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Þhll Murphy hadn'L seen hls frlendţ Sllck 8andallţ ln several yearsŦ Accordlng Lo Lhe dlrecLlons he'd been
glven earller ln Lhe evenlngţ he'd be aL hls house ln a few mlnuLes LhoughŦ
1he drlve from uenver had Laken Þhll nearly LhlrLyŴfour hoursŦ 1lredţ havlng sLopped only Lo caLnap back
ln Loulslanaţ he was anxlous Lo geL LhereŦ AfLer a vlslL he'd be on hls way Lo hls own new home ln
Creenvllleţ SouLh Carollnaţ and a new [ob aL Lhe 8MW assembly planL ln CreenvllleŦ
1he dlrecLlons weren'L qulLe clear LhoughŦ Was he supposed Lo Lurn aL Lhe nexL llghL or Lhe lasL one?
Sllck had saldţ ºctoss ooe btlJqe ooJ toto tlqbt ot tbe oext llqbtŦ"
´1bete woso´t o tlqbt toto to toke ot tbot lost llqbt! lt wos o ooeŴwoy stteetŦ´
´OkoyŧŦbete we qoŦ 1be oext llqbt ls o ctosstooJŧŦtbot most be wbot 5llck meootŦ´ Þerhaps he had
meanL Lwo llghLs or Lhe flrsL one where he could make a rlghL hand LurnŦ
1he rlghL Lurn placed hlm on uecaLur SLreeLŦ 1he small red brlck aparLmenL bulldlngs on one slde of Lhe
sLreeL Lold hlm he was ln a publlc houslng areaŦ Cn hls rlghL were old dllapldaLed bulldlngs LhaL looked
llke Lhey'd been vacanL for decadesŦ lL cerLalnly dldn'L look llke a nelghborhood Sllck and Lorl would llve
lnŦ lf ALlanLa was anyLhlng llke Lhe oLher blg clLles he'd been Loţ Lhese areas usually meanL hlghŴcrlmeŦ
Clanclng Lo hls rlghLţ Þhll noLlced Lwo shadowy characLers up ahead ln hls headllghLs as Lhey sLepped
back lnLo Lhe conflnes of Lhe darkness beLween Lwo of Lhe old bulldlngsŦ Þrobably drug dealersţ he
LhoughLţ buL he needed Lo pull over and call Sllck before he goL Loo far offŴLrack and posslbly losLŦ Pe
wlshed he'd had a CÞS devlce buL Lwo years of unemploymenL had prevenLed hlm from ownlng such
luxurlesŦ
Pe pressed hls doorŴlock buLLon Lo lnsure lL was lockedŦ
Þhll never saw Lhe assallanL approachlng from Lhe rearŦ Whlle llsLenlng Lo Sllck's volce mall greeLlng on
hls phoneţ he heard Lhe crashlng exploslon of glass golng off lnslde hls headŦ 1here was no Llme Lo reacLŦ
1he volce was husky and demandlngţ yeL had a Lone of confldenceŦ 1he flrsL Lhlng Þhll LhoughL wasţ 'Jo
wbot be soys!´
ºCeL da fuck ouL daL carţ manţ" Lhe man saldŦ ºLeave lL runnln'Ŧ"
lear shoL Lo every polnL ln Þhll's body ln an lnsLanL lmpulseŦ Pe froze ln compleLe and uLLer shock! All he
could musLer was a wlmperŤ reallzlng Lhe hard ob[ecL belng pressed agalnsL Lhe lefL slde of hls headţ was
a gunŦ All he knew was any chance of survlval meanL he had Lo say someLhlng fasLŦ
ºÞlŧŦÞlease don'L shŧŦshooL meţ manŦ" 1he Lrembllng dldn'L have Lo be mlmlckedŦ Pe was shaklng
vlolenLly as Lhe door was LhrusL open by Lhe large man occupylng mosL of Lhe space necessary Lo exlL hls
carŦ ºl'm geLLlng ouLŧŦ"
º?ou beL yo ass you geLLlng ouLţ blLch!" A sharp Lug on hls shoulder lengLh blonde halr lnsured hls
compllance as Lhe man [erked hls oneŴhundredŴflfLyŴflve pound frame ouL easllyŦ
As Þhll fell Lo hls knees nexL Lo Lhe runnlng carţ he exLended hls hands Lo break hls fallŦ nexLţ he felL a
sharp pressure on hls upper backţ Lhe resulL of belng dragged forward hurrledlyŦ Pe was belng handled
llke a ragŴdollţ obvlously Lhe man dld noL need Lhe gun LhaL was now polnLlng sLralghL beLween hls eyesŦ
1he man was an AfrlcanŴAmerlcanţ abouL Lhe same age he wasţ Þhll guessedŦ Pls face was large and
sLrong looklngţ as was hls frameŦ Þhll LhoughL he looked llke a llnebacker for a professlonal fooLball
LeamŦ lronlcallyţ he dldn'L Lhlnk Lhe man had Lhe look of a robberŦ Pe was sporLlng a nlce khakl colored
wlndbreakerţ such as would be worn ln Lhe early days of Sprlngţ on a wlndy evenlng where he was fromŦ
ºClmme ya walleLţ manŦ Where's your walleL?" 1he aglLaLlon was apparenL nowŦ Þhll could see Lhe man
meanL buslnessŦ
ºÞlease don'L shooL meţ broLher!" Pe dldn'L know whaL else Lo sayŦ ºMyŧŦmy waŧŦwalleL lsŧ"
Pls head was LhrusL backward by Lhe gun as Lhe robber pushed lL lnLo hls faceţ Lhe barrel sLopplng hard
agalnsL Lhe edge of hls mouLhŦ Þhll LhoughL he felL a LooLh crack as he blL hls llpŦ
ºClmme your phone!"
Þhll couldn'L LhlnkŦ Where was hls phone? Pe [usL had lLţ he was calllng SllckŦ WhaL dld he do wlLh hls
phone? 1hls man would klll hlmŦ Pe could sense lLŦ
ºÞlease don'L klll meŦ"
Pe felL Lhe release of pressure Lhe man held on hls shlrLŦ º?ou wanL me Lo klll you? Look aL meţ muLhaŴ
fucka!" 1he gun sLlll exLended dlrecLly lnLo hls faceŦ
Þhll buckled under Lhe pressureţ noL able Lo remember lf he had sald anyLhlng else or noLŦ 8olllng over
and coverlng hls headţ he LhoughL Lo pull hls legs lnLo a cannonball poslLlonţ ln case Lhe man drove off
he wouldn'L geL Lhem sLuck under Lhe carŦ
Pe heard Lhe snlckerlng sound made by Lhe man as Lhe door closed and Lhe englne revvedŦ Cne qulck
scraLch off sound was heard as Þhll rolled over agalnţ sLlll coverlng hls head ln hopes LhaL Lhe car[acker
would noL flre back ouL of Lhe busLed wlndowŦ
Shaklngţ he lay sLlllŦ Convulslons overLook hlm as he Lrled Lo come Lo peace wlLh whaL had [usL
happenedŦ LeLLlng go of hls kneesţ he rolled over and Lrled Lo sLand unsuccessfullyŦ Pls shlverlng legs
slmply would noL hold hlmŦ Pe remalned on one knee momenLarlly as he aLLempLed Lo gaLher hlmselfŦ
Looklng upţ he waLched as hls 2004 8MW headed off Loward Lhe nexL lnLersecLlon aL warp speedŦ
1he nexL Lhlng Þhll saw seemed more unbellevable Lhan whaL he had [usL encounLeredŦ lL all happened
so fasL hls braln was havlng Lrouble keeplng up wlLh Lhe paceŦ
1he body musL have flown LwenLy feeL ln Lhe alrŦ All Þhll could remember was Lhe flash of brake llghLs
comlng from Lhe back of hls carŦ Pe LhoughL Lhe robber had reacLed Lo Lhe red llghLţ reallzlng when he
LhoughL abouL lL LhaL he had Lrled Lo sLop from hlLLlng Lhe person who now lay moLlonless ln Lhe nexL
lnLersecLlonŦ
As Lhe horror of whaL he wlLnessed seLLled lnţ hls adrenallne began Lo flowŦ 8efore he knew lLţ he was
up and runnlng Loward Lhe downed pedesLrlanŦ 1o hls dlsmayţ he noLlced as well LhaL hls car was now
rolllng forward slowly [usL pasL Lhe lnLersecLlonŦ 1he drlver's door was open yeL Lhe car was advanclng
slowlyŦ As he ran he saw hls aLLacker runnlng aheadţ abouL a block up Lhe sLreeLŦ
ºPey!" Pe screamed as loud as he couldŦ ºPey man!" ln seconds he was approachlng a human bodyţ
lylng sLlll ln Lhe mlddle of Lhe road [usL pasL Lhe lnLersecLlonţ never glvlng noLlce Lo hls own labored
breaLhlng or Lhe facL LhaL he was gasplng for alrŦ
lrom whaL Þhll could Lellţ Lhe body was LhaL of an elderly femaleŦ She was wearlng a long Lrench Lype
overcoaL LhaL had parLlally flew up and covered a parL of her face as she came Lo resL on Lhe pavemenLŦ
Cne of Lhe arms was broken backwardţ causlng Þhll Lo gag lmmedlaLely ln shock as he Look ln her faclal
feaLuresŦ She was elderlyţ very old ln facLŦ uesplLe Lhe facL LhaL her complexlon was darkţ Lhe llghL from
Lhe clLy's sLreeLlamps llL Lhe area falrly wellŦ
ºChŧ my Cod! Ch Cod! Chţ CodŧŦare you allve?" Þhll knelL down aL Lhe mass of cloLhlng and fleshŦ
Cff Lo hls lefL Þhll heard Lhe sound of a youLh screamlng aL hlmŦ º?oţ manŧŦwhaL's up over Lhere?"
Pe lgnored Lhe volceŦ 1here was blood coverlng Lhe face of Lhe lady now LhaL conLlnued Lo pour ouL of a
gash above her eyeŦ
1he fooLsLeps approachlng caughL hlm by surprlseŦ Þhll whlrled around Lo see Lwo youLhs comlng aL hlm
ln a LroLŦ 1urnlng hls aLLenLlon back Lo Lhe old woman he repeaLedţ ºMa'amŧŦcan you hear me?"
1here was no responseŦ Pls phone! Pad Lhe robber found hls phone? Pe musL have dropped lL when Lhe
robber smashed hls wlndowŦ lL would be ln Lhe car! WlLhouL Lhlnklng furLherţ he rose qulcklyţ Lurnlng hls
aLLenLlon Lo hls car whlch had rolled abouL a hundred feeL and was now lodged up agalnsL a curb wlLh
Lhe door sLlll hanglng openŦ
ºPeyţ man! ?ou sLop rlghL Lhere!" Cne of Lhe young men had yelled aL hlmŦ
ºl goLLa call Lhe pollceţ manŦ" Pls volce was broken buL he had goLLen lL ouLŦ All he knew was he had Lo
call nlneŴCneŴCneŦ
A scream rang ouL LhaL plerced Lhe evenlng alrţ sLarLllng hlm as he ran Lo hls carŦ Approachlng lLţ he
noLlced Lhe englne was sLlll runnlngŦ Leanlng lnţ he saw Lhe open console fllpped upţ lndlcaLlng Lhe
robber had no doubL snaLched hls walleLŦ lL musL have been whaL he was dolng when he hlL Lhe old
womanŦ
Pls phone! 1here lL wasţ ln Lhe floorboardŦ º1hank Codţ" he mumbledŦ
1he force from behlnd was lmmenseŦ Pe lunged forwardţ falllng across Lhe fronL seaL as hls hands were
[erked behlnd hlmŦ º?ou aln'L golng nowhereţ dudeŦ"
ºPang onŧŦwhaL are you dolng?" Þhll sLruggled Lo screamed ouLţ perplexed LhaL someone would be
sLopplng hlm from maklng an emergency phone callŦ Pe hadn'L goLLen Lhe buLLon pushed yeLŦ
ºPelp meţ Moţ" sald Lhe young manţ obvlously shouLlng lnsLrucLlon Lo an accompllceŦ ºCeL hls handsŦ"
Þhll Lrled Lo wlggle hls hands free buL soon Lhere were Lwo of LhemŦ ºl goL hlmŦ"
ºWhaL Lhe hellŧ"
º8e sLlllţ manţ" Lhe volce came hurrledlyŦ lL was a young black maleŦ Pe was Lall and lankyţ noL a day over
flfLeen or soŦ As he sLruggled Lo Lurn over he noLlced Lhe second manţ olderţ now holdlng Lhe back of hls
[ackeL and handsŦ
º?ou guys goL Lhls wrong!"
º8e sLlll!" 1he younger man yelled loudlyŦ
SLruggllng harder Lo geL awayţ Þhll [erked back as hard as he couldţ causlng Lhe flrsL youLh Lo loosen hls
grlp on hlmŦ 1he force of leLLlng go caused hls head Lo snap backwardsŦ 1boJ!
Pe musL have hlL hls head on Lhe gearshlfL or some parL of Lhe console areaŦ Whlle absorblngţ or hearlng
Lhe bumpţ he dldn'L feel lLţ only rememberlng Lhe daze LhaL seL ln lmmedlaLelyŦ Pe couldn'L speakţ yeL
could hearţ or leasL he LhoughL he could hearţ Lhe commoLlon golng on around hlmŦ
º?oţ manŧŦ" Pe heard a volceţ buL could noL answerŦ nexLţ he felL a slap across hls faceŦ ºWake upţ
manŦ"
Þhll leL ouL a moanŦ uqbŦ"umŧ"
ºCan you hear meţ bud?" A deeper volceŦ
Pls vlslon was blurry buL he could make ouL Lhe sllhoueLLe of a larger manŦ Caucaslan? WalL a mlnuLe?
Pe was sLruggllng wlLh Lwo black youLhsŦ WhaL had happened?
ºl need you Lo sLand upţ slrŦ" 1he brawly soundlng volce was noL asklngŦ Pe was belng commanded Lo
sLandŦ Shaklng hls head Lo clear lLţ he felL hls body lmmedlaLely defylng gravlLy as he was [erked forward
and lnLo a sLandlng poslLlonŦ Þhll sLuck ouL hls hand Lo brace hlmselfţ expecLlng perhaps Lo be slung
forwardŦ 'wbot tbe bell ls qoloq oo?´
Cnce uprlghL he reallzed Lhe blue llghLs flashlng off Lhe back of a nearby sLreeL slgnŦ 1he sound of a slren
was blarlng ln hls headŦ Agalnţ he shook hls head buL hls LhoughLs were lnLerrupLed by a Lugglng as he
was led around Lo Lhe back of hls carŦ 1here were pollce cars everywhereţ and an ambulanceŦ !erklng hls
head around he reallzed Lhe man leadlng hlm was a pollce offlcerŦ Somehowţ he had been unconsclousŦ
º1urn around here and puL your hands on Lhe back of Lhe carţ slrŦ"
ºlŧ"
ºl wouldn'L speakţ" Lhe cop orderedŦ ºSpread your legs for meţ do you have anyLhlng ln your pockeLs l
need Lo worry abouL?"
ºWalL a mlnŧ" Þhll Lrled Lo respondţ pulllng away from Lhe offlcer's grlpŦ Pe was lmmedlaLely LhrusL
onLo Lhe rear of hls 8MWţ causlng hls rlbs Lo come lnLo hard conLacL wlLh Lhe Lop edge of Lhe car's bodyŦ
ºl advlse you Lo cooperaLeţ buddyţ" demanded a second volceŦ º?ou are under arresLţ you hear me?" Pe
felL hls body belng frlsked abrupLlyŦ º?ou have Lhe rlghL Lo remaln sllenLŧŦ"

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