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Welcom to Hazard City

Page | 80

 

Chronicles of Hazard City

By Eric Zeigler

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Authors Note:

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

This is the first in a long series of small books designed to act as television series. Chronicles of Hazard City is story about Dylan Price and his life in Hazard City. The city begins as a place for criminals and the corrupt.

Welcome of Hazard City…

Preface

Rain falls on a corrupted city. As the rain begins tears welt up in the eyes of a man in black as he cradles a fallen woman. Several yards away a man in white holds a large silver revolver smoke coming from the barrel.

Chapter 1

DEANGELO’S, a bar for the forgotten gangsters and wannabe thugs, it was the place to be if you wanted to be left alone. Dylan Price was such a man. He dressed in all black, his coat hanging off his chair as he sat at the bar. One of his feet rested on the floor while the other on the bar stool. The dim light hit his tan skin and black eyes, and his black hair blended into his silhouette.

He grabbed hold of the small shot glass in front of him and lifted it up. The amber colored liquid flowed into him, and he put the glass down on the bar. The bartender walked over and poured another shot of whiskey. Dylan slid the bartender a handful of bills. “Leave the bottle,” he said.

The bartender took the money and left. Dylan drank a shot then poured another. Another man walked up to Dylan. He leaned over, “This place ain’t for you.” He then grabbed the bottle with his left hand. He slid the bottle towards him only to feel a hand grab the top of the bottle.

Dylan turned his head towards the man who grabbed the bottle. They looked at each other for a few seconds. The man moved his eyes down directing Dylan to do the same. He looked at the man’s waist and saw a gun tucked in his belt.

Dylan looked into the man’s dark brown eyes, “I have a flight that will be taking me to the Middle East around sun up. I’m here to drink in peace. If you would like to change that, then go for that gun. But if you reach for it, I will kill you.”

The other man was one of the largest in the room. His face had a few wrinkles, his short beard a mixture of gray and black hair. His body was scarred in a few places, the most notable going up his right hand through his forearm. Dylan knew he was a thug, just trying to intimidate someone half his age.

The old thug studied Dylan for a second. He wasn’t as strong as the old thug, but was strong enough to make a fight difficult. Dylan had no scars or marks on him, but something in his’s black eyes told the old thug to back away.

He held onto the bottle for a few more seconds before letting go. He backed away from Dylan and sat down with a group of other old thugs.

An hour passed, Dylan didn’t drink much. He knew that the thug that had approached him was on his fifth or six beer. Dylan noticed that he was drinking with his right hand, his lower two fingers were always extended.

He was drunk and shouting at everyone around him. Dylan figured he’d be back in a few minutes to threaten him again. If he did, Dylan thought he could just ram his head into the bar, and then start drinking again.

The bar’s doors flung open. A woman, dressed in a small tube top and short mini skirt, limped into the bar. Her high heels clicked with each step. She looked drunk as she stumbled around, nearly falling into Dylan’s stool.

The bartender walked over to her, “I can’t serve you, lady. Come back when you sober up some.” He tried to walk away when she grabbed his arm.

“Please help,” the woman looked at the bartender with tears streaming down her face. The woman’s legs nearly gave out as she coughed at the bartender, “Hospital.”

Dylan looked at her. Her short blond hair and clothes were both covered in mud and water. There was a dark spot on the lower part of her shirt. He leaned over and pulled her shirt up. Dylan saw a group of bruises around her stomach, a large V burned into her side, and a small stab wound on her side. It was bleeding badly.

Dylan grabbed hold of a towel and pressed it to the wound. He stood, “She needs an ambulance.”

“They don’t come here,” the bartender said. “People in the neighborhood been callin’ in and then robbin’ the truck.”

“Then where is the nearest hospital?”

The old thug yelled, “Don’t tell him shit.” His words slurred a little as he spoke, “She’s branded like one of Vanco’s girls. If she dyin’, there is a damn good reason.”

The bartender looked back and forth between the two men. “Let me make this simpler…” the man drew his gun. Dylan saw it as a Beretta nine millimeter, “You open your mouth, and I put a bullet through it.”

Dylan looked at the bartender, then the old thug holding the gun. He looked at the bartender again and grabbed his hand. He pressed it on the girl’s wound, “Keep the pressure on the wound, I’ll be back in a second.” Dylan left the bar and walked over to the other man.

“You have any idea who you’re walking towards,” the man yelled, “I worked for one of the five families. I was an enforcer for the Kingpin. People moved when they saw me on the streets. I was feared throughout the city!” Dylan was right in front of the man, the gun pointed between Dylan’s eyes.

“But then you got older,” Dylan said, “People stopped being intimidated by your size, and you started to have to fight for your respect. One of the fights left you with nerve damage in your right hand, and now you’re here. You act tough, but you know no one is scared of you anymore.”

The two stood a few inches from one another. “Put the gun down.” The old thug cocked the hammer back.

Dylan sighed and shook his head, “I really wanted one night of peace.”

Dylan reached up and took the gun from the top. He pressed the release and swung the slide lock down in one motion. He then jammed the slide into the old thug’s neck. The man fell to the floor unable to breathe.

Dylan walked back to the bar. The bartender’s eyes were wide as he looked at the big thug rolling on the floor unable to even cough.

Dylan looked at him, “Now where’s the hospital?”

“H… half…” the bartender stammered trying to speak, “half a mile east,” the bartender said his eyes still wide.

Dylan took the woman by the arm and led her out of the bar. As they were walking out, she looked at him, “Who are you?”

“My name is Dylan Price. You’re going to be ok,” Dylan reassured her as he led her into the dark streets.

Chapter 2

THE TWO walked towards the hospital. “What happened?” Dylan asked.

The woman was barely able to focus. Dylan could feel her legs giving out more and more as they walked. “Hey,” Dylan brushed some of the hair out of her face, “I need you to stay awake.”

She continued to stumble around. Dylan took two fingers and put them inside the knife wound. Her eyes shot open. Her mouth opened to scream, but only a weak moan escaped her lips. “Don’t, please I won’t talk. I won’t go to court tomorrow. Just please let me live.”

“Who’s after you?”

She started to fade again, “Ghost,” she mumbled the next sentence and Dylan couldn’t understand.

“We’re almost there,” Dylan said, “Just hold on for a few more seconds.”

“KABOOM, KABOOM, KABOOM,” Dylan heard three gunshots and then felt the woman sag. Dylan let her fall slowly and saw three bullet holes on her back. He looked around and saw a pale skinned man with a scar running down his right eye, dressed in a white suit a few feet away. He was holding a silver revolver with a small trail of smoke coming from the barrel.

“Why?” Dylan asked.

“I have stopped asking that question,” the man replied.

“Who are you?”

The man looked at Dylan, “In good time,” he smiled. He had a small phone in his hand. “Hello, police I just saw a man shoot a gun. I believe an officer is down. They’re less than a block away from Memorial General Hospital. Please hurry the man is still here.”

Dylan turned his head, his mouth open a little, as the man continued, “Describe him? He’s about six two, little over two hundred pounds, white male, short black hair, black eyes, wearing a black leather trench coat, shirt, and pants. He is still armed.”

Dylan turned and saw the flashing lights coming. The cops were coming and quick. He turned to look back at the shooter, and he was gone. Dylan looked down at the woman’s body. Her eyes were still open. Dylan closed his eyes and quietly said, “I’m sorry.” He shut her eyes.

Dylan stayed for just a second. He saw a golden locket across her neck. He took the neckless and searched through her pockets. He found only a few dollars, and license. He put it all in his pocket and stood.

Dylan quickly looked around. Both sides of the street were covered in apartment buildings. He saw drain pipes running down between them. He ran over to a building and found a metal grate leading to the sewers below. He reached down and pulled. He lifted it just enough to slip under, and down into the sewers.

The two cars arrived at the scene. One got out and radioed for backup while another checked on the woman. The other two drew their guns and flashlights and walked around. They walked close to the grate.

Dylan clung to the wall and looked up. He watched the light shine on the wall and down onto the metal. A small bit of sweat built on his forehead. The light retreated, and Dylan took a deep breath. Slowly he walked through the narrow tunnels. The stench was horrible, but at least he got away.

It was a few hours before he came up. The breath of fresh air was welcome. His legs and feet were wet, but he was blocks away from where he entered the sewers.

He reached into his pocket and pulled a driver’s license, and locket out. “Liza Marie” the license read. He opened the locket and saw two pickets inside. One was a pretty dark haired woman that read mom underneath it, the other a young blond girl that had daughter inscribed.

Dylan walked on the side of the street. It was quiet. He spotted an old Lexus. He smashed the window and unlocked the car. Once inside, he opened the sun visor and out dropped a set of keys.

“People are idiots,” Dylan quietly said.

Chapter 3

DYLAN drove until he got to the docks, where he parked in front of a set of metal containers.

The containers were laid out like a maze, one that Dylan could navigate with his eyes closed. He walked towards the center and knocked on a red container. A few moments passed, then Dylan heard it unlock, and he opened the container door. Just inside there was a clear strip door. Dylan walked passed it and into a long metal hall where an old man in a motorized wheelchair sat with his arms crossed, looking at Dylan.

“What are you doing here? The sun is going to be up in less than an hour. Your plane is leaving soon.”

Dylan just looked at him, “I can’t go Zeek.”

“Why,” Zeek said. Zeek scowled as he spoke, the wrinkles on his face getting deeper. He was dressed in a stained plaid button down shirt and faded jeans. His hair and beard were a few inches long. His hair was mostly gray, but he still had a few patches of red.

Dylan pulled out Liza’s license, “This girl was shot.”

“So?” Zeek said, “People get shot every day.”

“Yeah, but she was under my care. I want to know why,” Dylan said.

“No, if Legion finds out you’re in the states they will come in guns first. There is a job in the Ghana Empire. You go there, do the job, and I’ll see what I can find out,” Zeek said.

“Can’t do it, Zeek,” Dylan said, “send Angel or Spencer on the job.”

“I can’t give it to them,” Zeek replied, “Angel isn’t experienced enough to go alone. Spencer is a sniper, he great at a distance, but not as good close. The client needs you, or they will have to contract to Legion for it.”

Legion, the main military force of the West, a black ops group in the East, but to Dylan, they would always be his former employers, and the reason he couldn’t sleep most nights.

“I need to stay. If you want to drag me on that plane you’re going to have to fight me,” Dylan said.

“Ah hell,” Zeek said, “I didn’t like the client anyway.” Zeek turned his chair around and opened another metal door. Dylan followed and entered the central area of the shipping container, a place that was much wider than the first container.

Zeek had taken two groups of nine containers and welded them together into a two-story structure. He cut holes between them all to serve as doors, and ramps between the two levels. The structure served as Zeek’s base and living quarters for more urban areas. Dylan looked at the walls of the armory and saw pegs where there should be weapons.

“Where are the weapons?” Dylan asked.

“Overseas, we were breaking down remember?” Zeek replied. He stopped at a long steel table and pulled out two plastic cases. “These are the only weapons I have left. I was going to give you one of these when we got to Ghana, but now.” He opened the case and pushed it towards Dylan. Inside were two Ruger SR1991 forty-five caliber pistols inside two black holsters.

“Thought I could use something a little stronger,” Dylan said picking up one of the guns.

“Yeah,” Zeek said, “I made some upgrades. I replaced the hammer, slide stop, sear, and formatted the magazines to hold a few more rounds.” Zeek opened the other case and showed it to Dylan. “Standard throwing knives, nothing special about them, but since when did you need special? Other than this, I don’t think I can be any more help equipment wise. Everything else is heading back to my main camp, and I won’t be able to get it back for a few months.”

“I’ll make do,” Dylan said, “Besides it’s not like I’m going to war. I just want to know why one woman was shot.”

“Sometimes asking a simple question can get you killed,” Zeek replied.

Dylan took the two gun holsters and strapped one to his right hip, and the other on his waist near his back. He picked up a few of the knives and put them inside his coat.

“You even know where to go?” Zeek asked.

“License has an address on it. Figured I would start there, and see who the girl was. Then I would figure out why she was shot. Can you look into her and see if you find anything?”

Dylan handed Zeek the license. He looked at it for a few seconds, “Alright, I’ll call you if I find anything.”

Dylan walked out of the room and out of the shipping container. Dylan looked around for a few seconds, and then walked to a blue colored container. Dylan reached into his right pocket and pulled a small silver key out. He unlocked the container and opened the door.

Inside a car was hidden under a tan sheet. Dylan grabbed the sheet and pulled it off to reveal a black 1964 Ford Mustang. He got into the car and started it. The engine roared, and he drove off.

Chapter 4

AS DYLAN drove to Liza’s address, another man came to town. He dressed in a cheap black and white suit with black dress shoes and sunglasses. He leaned against the hood of a red Corvette outside of an old abandoned bar.

People looked at him as they passed and whispered as they walked away. Only a few minutes passed, a dark skinned man stopped and looked at this strange man, “You ain’t from around here,” he said. He was dressed in a t-shirt and jeans with a leather jacket on him, and a black rope with a burned silver cross hanging from it. The man on the car turned to face him.

“What gave me away?” he smirked as he stood and turned towards the dark skinned man.

“Not a lot of people drive Corvettes around here. Not to mention most white people I see around here are cops,” he leaned against the back of the car.

“You Samuel Thane?” the strange man asked.

“I might be.”

“You think I’m a cop?”

“Not any kind I’ve seen,” Samuel stepped a little closer. “Only question is what you doing here?”

“I’m looking for a man.”

“If you want a date you better find one of Vanco’s places. She mostly sells girls, but I’m sure she can find a man for you.” Samuel turned and took a few steps away.

“Not that kind of man.” Samuel turned his head back.

“My name is Tom Utley. I’m looking for a man named Dylan Price. You hear anything about him, you give me a call.” The strange man stepped forward and handed him a card with a name and number.

“Tom Utley? No offense you don’t look like a Tom. What is this Dylan Price to you?” Samuel asked. He took the card and looked at it for a few seconds.

“He’s an old friend,” Tom replied. He reached into his jacket and pulled out a large brown envelope, and handed it to Samuel. “You find him you call, or I’ll come looking for you.”

Samuel nodded and took the brown envelope. Tom entered his car and drove off without another word. Samuel opened the brown envelope and saw a large stack of hundred dollar bills.

Dylan arrived at the address listed on Liza’s license. He got out of the car and looked at her apartment building. It was a rundown old brownstone. The steps were cracked, and the railings were rusted to the point of holes being poked through the metal.

Dylan walked up to the steps. He felt a few of the stones move when he stepped on them. The door it was cracked, and the doorknob was rusted. Dylan grabbed the handle and rotated it back and forth. He pushed the door forward.

The door creaked as it opened, then Dylan heard a soft click. The smell of gas flowed from the house, and into Dylan’s nose. His eyes grew wide as he jumped over the railing. The door blasted to splinters as the house exploded. Dylan hit the ground. His body covered in dust debris. His vision blurred and then faded to black.

Chapter 5

HOURS PASSED. The cops arrived at the destroyed building, and took Dylan to a local hospital. Samuel learned about it and made his call to Tom. He arrived at the hospital and exited his Corvette. He changed into blue scrubs, and had a name tag on his chest that read “Steven Kevorkian MD.” He was known by a thousand names, but his real one was Miles Jackson. He took a deep breath and looked in the mirror.

“Dylan, what have you gotten yourself into,” he whispered as he fixed his hair, and made his way to the hospital doors.

The doors parted automatically as he got close. He stepped into the waiting area of the ER. He saw kids with parents and several sick coughing people. Miles walked over to the receptionists.

“How’s it going, ladies,” he said. He flashed a smile, as he looked at the two young women behind the desk. He looked through the list of people still waiting to be called.

One of the women stood. Her blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail. She looked at that muscular doctor in front of her and smiled big. “You new around here, sweetie?” she asked, looking the doctor up and down.

“Wasn’t supposed to start for another few days, but was called in early for the explosion victim,” Miles replied still looking through the waiting list. “Do you know where he is?”

The blonde’s eyes grew wide. “No. Let me see… you have his name?”

“No,” Miles lied. “He was brought in a few hours ago.”

“Hmm…” The blonde sat down and typed into her computer. “I see why they called you in,” she said as she chewed on a blue pen cap. “ER has been busy today. Seems like he’s only has minor injuries. He’s on the fifth floor. The nursing station can direct you from there.”

Miles nodded and turned. Just as he was leaving four large black Escalades pulled up and out stepped a large group of muscular men.

Miles paused at the end of the desk for a second as they entered the hospital. One stepped in he was well-dressed in a tailored black and gray suit. His greasy black hair was slicked back, and his light beard and mustache was trimmed. He stepped up to the receptionist desk and placed a silver revolver onto the customer side.

His men slowly surrounded him. “We are looking for explosion victim. He’s good friend of mine.”

The girl Miles talked too stared at the gun then at the man. Her heartbeat a mile a minute, she took a deep breath and smiled at the man. “Mr. Vasiliev, I’ll get that information.”

The girl stood and walked to a set of folders right next to Miles. She flipped through the files as the group of men spoke Russian to one another.

Miles listened to the men as they spoke. He spotted the Roman Orthodox cross on one of their hands leading up his arm. Another man was wearing a neckless shirt and could plainly see the tattoo of a dagger running through his neck with several drops of blood.

“Who are they,” Miles whispered. He flipped through chart in front of him.

“Russian mob,” the girl said she moved to turn towards Miles.

“Keep looking through the folder, and don’t look at me,” Miles continued to whisper. Miles looked at the men. The receptionist began to tear up as she looked through the folder. Miles stopped and looked at her for a second.

The Russians were still talking loudly, “They’re not here for you. They’re here for an ADA named Haruna Wu. Where is she?”

“With your patient,” the receptionist said.

Miles closed his eyes. He peered into the future for just a few minutes. He opened them a second later, “Do what I say, and you will be ok,” Miles said. “Pick up the last folder, open it and tell them he’s in the ER. A few will go most will stay here.”

The receptionist swallowed, “You’re not a doctor, are you?” she said softly. She didn’t wait for an answer she just picked up the last folder and turned towards the Russians. “He’s in the ER.”

Miles smiled. He turned slowly and walked to Dylan’s room.

A bright light flashed in front of Dylan’s eyes. His eyes cracked open. His vision was blurry, he could only see the bright white lights above him.

Dylan moved his arms and felt something wrapped around his wrist. It stopped him from moving very far. He was in bed, but not a comfortable one, it was thin and rough. His clothes had been replaced with a thin gown. Dylan’s vision didn’t have to clear, he knew he was in a hospital with his hands cuffed to the bed.

Dylan looked around, and his vision cleared. He saw a slender young Asian woman sitting in a chair next to him. She was dressed in a business suit with a black jacket and skirt, with a maroon button-down blouse underneath. Her black hair was tied back in a bun, and she had on black rimmed glasses. She looked at Dylan; her arms crossed and frowning.

“So I have reports that a man dressed in black fled the scene of a shooting that killed a woman. That woman was my witness. So who hired you?” the woman asked.

Dylan was still groggy, “Who the hell are you? And where am I?”

“Hospital,” the woman said, “I’m Haruna Wu, assistant DA, and the woman who will ruin your life if you don’t answer my question.”

Dylan grinned slightly and muttered, “Someone beat you to it.” Dylan looked at her. Frustration in her eyes, and some sorrow beneath it, something he was all too familiar with.

“I didn’t kill her.”

“Let me guess,” Haruna said, “A man in a white suit killed her.”

“Yeah, how did you…” Haruna interrupted Dylan before he could finish.

“Every once in a while some hitman will claim that a man in white killed a witness, but they have never had any evidence to back it up.”

“Do they ever give a name?”

“No,” Haruna said.

“Who was she a witness against?”

“You didn’t ask before shooting her?” Haruna said.

“Lady, if I killed her. I wouldn’t still be in town,” Dylan said, “Whoever she was going to testify against hired a hitman. I want to know who the hitman is. So who was she going to testify against?” Dylan sat up. His body hurt a little, but he ignored the pain.

“Liza’s boss was Henrietta Vanco, she controls most of the brothels in the city,” Haruna said. She was starting to believe Dylan a little. She leaned forward with her hands in her lap. “I had a good case against her, but Liza was my lynchpin. She was able to connect every piece of evidence together.”

“Can I get you to take the cuffs off?” Dylan pulled at the cuffs, “I can help you. Liza died in my arms. I’m looking for the man that killed her. If I find him, I’ll tell you. But I need to get out of here first.”

“No,” Haruna said, “I don’t know if you killed Liza or not, but I can’t let you walk out of here.”

Just then, the door opened, and Miles walked in. he lifted his gaze from Dylan’s chart and looked at Haruna. “You’ll have to leave. I need the room to check him out.”

“You weren’t the guy from before,” Haruna turned towards Miles and raised one eyebrow. “What happened to Steve?”

“The ER needed him,” Miles said.

Haruna stood up and walked out of the room. She looked at Dylan, “I’ll be right outside this door.”

The door closed, Dylan looked at Miles. He smiled, “Miles it’s good to see you. Please tell me you know where my stuff is.” Miles Jackson, a few years ago, he was a dedicated soldier, and now one of the last spies working for the US government.

“Yes,” Miles said, “chart says they are in locker 348; it’s on the third floor. Hospital took your guns before the cops could. Good thing to your going to need them.”

“You have a way to get me out of this room.”

“I might,” Miles said. He reached into his pocket and pulled a small set of handcuff keys. “Group of Russian mafia guys came in a few minutes after me. They were looking for you.”

“Why? I haven’t done anything.”

“It’s all a cover. They’re here for that ADA. They want to kill her,” Miles said. He unlocked the handcuffs on Dylan’s wrist.

“How do you know?”

“I was in the waiting room when they came in. The receptionist stepped away and they started talking in Russian, loudly. Said everything they were here to do. I don’t think they knew someone was listening.”

“You use your seeing trick?”

“I might have looked a few minutes into the future. You don’t get involved it doesn’t end well.”

Miles removed the handcuff from Dylan’s wrist. He took the key and placed it into his pocket again.

Dylan rubbed his wrists and looked at his old friend. “It is good to see you again, Miles. How did you know I was here?”

Miles turned towards the door, “Been looking for you since you got into the states. I’ll see about distracting that prosecutor.” Miles walked out of the room.

Chapter 6

MILES closed the door, and turned towards Haruna, “I gave him something to help him sleep.”

“Great. He just started talking,” Haruna said.

“Why don’t we take a walk?”

“I should really get back in there, just in case he wakes up.”

“Trust me, he isn’t going anywhere.”

Haruna thought for a moment. She looked at Miles and asked, “What is your name again?”

“Doctor Steven Kevorkian,” Miles said.

The two walked down the hall and turned a corner. “I don’t think I’ve seen you before. When did you start?”

“Technically I haven’t, but they were short staffed,” Miles said. “I just transferred from New York.”

“You have a family, Dr. Kevorkian?”

“No,” Miles said, “My wife passed away a few months ago.”

“I’m sorry,” Haruna said.

“She was a good woman. I moved to New York with her before we married. After she died, the city didn’t feel the same. A friend told me he could get me a job here, and I figured I could use the change,” Miles replied.

A few seconds after Miles and Haruna turned the corner, Dylan quietly left the hospital room. He walked down the hall to the elevator. He pressed the call button and watched the doors.

The elevator opened. He saw a massive man standing in the middle. His head was large, with short blond hair in a flat top haircut. His chest almost extended from one side of the elevator to the other. His muscular body filled a short sleeved white button down shirt stretching it tightly.

Dylan took a deep breath, “Russian?”

The man nodded, “Out way.” He reached into his pants pocket.

“You have a knife in your pocket, don’t you?”

The man smiled and nodded. Dylan rubbed his nose and smirked, “I was really hoping I would get to my guns before running into any of you.” The man cocked his head sideways and raised one eyebrow.

Dylan jumped forward, his forearm fired into the man’s thick neck. The man was pushed back colliding against the metal wall. Dylan kicked the third floor button on the elevator’s control panel. The elevator doors closed. By the time the elevator doors opened again, the man was on the floor his throat crushed.

Dylan stood facing the door. Four men stood in front of the elevator looking at him. Dylan looked at each one. Two men were standing a few feet in front of the elevator doors, and on either side stood two more standing a little closer to him. They looked behind Dylan and saw the body behind him. They reached into their waistbands and each pulled a black handgun.

The first row of men were young, Dylan guessed in their early twenties. They each wore cotton tank tops, one was black, the other white. Both men were fit. The one in the black tank had long greasy hair and the other short spiky.

The men in the back row looked younger than the men in the front. One struggled to hold his gun up. His arm was so weak that it shook. He wore a basic white t-shirt and jeans and had a small metal piercing on his nose. Dylan placed his age at no more than fourteen or fifteen years old.

The other one had jet black hair, and a smile on his face. He held his gun sideways and tried to point it at Dylan’s head. His body was strong and fit, but he apparently never held a gun before. Dylan placed his age around eighteen.

“Guys we really don’t have to do this.” Dylan walked out of the elevator with both hands held up.

They just cocked back the hammers on the pistols.

“Guess we do. Can this at least wait till I have pants?” One of the men shook his head.

“Pity,” Dylan said.

Dylan grabbed hold of the younger men and pulled forward. They stumbled forward and knocked into the others. They all shot their guns, only to fire into the walls or floor.

Dylan struck the two men he pulled in the throat making them fall. The man in the black tank top had rotated and pointed his gun towards Dylan.

Dylan grabbed the gun and pressed the magazine release to make the magazine drop. Dylan then stripped the gun from the man’s hand. He struck the man in the nose. The young man fell to the ground holding his nose as blood spurted from it.

The one in the white tank was rotating to shoot at Dylan. Dylan caught his arm as it moved, and broke his elbow over his shoulder. The boy yelled as Dylan kicked his legs out from under him. He fell to the ground holding his broken arm.

The eighteen-year-old stood. He’d dropped his gun, so he ran forward yelling. He threw a punch. Dylan took a step to the side, and the kid’s fist went through the wall. Dylan looked at him and shook his head. He grabbed the young man by the back of the head and drove him into the wall, smashing it through the drywall. The boy was knocked out.

Dylan turned and saw the youngest boy holding his gun pointing it at him. His hands shook as his eyes widened. Dylan stepped towards the kid with his palms facing him. He grabbed the pistol and tore it out of the boy’s hand.

“Many people can take life,” Dylan said. “You’re not one of them. Quit this life, before you do something you regret.”

Dylan turned and walked away from the kids. He got to the locker room and stepped inside.

Chapter 7

ON THE fifth floor. Miles and Haruna both heard a gunshot. Haruna turned and ran back towards Dylan’s room. Miles followed, catching up to her just as she entered the room. She looked at an empty bed and rubbed the bridge of her nose. She turned towards Miles as he entered. “I thought you said you put him to sleep.”

Miles closed the door and took a few steps towards Haruna. He reached into his pocket and took out a syringe filled with a clear liquid, “I did, he wasn’t. Sorry, but I need to get you out of here.”

“What is that?” Haruna backed into the room.

“Something to put you asleep,” Miles said, “I’ve found that it’s easier to get someone out of a hospital through the morgue. This drug will mimic death, make getting there easy.”

Miles took a few steps until he was just a few feet from her. Just as Miles reached for Haruna, the door swung open, and in stepped four men.

They stepped in with think tank tops on and jeans. Miles could see the tattoos on their arms. One man had a tattoo of a black skull on the back of his hand. Another had a cross going up his right arm. One of the other men had a bald head and had decided to put a spider web around it. The last man had the words ‘Save Love,’ on one hand and ‘Keep Freedom,’ on the other. The last one was holding the door open.

Another second passed and in stepped a man so tall that had to duck under the doorframe to get in. He closed the door. He took his shirt off and showed he had tattooed a set of epaulets with skulls on his shoulder.

Miles looked at all five of them, “You guys here for her?” The largest man nodded.

“Great,” Miles turned to Haruna, “I was hoping to get you out before they found you.” Haruna’s face scrunched up. Miles placed the syringe in his pocket.

Miles looked at the five men; the four smaller ones were about the same height as Miles, and with similar builds. They all drew weapons. The man with the skull tattoo and the one with the spider web both drew small pistols. The one that had the cross and the one with the tattooed words both drew large knives. The big guy just stood behind them.

Miles closed his eyes, visualizing the coming fight, and opened them a second later. The man with the words on his arm rushed him. Miles kicked the man in the front of his knee, and he fell back. The man with the skull tattoo turned his gun on Miles and pulled on the trigger. Miles rolled forward just as the gun fired.

Miles was under “skull tattoo.” Before he could step back, Miles came up with an uppercut to his stomach. He turned his head and saw the cross tattoo was coming towards him with his knife. Miles turned his leg and kicked the man in the chest sending him back into the wall. He knocked the gun out of “skull tattoo’s” hand and flipped him over his shoulder. Miles saw the gun slide across the room, and a knife on the floor right in front of him.

“Spider web tattoo” turned his gun on Miles as he went for the knife, and smiled. Miles was on his knees, couldn’t move, and couldn’t dodge. The man then turned his gun towards Haruna. Miles picked up the knife and threw it. The knife hit the man in the wrist as he fired his gun. The shot hit the side of a wall.

Miles turned and saw that the man with words tattooed on his arms, was on his hands and knees. Miles punted him in the head. He pulled the syringe out of his pocket and shoved the needle into the man with the tattooed epaulets.

The man with the spider tattoo on his skull was yelling in pain as blood came out of his wrist. He turned to look at the others and saw that most of them were already down. He turned to look at Haruna and saw Miles in front of him. The man lifted the gun and tried to pull the trigger. His hand wouldn’t close.

“Knife must have cut a few nerves,” Miles said. He reached up and took the gun, and shot him in the chest.

Miles let the man fall, and looked around, “Just as I saw it.”

The biggest of the five men was still standing. “Thought that would put me out,” he said removing the syringe.

“A drug that I measured out for a hundred and twenty-pound woman put you out? No, just slow you down,” Miles said.

The man took a step forward. Miles saw his leg tremble as his stepped. The man took another step and lunged at Miles. Miles rolled his shoulders and moved out of his way. The man stumbled forward. Miles tripped him, and he fell face first into the wall. The man was out cold. Miles then turned to Haruna.

“What’s going on?” Haruna asked.

“I don’t really have time to explain. My name is Miles Jackson. These men are here to kill you, but I’m going to get you out of here,” Miles offered his hand to Haruna.

“I guess you’re not a doctor,” Haruna said.

“No, I’m doing a favor for a friend,” Miles said, “but we have to get you out of here.”

Miles took Haruna by the hand and pulled her towards the door. He opened the door and saw a short fat balding man walking towards the room. His arms were inside his long jacket. The man’s arms rose as he pulled a sawed-off shotgun out of his coat, and pointed it towards Miles.

Miles slammed the door, and pushed Haruna back, before falling flat onto the floor. Just as he hit the ground, he heard a loud blast of the shotgun going off, then felt the pieces of the door falling on top of him. Miles rolled out of the line of the door. The man kicked what was left of the door down as he entered the room. His gun was cracked opened to reload.

Miles heard the action close. He pointed the shotgun at Miles. A gunshot echoed throughout the room. The man fell to the floor. A bullet had entered into the side of his skull and blasted out the other. Dylan entered the doorway holding one of his pistols.

Chapter 8

DYLAN looked around the room. He saw the bodies of the men Miles fought, the pieces of the destroyed wooden door, and Miles on the ground. He smirked, “Getting rusty.” He offered his hand to Miles.

“How many did you take out?” Miles grabbed Dylan’s hand.

Dylan kicked the fat man at his feet, “He makes six. You?”

Miles looked over into the room, “Five.”

“How many do you think are left?” Haruna slowly walked from the corner, her arms wrapped around her.

“That’s a good question,” Dylan looked towards Miles.

Miles thought for a moment, “When they arrived there was a little over twenty.”

“Excessive,” Dylan said, “but that’s eleven down.”

“Unless more came when you weren’t looking,” Haruna said. “How do you know they are after me?”

“Their leader yelled at his guys in Russian about killing you and hitting the bars. I guess he thought no one could understand. You put Dylan under protective custody when you got here. Nurses said the officers left shortly after you arrived.”

Haruna tilted her head and looked at Miles, “They told me it was a shift change. Another group was supposed to arrive immediately.”

“Well they’re not coming,” Miles said.

“Any chance there are more?” Haruna asked.

Dylan looked at Haruna, “Unlikely. Chances are the first guy I took out was supposed to take you,” Dylan said, “Any idea why they’re after you?”

“I don’t know,” Haruna shrugged her shoulders as she thought for a moment. “I’m the lead prosecutor on the Vanco case, but losing Liza makes it almost impossible to convict.”

“We’ll figure it out later,” Miles said. “For now we need to get her out of here.”

“What do you think they’re going to do?” Dylan asked Miles.

“I did a count of how many exits there are. There is one primary entrance for civilians, and one for ambulances and emergency vehicles. There are also several emergency exits. If I were them, I would put as many people at the front as possible, but focus on hunting.”

“So we might be ok if we get to the first floor,” Haruna said.

“Maybe, or they could have people watching the emergency exits,” Miles said.

“You think they have snipers watching the hospital?” Dylan asked.

“Not sure,” Miles said, “twenty guys for one unarmed woman. I’m not ruling it out.” Miles bent down and picked up the shotgun.

“What do you think we should do?” Dylan asked.

“I find it hard to believe that the police haven’t been called,” Miles said, “How long till they arrive?”

Haruna walked over to one of the dead Russians on the floor. She pulled on their clothes until she saw an Orthodox Cross tattooed on his chest.

Haruna turned to Miles, “Police aren’t coming. These guys are part of the Russian mafia. They have bought off every cop in the area so they can operate freely.”

“So we either get you out, or we kill them all,” Dylan said.

Haruna rubbed her hands slowly, and looked around, “Pretty much.”

Dylan looked at her and saw a small spark of fear. He looked at Miles and smiled, “Get her out of here.”

“And what will you be doing?” Haruna asked.

“I’m going to distract them,” Dylan turned and walked out of the room.

“Dylan,” Miles yelled. Dylan turned his head towards him, “Take the stairs.”

Dylan nodded and walked towards the stairs. He kicked the door open. The noise echoed up and down the staircase. He stepped through the door and heard the stomping footsteps of people running towards him. Dylan drew one of his guns and walked down to meet them.

He turned a corner and spotted the first man. Dylan fired one shot and hit the man in the center of the skull. His head snapped back as the bullet hit the center of his forehead. The bullet ran through the inside of his skull and blasted out the back spraying blood onto the wall behind him.

A second man came running past the first, holding a small submachine gun. The Russian yelled and pointed his gun, but Dylan pointed his first and fired. The bullet caught the second man through the throat. He fell to his knees as blood sprayed to the floor. He gurgled softly as the life left his eyes.

A third man stared wide eyed at the other two men. He lifted his pistol and shot at Dylan several times. The bullets struck the wall behind Dylan. He felt the dust from the drywall hit the side of his head. He turned and shot the man in the chest twice. The man fell back as his shirt blossomed with red stains.

A fourth Russian rushed at Dylan with a large meat cleaver. He yelled as he swung nearly cutting Dylan’s ear off. The man’s arm fell over the railing as he swung. Dylan pushed his back and threw him over the side of the staircase. The man fell four floors, screaming the entire way before he broke his neck on the bottom floor.

Dylan stopped for a second. He took a deep breath and looked around. He saw three dead bodies around him, and heard a man shouting in Russian. Dylan turned the corner on the staircase and shot a fifth man speaking into a radio.

Dylan could hear someone yelling through the radio. He was speaking fast and in Russian. Dylan bent down and picked the radio up.

Dylan pressed the button to send a message, “Your men are dead,” Dylan said. “I’m coming for all of you.”

Dylan continued going down the stairs, “Who are you?” was the reply on the radio.

“My name is Dylan Price.”

“Whatever did we do to earn your attention, Mr. Price?”

“Nothing,” Dylan replied, “I just don’t like thugs who go after women in hospitals.”

“How chivalrous of you. You prepared to die for the bitch?”

“Based on what I have seen, that won’t even be a factor.”

“You have seen nothing. We are watching every exit, and we have more than two dozen men going through this hospital.”

“More like less than a dozen,” Dylan said, “I have already taken out sixteen people. You better send more if you want this to be fair.”

The voice grew angry. He shouted through the radio, “You think you’re so tough. Why don’t you come to the front entrance so I can gut you like a fish?”

“Be there in a few seconds,” Dylan reached the first floor.

While Dylan was descending the stairs, Miles and Haruna were in an elevator. Haruna looked at Miles, “Who is he?”

“Dylan?” Miles asked.

“Yes, Dylan,” Haruna said.

“He’s complicated,” Miles replied.

Haruna pressed the emergency stop button, “Then give me an uncomplicated version.”

“You want to do this now?” Miles looked at Haruna. Haruna folded her arms in front of her and stared at Miles. She tapped her foot.

Miles sighed, “I’ve known Dylan for most of my life. He was one of my only real friends, and he’s the best soldiers I have ever met. A few years ago, something bad happened, but he’s still the same man.”

“What happened?” Haruna asked.

“I don’t know. The reports said he was responsible for destroying a village in the Ghana Empire.”

“But you don’t believe them.”

“No,” Miles said, “Dylan Price is a lot of things, but above all, he is a good man. He would never let an innocent person die. So I find it hard to believe he would kill an entire village.”

“And that’s why you’re here helping him.”

“It’s part of the reason.”

“And what’s the other?”

“If not for Dylan Price, I’d be dead a thousand times.”

Haruna pressed the emergency button again, and the two continued to the second floor.

The door opened, and Miles led Haruna to just over the front entrance. Miles looked down, he spotted a ledge that was just above the patient entrance. He broke the window.

Chapter 9

DYLAN stood in front of the metal doors leading to the ER entrance. He reloaded and kicked the doors open with a bang. He stepped through the doors and into a large waiting room.

There were a few dozen people in the waiting area. Only eight of them were armed, the rest were civilians. Dylan expected to have eight guns pointed at him, but only saw a couple assault rifles pointed at his chest. Most of the other weapons were small pistols pointed at hostages.

Only one man had his gun pointed down. He was the young, thin, men wearing a black and gray suit.

“Drop your weapons Mr. Price,” he said.

“You must be the man in charge here,” Dylan said.

“I said drop your weapons,” the man repeated himself. His voice got a bit louder. “The name is Albert Vasiliev.”

Dylan pointed his gun at Albert, “Tell your men to back off.”

“Or what?” Albert began, “You’ll shoot me?”

Dylan pulled the hammer back on his pistol, “Pretty much.”

The leader of the Russians reached over and grabbed a blond girl with a ponytail dressed in green scrubs. He took his long silver revolver and placed it on the side of her head. He stood level with the girl almost hiding behind her. Dylan looked at the girl. She was over eighteen, tears welling up in her face her head shaking back and forth, and fear in her eyes.

Vasiliev pulled the hammer back on his revolver, “Holster your weapons, or I shoot this girl in the head,” he said, “You have to the count of five.”

Dylan didn’t move. Vasiliev began counting, “One… Two… Three…” a gunshot rang out.

Albert’s revolver fell from his hand and hit the ground. The gun bounced a little. Everyone looked towards Dylan. Smoke was flowing out of his pistol. Albert fell to the floor, the right side of his skull missing from a bullet wound in his eye. The girl dropped to her knees, the side of her face covered in Vasiliev’s blood.

“Ok,” Dylan said, “Put the guns down, boys.”

The men didn’t move, they just kept looking at Dylan, their eyes wide.

“Seriously, do any of you think you’re still getting paid? You can put a bullet in me, but then you still have to find the prosecutor. She’s more than likely left the building.”

“You have any idea who that was?” one of the men finally asked.

“Do I need too?”

“That was our boss’s youngest son,” another man said.

“Really,” Dylan said, “His youngest son?”

The men all nodded, “You’re a dead man.”

“Well it was a good try,” Dylan said.

They all turned towards Dylan, raising their guns and shooting. Dylan ran to the admissions desk and dived over the top. Bullets tore into the desk. Some managed to get through barely missing Dylan. He waited behind the desk until he heard a small pause in the gunfire.

Dylan stood up and shot back. Most of the Russians were reloading. Dylan slid over the desk and kept firing. He quickly ran out of ammo and holstered his first gun. He drew his other gun and fired another eight quick rounds. He re-holstered and looked around.

Dylan ran at one of Russians, who had just finished reloading a small submachine gun. He swung to fire, only to feel Dylan’s hands on his forearms. The Russian couldn’t move his arms. Dylan struck the man in the throat and took the gun from his hands. He turned and saw several others ready to fire.

Dylan spun the Russian he was holding in front of him. The other Russians hesitated, not wanting to fire into their own man.

One stepped forward, and pointed his gun and shot three rounds, and more guns fired. Bullets ripped apart the Russian Dylan was holding, and both fell back. Dylan fired the SMG into what remained of the Russians. The bullets wounded some and killed a few others as Dylan fell to the ground. The SMG was out of ammo, and Dylan lay there motionless.

Only a few Russians remained. They walked up to the carcass that was once their man. Dylan was laying on his side. His coat was covered in blood. Some of it looked to be his. A man bent down and flipped him over. They wanted to put a bullet between his eyes.

“Not so tough now,” he said as he touched Dylan’s shoulder.

Dylan rolled over, knife in hand, and stabbed the man through the heart. The remaining two men pointed their guns and prepared to fire.

A loud boom echoed through the waiting area. One of the Russians fell to the ground, his back and chest covered in blood. The last Russian turned to where the shot came from.

Miles stood at the entrance to the ER, holding the sawed-off shotgun. He pointed the gun at the last remaining Russian and fired. The last Russian’s head exploded as the pellets ripped through it.

Miles walked farther in and offered Dylan a hand up. “Getting rusty,” Miles said with a smile.

Dylan took Miles’s hand and got up. He walked over to where the silver revolver was and put the hammer back down.

He turned towards the blond girl, “You ok?”

She grabbed Dylan and hugged him. “Thank you,” she said as small tears rained down her face.

Dylan broke off the hug and turned towards the door.

Miles and Haruna had jumped from the second story to the top of a ledge that hung over the patient entrance way. When Dylan started shooting, Miles had a good enough distraction to get Haruna off the ledge, and away from the hospital.

“We better get out of here before more arrive,” Dylan said.

The two left the hospital, outside was a large red Corvette. Dylan looked at the car and saw Haruna in the passenger seat. Dylan looked at Miles, his eyebrows raised.

“I may have borrowed a car when I got into town,” Miles said. Miles walked to the driver’s side and got in. Dylan bent down. The window rolled down.

“What are you going to do,” Haruna asked.

Dylan replied, “You know where my car is?”

“The black Mustang?” Haruna asked.

“Yeah, a black Mustang,” Dylan replied.

“In an impound lot,” Haruna said, “It’s on Fourth Street. Not far from here.”

“I take it you’re not coming with us?” Miles asked.

“No,” Dylan said, “Keep her safe.”

Dylan reached into his pocket and pulled out Liza’s golden locket. He handed it to Haruna. “When Liza died she had this on her. Find the little girl in the photo and tell her I’m sorry.”

Dylan walked away from the car. Haruna looked at the locket and yelled, “Dylan!”

Dylan turned and walked back to the car.

“Did you really see a man in a white suit kill Liza?”

“Yeah,” Dylan said, “He’s real. I’m going to find him, and I’m going to kill him.”

“The cops call him Ghost. I hope you find him.”

Dylan smiled at Haruna and walked away. As he walked down the sidewalk, he saw several black and white cop cars heading towards the hospital.

“Russians must have cleared out,” Dylan thought.

Chapter 10

MILES quickly drove his car away from the hospital. “We need to get you somewhere safe,” he said to Haruna. Miles studied the cars around him as he drove. After a few minutes, he was confident that they weren’t being followed.

“Take me to the courthouse,” Haruna said.

“You sure?” Miles asked, “The Russians are not going to stop looking for you.”

“I have court in…” Haruna looked at the watch on her wrist, “Five minutes. It’s the Vanco case. If I’m not there, the judge will throw it out.”

“Isn’t the judge going to throw it out anyway? Your witness is dead.”

“Probably, but if I’m there, I can try to buy more time.”

“Ok,” Miles said. He turned the car around and drove towards the center of Hazard City. He drove several miles quickly and arrived with a minute to spare. Haruna got out and ran up the limestone staircase to the entrance.

Haruna hurried through security and got to her assigned room. She looked down at her watch, “Great, three minutes late.”

She straightened her clothes, took a deep breath, and opened the doors. The courtroom was filled with a mixture of Vanco’s men, reporters, and many of Vanco’s victims.

Everyone’s head turned towards Haruna as the large doors opened. “Miss Wu, you are late,” Judge Larkin yelled.

“I’m sorry, I was detained,” Haruna said.

Judge Larkin was an older man known for being unforgiving with prosecutors and who gave little benefit to the police.

“Make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Larkin snarled, “Where is your second chair?”

Haruna stood next to her table. She expected Naomi Piazza to be sitting in the chair next to hers, but it was empty. She stood, her mouth open a little. She tried not to show any emotion, but Naomi had a husband and son at home. Given what happened to Haruna earlier, she was worried.

A small smile crept into the face of a well-dressed attorney sitting on the other side of the courtroom. Sitting next to him was a well-dressed middle-aged woman. Her black hair was tied behind her head in a bun. Her long legs were crossed in front of her.

She played with her nails, uninterested with the world around her. A small smirk appeared on her face when Larkin started in on Haruna. Many knew this woman as the infamous Henretta Vanco.

“Your honor,” the defense attorney stood. He twisted a pair of golden cufflinks on his suit, “We are prepared to start. Let us proceed without Miss…” The defense attorney looked at Haruna, “who was your second chair again?”

“Miss Piazza,” Haruna said, “I will have the police look into her absence, your honor. For now, I am ready to proceed.”

“Fine then,” Judge Larkin said, “Now Mr. Martin. You wish to preclude a witness from testifying.”

“Yes, your honor,” defense attorney Roy Martin started. “Your honor we contend that there is no witness. These charges were brought because of a vendetta Miss Wu has against Mrs. Vanco.”

“Your honor, that is not true,” Haruna replied, “Yesterday my witness was shot by an unknown assailant.”

“How convenient,” Mr. Martin said, “And how do we know that Miss Wu didn’t just pick a name out of the obituaries.”

“We corroborated her statements. She used to work for Mrs. Vanco,” Haruna replied, “We the people contest that Mrs. Vanco orchestrated a hit on one Liza Marie so that she could escape these charges.”

“Do you have any evidence to back that up?” Larkin asked.

Haruna looked around, “No, but a Russian hit squad tried to kill me today.”

“Really? And how does that help your case?” Mr. Martin asked.

“It shows your client’s guilt,” Haruna said.

“Did the Russians have any connection to Mrs. Vanco?” Judge Larkin asked.

“No,” Haruna said, “To my knowledge, no one was caught by the police.”

“Miss Wu, you are not giving me anything. You have no evidence to connect any of these events to Mrs. Vanco. Your witness was never questioned by a defense attorney. Now she is dead, and you can’t link her death to the defendant in any way. I’m not allowing her testimony into evidence, and I’m dismissing the charges,” the judge yelled.

“Please judge, just give me a little more time,” Haruna begged.

“No,” Judge Larkin replied, “you have had all the time you need. If you ever bring charges against Mrs. Vanco again, without substantial evidence to back them up, I will personally make sure your license is pulled. Mrs. Vanco you are free to go.” The judge banged his gavel.

Haruna fell into her chair. She noticed Judge Larkin leaving, but didn’t see everyone filing out.

The door to the court closed. Haruna woke from her trance and looked around. She was alone with the defense team, and a few men in the gallery. The men, known Vanco gang members, stepped forward. Madam Vanco stood up.

Vanco turned towards Haruna, “When are you going to give up?” She laughed at Haruna. “You are never going to beat me.” A smug smiled appeared on her face as she walked around the courtroom.

“Where is Naomi?” Haruna turned towards Madam Vanco.

“Not sure,” Madam Vanco said calmly. She shrugged her shoulders and turned her back to Haruna, “I didn’t think I needed a hit squad for her. I just sent a few guys to grab her. You should not come after me with someone so pretty. The guys I sent were more than willing to take her as payment.”

“You kidnapped an ADA,” Haruna said, “You’re going to jail for life for that.”

“I don’t think so,” Madam Vanco snapped her fingers. Two guys stepped towards Haruna. One was a few inches taller than the other and dressed in a cheap shirt and jeans. The other was dressed similarly, but with a silver necklace around his neck. They grabbed ahold of Haruna’s shoulders and bent her over the table.

Haruna struggled against them, “Get off me!”

Madam Vanco walked over to Haruna, “You know I get a discount for my legal services. All I need to do is offer my defense team a couple of girls a year. Free of charge, of course, but this time things changed. The head of my legal defense team, Mr. Roy Martin wanted something special. He wanted you inside the court.”

Haruna struggled harder. “You will never get away with this.” Tears appeared in the corners of Haruna’s eyes.

Vanco leaned down. “Oh Haruna, you will never learn. I got every recording device turned off. I got the courtroom’s schedule blocked off for hours. I have men outside stopping anyone from even coming down the hall.” Haruna’s eyes got wide. She struggled. “Mr. Martin, go ahead.”

Roy Martin stepped next to Haruna. He reached down and pulled her skirt up. He grabbed hold of her underwear and pulled until the fabric ripped apart. He stood next to her and unbuckled his pants.

“Stop,” Vanco said. She sat next to Haruna’s head.

She leaned over to her ear and said, “Do you give up Haruna?” Vanco smiled. “I’ll call off Roy, and I’ll let you be on your way. All you have to do is never bring another case against me.”

Haruna had tears streaming down her face. She looked up at Vanco, anger in her eyes. “Never,” she said. She spat in Vanco’s face.

Vanco rose from the table and wiped the spit away. She looked at ADA with fire in her eyes. “How dare you!” She screamed. Roy moved to take his pants farther off.

Vanco looked at the attorney, “Did I say you could move? No, I didn’t.” She looked at her two men. “Take her, I want to break her personally, and make her my little fuck slave.” She grabbed Haruna by the back of her hair. “Every cock in Hazard is going to know what it’s like to be inside your cunt.” She threw Haruna’s head back down.

The door to the courtroom opened and in stepped an older man in his sixties. He was fit, his short black and gray hair was standing on end, and his gray suit was worn in a few places. He looked at the scene, smirked, and shook his head.

Vanco walked over, “How did you get in here?” she said grabbing her purse.

“I was waiting in the hall. You know you didn’t lock that door?” the man said.

“And who are you?” Vanco said as she dug through her purse.

“Oh, that doesn’t matter right now,” the man reached into his jacket pocket. “I guess you have all the recorders off. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be assaulting an ADA.”

“Yeah,” Vanco pulled her hand out of the purse. She held a small plastic knife.

“Nice knife,” the old man pulled out a silver case. He opened it and took out a small cigar. He then reached in and pulled a lighter out. He lit the cigar and took a deep breath. “You know we can’t smoke anywhere around the courthouse.”

“Fascinating,” Martin said. “What do you want, you old goat?”

The old man ignored Martin, “So thanks for this I wanted one for hours,” the old man said. He put the cigar case back in his jacket and then reached towards the other side.

“You see I been here all day hoping to hear from a friend. I heard she had a hit put out on her. I’ve been worried sick.” He pulled his arm out and flashed a silver badge. “You wouldn’t know where I could find Haruna Wu. Would you?”

Haruna rose from the table. The old man’s smirk faded. He looked at Vanco, he showed her his ID.

“Detective James Lee,” Vanco said. She didn’t look impressed. “I have heard of you. You’re the one this little slut goes to when she wants to investigate something. I bet she pays you the same way I would.”

Lee smiled, the old detective put his badge away and pulled out a Glock, “Knife vs. gun, I wonder which will win.”

Vanco just smiled. Her men took a few steps towards Lee, but she waved her hand at them, and they stopped. She put the knife in her purse.

“With what I heard about you I wouldn’t be surprised if you pulled the trigger. You can’t always protect her. I will get her.”

“And I’ll kill you.”

Vanco walked passed Lee, and out the door, her men soon followed. Lee went to Haruna.

“Did you have a plan if I didn’t show up?” Lee asked as Haruna got close.

Haruna shook her head and pulled her clothes together. She walked out the door with Lee at her side. The two walked passed the security desk.

“Detective Lee,” a man shouted. “We warned you several times about smoking around the courthouse.”

Lee turned towards the man. He took the cigar out of his mouth and said, “Gosh darn it, Sergeant, I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have you to keep me in line.” He put the cigar back in his mouth and walked out of the courthouse.

Chapter 11

OUTSIDE the courthouse, James and Haruna walked down the long staircase. “What the hell were you thinking,” Lee said.

“What do you mean?” Haruna said, “If I didn’t show up today I would have been in contempt.”

“We both know that is not what this is about.”

“Really? Then what’s it about?”

Lee went down a few steps ahead of Haruna. He grabbed her arm, and the two paused on the staircase. “How many years since your sister disappeared? We both know Madam Vanco was behind it.”

“So now I’m going after them?” Haruna pulled her arm from Lee’s grasp.

“Her,” Lee paused for a moment. “Thank god you haven’t brought cases against the other families.” Lee turned around and folded his arms across his chest.

Haruna’s eyebrows narrowed, but then she looked down. She sat down on the stairs. “What if this was my last shot at her?”

Lee bobbed his head back and forth and turned towards Haruna. “She is a criminal,” Lee said, “and she thinks she’s untouchable. Vanco will mess up again. And you will be there.”

Lee turned away from Haruna and walked away, “Oh by the way, when the Russians put a hit out on you, make sure you call me. I wasn’t kidding about that worried sick thing.”

On the other side of town, Dylan drove from the impound lot back to the docks. Zeek was waiting outside the entrance to his hideout.

Zeek looked at the blood on Dylan’s shirt and jacket, “What happened at the house?” He paused for a moment, “and to you?”

Dylan shrugged, “The house exploded when I opened the door.”

Zeek chuckled a little, “We live a charmed life.” He turned his chair around and went into the hideout. “So did you have something to do with that shootout at the hospital?”

“Yeah, that was me,” Dylan followed Zeek into the shipping containers.

“Were they after you?”

“No.”

“Then why did you get involved?”

“There was a group of Russian thugs attacking a hospital. One held a gun up to a girl’s head. I made the right call.”

“You want to find them?”

“Yes, but I’m going to need more ammo.”

“I don’t have any. I don’t have any information either. Dylan are you sure you want to be doing this?”

Dylan sat down on a metal bench facing away from Zeek. “No, but there is this woman.”

“Oh god,” Zeek rolled over towards Dylan. “Please tell me you didn’t adopt another stray.”

Dylan looked towards Zeek. He shook his head slowly, “No, nothing like that. She is a prosecutor. The girl that was shot Liza was a witness against someone named Madam Vanco. Are you able to look Vanco up?”

Zeek turned around and went over to a set of monitors. “You’re lucky I hadn’t had time to send back the computer.” Zeek started typing on a keyboard. The screens lit up and pulled up photos and information.

Dylan looked at the screens, “Wow, and this is just articles and court appearances.”

“Yeah, that prosecutor isn’t named Haruna Wu by chance?”

“Yeah, how did you know?”

“She has brought almost thirty different indictments against Henrietta Vanco in the last three years.”

“That explains why she was targeted.”

“You said they were Russians that performed the hit. You get a name?”

“Vasiliev, Albert Vasiliev,” Dylan said.

Zeek typed the name Vasiliev into a directory. A large list of names came up. Zeek looked up at Dylan, “This is a long list. It’s going to take time for me to go through it.”

“How long,” Dylan asked.

“I can look up the name, and see if a Vasiliev has been taken to court. Finding his address will still take a few hours.”

“Damn,” Dylan said, “I don’t think Haruna will have that long. These guys might try and hit her again.”

“They might, I’ll work as fast as I can.”

Just then, there was a knock at the door. The sound echoed throughout the entire hideout. Zeek pressed a button on the computer and the text on the monitors faded. In its place was a video feed of the front entrance.

Miles was standing at the front entrance to the hideout. He was no longer dressed as a doctor. He was standing in a black and white suit.

“Come on, Zeek I know you’re in there,” Miles yelled.

Zeek turned towards Dylan and practically growled, “How long has he been here?”

“I don’t know, a few days maybe. You know he is on our side,” Dylan said.

“You know how much I hate spooks. You can’t trust what side they’re on. Now you’re bringing one to my hideout,” Zeek said.

“I don’t know how he found this place. Maybe he knows something.”

“Fine, let him in,” Zeek growled.

Dylan went to the doors and unlocked them. Miles opened the doors and walked into the container. “Took long enough,” Miles said, “I guess the old man is still pissed.”

Dylan shrugged, “The man hates spies.”

Miles walked into the main areas and saw Zeek typing on the computer. He walked over to Zeek, “What are you trying to find?”

Dylan followed Miles, “We are working to find information on the Vasiliev family.”

“You able to help with that?” Zeek asked.

“Nope,” Miles said. “I know they are a minor crime family, but I haven’t had time to find anything else out.”

“They didn’t seem like a minor crime family an hour ago,” Dylan said.

“You should hear the rumors about the other families. I do know about an information broker in the city. He should know where to find the Vasiliev family,” Miles turned towards Dylan, “His name is Samuel Thane. He should be at a bar on the corner of Tenth and Washington.”

“If that’s all you have, then you can leave,” Zeek said. Miles shook his head and walked towards the exit.

Zeek turned his head towards Miles, “Hold on a second.” Miles turned towards Zeek. “How did you find this place?”

Miles smiled, he looked over at Dylan. “Look in your inside pocket.” Miles exited the room and left the storage container.

Dylan looked into his pocket and pulled out a bronze coin with a square hole cut in the middle. Dylan looked at the closing door and showed Zeek the coin.

“I hate spies,” Zeek said.

“He means well.” Dylan slipped the coin back into his coat.

“Jury is still out,” Zeek said, “Find this Samuel guy. Ask him about the Vasiliev family. I’ll keep researching the Vanco family, see if I can find anything.”

Chapter 12

A FEW miles north of the courthouse, a meeting took place in a partially constructed office building. Most of the drywall had been complete, but most of the wiring was still exposed, and metal beams were still opened.

Madam Vanco stood waiting next to an elevator. She tapped one of her black four-inch heels. Her arms were folded across her large chest. She took a long deep breath.

“I can’t believe how long they are making me wait,” Vanco said to the three men behind her.

A few more seconds passed, Madam Vanco threw her hands up and pressed the down button to the elevator. “Fuck this,” she yelled, “Who do they think they are? Making me, of all people, wait.”

“The man thinks he’s God,” a deep voice called out from behind Madam Vanco.

A dark skinned man was leaning against a white round pillar. His head was only a few feet from the ceiling, and his body was large and muscular. Henrietta looked at him and smiled.

“Rhino, you’re the only reason I even bothered to show up,” Vanco took a few steps towards the man. She straightened his white tie, and gently placed her hands on his chest. “How did you like the last offering we gave you?”

“They were a little fragile,” Rhino said coming off the pillar. “Next time give me a few girls that can take a few hits. You might get one of them back.”

“There won’t be a next time,” a voice called out from the recently opened elevator doors.

Out stepped two men, one was dressed in a white suit. His skin was pale white, the only mark on him was a scar down his right eye. His hands were bare except for a silver ring on his pinky. He was the hitman known as Ghost.

The other man was shorter, leaner, and older than both Ghost and Rhino. The small areas of visible hair was black and gray. His skin was a shade of light brown. It was the same color as a cloth he had wrapped around his head, and the robe he wrapped around his body. His hands and forearms were covered with a pair of dark brown leather gloves. Only one of his ring fingers was visible. On it was a jade ring.

He walked over to Madam Vanco. Vanco smiled and took a few steps towards the man. “Marcus, how’s life? Thank you for dispatching with that little whore. I guess you want your payment.”

“No,” Marcus said, “I have a message from the Kingpin. We protect you no more. We told you not to go after the prosecutor. We told you that we would take care of it.”

“Oh that wasn’t me, darling,” Vanco started.

Marcus held his hand up to silence her, “We don’t care. You don’t touch ADAs unless we approve first.”

“And who do you think you are? You’re just a dog for a boss that no one ever sees.”

“Watch your tongue Vanco, or we will be cutting it out!” Ghost yelled from the elevator doors.

“And you watch yours pup!” Rhino yelled.

“I want a meeting with him,” Vanco said to Marcus. The two stood face to face.

Marcus smirked and shook his head. “No one sees him. Especially a whore who doesn’t know her place,” Marcus replied.

Vanco looked at her men and snapped her fingers. The three men she brought stepped forward. They pushed Vanco back behind them. They took out pistols and pointed them at Marcus’s head.

“Say the word, boss,” one said.

All three men were about to pull the trigger when Marcus moved. He reached into his cloak and pulled a long sharp curved knife. He cut each man ten times in only a few seconds. He turned to Vanco, and presented the knife to her as her men fell.

Vanco’s eyes were wide as she grabbed the handle of the blade. Marcus didn’t let go. He held onto it for just a few seconds.

“You are not the first to run the whorehouses of this city. The Kingpin replaced one. He can replace another.” Marcus let go of the knife, “To remember the message.”

Marcus turned and walked back into the elevator. The doors closed behind them, and descended, “You weren’t as quick as you thought,” Ghost said.

“Not as young as I used to be. Thank you for your help,” Marcus said.

Madam Vanco walked away rolling her eyes as she did. Rhino looked at the bodies of Vanco’s men, and he knelt down and pulled a small white needle out of one of the eyes. Rhino smiled.

Chapter 13

Hours had passed. Dylan sat in his car outside a rundown bar. His keys were in the ignition, but the engine was off. In the hours he watched the bar, he never saw anyone enter or leave. Dylan was about to head back to Zeek’s and see if he found anything.

A gun appeared beside his head. The gun was a Glock with its barrel inside the window of his car. It was only inches away from Dylan’s head. He turned his head and saw a young black kid holding it.

Dylan looked the kid up and down. “Huh,” he murmured. “Where did he come from?” he thought.

“Out of the car old man,” the kid said.

“How old are you son?”

“What’s it matter to you? I said out of the car.”

“You know you made two mistakes.”

“Not from where I’m standing.”

Dylan pushed open the car door. The door swung open violently knocking the kid away from the car, and onto the ground. Dylan got out of his Mustang. He kicked the Glock away from the kid and grabbed him by his jacket. He lifted the kid up and pushed him against his car.

“Mistake number one, you were holding the gun too close. You had my attention, you should have stepped back. Mistake number two, you were within the path of my door. Stand closer to backseat. That way when the door opens you won’t get clipped.”

The kid looked at Dylan. There was a small pause before he spoke, “Well go ahead. Kill me.”

Dylan just stared at the kid.

“Personally, I think you should just let the kid go.” Dylan looked up and saw Samuel Thane leaning up against the hood of his Mustang.

Dylan let the kid go. The kid stood there for a second. “Go on home, little gangster. Your mom is going to worry,” Samuel said.

The kid nodded and took off down the street. Dylan turned towards Samuel and said, “Are you, Samuel?”

“Yeah, and you’re Dylan Price,” the man said getting off Dylan’s Mustang.

“How do you know my name?” Dylan asked.

“Words out to look for a white man dressed in black,” Samuel said. “You are in black, and you’re probably the whitest man in this area. What are you doing here?”

“Miles said you might have information.”

“Who,” Samuel asked, “I don’t remember giving information to a man named Miles.”

Dylan rolled his eyes, “Of course he probably didn’t go by his name. You’re an information broker?”

“Among other things.”

“I need some information about the Vasiliev family,” Dylan said. “I want to know why they attacked a hospital.”

Samuel turned away from Dylan for a moment. “You got something to trade for the information?”

“No, but I’ll owe you a favor,” Dylan said.

“I heard what you did at the hospital, but let’s say I give you this information. What will you do with it?”

“Go and find out why they wanted to kill Haruna Wu.”

“And if you die in the attempt? Who will I turn to for that favor?”

“Miles Jackson will take care of it.”

“Well, you see that’s where we have a problem. You are bringing up that man again. You say he knows me, but I don’t know him. How can I tell if he exists? And even if he does. How do I know if he can do me a favor?”

Dylan looked at Samuel, “What do you want?”

“Money,” Samuel said.

“How much,” Dylan asked.

“Ten thousand,” Samuel replied.

“For a location, I think I can just beat it out of you for that.”

“Well, this is where being an information broker comes in handy. You want to find Boris Vasiliev. He is the head of the Russian family. He’s not hard to find. All I have to do is take you to a warehouse a few miles from here and call a number. He promised a ten thousand dollar reward for you alive. I think he wants to skin you alive, or something. So you get Boris Vasiliev, and I get ten grand.”

“What will you do with the ten grand?”

“Why do you care?”

“Tell me, and you have a deal.”

“Alright, I put most of it back into the neighborhood.”

“How much?” Dylan asked. Samuel raised an eyebrow. “I got to know who I’m getting into business with.”

“About a fifth goes to weapons and information. The rest I circulate to who needs it. Some families need a little more so their kids don’t starve,” Samuel said.

Dylan offered his hand towards Samuel, “Deal, just one thing, I need ammo for my pistols.”

Samuel grabbed Dylan’s hand and shook, “Won’t be a problem. But you’re driving to my warehouse.” Samuel walked around Dylan’s car and got into the passenger seat. Dylan got into his vehicle and started the engine.

Chapter 14

ACROSS town, Ghost and Marcus walked around on the rooftop a small square building. Ghost turned towards Marcus, “Is Vanco going to be a problem?”

Marcus thought for a moment before answering, “I don’t know. I’ve met a few people like Vanco. We had to kill most of them when we took the city.”

“How did you take the city? You never talk about the wars.”

Marcus shrugged, “It’s not something I like talking about. Many of us were brought to the city ten years ago…” Marcus paused for a second. “Before then there were barely a dozen of us. I was one of the few, and Kingpin didn’t want us making much noise.”

“So few knew of you?” Ghost asked.

“Very few,” Marcus said. “We avoided the larger families for a while. It was the Kingpin’s plan. He picked people, and we assassinated them at will. We would plant evidence at the crime scene. It was never enough to send someone to jail, but sufficient to make some suspect a particular family.”

“City must have been a powder keg when you were done,” Ghost smiled and chuckled a little.

“It was. While we were doing that, our leader, Imamu went to the smaller crime families.”

“I guess those families were the Doyle, Lucatero, and Rossi,” Ghost asked.

“Yes, Vanco came later. We needed the manpower, and they wanted to make more money. So when the city caught fire, and the powder keg blew, we had an army ready.”

“Imamu retired shortly after, nominated me for the jade ring. One day I will do the same for you,” Marcus said.

Ghost stopped, “I’m a killer, not meant to hold meetings and decide strategies.”

Marcus turned towards Ghost, “I was nothing more than a killer when I took over. You are ready.”

“Thank you,” Ghost bowed to Marcus. “I will honor you.”

Marcus chuckled, “I will speak to the council. For now just as a precaution watch over Haruna Wu. I don’t want Vanco going after her again.”

Dylan and Samuel got to the warehouse. On the way, Samuel made a few calls.

“He wants to talk,” Samuel said. Dylan heard a voice on the other end of the phone.

“He’s trying to make it right. He didn’t know it was your son.” Dylan thought he heard shouting on the other end of the phone.

“Ok, we’ll be at the warehouse where you pick up your guns.” Samuel hung up the phone.

He turned towards Dylan, “Alright it’s set up. Boris Vasiliev is coming.”

Dylan and Samuel got out of the car. They walked to a wooden wall that stood at the front of the warehouse. Hanging on the wood was a brown leather strap. Samuel grabbed the strap and pulled. The wood slid to the side opening the warehouse. The two walked inside. The inside was filled with a labyrinth of boxes and crates.

“My great grandfather built hundreds of these warehouses all over the city. They are all about a hundred years old, but held up pretty well.” Samuel slid the door shut, as the two walked farther inside.

“What’s in the boxes?” Dylan asked.

“Stuff from his trade. He was a bootlegger,” Samuel replied, “I normally play a shell game with it all. I move legal things from warehouse to warehouse while I keep illegal things under each of them.”

“Under?” Dylan turned towards Samuel.

“You live through today I might tell you.”

Dylan walked passed a set of stacked red barrels, “What’s that smell?” he asked.

“Oh, don’t worry about it,” Samuel said.

The two walked to the center. “Stay here,” Samuel turned and walked to the back.

When Samuel returned, he had two boxes of forty-five caliber ammunition, “Arm up then hide your weapons. They are probably going to search you.”

Dylan took the ammunition and loaded his pistols. “How long till they show?” Dylan asked.

“Won’t be long, you got a few minutes.”

“Not going to help are you?”

“With the fighting?” Samuel looked at Dylan strangely.

“Yeah, you’re not going to help me out with the fighting.”

Samuel laughed for a second then he looked at Dylan, and saw he was serious. “No, I’m getting my money and leaving.”

Dylan nodded; he took the magazines for his pistols and loaded them. He then placed them between a set of boxes.

“Do me a favor?” Samuel asked.

“Yeah,” Dylan said.

“Can you wait to start shooting until after I leave? Also, kill everyone. Vasiliev has another son. He is someone I would rather avoid.”

“Why?” Dylan asked.

“He’s a psychopath, and he grew a little attached to his little brother.”

A few minutes passed, the warehouse doors flew open. Men flowed in. Dylan noticed more than thirty guys were spread out in every direction. None of them looked at Samuel, or Dylan, they just kept looking around.

“There ain’t nothing around here. Just bring him in already,” Samuel yelled. “I got business elsewhere.”

“Interesting choice of words,” a voice called out to Samuel. The voice spoke in a thick Russian accent as it moved closer towards the two. A man walked towards them. He had thick black hair and a short black beard. He looked at Dylan with an icy stare. “However did you get him?” he asked Samuel.

“He came to me, wanted help finding you guys,” Samuel said.

The man walked forward. He was well dressed, a dark blue navy overcoat, with a gray jacket, vest, pants, a white button down shirt and black tie. He walked with a black walking stick clicking on the ground. “I heard you killed eight men at once.”

“You are not Boris Vasiliev,” Dylan said.

The Russian smiled, “No, I am not my father. My dad demanded to come, but I just…” He paused for a moment. “I just couldn’t let him be the one to get you. You see he would have made your pain last for months, but I just can’t let you live that long.”

“You’re Andrew Vasiliev,” Samuel said. Samuel’s eyes grew wide.

The man nodded his head. He reached into his overcoat, pulled a pistol, and pointed it at Dylan’s forehead. Samuel pulled Dylan towards him, just as Andrew pulled the trigger.

Andrew turns towards Samuel, “You son of a bitch. You were going to betray us.”

Dylan reached into his jacket and pulled a knife. Andrew swung around to shoot Dylan again. Dylan cut into Andrew’s hand and pushed him back. Andrew fell back holding his bleeding hand.

Andrew shouted Russian, as he stood. His men gathered behind him and pulled their guns. Bullets flew. Samuel grabbed Dylan and pulled him behind a couple of boxes.

“So it turns out you are going to help after all,” Dylan yelled over the gunfire.

“I don’t set up executions,” Samuel yelled. “Where are your guns at?”

“Over there,” Dylan pointed to a group of boxes that were ten yards away. “What’s in the boxes we are against?”

“Fuck if I know. They’re not mine remember?” Samuel said.

The bullets ruptured the boxes, spraying a clear liquid into Samuel’s jacket. Samuel looked at the liquid and put his nose to the hole.

He turned to Dylan, “You able to take these guys?”

The shooting died down a little. Dylan looked at Samuel, “Maybe with a distraction.”

Samuel grabbed hold of one of the boxes and pulled at the wood. He pulled a bottle out of the box. The bottle had a clear liquid inside. He opened the bottle, and Dylan smelled alcohol.

“A piece of your shirt,” Samuel held out his hand.

Dylan his knife and tore a piece of his shirt off. Samuel grabbed it and shoved it into the bottle.

“Samuel,” Andrew’s voice shouted at them. “You’re outmatched, outgunned, and no one is coming to save you. Bring Dylan out, and I’ll let you leave.”

Samuel grabbed Dylan by the back of his jacket. Dylan looked at Samuel, “If you take the deal you won’t be walking out of here.”

“Do you trust me?” Samuel asked.

“No,” Dylan answered. “But I don’t think I got a choice.”

Samuel smiled and yelled, “I’m coming out, don’t shoot!”

Samuel stood, and pulled Dylan out from behind the boxes. He held the bottle behind Dylan’s back, as they stood in the open.

Andrew stepped forward and pointed his silver pistol forward. Samuel kicked Dylan’s knees and pushed him down. Samuel stepped back from Dylan and put his hands behind his back.

Andrew stepped to within a few inches from Dylan and put his gun against his forehead. Andrew smiled as he cocked the hammer back, and looked down at the mercenary.

“Andrew,” Samuel yelled.

Andrew looked up. He saw Samuel holding a golden lighter in one hand, and a bottle with a flaming piece of fabric pushed into it. His eyes grew wide as he looked at Samuel.

Samuel hurled the bottle across the room, and it broke on a stack of red barrels. The liquid inside caught fire, then the fire bled into the barrels. Only a second passed, and the barrels exploded shooting fire in all directions.

The soldiers all turned, and Andrew turned back to Dylan who was smiling. Dylan lunged up and slammed the palm of his hand into Andrew’s mouth. Andrew was knocked back. Dylan stepped forward and bashed the Russian’s skull into the ground.

One of the soldiers shouted and pointed at Dylan. Dylan reached into his jacket and pulled a knife out. He threw it at the yelling soldier. The knife cut through the air and hit the soldier in the chest sending him to the ground dead.

The fire spread in every direction. Dylan ran towards his guns and grabbed them from between the boxes. The Russians tried to escape the flames as Dylan opened fire. Sixteen Russians fell before anyone knew what was happening. Dylan thought to reload and just keep shooting, but stopped.

The flames were still spreading. The smoke made it hard for anyone to see. Dylan drew two of his knives and walked through the smoke. He sneaked up to each of the remaining Russians and ran one of the blades across the throat of each Russian he found.

Andrew woke. The smoke was thick, he could barely see anything. He coughed as he crawled through the smoke. His hands touched something liquid. He pulled back and saw his hands covered in blood. He looked up and saw Dylan standing above him.

Dylan struck him on the skull with the butt of his knife. He dragged Andrew out of the warehouse. He saw Samuel standing there clapping.

“That was nice,” Samuel said.

“How did you know that would work?” Dylan threw Andrew in front of Samuel.

Samuel shrugged, “The red barrels had gas in them.”

“Hope you didn’t lose anything too expensive.”

“Don’t worry about it. Like I said, the important stuff is under the warehouses,” Samuel said. “Besides I still got the cash.” Samuel lifted a silver case, “Went ahead and looked in his car, looks like there is more than ten grand.”

“Happy endings all around,” Dylan said, “I’m guessing the fire department will be coming to the fire.”

“One of the few things no one wants spreading. Fire,” Samuel said.

“Good, let’s head somewhere to wake him up at,” Dylan said, “You got any rope?” Samuel smiled and nodded.

Chapter 15

DYLAN tapped the side of Andrew’s face until he stirred. He was hanging by his ankles. Dylan laughed as Andrew thrashed like a fish on a hook.

“You let me down this instant!” Andrew yelled.

“No,” Dylan replied, “your little brother tried to kill Haruna Wu.”

“That bitch deserved it!” Andrew yelled.

“Who ordered the hit?” Dylan walked around Andrew as he spoke.

“We don’t take names.” Andrew stopped struggling and watched Dylan walk.

“Who ordered the hit?” Dylan asked again. He stopped and knelt down. He was only a few inches from Andrew’s face.

Andrew spat and swore in Russian. Dylan stood and took a step back. He wiped his face and took out his knife. “I’m not asking you again.”

“Kill me see if I care. My father…” Dylan didn’t even let him finish.

“Your father isn’t here, and I’m not killing you.”

“You don’t have the balls to do it fine, then let me go.”

“Dylan we don’t have time for this attitude. I got other business to attend,” Samuel said.

Dylan looked at Andrew, “He’s right.” Dylan took Andrew’s belt off.

“What are you doing?” Andrew’s nose and forehead scrunched up.

“I don’t have time to torture you for information. Either tell me, or this is going to get very uncomfortable for everyone, but mostly you.” Dylan unbuttoned Andrew’s pants and pulled out his penis. Dylan and Samuel looked down at Andrew.

Samuel laughed, “Coming up short in this department are we.”

Andrew’s face turned red with anger. He thrashed and pushed towards Samuel. “I’ll make you watch as I skin your family alive.”

Samuel stopped laughing. His smile was replaced with a scowl, “What did you say?” he grabbed Andrew by the back of his head, and drove his fist into him several times. “Don’t you ever talk about my family,” he shouted as Andrew’s face turned into a bloody mess.

Dylan grabbed Samuel and pulled him off Andrew. “You’re going to kill him,” Dylan said. “I need him alive.”

Dylan turned his back on Samuel and looked at Andrew’s face. Andrew’s eyes were open, his nose, and mouth, covered in blood. “Sure you don’t want to talk?”

“Go… to… hell,” Andrew said between breaths.

Dylan took his knife and placed it under Andrew’s balls. He pulled only enough to cut the skin. A small stream of blood fell onto the knife.

Andrew yelled, “Wait… wait… for the love of God wait.”

“Yes,” Dylan leaned down.

“Timothy Vanco,” Andrew said.

Samuel leaned over to Dylan. He whispered “Madam Vanco’s husband.”

“Oh,” Dylan said. “That makes sense.” Dylan put the knife away.

“So we are done here? You can cut me down.”

“No,” Dylan said, “Look here’s what you’re going to do. You are confessing to every crime you have ever committed.”

“Why?”

“Because otherwise you will be released,” Samuel said.

“And if you’re released while I’m still in town. I’ll find you and cut your testicles off,” Dylan said. “You will be taken to a police station. You will confess on camera to Haruna Wu. You get no bail. You get no plea. You’re going to jail. You don’t get out.”

Dylan stood and walked away. They got to Dylan’s Mustang when Samuel turned towards Dylan. “That was fun. I thought you were going to cut his testicles off.”

“I was,” Dylan said as he got into the Mustang. The two drove out of there. Samuel called the police when they made it a few miles away. The police took Andrew Vasiliev into custody.

The day turned to night on the city. Haruna ascended the stairs, her heels clicking on each step. She opened the door to her floor and walked down a narrow hallway. When she arrived, there was a small package laying in front of her door. Taking hold of her keys, she unlocked the door and walked inside her apartment.

The small one bedroom apartment didn’t have much in the way of luxuries, but it was enough for Haruna. She sat her leather briefcase down and placed the package on the counter in the kitchen. She looked at the box. It was small, with no address on it or name.

Haruna opened it and saw a small cell phone in it. She picked it up. It was an old flip phone. The phone lit up and rang. She answered, “Hello.”

“If you ever need me, call me using this phone,” Dylan was on the other line.

“Mr. Price,” Haruna said smiling, “I had an interesting end to my day. A member of the Vasiliev family was brought in today. He stated that Timothy Vanco hired him and his family to kill me. He gave evidence and pled guilty to almost every crime in the book. You wouldn’t know anything about this would you?”

“Not a thing,” Dylan smirked, “Might have just been an attack of conscience.”

“Right,” Haruna rolled her eyes, “How did you find where I live?”

“I have a friend that’s good at finding people. You should get some rest. You look like you had a long day.”

Haruna looked out the window but saw nothing. She looked at the phone and saw the call had ended a few seconds ago. Dylan stood a few rooftops away. He put a cellphone in his pocket smiling as he did.

Authors Note:

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Please enjoy a sample from my other published book Lucifer and Eva!

Lucifer and Eva Part 1

By Eric Zeigler

Hell Gate

What if I told you the universe didn’t begin with the Big Bang?

What if I told you that the universe used to be one massive planet?

This world was divided into two lands. One was the picture of perfection, with large grasslands, and beautiful gardens that held almost anything you could ask for. It was comfortable for all. This area was known as The Kingdom of Heaven and was controlled by powerful beings of light known as gods.

Beyond the grasslands of Heaven, there was another land, a much different place known as Hell. It was a dark, dry wasteland unable to sustain any life, except for a few animals. The inhabitants called it Hell, and it was ruled by shadow creatures known as devils.

The gods and the devils never took notice of one another, until the wasteland of Hell started to get visitors. These visitors were beings of pure light known as angels who looked to breathe life into this barren waste. The devils didn’t want them there and attacked them without warning. The last remaining angel was brought before the king of Hell, a devil known as Demogorgon.

Demogorgon bled his soul into the angel. The light inside the angel began to change and turn black. Her wings lost all its feathers and turned into mere bones sticking out of her back. Her skin, once a glowing tan, was now pale and as lifeless as a corpse. Her face, once beautiful, was now scarred with burns and decay. The silver armor she wore melted into her. Her once logical mind was turned emotional and was driven by lust and rage. Demogorgon named the angel Corruption and almost sent her back to Heaven as a warning, but before they could. She grabbed hold of a small rat with her claw like hands.

The rat changed. Corruption’s touch decayed its skin. Though it looked as if it had been dead for years, it moved and attacked everything around it. That rat became the first demon.

For decades after, reports came in about giant, black, dead looking creatures wandering the borders of Hell, but no one gave the reports much credit. That was until a group of angels was attacked by an army of demons. The angels were ripped apart and sent back to Heaven barely alive.

For several millennium, the war raged. In that time, the world had changed. The armies of Hell grew with every victory, and the land in Hell changed from dry and lifeless to black and corrupted. Heaven built a massive wall to keep the corruption of Hell away. Every once in a while the demons would get through, and the armies of Heaven would have to descend on them. Each army was led by a legendary Archangel.

The wind blew on a calm day as a demonic horde made it through the wall. They ran through a thick forest, hoping it would mask their arrival. “Did they see us?” a female demon yelled towards the animal-like creatures she was with.

The rest of the horde didn’t speak only grunted. The female demon looked up. She could see something cutting through the wind. A bright flash wiped through her and send her flying towards one of the trees. She hit the ground. She stood instantly and looked towards the thing that hit her. There an angel stood, his white feathers stretched and glowed as bright as the sun. Even with his thick silver helmet on his long blond hair was visible. It flowed down to his lower back. He held a long sword lit with a white flame.

One of the animal-like demons, twice the size of the angel, jumped towards it with his claws extended. The angel turned and slashed his sword, cutting the demon in half. He then turned his sword and with it fired a white flame at the rest of the demons, who screeched as they burned. Only the female demon was left.

“To answer your question demon, no we didn’t see you. Though we did smell you, and your friends,” he turned towards her.

“I hope you don’t expect that to work on me.” The female demon wore leather armor from her neck to her legs. Her stomach and chest were covered, but her back and arms were exposed. Her skin was pale to the point of being gray, and her teeth were closer to fangs. Her red eyes looked the angel up and down, “What should I call you?”

The angel stabbed his sword into the ground. He reached up and took his helmet off. He looked at the demon with his dark blue eyes. He smiled his lips parting a little. The demon smiled as she looked at his face. “Not bad, for an angel,” She thought.

He opened his mouth to speak, “My name is Uriel.” He picked up his sword and stretched out his massive white wings lifting himself into the air.

“Well Uriel, my name is Eva.”

“No, you’re dead,” Uriel yelled his voice deepening. He pointed his sword towards Eva. He fired the white flame towards her. She lifted her hands and shot a green flame out towards his white. The flames collided, and both faded away. Uriel’s eyes widened.

“I’m sorry. When am I supposed to die?” Eva called out.

Uriel regained his senses. He flew high up into the sky and then came down fast towards her. He stared at her for a few good seconds then swung his sword. He expected to strike the demon, but his sword cut nothing but the wind. He landed and looked around. He saw her out of the corner of his eye and turned. She was laying down in a tree.

“Are we still fighting?” She stretched and smiled at the angel.

Uriel growled and flew towards her cutting the branch she was perched on. She climbed farther up the tree.

“Missed me,” she said. Uriel slashed another branch and missed again. Eva continued to climb the tree, “You are looking before you swing right?” Uriel’s eyes turned white as he slashed the trunk of the tree. The top of the tree collapsed and fell to the ground below. Eva was falling with it when Uriel grabbed her by her leg.

Uriel was holding her, his eyes still white, his breathing hard. He tossed Eva up and grabbed her by her throat. “Do you have any idea what I am?”

“No, I don’t think it’s going to matter in a minute,” Eva said looking Uriel in the eyes. Her smile was gone, she stared into Uriel’s eyes, her eyebrows narrowed, her face scowling.

“No, I guess not,” Uriel said lifting his sword, “You should have worn more armor.”

“But that would have slowed me down,” Eva smiled again, “Besides I wouldn’t be able to do this in armor.” As Uriel’s sword started to cut the leather, two wing-like bones came out of Eva’s back and stabbed Uriel in both sides of his stomach. The bones retracted, with white blood on its tips. Eva’s back healed, and Uriel’s eyes stopped glowing, and he started to fall to the ground. Uriel landed in a small crater, with Eva on top of him, as his eyes closed.

As his light began to fade, Uriel started to laugh, “You had better run,” he murmured.

Uriel’s wings faded away and a light fired into the sky. The light caused a chain of bells to toll throughout Heaven. Bells tolled all the way up the mountains and into the great white city of Blanca the capital of Heaven.

See the rest here:

[+ https://www.amazon.com/Lucifer-Eva-Part-1-3-ebook/dp/B01M10HQ65+]


Welcom to Hazard City

  • Author: Eric Zeigler
  • Published: 2017-07-13 04:50:16
  • Words: 18176
Welcom to Hazard City Welcom to Hazard City