Hands Up, Don't Shoot

Tey was nine the first time he had his heartbroken - when his father was murdered by a cop right in front of his eyes. Ever since, he has dreamed of avenging his papa's death. Tanner's heart was broken by the man he thought could love and be loved - his father, who disappeared from his life after being acquitted of manslaughter. All he's ever wanted since is to prove that he isn't "just like his daddy." When they come face to face for the very first time, both Tanner and Tey are carrying guns with different purposes. Are they brave enough to pull the trigger, or can they learn to forgive one another?

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1. Tey

 

Tey had waited ten years for this moment. A couple of years digging and a couple of years spying on the cop that looked just like his father. The image of the man whose face could never be erased from his memory. The untidy grey moustache on his upper lip. The golden badge worn over the left chest as if to say “I’m here to protect you,” as he pulled out his pistol and shot an innocent, unarmed, black man in the chest. A nine year old Tey had been a witness in the back seat.

His memories are a blur. Another cop yanking him out of his father’s truck – his dead father’s truck. He had known that because he had seen all the shootings on the news even though his mama forbade it. “Nine year old eyes should never have to see such things,” she would say when she caught him glued to the television screen.

Tey would never forget the feel his mama’s arms around his small chest when two cops had escorted him home and assured her that it wasn’t because he’d been causing mischief. She cried all day. She cried every day. Her heart shattered by a single bullet… or two… or three. He couldn’t remember how many gunshots had been fired because after hearing the first one he was screaming and screaming and screaming for his papa to not be dead.

It had all led up to this. Dropping out of school to make money on the streets in order to pay for his mama’s insulin. Gangs, guns, and drugs. Tey had been through it all. Beaten to an almost death, shot, arrested. But he had made it and he had the streets to thank. They had made him, shaped him, moulded him from the child, traumatised by his father’s murder, into the young man that now hid behind a dumpster, pistol tucked into the waistband of his jeans, eyes trained upon his target.

Officer Tanner James Allen. 23 years old. In a relationship with Iris Elizabeth Cowley, age 21. Father, Alexander James Allen, acquitted of charges regarding the murder of Samuel Lemar Cleveland. Location unknown. Mother, Eleanor Jade Allen, was a nurse prior to the incident that occurred in the summer of her son’s thirteenth year. She has no other children.

Tey didn’t care about any of this. They were just small details he had acquired over the years spent trying to find his father’s killer. He watched the two officers at the scene deal with the distraction he had paid for with hard earned dollars. Slowly pulling the pistol out of his pants and into his hands, he took aim at the son of the man who had taken everything away from him. This was for his father. For his mother who had been reduced to her illness. For his teenage years lost on the rough streets of Detroit.

His fingers brushed the trigger. He had never fired a gun before. He preferred knives because you could still hit your target if your vision was distorted. That wasn’t an option. He needed to stay hidden. Although he knew that as soon as he released the trigger, his location would be revealed. So he was screwed either way since he couldn’t even guarantee that he’d strike where he needed to. His vision had been slowly deteriorating ever since the time Luca had given him a broken ribcage and two black eyes.

He squinted his eyes to focus. It didn’t help that the sun was beaming in his direction. He shifted his feet slightly in his crouched position so he could get a better vantage point but he lost his balance and crashed into the dumpster – almost. It hardly made a sound, hopefully not one to cause alarm, but Tey took cover anyway. His heart was pounding and his vision blackening as he cursed himself for making such a stupid mistake.

Nothing happened for a few moments. He wasn’t sure how much time had passed exactly but he couldn’t risk missing this opportunity if he waited too long. The pistol was still in his hands, his index finger still brushing the trigger.

Careful not to make another costly mistake, he took his place again. The sun had been obscured by a mass of clouds and even though he could see that there were still two officers at the scene, he couldn’t tell them apart. He focused his eyes on the figures before him. They took shape; the officer he didn’t know on the right, and his target on the left. He took aim, but his finger froze on the trigger. Officer Tanner James Allen was looking directly at him.

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