other day, she might've climbed in next to him in the single bed. In the morning, she'd see a glimpse of the James she knew and would try to convince herself not to listen to her orders. Tonight she couldn't afford such a luxury. Keys had to be gone be morning and Kirsty didn't want him to leave just yet. She wanted to remember.
Sitting on the floor, cross-legged and as close to James' head as possible, Kirsty remembered the day they'd first officially spoken. They'd met before, but never exchanged words. On the days her taller, more popular-obsessed friends had pushed James around and called him a dog for his shaggy and rarely cut hair, Kirsty had stood away from them. She'd not done anything to stop it, but she made it a point not to take part in it.
It was a few weeks later when the adult of the group, obviously annoyed about having to stay working during her summer holidays, had snapped at everyone to sit in a long line. It just so happened to be that James had chosen the spot the Kirsty's friends had their eyes on.
Now, it took ten minutes (a might feat for a group of seven to nine year olds) but James was persuaded to move up a space so that the small group of girls could sit together. His only condition was that out of all the girls sitting next to him, he wanted Kirsty to sit closest. The only explanation for this that the young girl could come up with at the time was the fact tat she didn't pick on him.
Because the teacher had walked off somewhere, leaving the children at one sit of the field, everyone was talking among themselves. A young girl with large grey eyes was left sitting at the edge of her friendship group, with only a dog for company. She'd actually thought those words in her mind and chastised herself for thinking of James as a dog.
"I don't think it's very nice that people call you a dog."
James whipped his head 'round, his brown hair hitting him in the face, "Hello to you too."
"Oh hello," Kirsty smiled.
"Do you always start chats like that?" He asked.
She thought for a short while before shaking her head.
"Good. And I don't like being called a dog."
Without thinking, Kirsty said, "You do know it's because of your hair, right?"
James gave the other girl a long look and nodded slowly.
"Why don't you cut it?"
"Why should I change for them? Even if I didn't like I hair, I don't want to change to suit those mean people."
Kirsty looked over her shoulder to see her friends all sitting in a circle. None of them had noticed she was talking to James. "I see."
James followed her stare, thinking that he'd offended her, "But they're your friends, aren't they?"
"No one's perfect."
A strange thing happened then; James smiled a wide grin but laughed quietly. "Some people are."
Times like that reminded Kirsty that her friend wasn't always corrupt. It wasn't until much later that he'd gotten into worse things than yelling. He was two years older than her then and was nineteen now. He was too young to die.
So was she.
Stopping herself from stroking his rough cheek, Kirsty tried to remember another time. But the only memory that came to mind was a few months ago.
It was a night a lot like this one; she'd climbed into bed next to James because she wanted to see the one she remembered in the morning. He was awake a few minutes before her, not an anomaly because both their body-clocks were attuned to wake when the sun rose.
Flat brown eyes stared down at her, "You look cute when you sleep, Kirst."
"Lovely way to wake up, a man staring at you."
"You know very well what happens when you climb into my bed. You have a perfectly good one down the hall."
She smiled, "Yeah, but I didn't want you to get lonely."
"Kirst, you do know I could have any girl I wanted in my bed at the click of my fingers." His hand was at the ready, as if he was going to click. The terrible thing was that she wouldn't be surprised if a girl came running.
Pulling on her jacket, Kirsty spoke over her shoulder, "Well if you'll let me leave, you can click away."
"No, Kirst. You know I didn't mean it like that."
She clicked her tongue, trying to mock him. "Of course you did. You like to boast, James; we both know that."
"Kirst," he warned.
"Fine. Keys. But you don't know much about girls. Keys," She growled the name. Keys was a cold-blooded killer. She didn't like calling her childhood friend such a name.
"I know you."
"That has nothing to do with it, I know that Stuart likes to sleep with the light on, doesn't mean I know all your bodyguards."
"No," he said, taking a hold of Kirst's arm. "I know you."
Kirsty stuttered nervously, he'd turned on friends before. He wouldn't do it to her, would he? "W-what does that mean?"
"And you know me. You know I wouldn't take any other girl in my bed and I know that you like waking up with me. And you're not exactly alone on that," it was said in such a matter of fact tone that Kirsty wondered how long he'd known.
But she froze up completely when James had reached over and tucked her brown hair behind her ear. He'd leaned forward and kissed her full on the mouth. He was the leader, though. He was the dominant in whatever relationship they'd had. She saw his eyes watching her as they kissed. Flat brown and perfectly normal. But as a flash of malice flashed in them she knew she wasn't kissing James. She was kissing Keys. And now Keys knew how she felt about James. Another way to manipulate her under his belt.
Up until a week after that memory, she'd been completely loyal to James. She hadn't worked for anyone else. She hadn't even thought about going to rival gangs. It was only by chance she did.
Becca wasn't supposed to be in the shopping centre when it happened. She wasn't supposed to call her auntie to come and pick her up on the day. The worst thing was the Keys knew they were in there. He still gave the word for the fireworks to be set off.
Kirsty wasn't informed of her cousin and mother's deaths until the day the rubble was cleared. And on that day, James had held her whilst she cried for them. But only on the first day. That was the only time he had any sympathy for her. He'd then told her that they died for a good cause and that if they were alive, they'd be proud of her. That was when she'd started meeting with Nigel. She never liked him, but his ideas seemed more ideal that the violent ones Keys came up with.
She'd listened to Nigel's idea to get of Keys and at the time she wanted revenge. She automatically offered to do it and it was decided.
Kirsty couldn't stop herself this time; she reached up and stroked James' face. Almost simultaneously he was awake. No one could say he had slow reactions. Before she could complain, James had pulled her up to the bed and was now straddling her. She'd left the gun on the floor and kicked it a little further under the bed as she was pulled up.
"Good morning," he kissed her nose.
Kirsty stopped. He hadn't kissed her at all since the day she'd found out about her mother and cousin. She swallowed and put on a smile. "What's got you so happy?"
"Oh I don't know. Pretty girls watching me sleep. Her lying underneath me. She's in my bed." He rolled his hips in a suggestive manner.
"Of course," she laughed, her heart beating fast. James didn't do sexy. Not this early in the morning, he was only joking. "Care to let me up?"
"Only if I get a kiss," he leaned down and stole one without her permission and Kirsty responded. She wasn't disgusted because she wasn't kissing Keys. She cared about James.
Remembering what she had to do, Kirsty rolled him over so that she was now on top. She looked grim for just a second before reaching under the bed to retrieve the gun.
James watched her now. Not Keys. Keys had travelled as far away from the front of his mind and it was obvious to Kirsty who she'd end up killing. But to get rid of one, they both had to go. And both James and Kirsty knew this.
"You know I have to do this."
James nodded; his mouth dry. He didn't look scared though. Maybe it was just a natural reaction to a weapon being pointed at you. He could probably yell for help if need be, but he didn't want to.
Kirsty lifted the gun, tears running down her cheeks. She didn't want to.
James remembered his voice, "They'll torture you."
"I know. But I don't mind. I don't want to kill you. But…"
"But you have to. You've said that. I understand. I knew this was coming. I just didn't want you to be the one to do it. They'll kill you, Kirst."
She paused, "Why don't you do it for them?"
"If I can do it, so can you." And leaning over James, she reached into his bedside drawers and pulled out another revolver. The exact same model as the one she was holding in the other hand. She checked the bullets and handed it to James.
"You know I could shoot you now, stop you from killing me."
"You won't though."
"I know, I was just pointing that out. I thought I taught you well, you're not supposed to hand your hostage a loaded gun."
"Shut up," she laughed once.
James weighed the gun in his palm as he looked up at his only real friend. "Kiss me."
Kirsty didn't care right now. She leaned down and did as he asked. By the end of it, the kiss tasted of tears and they were lying on their sides.
She paused. No time like the present.
"I love you."
It was an automatic reaction, "Ditto, Kirst."
Twin gun shots went off simultaneously and Key's bodyguards jumped to attention. They ripped the red curtain back to see their boss and his best friend, lying on their sides facing each other on the single bed against the far corner. Blood soaked the sheets and already they could see they were gone.
They'd shot each other in the heart.
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