Lies Within the Truth

A story revolving around the underworld, family history and memories that keep haunting back. Will the truth be revealed..or lies.....or both in one?

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1. Chapter 1

NED

The evening Sun painted the sky reddish-orange, an almost perfect blend of apricot orange and vermilion. The breeze swept by, catching hold of a few dry leaves and bringing them along. The alley was deserted, the narrow, dark path sandwiched between two long walls that stretched far ahead. Graffiti decorated the walls, the myriad of colors and patterns desperately trying to bring some cheerfulness and warmth to the dark, gloomy and somber atmosphere.

                Another gust of wind howled by, slapping his face, hard. He scowled, taking a quick glance at his watch as he complained of his bad luck. He observed his surroundings carefully, making sure he was aware of every movement, every sound that filled the alley. Once in a while, he would bend down and grab the briefcase sitting still by the side of his legs before putting it back down again. He wanted to make sure it was still there, despite knowing there was no one or nothing that could take it away, but he had to make sure! Perspiration thronged his neck and chest, his maroon guayabera drenched as well. His face was red from the heat, and he could have sworn that if it wasn’t for his bright amber eyes, sharp nose, bushy eyebrows and his light brown curly hair topped with his woolen flat cap, he would have been mistaken for a lobster by now.

                He peeped at his watch again. 6.58 p.m. Where was he? He has been waiting for almost an hour now. He exhaled loudly to vent his anger out. Don’t be late, don’t be late! That was what he was repeatedly told. Well who was late now? He took a handful of rocks from the ground and threw them one by one, trying to toss them further than the one before. You couldn’t blame him, what else could he do to entertain himself?

                Ned was his name. Just Ned, nothing else. He had no surname, nor did he have any parents. Ned, a name given by his older brother, the only person he grew up with. It has, is and always will be only him and his older brother. No one else…no one less.

“I believe someone is bored, and I believe I owe him an apology for that.”

Holy cow! He never noticed the person approaching from behind…..and he was getting closer. When did he appear? When did he even walk into the alley? All of a sudden, Ned’s heartbeat quickened, the sweat that oozed out from his sweat glands flowing faster, and his breathing became more rapid as he turned his head slightly. He could see the man’s shadow looming in front of him. How come he never noticed him? He heard a click, as if a gun’s magazine was being extracted from the hand grip and being loaded with bullets….no, not as if…..it was the sound of a gun’s magazine being loaded with bullets! He could hear the bullets being inserted…bullet by bullet. He then heard the magazine being pushed back up the hand grip, a loud horrifying click accompanying it. This was not good!

                Ned’s breathing became more rapid and louder….and then they became gasps, as his fear craved for more oxygen, his lungs also begging for more and more. No! He had a task to perform. Be brave, Ned! He told himself.

                Ned mustered all the bravery he had left and turned around completely to see who the man was. What met his eyes was a tall, well-built man, clad in a grey reefer coat, his face silhouetted by his bowler hat. All that was visible was the tip of his pointed nose and his well-kept Winnfield beard.

“The item?” his voice was hoarse, as if he was almost choking, but something about him told Ned this man was very much healthy…..and dangerous. The man pointed to the briefcase, urging Ned to give it to him.

Ned took a few steps backward, taking the briefcase and holding it in his chest.  He then felt the bottom right pocket of his guayabera, it was still there….it had to be! Ned took a deep breath and decided to brave on.

“I….I would like to see the money first,” Ned tried sounding confident and bold, he should never reveal any hint of fear or anxiety, he told himself. Ned maintained a consistent posture, his eyes pointed directly at the man’s face…a face, almost half was not visible. The man shook his head sideways, a smirk made visible.

“No…..I get the item first, then you get the money after I’m satisfied.” The man’s reply confirmed Ned’s every fear and doubts. This was going to get difficult.

“That wasn’t the deal. My brother said-“

“I don’t care what your brother said! I deal with your boss…..we seal the deal, you give me the item, I give you the money. Done!”

The fear in Ned intensified as the situation continued aggravating. No…he had to push on…for his brother!

“No….I just want to see the money-“

“And I said you will get it once I get the item,” his voice became even hoarser, and the change in voice made him sound even more deadly. Ned’s legs trembled slightly as the man pulled the slide of his gun and released it. The gun was loaded and now is ready to fire…..at him!

“Alright! Alright!” Ned lost his posture almost completely and fear engulfed him like an inextinguishable fire.

He handed the briefcase to the man and he snatched it without hesitation. The man examined the briefcase and sighed in irritation.

“The key….” The man demanded.

“You have the case. What else are you scared of? Give me the money-“

“The key….” The man demanded, cutting Ned off before he could finish his sentence. The man pointed the gun to him, showing no sign that he would not hesitate to pull the trigger. Ned froze...petrified. This was the first time in his life a gun was pointed at him. All the previous dealings had went through smoothly and successfully. But because Ned had been involved in so many deals in the past, his experience told him to stay calm, even though there was a gun pointed at him…at point blank range!

Ned dug into the bottom right pocket of his shirt, took out the key and tossed it to him. The man inserted the key and a click accompanied it, a perfect match. The lid opened to reveal dozens of black, opaque plastic packets, the contents Ned did not know…well…he chose not to know. The man closed the lid and turned around. Ned was determined to stop him before he did.

“The money…” Ned asked, his worries peaking.

The man laughed….it was a giggle at first but it quickly escalated to a chuckle….and then to a hysterical laugh.

“Tell your boss to send a more capable man next time…someone more threatening, more competent….and worth bringing a gun for!”

The man continued laughing as he walked away. Yes, now Ned’s worries had become a reality, he has been tricked. Ned stood there, rooted to the ground, his legs bound by shock, fear and the nasty, horrible feeling of just being fooled. Ned has just been scammed and hated himself for it. How would he explain things to his brother?

The man was getting further and further….the darkness of the alley slowly sucking him in. No….Ned thought…He shouldn’t be a coward…..he had to be brave, for his brother!

                The man never suspected anything. He was busy laughing and complimenting himself for his fortune…his brilliance….his luck! What a fool! A total failure. They had sent the wrong person…they had underestimated him…and so they shall get a taste of their own medicine. This was not what he expected from the district’s most notorious drug lord. The man continued praising himself he never noticed the first shot coming at him, the bullet missing his left cheek by centimeters…but he could feel the heat as it whizzed by. The second one was on target, blasting the briefcase out of his grasps. The shot forced a hole in the middle of it, and white powder started flowing out all over the damp, concrete ground.

                The man’s eyes widened, his fury erupting inside. He was shocked but his anger took over almost instantaneously. He was boiling, his breathing heavy. He turned to face Ned and Ned finally saw the man’s full face for the first time that evening. A pair of black, evil eyes glared at him, a scar marked underneath the right one that ran along to the side of his ear. Now, Ned was baffled, the mixture of horrible feelings taking over one after the other. What has just happened?  

“You dare shoot me? I sparred you your pitiful life and yet you dare shoot me?” The man was furious, the addition of the scar under his eyes and those evil eyes that accompanied his deadly, hoarse voice making him sound even more terrifying.

“Wait, wait wait! It wasn’t me! IT WASN’T ME!!! “Ned was petrified but his senses were on full alert. This saved his life as when the third shot was fired, Ned was already safely taking cover behind a dustbin.

The man managed to dodge it as it flew by. Shock and confusion was obviously portrayed on his face as he tried to digest what was going on.

“If it wasn’t you….and it certainly was not me….who could it be?”

The man thought for a few seconds but the answer almost simultaneously found the way to the man’s and Ned’s head. This time, Ned and the man showed the same expression, their eyes widened and they looked at each other at the same time…their faces portraying the same emotion…fear.

                Before they could even say it out loud, the sound of sirens wailing echoed through the walls of the alley.

“You set me up! All of you! I won’t let this slide past! Tell your boss to be careful or the next thing he loses won’t be items but his life!”

Ned was too scared and baffled to fully focus on what the man said. The only thing he noticed was that when the first patrol car zoomed in, the man was nowhere in sight, along with the briefcase. The man was gone just as magically as he appeared.

                Ned turned to flee but another patrol car swerved in from behind him. Sirens lit up the just a while ago gloomy alley and Ned couldn’t help but think of Christmas. Police officers scrambled out, aiming their guns at Ned. This was the second time in his life he had guns pointed at him but this time a nasty feeling lingered in him. He couldn’t talk himself into stopping the fear in him or his feet from trembling. He felt cold and weak. A patrol car was blocking the path in front and behind him, the sound of a chopper buzzing above and the harsh truth slapped Ned hard in the face…even harder than the gust of wind that hit him earlier on. He was trapped. 

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