Never Never

Never Never by Susan Kiernan-Lewis

Book: Never Never by Susan Kiernan-Lewis Read Free Book Online
Authors: Susan Kiernan-Lewis
last six months he’d started back down the road to the convent, the lure of the nuns’ cooking and the warmth of their underground jail cell drawing him there.
    And twice the sound of that bastard Donovan’s warning rang in his head like a death knell— If you ever come back we’ll shoot you on sight .
    It wasn’t fair. There was Mac who was the fecking leader of the rape camp! He of all of ‘em should’ve been strung up before poor Bill was or thrown out like Chezzie. But no. Mac—the wanker who started it all— he was eating hot meals and sleeping every night in a soft bed.
    Chezzie squinted skyward. There weren’t even pigeons in the park any more. He wondered how people had caught them in the past. The thought of roasted bird made his mouth water and his stomach cramped painfully. He ran a shaky hand across his face. Out of the corner of his eye he saw two men skulking along Harcourt. They didn’t seem to have noticed him which was strange since he was sitting out in the open.
    He knew it wasn’t safe here but the corner of the alley he’d called his own for the past month had been taken over by three women with knives. He wasn’t sure where to go from here. The two men were crouched over and moving quickly and Chezzie watched them with interest. One of them carried something under his arm—something that moved.
    Chezzie leaned forward. A dog? A chicken? Where had they gotten such a thing? He stood up without realizing he was doing it. He’d sold his body twice for food and found a sore arse a small price to pay for a full stomach. He watched the men as they stopped and looked over their shoulders. Were they being followed? Chezzie saw no one.
    He began to move in their direction. The worst they could do was tell him to bugger off. Well, as he picked up his pace he realized that wasn’t at all the worse they could do. But his hunger drove him forward.
    They’d left the park perimeter now but Chezzie saw which alley they’d disappeared down. A muffled squawk coming from up ahead told him they did indeed have a chicken. From the sounds of it, maybe even two.
    Where the feck did the bastards get chickens?
    He found himself running now. His legs felt wobbly. But the chickens grew louder the closer he got. His panting was deafening in his own ears. He didn’t know what he would do when he caught up with the men, whether he would beg them or attempt to grab one of the chickens. He just knew he had to try.
    He saw them at the end of the alley. The two men stood with their heads together as they began ripping the feathers from the live birds. The animals shrieked. One of the men bit the head off his bird and Chezzie watched the blood spurt from his mouth like a macabre fountain. His friend laughed. Chezzie must have made a sound because the laugh was stolen from the man’s lips as he turned and looked at Chezzie. His face hardened. He tucked his bird under his arm and pulled out a knife, facing Chezzie.
    â€œI just want…” Chezzie said, his voice a raspy whisper that didn’t even carry to the men.
    â€œGet away, ye gowl!” the man snarled, jabbing the air with his knife.
    But Chezzie could not stop coming. “I just need…” he whimpered.
    A gunshot fired. The man with the knife looked at Chezzie in surprise and then down at his chest where a blossom of blood exploded. He crumpled to his knees, the chicken racing away with a terrified squawk.
    Did I do that? Chezzie wondered in confusion, as he watched the chicken run toward him. He leaned down and snatched the animal up, shocked by the feel of its body—like a loose birdcage covered in feathers. He crushed the bird to his chest and swiveled to face the alley opening.
    Standing there were three soldiers. All three had their guns aimed at him.
    The Garda.
    One of the soldiers raised his rifle to his face and fired past Chezzie’s ear. Chezzie dropped the

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