Thanks to everyone that have read the previous installments. I appreciate the “Likes” and comments and will try to be more diligent with my time in the next series.
Water for Blood – The Conclusion
By Robert C Price
“Wakey, wakey little shit. Your daddy’s comin’,” as Derek gave little smacks to Terrence’s face.
He blinked as if wet sand covered his eyelids and shifted his body left to right. Drool had pooled next to his mouth. First instinct was to wipe, but Derek had his hands restrained to the armchair.
Nothing looked familiar to him. Everything muddled and out of focus. Brow furrowed, He looked at his captor and slurred, “Dad’s dead.”
“Not your real daddy…that crack addict bastard. Your new daddy. My brother,” said the thug as he smacked the pre-teen hard for good measure.
With that, Terrence found himself alert and panicked. The memories of the past few hours flooded in and destroyed his hope for survival.
Through tears, he whispered, “You killed my mom.”
His captor, inches away from his face, also whispered, “Yeah, I did,” and smiled.
“You told me it was a simple kidnapping, D. Some dude’s son for money owed. Nobody gets hurt,” said Angeline walking out of the bathroom, “I ain’t goin’ down for no fuckin’ murder.”
After Derek dropped his head and sighed, He grabbed his Beretta off the dresser, placed it in his lap, and turned to her with a face stolid from years of battle.
“Bitch, yo’ ass is neck deep in this shit. You paid for the room. Dude up front ain’t see me. And if he did, all he saw was a bunch a black people. You know he thinkin’ we all look alike. I ain’t pay for shit. Fuckin’ plane tickets in your name…oh by the way, don’t leave your shit all open like that. Gotta be more careful.”
She sunk to the floor like a concrete block dropped in the ocean. Little pools welled in her eyes and her stomach became queasy as bile inched its way up her throat.
“Now, when you done feelin’ sorry for yourself, go back in the bathroom, freshen up and get your shit together. We got company comin’.”
The Amble Inn Motel resided on State Road 7, not too far from where I worked as a mechanic. Symphony told me where they were and it made sense they wanted to keep tabs. Probably been following me for a while.
She said that Reese and the other two had an adjacent room to Derek and Angeline. Terrence was in Room 5 with them.
I rode by and glanced at the ground floor monstrosity painted institutional white. It was a dump—the kindest compliment I could give it. The building lacked lighting except for the outside lamps right above the door. It gave me the cover I needed to get my son. When I turned down SW 8th St, an orange-red flame from a cigarette flared in the darkness. Someone’s keeping watch.
A residential neighborhood bordered the motel. I made a couple of left turns and arrived at a parking lot behind the building. There was a five-foot wall covered in some shrubbery that served as a barrier between the two.
I sat there in that half-empty lot and mulled over the events. There was no time to grieve. It had to wait until this was finished. The focus was Terrence and getting him away from my brother.
On that tape, I saw the horror in his eyes as he watched his mother die. For him to have seen that broke my heart. He was just 6 years old when I dated his mom. Young buck tried to protect her from the likes of me. The men that came in his life treated him like a snot nose brat which he could be, but I showed him respect. I had to win that before I could even begin to win her love.
The tears streamed like a broken dam. I didn’t have the strength to keep it in anymore.
After a few minutes, I opened the sun-visor mirror and searched for the man I used to be. The man who didn’t give a fuck about anyone. I needed him to save Jackie’s legacy and ease my guilt.
I got out the car, climbed over the wall and waded through the grassy strip of the motel’s yard. In the rear of the building, there were six small windows spread out that opened into the bathrooms. Through the fifth window, I peeked in hoping I’d catch a glimpse of my son. Instead, I saw Angeline grip the sink as if a Cat 5 Hurricane had hit the shoreline. Black mascara tracks formed at the bottom of her puffy eyelids. From the cracked door, I heard Derek bark, “Get your ass out here!”
She had her hand under the base of her mouth and dry heaved twice. I don’t know why I snickered at that moment. It could’ve been the stress of all that’s happened or that there was another person who found Derek just as fucked up as I did.
Satisfied with controlling her revulsion, she went for the door handle, stopped, and quickly turned to face the window.
I ducked and fetched the gun from the small of my back. I prayed that she didn’t notice me and alert my brother. If I had to, a gun butt to the back of her head would suffice.
Whatever inkling or spidey sense Angeline had about the window dissipated when she walked out the door.
With a momentary sigh of relief, I crept along the rear until arriving at the left flank of the building.
Reese leaned against the wall sucking on nicotine like a baby being breastfed. He never saw me slide around the corner and placed the .45 underneath his chin.
“What up, Reese?” with the gun deep in his skin.
“Stevie. You just itchin’ to get that boy killed”
“Not today. You, though, got a helluva chance.”
I lifted his weapon from his waistband, tossed it and walked him up three concrete stairs over to Room #5.
“Get me inside or I’ll kill you right here and if I survive, I’ll go to Philly and massacre your whole family,” is what I whispered in his ear.
His eyes went wide as he turned towards me. I meant every word I said.
Reese knocked on the door twice and I felt hesitation seep through the door like a vat of fish grease.
“Who is it,” the girl yelled.
Reese answered, “It’s me. Open the door.”
I got behind and kicked his ass right through the door the moment she opened it. The force knocked her and Reese down on the ratty carpet. I ambled in with the .45 trained on Derek.
“Don’t do it, Stevie… I’ll kill ‘em just as sure as you standin’ there,” as he stood next to Terrence, left hand around his neck, right hand with a Glock inches away from the temple.
“Let ‘em go, D or…”
“Or what muthafucka? WHAT? Fuck this…Imma pull dis trigga now.
I threw up my hands and pitched the gun to the side. Pissed as hell, Reese got the firearm, closed the door and added a little retaliation to my lip for the third time tonight. The girl rose from the nasty floor and stood between the nightstand and my big brother.
“You got me. Everyone is still alive. I didn’t deliver, but you really don’t give two-shits about that, right? It’s all about me and why I left. Why I broke up the family,” as I put my hands down. Reese extended his arm further in my direction.
“Shit, I know why you left. Your nose was open. You left the family for some bitch. Me for a school teacher and her little pussy of a son,” slapping Terrence’s head when he said it.
My hand throbbed with anticipation of ripping his throat out.
“It was more than that, but it helped with my decision to go. I didn’t want the life anymore. All that bullshit that came with it wasn’t doing anything for me.”
“So, you grew a fuckin’ conscience?”
“I always had it. I just woke up. Y’know that Cleaners I had on 48th and Spruce? There was this bum that would camp out in front of the entranceway. No matter how many times I told ‘em to hit the bricks, he’d keep comin’ back. I threatened all types of bodily harm to this dude and he wouldn’t budge.
So that Friday, I came to pick up the weeks take and had my bat with me. I went out to the front and beat the shit outta him. Dude was bloody and bruised. This mom and her little boy was walking by, right, and looked at me like I was Jason from Friday the 13th. The whole block was staring and I looked at the blood on my hands. I never gave a damn about the people we killed. They knew the deal, but this bum…I felt like a piece of shit. I was done after that.”
Derek rolled his eyes and faked a sob after my explanation. His henchman with the gun on me rumbled like a trash truck.
“You’re weak. I got tortured cuz of you. I had to earn back Tamik and Raheem’s trust cuz of you. I’m still livin’ on borrowed time wit ‘em cuz of you and you got all shooked over a raggedy ass bum. You ain’t learn shit. Nobody gives a fuck, Stevie. But at least we had each other and you pissed on that. This little bitch is dyin’.”
When he made the move to pull the trigger, his girl grabbed the syringe off the nightstand and plunged it deep into my brother’s jugular. Clawing after the needle, his 9mm dropped as the carpet swallowed the rest of his being.
I took out the rest of my frustration on Reese and leveled him into the TV. A pool of blood formed under his head. It was a matter of time before the two next door would sprint over from the commotion.
After Angeline untied Terrence, I dashed over to check on him.
“You alright, little man?”
“Yeah, Ma’s dead.”
“I know,” I hugged him as tight as I could, “I know.”
They banged on the door and called out.
“Terrence hide in the bathroom and don’t come out until I tell you.”
The boy hurried in and closed the door behind him.
I saw Angeline grab the gun from the floor and chambered a round.
“You don’t have to do this. You can get in there too.”
“For what? So they can kill me anyway. You gotta better chance wit’ me than witout me.”
I had her open the door with my .45 pointed at the first one through. The second one met the barrel of my partner.
“Put ‘em down now and you can walk outta here.”
They hesitated but complied.
“You tell the Brothers it’s over. They’ll never hear from me and don’t come lookin’. I’ll disappear like before. But if I smell ‘em in the vicinity, I’ll burn all of West Philly to the ground. That’s a fuckin’ promise.”
I glanced back at Derek laying there, drool streamed from his mouth. I wanted him dead. Badly. But my son had seen enough destruction for one night. Jackie would appreciate it.
“Take my brother back home. I don’t have the stomach to kill anymore.”