L.A. Ninja II: Rise of the Cartel by Adrian Huerta by Adrian Huerta - Read Online

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Summary

In the aftermath of street war, Gabe and Detective Munoz take different paths, trying to find peace and understanding. Destiny and fate, though, would have something else in mind. The ruthless cartels have grand ideas for the streets of L.A. too, and they keep revenge on the agenda in their rise to power and control. Munoz struggles with his morals as he discovers new powers and meets new people. Can Gabe keep it together with the curveballs life throws his way? Can he find it in him to mend his shattered heart?

Published: Adrian Huerta on
ISBN: 9781311365859
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    Page 1 of 1

    Vida

    Chapter I: Life After the War

    Edmund lay with his girlfriend on a blanket, on the soft beach sand. She squirmed and giggled endlessly as he tickled her sides. She could not escape his grip. They rarely went to the beach at night, or in the day for that matter, for in LA the beaches were patrolled well. Still, Edmund and Gloria decided to chance it on this late evening.

    Gloria rubbed Edmund’s tightly shaved head. He loved it when broads did that. He smiled, but he could only see her from the faded light of her iPhone. He put his cold hand on her, under her shirt against her cold stomach, and then quickly up to her breast. He could always have his way with her.

    The waves crashed thunderously, and the darkness and emptiness of the sand made them feel desolate. It made them feel even more alone and isolated from the their crazy LA world. They could barely hear the sound of the Motown oldies playing on her radio app. She tried pushing his hand away, but not with urgency. What, he said before he kissed her and cupped her breast tighter. She gave up her fight.

    They didn’t feel the cold as things heated up between them. They kissed with more passion, and she moaned with pleasure as he kissed her neck and moved his hands down to her pants, working quickly to unbutton them and reach down to her. Her crotch was thick, but he didn’t care. He unbuttoned and pulled his down partially, and then he took her.

    Edmund was a proud-ass gangster. He had been down for his shit since fourteen, which now at nineteen, made him hardcore. He was known as Rider from the Harbor City Hoods gang, and he proudly showed off his HCH tattoo on his arms, back, and head. He started ballin’ even harder, too, since he started his own circle of street soldiers, moving a gang of meth and weed, and finally earning cash and respect. He knew he was the shit.

    Watch this, he told Gloria. I’m gonna tag this shit up for the west side. He sat up and grabbed his backpack satchel.

    Where you going? she whined in protest.

    You’ll see, girl, he said as he kissed her and ran off, disappearing into the darkness. He reached the beach wall and pulled out a can of spray paint. He began tagging it with the outline of an H. As he worked, his mind became focused. He rarely tagged walls, as the act was left for the younger gangsters, but he loved doing it. He gave himself a pass on it anyways, since he was so down for so much other crazier shit.

    He finished the outline and he reached for his bag to nozzle another color. He didn’t see the cops roll up on him, and before he knew it, he was trapped by two of them. Freeze right there! a cop yelled out as the light from the flashlight sat suddenly upon him. He knew he was fucked.

    Put your fucking hands up now! the cop ordered. Edmund calculated his chances of making a run for it, but he knew in an instant that he had none. This was it. He let go of the thought of fighting.

    Keep your hands up! the cop ordered again, with a firm holler. Do not move! If you move we will fire on you!

    The other cop approached and then kicked the satchel out of Edmund’s reach. He then grabbed one of Edmund’s arms and then the other, cuffing him. What is your name? the cop barked as he searched Edmund’s pockets. The other cop began searching the bag, pulling out the two cans of paint and tossing them down.

    What is your name, asshole? You are under arrest, the cop said calmly.

    Look here, partner, the other cop said, pulling out a small piece of foil.

    And what might that be? the cop said, almost with a laugh. He flashed his light into Edmund’s eyes, and then around his head and arms. Edmund subtly looked out into the distance. He thought that he could make out a faint silhouette of Gloria, but he couldn’t be sure. That bitch was gonna get away. He sighed and rolled his eyes slightly. He fucked up. He should have never brought that ho down here. It was her fault.

    And lookie here, the other cop said, pulling out a baggie with white rocks in it. Edmund did not flinch. He knew they’d find the dope, but he didn’t see the cop add a second baggie to the piling evidence against Edmund, enough to bust him for dealing, which carried a higher sentence rather than just possession. The first cop continued with the flashlight, lifting up Edmund’s shirt to look at the tattoos on his back.

    Looks like we got another small time gangster from Harbor City Hoods, the cop declared in victory.

    Fuckin’ eh, the second cop declared. Looks like we got him for meth and felony graffiti and vandalism of public property.

    Another shit stain off the streets is what I call it, partner.

    Fuck yeah, they laughed, before taking Edmund to the car and to county jail for booking.

    ***

    The L.A. Ninja quietly finished off his shift and began his long walk home. Life had become dreary and routine. He was permanently under a dark cloud of sorrow. He had been fortunate enough to find work in construction and was currently working on a large building renovation project in downtown L.A.

    He found some solace in walking home to his apartment, passing the busy streets and vibrant parks. It had proven too difficult to stay in his parent’s home with the constant reminder of his shattered life. Instead, he chose to live in some cheap random apartment near the jobsite in a poorer part of LA. He blended in as a nobody, and it suited him fine. Day in and day out, his sad, tragic life had become a depressed state of deep hypnotism.

    Gabe made it to his street and he approached his building. He was sweating in the late summer heat as he reached the entrance to the shabby two-story building. The busy street noise blended in with the clicking of the rust colored metal screen door that he pushed open. He walked into the dark hallway and walked to the first door on his left. He unlocked it and found his excited pit bull, Roxy, there to greet him.

    Hey girl! How was your day, huh? Did you miss me? he said, crouching down to pet her. Let’s get you outside, he said, leashing her collar and heading back out. It was quieter than normal. There were only six apartments on each floor. He’d been there for six months and had seen the tenants from each unit.

    Gabe knew he was not his normal self. He was some detached version of himself. He never noticed the little things anymore. He paid less attention to everything. His sadness shrouded his senses, placing him far away from the prodigious ninja that he had once been. He walked Roxy back out the front door of the building and he noticed the young girl from down the hall, outside, coloring something on the asphalt with a piece of chalk. He wondered if she had always been there. Had he simply not noticed from only minutes before? He made brief eye contact with her and then he moved on, taking Roxy to a nearby patch of grass.

    Roxy quickly relieved herself and then Gabe walked her on towards the park. They spent a lot of time at the park. Roxy led the way, walking a slow mopey pace, unwittingly reflecting Gabe’s demeanor, perfectly. They had grown so close since he’d rescued her and it was as if they’d always been together.

    The passed an alleyway to the right, and they both ignored a drunk sitting by a dumpster, talking to himself. They crossed the street when the traffic cleared and they ended up at the park. Minutes later they found themselves at a bench under the increasing shade of the dwindling day. There were a few kids playing and a few other people exercising. Gabe looked out at the expanse of the grass and large trees, following them with his eyes as they extended the length of three city blocks.

    He felt peace, the kind of sad, bitter peace that was the only feeling left after a war and each day’s sun rise meant that life just kept going on. His mind drifted back in time then. He saw his mom cooking dinner in the kitchen. It was the same scene that he replayed often. It was the way he best remembered her. She smiled at him while mixing something in her pot. She wore a dirty blue apron, which Gabe hated at the time, due to its stains and frayed edges. Get a new one already! he’d bark at her like an ungrateful little asshole son. He felt the guilt over it bite at his stomach. He would give anything to see her in that apron again. He’d give anything to go back to that moment and tell her that he loved her apron, and that he loved her and he was sorry for all the times he’d been such a jerk. He didn’t cry, this time.

    He looked out and saw some cholo gangsters in white t-shirts hanging out by a tree in the distance. They were drinking 40 oz. beers covered in paper bags. Gabe wondered if they were no good gangsters, or just kids kicking it, as he once did. A woman jogged by them and a couple of the guys followed behind her, mockingly, before giving up and laughing. One of them crumpled up paper bag and threw it at her.

    Gabe didn’t care about them. He didn’t care about the gangsters anymore. The city seemed overrun, and they were too great in number for him. His fight was over. He sighed as he realized that he had forgotten Roxy’s favorite ball. He looked at her, and his eyes followed her brown and white skin down her back to her tail. He loved her now. He patted her huge head. Sorry for forgetting your ball again, Rox.

    She licked his hand once, as if to say that she didn’t care. It had once amazed him how much it seemed that she understood him, but he was used to it now. Gabe thought of Amaya. He wondered where she was in time and space. He wondered why she never visited anymore. He dreamt about her sometimes, but not as often as he’d hoped. He carried immense guilt for not being there to protect her. He knew she’d be alive had he been there. He knew Mom and Dad would be too. His face turned to stone. He stared at the limb of a large tree. He thought about hanging himself from it later that night. He could easily do it.

    ***

    Sergio Munoz sat in his airplane seat, flying towards South America, completely unsure of what to expect. He went on leave from the force with the possibility of full re-instatement upon his return, which was what the deal Lt. Mendez had agreed to. Lt. Mendez had been all too eager to get Munoz out of his life. He left his friend and partner, Ryan Carter there to fend for himself. He trusted that Carter would be ok, but he still felt bad doing it. For now, Munoz was following the signs that God was leaving for him. He was following God’s destiny for him, and it was taking him to Chile.

    He was nervous. He had tracked down his family and he found his grandmother. On the phone he only spoke to one of his cousins, Rafael, but he was assured that Grandma was not only welcoming his visit, but had been expecting him. He thought it an odd thing to say, but he was not shocked by it. Sergio had been feeling that his decisions were being guided by an unseen force. He wondered if it were God, Himself, something else, or maybe just his imagination and nothing at all.

    Whatever God, or his own imagination, was compelling him to do, he’d never been more certain of his trip. He was desperate to connect with his family. He had grown confused jaded by his work on the police force. He knew that evil was winning in the war of good versus evil. He had seen too much evil and atrocity. He had seen too many victims and too many shitbags being guided by the hands of the devil. He felt helpless to do anything about it. For every criminal he took off the streets, five more popped up to replace him. The system was not working, and guys like Lt. Mendez just made everything worse. He was losing his faith in the world.

    The flight was longer than he ever expected. He had never left the country, not even during his four years with the Army. He finally dozed off on the plane though, and when he did, he dreamt. It was a dark night, and he was by the light of a fire. He could hear horses, and he looked to his left to see a few rustling in their barn enclosures.

    Sergio, he heard a woman’s voice call out, in Spanish, over the radio. He put his hand on his side to feel his radio, but he was distracted by the light of the fire. He wandered towards it. He looked out into the sky. He could see the bright moon in the sky and some mountaintops in the distance. He strained his eyes, and he could see people the size of ants, dancing on the mountaintop.

    Sergio, he heard the woman call out again. He reached for his belt to grab the radio when he saw a woman with short grey hair smiling at him from next to the fire. He wondered if she was a ghost.

    Hello? he said.

    Sergio, welcome home, she said in Spanish. She smiled and he felt comforted by her. Together, we will find you, my son. The fire dulled and the woman disappeared. The horses neighed out again. He approached one of them and looked at the whites of his big eyes. The horse called to him by nodding his head playfully.

    Tito, Sergio said. Hola, Tito, he said again, brushing his hand over the dark horse. Before he knew it, he was riding Tito on the sand. Tito ran hard, and Sergio barely held on, but he peered out over the ocean and watched the dancing moonlight shimmer along side them. He felt an incredible peace come over him. He woke up suddenly, still on the plane.

    Senor? he looked up to find the flight attendant holding out a plate of food. Dinner? he asked in Spanish.

    Si, por favor, Sergio said. He would have to get used to talking in Spanish again.

    ***

    Edmund made his way through booking and processing and found himself sitting in a county jail cell. He’d been to County once before, on an assault charge. He had done six months in the youth authority detention facility too, for his part in a jacking a car. He knew this time would be different. He would be locked up for longer this time. He had been on guard all afternoon. From everything he knew, he was being watched closely. Eyes were everywhere.

    He tried to look tough. He kept a straight face. There would be rival gangs there. He would have to fight. He could never let his guard down. They would show up, if not now, maybe later, and for sure before it was all over. He was ready to fight. He was ready to throw down and show everyone that he had what it took to wear his colors and represent for the ‘raza’, and for Harbor City Hoods.

    At night, though, he thought about how he had fucked up. He filled with regret and anger. He had been careless. He should have stayed with Gloria, he thought to himself. Nah, fuck that, he said to himself. He should have never hooked up with her. It was her fault. He should have left her back at the pad with the rest of the hoodrats. He should have just cruised it, out to the streets to slang that rock, make that paper, and handle his business. He should have known better. Bitches only got in the way. He’d never make that mistake again.

    He was lucky to get through his time at county jail with only a few scrapes. The prisoners had been packed into bunks in an open area, like sardines. He had seen some of the homies from the 40th Street Rollers that he knew. They weren’t rivals, and they had some stories to tell. It was that fool, Ceezo, that started shit and wanted to tangle. He was bigger in size, but Edmund held his ground and finally got him in a headlock, but not before he broke Ceezo’s ribs. That action, along with the meth charge and the tagging, got him six years in the Lompoc State Penitentiary.

    Chapter II: Acting on a Whim

    Deep into the middle of the night, a dark ninja crept through a densely wooded forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains of central California, carefully staying hidden from the light of the moon. He had stopped only once, to marvel at the size of the immense conifers, never before seeing trees of such large proportion. He thought the land strange, and foreign to his native Japan, but similar, still, in some ways. His focus was infallible though, and he finally, after trekking through the woods for two miles, zeroed in on his target.

    He silently came upon a large property in a cleared area, at the flattened peak of a low hill. The ninja crept quickly through the grass, undetected, and then he stopped short of the large two-story home. He froze in the darkness of the shadow of the moon. He peered over the large property and spotted light from a television coming from a downstairs window. He saw no other lights.

    He quickly moved and found the electrical panel, snipping the power source with his cutters. The dark ninja then leapt, grabbing the edge of the balcony before pulling himself up. He easily shredded the vinyl plastic cover to the balcony door, before inserting a pick to pry the latch up. He then slid the door open and he was in the master bedroom of the house.

    He looked over the sleeping wife of his target and fired a single poison dart into her neck, ensuring her an endless sleep. He then moved quickly and silently on his toes, out of the bedroom. He could hear the shuffling of steps downstairs. He could hear the muttering of the mark, whom seemed drunk, the ninja thought. The dog growled slightly, and the ninja could hear him become nervous and agitated. The ninja crept down the stairs towards them, spotting the dog, then firing another poison-tipped dart. The dog whinnied once before faltering in confusion.

    He went downstairs and spotted the stumbling man walking towards the front door with his flashlight. The man had been too drunk to notice his dog going down. The dark ninja came upon him without notice and drew his sword, striking the man down from behind. The lethal gash dropped him as he let out a crying gasp. The ninja finished him off with a vicious slice across his neck.

    His mark was down. His mission was complete. He then quickly and quietly left through the front door, careful not to leave prints or any other indication of his presence, even going as far as retrieving the darts from his two poisoned victims.

    ***

    Edmund Reyes had a lot of time to think now. Six years was a lifetime. Six years before, he was only thirteen. He had learned so much and gone through so much since then. It was forever ago. He tried not to dwell on that, but it was hard. He tried not to have regret, but it was hard too. He should’ve known better than to let his guard down. He would not make that mistake again, he vowed.

    He was still barely adjusting to life in prison. There was never a quiet moment. His cellmate, a Chicano by the name of Jaime, seemed cool, but there was something off about him. Edmund didn’t trust him. He hadn’t slept well in the three days since arriving. The guards were assholes, but Edmund didn’t let them faze him. They could talk shit and call him whatever they wanted. He was more worried about the hard dudes in the yard. They had been getting closer to him each time he went out.

    The annoying loud buzz went off like clockwork and the cell locks released. It was time to go out. Today’s cherry picking day, homes, uttered Edmund’s cellmate, Jaime.

    What do you mean, fool? asked Edmund. Jamie chuckled.

    That was the other thing, Edmund thought to himself. Jaime not only talked a lot, but he was always playing games. Edmund followed Jaime out and sized up the shorter, stockier, gangster once again. There was still a high probability that they would end up fighting each other, sooner rather than later. Jaime looked strong. He was in his forties. Maybe he was slower, but if he got a hold of Edmund, it might be lights out. Edmund hoped it wouldn’t get to that, but if it did, he’d clock him so hard and pound him in until he gave up or died. Whatever it took.

    My old lady was supposed to put money on my books, Jaime went on, but Edmund only half listened as they walked down the stairs. He could see out into the yard now. It was like being at school, he thought. School for all the shady, crooked, thieving, murdering fucks in the land.

    Catch you later, homes, Edmund said as they got out into the yard. He could feel the stares on him. He walked straight and proud though. No fake gangster lean. He kept his head and eyes forward. He felt nervous, anxious for when somebody would strike. He knew it was coming at any moment. He heard some commotion and he turned to his right to spot a fight in the distance. Two guys were throwing punches, and they fell onto the ground, in a wrestle. A small crowd of eager onlookers cheered them on. A guard casually walked towards them to break it up.

    Edmund then spotted what he was looking for, leaning against a wall in the shade. He found someone he knew, Pesky, from back in the day. He was lucky not to be alone in such a dangerous and wild place. Pesky had once been a veterano gangster from Harbor City Hoods. Edmund barely remembered him, but he recognized him from his HBH tattoo during lunch on his first day there. Pesky was now in his thirties, and completely doped up on smack, but he was still a familiar face in a foreign place.

    As soon as he reached Pesky, Edmund spotted two hard looking gangsters coming towards them. Pesky smiled. Nerves shot, Edmund barely heard Pesky ask him if were ready for ‘this’.

    On the outside, Edmund tried his hardest to look unfazed, but his mind was trembling with fear. This was it, he thought. These guys were going to test his manhood. They were going to see what he was made of. Adrenaline began to flow through Edmund’s veins. Pesky was in on it, clearly. He should’ve of known not to trust anyone.

    Edmund took a deep breath and readied himself for whatever was to come. Like Fonzie would, he turned around and leaned back against the wall and lit a cigarette. He saw the two gangsters clearly now. They were almost upon him. They stared at him, and he froze a hard, serious, look. He didn’t flinch.

    What’s up, homes, one of them said, greeting Pesky with a handshake.

    Brother, Pesky greeted back, in Spanish.

    Edmund Reyes, the gangster said. Edmund nodded. They call you, Rider, from the Harbor City Hoods, right? Edmund nodded. Come with us, he said. Nervously, Edmund walked forward, in between the two hard-looking, fully tattooed, bald headed gangsters. They were in their forties, Edmund guessed, and they were built strong. He could see a long scar from behind the ear of one them, which stretched halfway down his neck. Edmund wondered if they were from a mafia. He wondered what they wanted from him.

    They led him to a small group of men that looked like serious dudes. They all had hard looks, stone cold faces, and tattoos flooding across their shirtless bodies and arms. They stopped in front of a smaller guy, very tough-looking, nonetheless, and surprisingly, with a full head of hair. Edmund wondered if he was the leader.

    So what’s your deal, homes? the small man asked. Are you some kind of tough guy? Edmund didn’t answer. Are you? the small man repeated, impatiently.

    Edmund was confused. Nah, homes, he answered. I just kick it.

    "Harbor City Hoods ain’t shit in here. You know that? From now on, we’re going