The gas attendant raised his hand but it was no defence against the razor-sharp sword. The silent man wielding the blade was tall with a buzz cut. He’d intended to sever the boy’s head, but he figured a hand was nearly as good. He side-stepped the fountain of blood and threw the sword in the trunk of his Chevrolet. Be anything from a few minutes to an hour, he reckoned. The man quite liked the idea of a long, drawn out death. As long as it wasn’t his own. The boy was on the ground, moaning and taking in great gulps of air. His eyes were leaking tears of pain; the man guessed the boy was going into shock. Maybe that would kill him before the blood loss?
The man sauntered over to the office. He was pleased to see that it was empty, empty of people. He noticed the blinking, red light on the camera behind the counter. He grunted, reminding himself to disable the recorder, destroy the disc. He vaulted the counter and examined the cash register. He smiled. He’d seen a few like it in his time, he even knew the first cash register had been invented in 1879 by James Ritty. It was an ancient NCR machine with a manual drawer release. No key required. He lifted the front of the register and flicked the catch. The drawer sprang open.
He glanced out of the big window next to the counter. He couldn’t see the boy: just a curving trail of blood, black in the dust that blanketed the isolated gas station forecourt. The man pursed his lips and nodded. Give the boy his due; he wasn’t about to lie down and die. The man respected guts. He peered into the cash drawer. A quick riffle told him he was up two or three hundred bucks.
Deaf from birth, the man didn’t hear the engine start. Neither did he notice the big Chevrolet barrelling towards the gas station window. He noticed when it crashed through the glass and crushed him against the concrete pillar, though. Just before his brain winked out, he wondered how the kid had managed to put the Chevy in drive with no right hand.