Francis Maguire held pistols in both hands, held up at gang members to either side of him. “It’s too early for this,” he growled at his partner.
Kevin Corcoran was back to back with Maguire. He had both pistols pointed at the giant of a man before him. He smiled grimly. “Dawn on the waterfront and the smell of fresh fish. We’re about to take in Big Jack and his boys. What could be better?”
Maguire rolled his eyes. “Molly’s bed.”
Corcoran didn’t break eye contact with the giant. “All in good time,” he replied calmly. “We’ve got work to do first.”
“They’re only coppers,” one of them snarled. “Let’s kill ’em.”
Big Jack was bald with tats covering his scalp. He grinned savagely and flourished a large bowie knife. His broken, yellowed teeth only served to heighten the effect. He spoke with a thick Welsh accent. “All right,” he told the rest of them. “Kill ‘em.”
“Where’s O’Brien?” Maguire muttered darkly.
“Relax,” Corcoran whispered. “He’ll be here.”
Suddenly, the man to Corcoran’s left crumpled into a bloody mess from the rifle bullet in the dead center of his chest. The gang member next to him met the same fate before anyone had time to react. The first one who tried to run took a bullet in the back of the head and toppled into the water.
Maguire fired, killing one of his targets and only winging the other. The wounded man turned and ran. “Remind to buy O’Brien a whiskey,” he threw over his shoulder to Corcoran as he started chasing.
“Me too.” Corcoran moved a split second after he saw Jack’s eyebrow twitch. He took off running after him.
Jack ran straight for the nearest crowded neighborhood with Corcoran hot on his heels. They ran through narrow alleys filled with garbage. They shoved anyone and anything out of the way.
Jack had to duck clotheslines. He grabbed whatever bystanders he could and threw them down behind him to slow Corcoran’s progress. He brought a stack of crates down behind him. “Give it up, Copper,” he yelled and swiftly disappeared behind a corner.
Corcoran didn’t have time to worry about the woman he plowed over. He glanced over his shoulder to see her climbing to her feet and shouting after him. He jumped over the crates and almost overran the corner.
Corcoran stopped short at the sight of the packed street. He scanned the crowd for the giant with the colorful scalp but Jack had disappeared into the sea of faces. He tried pushing his way through, but it was like trying to swim against the tide.
He cursed under his breath and ran back to the scene. He found five dead men, one mortally wounded, and Maguire and O’Brien standing over a man with an injured shoulder sitting on a crate.
Maguire grinned. “I got my man.” His face fell in comic dismay. “But I see that you didn’t.”
Corcoran grunted and hauled their only living suspect to his feet. “Let’s get him to the doc.”
Maguire and O’Brien were about to follow when Maguire elbowed O’Brien. Maguire smirked expectantly and held his hand out. O’Brien, who usually let his rifle do his talking for him, rolled his eyes and slapped a coin in Maguire’s hand.