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The Limit: Chapter 43

...She sat on the inside and Steven Dyson held her left arm twisted behind her back. But now his attention was wholly fixed on the shattered figure at the end of the platform. Dyson's agitation was close to panic.

Toni prepared to duck in case Maudie fired the gun...

Fiction doesn’t get more exciting than this. Peter Lacey’s crime thriller moves to a breath-stopping climax.

To read earlier chapters please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_limit/

The train ran around the southern section of the Pleasure Beach perimeter. Toni had ridden it before, with her niece Lucia. It had been an animated journey and they had enjoyed the hidden villages that housed plastercast Africans and Indians and dinosaurs, and they had laughed when it skirted waterways of slow rafts or tunnelled beneath the hollow structures of other rides.

This time she had watched, in horror, the confrontation on the bridge. The detail was obscured by the girderwork but the outcome had been apparent. Maudie had been wounded. Curtis had been killed.

The train was moving when he had begun his descent of the stairs and she had lost sight of him halfway down. Then there he was. Her hired gun. Standing at the edge of the platform.
He looked wrecked. One arm dangled uselessly, the knit shirt was dark with blood. In his other hand he held a gun but did not appear to have the strength to lift it. His face was luminous, as if the blood from it had already been drained by the wound.

She sat on the inside and Steven Dyson held her left arm twisted behind her back. But now his attention was wholly fixed on the shattered figure at the end of the platform. Dyson's agitation was close to panic.

Toni prepared to duck in case Maudie fired the gun but he didn't move. They twisted on the hard wooden bench as they
went past, to keep him in sight.

Maudie flung himself on board. It wasn't a jump or a leap. It wasn't a co-ordinated move. He simply flung himself at the open seats behind.

Surely he couldn't survive that, too?

Dyson pulled the Mauser automatic from the waistband of his trousers. He held the barrel beneath her nose.

"Don't give me cause," he said.

He turned again to look over both their shoulders. Toni twisted away from Dyson to look over her left shoulder. The raffia bag fell from her right shoulder on to her knee and she held it with her free right hand.

Where was Maudie?

The gun appeared first, clenched in his fist. He was eight seats back, at the very end of the train. He had only just made it.

"Bastard! Bastard, bastard, bastard."

Dyson levelled the gun but it wouldn't fire. He looked at it in disbelief.

Maudie's shoulder appeared, the arm moving to get a better grip. Then his head, the paleness of his face now smeared dark with blood from a gash on the temple.

He kept on coming, rising up to his feet as if he wanted to stand to make a speech. He was almost upright, and Toni began to worry about the low bridges that lay ahead, when he toppled forwards into the next open seat.

It was zombi determination. His limbs were not capable of climbing so he was falling from one seat to the next.

Seven back.

Toni felt along the spine of the raffia bag to find the blunt end of the steel knitting needle she had hidden there before leaving the house. She began to withdraw it, using thumb and forefinger of her gloved right hand.

The arm reappeared on the back of the next seat. Again it was followed by a shoulder and then his head. He paused. His eyes lost their glazed concentration for a moment and locked on hers.

He smiled. Incredibly, he smiled.

Beside her, she felt Dyson stiffen.

Maudie stood up again, and fell forward again, into the next seat.

Six away. Eighteen feet.

Dyson let go of her arm.

"One move and you're dead, bitch."

His fingers fumbled at the safety catch of the gun.

Her fingers pulled the steel needle free.

He turned, holding the gun in both hands, waiting for Maudie to reappear.

Maudie's fist, still clutching the silenced revolver, came into sight.

Dyson was breathing through his mouth. In his eagerness, he was leaning forward, one knee on the seat.

Toni turned to look over her right shoulder so that the needle was between their bodies and pointing at Dyson. She cushioned the blunt end with a small pack of tissues in her right palm.

Behind her, Maudie's shoulder was slowly appearing. Dyson sucked in his breath in anticipation. She dropped her head, pointed the needle with her left hand, and thrust.

It went into the side of his stomach three inches and stuck. Damn it, it stuck.

He screamed and half stood in surprise. The needle protruded from him like an arrow. He stared at it in horror, then at her.
He raised the gun and pointed it at her face. She looked at the end of the barrel. Guns kill, Maudie had said. They're deadly weapons. They kill.

She waited on a toytown ride through a pleasure park to be killed.

And then it wasn't there any more. The side of Dyson's head exploded and he and the gun flipped backwards out of the train as they went beneath the white timbers of the Big Dipper.

Toni looked back. Maudie hung over the back of a seat, held by his right arm, the revolver still pointing.

She climbed over to join him.


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