For part one of this short fiction series, go here!

My face hit the pavement before I even knew what was going on. My left cheek would be bruised from the haymaker it just took, while my right cheek would be scratched up and bloodied from the impact of kissing asphalt. I turned up in time to see my attacker’s foot coming down to finish the job. Before it could make a crushing connection, messing up my mug permanently, I grabbed the foot with both hands and twisted hard. Upon hearing a satisfying snap and yelp of pain, I rolled into a somewhat staggered stance and got a good look at my opponent.

I could not see his face too well, seeing as how it was dark out. The buzzing streetlamp above us did not aid in the identification of my attacker. He stood a good foot taller than me. His build was not unlike that of a football linebacker. His hands looked rough and definitely felt like a couple of large hams when they connected with my face.

The man swung at me again, and even though I was still a bit groggy from hitting the floor, I managed to block the blow and return the favor by throwing a punch at his gut. My fist connected with his paunch and he double over. I pulled my piece and aimed. At that his eyes widened and he took off running – albeit out of breath. I decided not to shoot at him and holstered my gun. He would be no good to me dead. I needed him alive if I were to get any answers. I decided to chase him down.

A steady rain had started. My shoes were soaked and I could feel it in my socks. Water sloshed around my feet and I nearly slid a couple of times on the slick sidewalks. I could barely see the burly man I was chasing through the blinding sheets of water coming down. Only once did he look back at me. He knew I was after him and he was doing all he could to get away; even with a hitch in his step.

I thought to myself: Not this time, buddy. My luck suddenly changed. My quarry stopped to catch his breath. I charged with whatever energy I had left and tackled him to the ground. Not really wanting to go through another wild goose chase, I hit him hard enough to knock him out.

I did what I could to drag him through the wet streets until we got to my office building. It was difficult because of his bulk, but I somehow managed to accomplish the task. Carrying him up the stairs was a bit of a challenge. It was out of pure determination to find out who this guy was and why he was tailing me that I got him to my office. I threw him into the chair where Miss Ilsa Munroe had sat just hours previously.

“Okay pal,” I said taking off my wet hat and coat and laying them on my chair. “What were ya doin’ tailin’ me like ya did?” He did not say anything. Although I did get a better look at him now that we were in better lighting. The guy looked out of place, like he did not belong in America. I couldn’t quite place it. He had a big bushy beard, buggy eyes, tiny ears, and his nose looked like it had taken one too many hits. “C’mon, buddy. Spit it out.”

Remaining silent after I asked him a third time, I decided it was time to stop being Mr. Nice Guy. I secured his hands behind the chair with a pair of handcuffs I kept for occasions such as this. Then I rolled up my sleeves so as to not get any blood on them, took a pair of my trusty brass knuckles, and did something I have not done for a long time.  I got a bit rough with my special guest. His eyes widened again in fear.

After taking a few hits to the jaw, cheeks, and solar plexus, I finally got the information I had wanted. The guy’s name was Rolkov. He was a Russian hit-man currently bought by the family of the man Ilsa was running from: Eddie Malone. I noticed an empty holster under his coat. Either he didn’t carry a heater with him, or the holster was loose enough that the gun must have fallen out during our struggle. Malone’s family didn’t want me getting close to the case and sent someone to take me out before I found anything too juicy. Too bad for them I took out their only ace in the hole.

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