Winner of the Derringer Award for best short crime story.
"I mean it," the gunman shrieked, and he pointed the revolver at Ward, the end of the barrel moving in tiny circles with the shaking of his hands. "I mean it. One step closer..."
Ward stopped where he was. Other than the man with the gun, no-one else was standing. The sun was shining bright through the frosted windows, and somewhere in the bank a lazy dying fly buzzed and battered against the glass. The bank smelt of floor polish. Ward could taste the pickle from the sandwich he had eaten an hour earlier. Everything was very real, as sharp and defined as the stars on a cold and cloudless November night.
I've not been a bad man, Ward thought, although I could have been a better one. But I've not been a bad man. There's always that. He thought about how blue and perfect the sky had been that morning. He thought of Sarah, of how they were before it had all gone wrong, and he wondered what she was doing now. He hoped that she was happy. I don't think I have ever felt more alive, he thought. And now I know I've wasted so many things. So much time.