Criminal is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.
How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.
How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.
To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.Show less
He emerged from the obscurity of the alleyway, an unlit cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Freddie had never been one for smoking. He always found himself coughing too much, but he liked the way it looked. Lifting his head up, he saw that the moon was crescent shaped. It was his favourite moon because of its dagger-like features.
Freddie pulled his tailored jacket up closer around his neck. Tonight was particularly chilly; more so than it had been in weeks, as if it had been trying to avert him from doing what needed to be done.
He put his hand into his pocket and pulled out a small photograph and a note. The woman in the black and white picture looked like someone typically seen on the cover of Cosmopolitan. Long perfectly straightened hair, and a seamless smile, albeit her crooked front tooth.
The note was crumpled in his grasp. Freddie straightened it out and began to read what he’d already read over and over again. He made sure it was the last time he'd see it by ripping it up and letting the speckled pieces descend onto the cobbled path.
A creak caught Freddie’s attention as he took the cigarette from his mouth and put it into his jacket pocket. His eyes scanned down the alleyway where an obscure silhouette was pushing open the metal gate that he had first come through.
"You’re late," said Freddie as the figure ambled towards him.
The man was much skinnier than Freddie. His mop of black hair stuck to his face, unlike Freddie’s neatly trimmed style.
"Sorry, I got held up."
"Did anyone see you?" Freddie questioned, his voice snappy.
"No, not that I know of," the man replied. His gaze shifted around as if he was unsure.
"We can’t risk this going wrong, Derek! Did you bring it?"
"You want me to get it out now?"
"I wanna see it."
Derek fumbled in the leather bag that he had brought along with him. His anxiety was laughable. Freddie tapped his foot in irritation until Derek pulled out the gun. It lay flat on his outstretched palm without a single finger touching it.
"Right, put it back now. We’re not going to use it yet," instructed Freddie.
He looked around briefly, uneasy that someone would appear out of the shadows.
"What have we got to do?" asked Derek as he shoved the gun back into his bag.
"I’ve told you this already!" Freddie retorted. "We gotta stay put and wait for them to arrive. I know their routine; they always come down here around this time."
Freddie thought about the note that was now scattered across the path. Some of it had blown away. Some of it lay water-logged in nearby puddles. He recalled how infuriated he’d felt when he’d received it. At first it took him a while to figure out who it had come from; partly because he had so many enemies, all of which wanted to seek some form of revenge on him.
The words on the page had not corresponded with his knowledge. Not until he’d done as the letter had told him and found his beloved wife tied to a chair at an abandoned address with a bullet through her head.
The wind picked up speed now. It began to bite at their clothes. Derek looked on edge. Freddie began to wonder why he was putting his faith into this man. It was obvious that his nerves would get the better of him. As much a Freddie wanted to, he knew that it would be risky if he himself pulled the trigger.
The faint sound of voices interrupted his train of thought. Freddie looked over to Derek and put a finger to his lips before mouthing get the gun. Derek complied.
Two figures were making their way through the gate, laughing and staggering about as if they were drunk. The voices grew louder with each clumsy step. Freddie and Derek, two sly silhouettes, lay in waiting. Closer and closer the pair came, unaware of their fate. Freddie twitched in anticipation.
"Do it!" he cried.
There was a scream. A body slumped to the ground with a groan. Hasty footsteps sprinted down the cobbled path.
"Get her!" bellowed Freddie.
Derek fumbled with the gun, his hands shaking. BANG! Her body crumpled to the floor. A writhing rag doll. Then, lifeless. Trembling, he turned around. Freddie was already bolting down the alleyway.
"Freddie!" yelled Derek.
Freddie didn’t look back. He wouldn’t. He heard the sound of the trigger click. No gunshot. He kept running.