The sound of her aristocratic, English accent, unfaded after all her years in America made him frown. And twitch. But from behind his back, his other hand emerged, a crude tattoo of a burning cross below his knuckles. He held a nickel-plated .45 caliber, semi-automatic pistol, but his hand shook from its weight. Or he was scared.
The concrete and steel of the parking garage receded, and she stood in a forest clearing. The cool spring of America gave way to a hot, Balkan summer. A rush of adrenaline heightened her senses as she saw not one but dozens of young men, clad in a mixture of Serb Army cast-off uniforms, jogging suits, and Soviet camouflage, their torsos festooned with AK-47s and RPG launchers. The cars and SUVs became Serbian Army tanks and armored cars. She smelled cordite, the coppery scent of blood.
Mai blinked, and only the one young man stood before her, the .45 making his arm droop. She pointed to the gun.
“Are you sure you chambered a round?” she asked.
His eyes widened and looked from her to the gun.
“Because if you’re not familiar with semi-autos, you could end up embarrassed when you pull the trigger and it goes click.” She snapped her fingers, and he flinched.
She front-kicked, the toe of her shoe contacting his wrist. The gun flew from his inexperienced fingers, sailed across the aisle, and skittered over the cement surface with a rasp. The boy clutched his wrist to his chest.
“You bitch, you broke my… Shit!”
She pointed her gun at him, a Beretta 92F with a fifteen-round magazine. Eight and one-half inches long, it probably appeared cannon-like to the boy. The Beretta weighed a shade over two and a half pounds, but she held it with long familiarity, two-handed, pointed at his head.
“I’m close enough,” she said, “a single nine-millimeter bullet will destroy most of your head. They’ll have to identify you from your DNA because your teeth will be decorating the cars behind you.”
“D-d-d-don’t shoot. Please.”
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