“Get down, Detective!” Elias warned before getting into the car prepared for him. His own man had already been shot and killed by Dominic, who in turn had been shot by an unknown and unseen assailant. Elias knew he was next, so the bullet that pierced his shoulder did not surprise him. What did surprise him was the lack of pain. He could feel where he had been hit, but a strange numbness – a sense of detachment – blunted the edges of his consciousness. This must be the end, he thought while slipping deeper into the haze.
“Hey, Boss,” came a familiar voice. “Don’t worry – it’s gonna be okay.”
“Anthony!” Elias cried with relief and unfeigned joy. It had been too long since he had last seen his friend’s face, which was now smiling down at him with that familiar lopsided smirk. Elias choked back his emotions and swallowed before managing to say, “You came back for me.”
“No, Boss,” Anthony replied, his voice gentle. “I never left.”
Elias nodded, feeling whole again for the first time in what seemed like ages. “It’s just the two of us now, isn’t it?” he asked. It was also a reminder.
“Yeah… just the two of us… Carl.”
The laugh that slipped out of Elias shook loose his tears.
“It’s gonna be all right, Carl,” Anthony repeated, then bent to press his lips to Elias’ forehead.
“I know,” he answered and smiled.