A World of Trouble

A small incident which leads to deadly consequences for a group of four friends.

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3. Survivor

Coming back to the scene of the crime, another story is told. Sprinting through the alleys of the neighborhood, leaving behind footsteps in the white snow, adrenaline rushing through his veins, one of the companions had escaped the clutches of the devil. Zigzagging through the streets, into the alleys, the companion made his way back to his safe house. The companion made his way through the building, up the stairs and knocked on the front door of one of the apartments, B9. “Who is it?” said a voice on the other side of the door. “It’s ben, open the friggin’ door” said Ben. The locks clicked together, unlocking the door and Ben rushed in as if some rabid dog was chasing him. Panting, out of breath and exhausted, Ben threw himself on the sofa. “What the hell happened? You look like you just came out of a shitstorm” said the other man, locking the doors and taking a seat. After a minute or two, finally Ben spoke. “Raul’s dead, Steve” said Ben. “What?” said Steve. Steve’s expression changed from disbelief, to confusion, and finally to shock. “I hope you’re not playing a prank on me, Ben” said Steve, to which Ben sat upright, looked Steve right in the eyes and said, “I wish I was, Steve”. Afterwards, Ben explained the entire scenario which occurred to Steve, the kidnapping of Jackie and Sam, how Ben outran them and so on.

After a few hours, after much discussion, confusion and planning between the two, finally, Ben’s mobile started to ring, a call coming from an unknown number. Ben picked the call up, and put the phone to his ear. “Hello?” said Ben, to which the reply was endless screams, laughter, and distinct chatter in the background. “Who is this? Hello?” said Ben, until finally there was silence and a man replied, “If you want your friends alive, be at the abandoned warehouse by the train tracks by eight o’ clock and bring $10,000 cash” and hung up the phone. In a fit of rage, Ben threw the phone on the wall, smashing it into pieces. “There’s only one way you could get through this now, Ben. We have to go to Xavier” said Steve. After a long pause, Ben sighed, “Okay ” said Ben.

Xavier was a loan shark, well connected and well known for his ruthlessness when it came to collecting his debts. Steve was one of Xavier’s goons, roughing up his clients from time to time and collecting debts for the boss throughout the neighborhood.  Ben on the other hand was no goon, nor his friends. Ben and his friends were just a group of bullies now stuck in a world of trouble with the real bullies. From time to time Xavier had seen Ben with Steve, but wasn’t ever really introduced to Xavier. Xavier was also the owner of a night club and was a front for his illegal activities. Ben and Steve arrived in the later hours. Xavier’s club was the biggest club in the neighborhood and amongst neighboring areas as well. There was a huge line stacked up of people outside the club. The board flickered with pinkish neon lighting, spelling out “Neon Nights”. Ben and Steve managed to get in the club, music booming throughout the club, lights flickering from a neon red amongst other colors, the people in the club dancing as if they were in a trance. Ben and Steve made their way up a particular set of stairs leading to Xavier’s office, where one of Xavier’s men, almost giant-like, stood outside the door. Steve already knew the staff, of course he was one of Xavier’s men as well, so the man let Steve pass but stopped Ben. The man proceeded to pat Ben down, checking him for any firearm or the like, and then let him pass.

Ben and Steve entered Xavier’s office, with Xavier sitting at his desk in the center of the room, taking a drag from his cigarette and billows of smoke coming out of his mouth. Steve greeted Xavier along with Ben. He gestured Steve with his hand to sit, along with Ben following his lead. Xavier took one last drag of the cigarette, putting it out soon after and sitting upright, making eye contact with Ben. “Let me get right to the point. Steve told me about your situation over the phone” said Xavier, and slid over a bag with his foot alongside the table. “That’s your money, $10,000” said Xavier. “Steve will update you on the rest of the details. Steve knows how on point I am with collecting my debts.” said Xavier, turning in his chair and looking out the window. “Now, if we’re done here, you may leave” said Xavier. Ben and Steve got up from their seat, grabbing the bag, “Thank you” said Ben. Steve and Ben proceeded to leave.

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