Hetman by Alex Shaw

Book: Hetman by Alex Shaw Read Free Book Online
Authors: Alex Shaw
    An AIDAN SNOW short story
    Digitally   published   with consent from Hetman Publishing. Date of first UK publication August 2012. This Booktango edition published August 2012. Copyright © Alexander William Shaw 2012
    The right of ‘Alex Shaw’ to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. This is a work of fiction.   All names, characters, places and incidents, other than those which are public domain, are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.   All rights reserved. This ebook is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated or transmitted without the author’s prior consent in any format other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition, including this condition, being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
    This book is dedicated to my wife Galia, my sons Alexander & Jonathan and my family in England and Ukraine.
    This short story was written entirely on location in Ukraine and the UK in August 2012.
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Brian Webb swayed as he hailed a taxi. It was the early hours of the morning and he’d been drinking since the early evening. The heat of the day had long since given way to the chill of the night. Webb shivered in his short sleeved shirt and cargo shorts. Within seconds a battered, yellow Daewoo Nubira pulled into the curb. The driver lowered the front passenger window and then with a price agreed Webb climbed into the back.   It was four a.m. as they sped along the all but deserted city streets. Even by his standards this had been a late night, Webb chuckled to himself. Life was good. He had a great life in Kyiv, a great wife and a great daughter. What more could he want? He let his eye lids drop as the taxi moved from tarmac to cobbles and headed downhill towards the Dnipro River. The vibration made his stomach wobble and his head nod. Webb had arrived in Ukraine in October 1997 with only four words of Russian ‘Da’, ‘Niet’, ‘Babushka’ and ‘Vodka’ but had somehow managed not only to survive but thrive. Not passing for a local, with his thick Yorkshire accent but being accepted as one by his neighbours, he would be sad to leave his adopted home. He opened his eyes as the taxi crossed the river and wound down the window slightly, breathing in the river cooled air. His eyes met those of the driver who quickly looked away. The man seemed to be in no mood to talk. The taxi continued on across the bridge, through Hydropark and then onto Levo Berezina – Kyiv’s left bank. The taxi abruptly pulled in at the side of the road. Webb sat forward and looked around. It wasn’t his street. The driver quickly got out and walked away. His brain slowed by alcohol, Webb remained seated for several seconds before he realised that something was wrong. He hauled his bulk out of the car and leant against the door. As Webb stared at the driver, the Ukrainian looked back and then broke into a run.   Webb heard footsteps behind and turned around. It was then that he saw them, illuminated in the eerie glow of the street lights.   About twenty feet away a group of four large men were heading directly for him. Webb watched mesmerised for a moment before his eyes focussed on the baseball bats two of them were carrying. The nearest figure pointed at him and then the group broke into a run. Webb felt his pulse quicken. He was defenceless. He looked down and saw that the keys to the taxi were still in the ignition. Without giving it a second thought he clambered into the driver’s seat, took the hand-break off and spun the taxi away from the curb.   He heard

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