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By:L Wilder

“The little shit ran off. Just like always, he can’t take it when someone tells him no. If you stopped…” Anger surged through me, and I wanted to strangle him for not giving a shit that our son had disappeared. He should be worried, scared out of his mind, but he hadn’t even tried to go and find him.

“Damn it, Michael! Your eight-year-old son ran away, and you didn’t even go look for him?” I shouted, turning to head back for my car. “You’re unbelievable!” As soon as I got in my car, I started up the engine and headed to our secret spot, praying that Wyatt was there and that he was okay.

Chapter 2


A twisted feeling of satisfaction washed over me as I watched Victor’s last breath of air seep from his lungs. I released the chain restraints that held him dangling from the ceiling, and his lifeless body plunged to the floor. I looked down at the bloody pile that rested at my feet. There wasn’t much left of the man Cotton had brought in a day ago, just mangled flesh and broken bones. I had to give him credit though; he fought harder and lasted longer than most. As the Sergeant of Arms of the King Python’s Syndicate, he’d tried to do what he could to protect his club, but in the end, there was nothing he could do to help them. His fate was sealed the night he put a bullet in my brother; there was no way I’d let him walk away after that. He knew I wouldn’t stop until the deed was done, knowing I had every intention of avenging my brother’s death. In the process, I did what I had to do to find out everything that motherfucker knew about his club trying to take over our territory. I spent thirty-six hours extracting every bit of information I could get on the Pythons. When I pulled out the blowtorch, that asshole started singing like a canary. In no time, I had everything Cotton would need to know to bury these motherfuckers.

I left what remained of Victor Gomez laying on the floor and headed out to my bike, feeling relieved to finally get out of that room. The brothers called it my playroom, and even though there were times I enjoyed dishing out my revenge, today I was ready to get the hell out of there. I’d been at it for hours, and I needed a hot shower and food in my stomach. The door slammed behind me as I headed out towards my bike. Before I started the engine, I pulled out my phone and called Cotton.

“Yeah?” he answered.

“It’s done.”

“Good. I’ll send the clean-up over,” he said.

“I’m heading out.”

“Need to discuss what you found out,” Cotton demanded.

“Sure thing Prez, but I need to shower and get some food in me first,” I answered.

“Understood, but hurry every chance you get.” I knew he was eager to hear what I’d found out, but I was relieved that he didn’t push.

“Will do.” I told him as I hung up my phone and shoved it in my back pocket.

My place was on the backside of town, a rustic log cabin out by the water and away from all the bullshit. I liked to keep to myself. I avoided the outside world whenever possible and the secluded cabin suited me perfectly. No one was around to ask questions, and with the life I lived, I needed it like that. As soon as I got home, I went straight to the back of the cabin. I stripped my blood soaked shirt and jeans off, and threw them into the fire pit. Then, I lit a match and watched the evidence burn to nothing. As soon as I got inside, I went straight to the bathroom and jumped in the shower, letting the steaming hot water run down over my aching muscles. I dropped my head and watched the blood stained water swirl around my feet, eventually disappearing down the drain. After several minutes, the water finally began to run clear. I grabbed my scrub brush and set to work on the muck under my fingernails. My hands were almost rubbed raw before I felt that they were clean enough to move on to the rest of my body. I pressed the brush firmly against my skin, forcing it back and forth over the scars that crisscross my back, making the bristles scratch against my flesh. Never feeling like I could wash away the filth, my shower routines had become methodical over the past decade. It was just one of the idiosyncrasies I’d developed over the years.

The steaming water trailed over the back of my neck, and the tension in my muscles slowly began to diminish. I cupped my hands in front of me, watching the water pool in my palms, thinking back over all the shit that had happened in my life. There was a time that I didn’t think I’d make it, and the only thing that kept me going was Emerson. I thought about her every day wondering if she was okay. I still vividly remember the last time I got to see her in her teens. I’d been out on the streets for over a year and didn’t have a dime to my name. Out of desperation, I went to one of the local churches and swiped forty dollars out of the offering plate – just enough money to take the bus back to Mount Vernon to check on her.