Authors: Franny Marie
My mind races on all the shit that has been happening to me these past two days, and it's making me screwed up in my head bad. I will never understand why they have Leanne and what do they need her for? Why couldn't they just come after me and not her since she didn't do shit to them. I get up and head back into my car, starting it up and head down the road to the nearest flower shop I can find.
I walk into the place and the bell rings as I push the door open and it smells of roses. The room is brightly lit and the air in the place feels cool and fresh. The guy at the register keeps his gaze on me, I'm not looking at him, but I can feel it. I walk up and down the aisle trying to find the perfect shade of purple roses for my mom’s tombstone which I spend a few minutes doing so and succeed. I hold the neatly wrapped and beautifully decorated bouquet of roses giving a small smile.
Perfect for my mom.
Walking up to the cashier to pay, I take a small smell of the roses.
“How are you today?” he asks, his tone void of compassion.
Like he gives a fuck. “Fine and you?” I respond, my tone matching his and my eyes focused on him.
He scans the roses and nods.
“Will that be all?” Flat, like a tire that blew on the highway. Flat, like a popped balloon.
“Yeah,” I say, annoyed.
Why does he keep looking at me like he's got a fucking problem or something?
“That will be fifteen dollars even.” His eyes never leave mine as he rips off the price tag before handing the roses to me. I wish he would wipe that fucking smirk off his face. I ignore it and give him sixteen dollars cash.
“Keep the change,” I say in a gruff tone and walk out the door.
I get into the car and set the flowers down on the passenger seat, switching on the ignition and driving down the road to my mom's grave site.
After a while, I finally make it to my mom's grave. I walk around the other tombstones and try to find hers. I always seem to forget where she is at, so I guess I better start visiting her more often, but I know she's always around me in spirit. When I finally find her grave, I take a seat on the bench across from her, keeping the roses in my hand.
I smile and think back to when all I use to get her is purple roses; her birthday, mothers day, hell, even Christmas. She'd put on a huge grin and her eyes would light up with excitement. She would give me a big, tight hug and a kiss on the cheek, then she'd immediately take out the old ones and put the new ones in the vase with fresh water. Even when the roses died overtime, she would keep them there till she had new ones. I always loved that she cherished the little things.
I take a knee in front of her, setting the roses down next to her tombstone. Then, taking one of the roses out and rolling the stem in my hand, nervously, I take a few moments to gather my thoughts, trying to figure out what I want to say to her.
I sigh before I speak.
“I already know that you're probably pissed at me for not watching over Leanne... But I know who has her and I'm sure you do too. I hope they're not harming her in any way and I'd go ballistic if I see one scratch on her. I pray that you are keeping an eye on her till I get there, Ma. I know you been watching over us these last few years and I'm sure you noticed that I have changed. I actually am proud of myself and I hope you are too. I had a feeling this shit was going to come back and bite me... I wish it didn't and hoping it wasn't, but it did and I know I have to handle it like a man. I- I don't want to do this, but I have to get Leanne home safely, even if that means going back in to my old gang then so be it, knowing you don't approve of it, mom, but I stuck out for as long as I could.”
I sigh before continuing. “I made you a promise that I wasn't going to step one foot back in the gang, but now it has to be broken in order to keep Leanne safe. It’s her life over mine. I do apologize in advance. I ask of you again, please to keep her safe till I get there, mom,” I say to her as a tear falls down my cheek. I wipe it away as I put the purple rose I took from the bouquet, laying it in front of her tombstone. I sit back up on the bench as my eyes gloss over the fancy lettering.
My mind is racing and it's hard to keep focus as I'm telling her this. I start to flash back to all the shit I did or had done to people, things I'm not proud of, things I wouldn't let someone do to my own damn family. I regret it now, but back then I couldn’t care less about what was done, as long as we got what we came for all the shit in between didn't fucking matter.
This has to be my fucking Karma.....
The next day, I finish up fixing of what I can do with the house. It still pisses me off that they fucked it up, but I know why. I tend to think of what they might do next to me every now and then. First, they messed up my car and now my house. I don't own anything else except my life. The only thing for me to worry about is what the hell are they doing to my sister? Is she out doing God knows what or locked up somewhere, waiting for me to get to her?
I grab my phone on the kitchen counter and scroll through my contact list till I reach Leanne's number. Should I press the call button? Will they pick up or will it go straight to voice mail?
I sigh as I hover my finger over the green phone icon, my heart pounding in my ears, and just press it, it rings once and goes to voice mail.
God fucking damn it.
The last three days have been fucking horrible. I haven't been able to sleep much or eat since Leanne went missing. I went to every place I could think of and I tried calling the I-Ten's, but no one answers. It either rings several times or goes straight to voice mail, making me feel more and more panicked as the minutes and hours go by. I'm sitting outside on my front porch, trying to calm my nerves down, when my phone rings and buzzes in my pocket. I check the caller I.D and it reads Brandon, so I immediately answer it.
“Hey, I was wondering if you found Leanne yet.” I can barely hear him as the music in his car is blaring so much that I have to hold the phone away from my ear.
“Turn down your music and no I haven't. Have you spoken with her at all?” I question him, but it comes across more as an interrogation.
“Uh- no. I tried to, but her phone must be dead or something.” He switches down his music before he answers, but it doesn’t comfort me or anything.
“Oh...” I am slightly disappointed and sigh heavily, the weight of his words settling on my shoulders. I know I messed up the one thing that mom was really counting on me to do.
“Sorry if I got your hopes up... I'm just worried about her. Jessie and I have been trying to reach her and I know you haven't had any luck either.”
“Nothing. I have an idea who has her though, but haven't been able to track them down,” I say with a low voice as I look around my yard, hoping that no one caught that.
“Well, let me know if you need anything.” He sounds sincere and I know that he means every word. He is the only other person I trust Leanne with and I know he’s just as worried as I am.
“Yeah sure,” I promise.
“By the way, who has her?” he asks.
“That's for me to know and for you to never find out,” I smirk, shaking my head.
“Okay, I understand, but it's good you know.” I can sense his smile. I know he’s really curious and means well, but I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself if something happens to him.
“All right, well Imma go. I'll let you know if anything comes up.”
I hang up as I let my head fall and run my hand on the back of my neck in frustration. I then lift my head and stare out to the front of me, rubbing my hands together, thinking long and hard about what I don't
to do but
to do. Sighing as I get up from my porch and get into my Mustang, I start up the engine and head down the road.
After driving around for a while, I end up back at the same house Leanne partied at. I park across the street from the place and get out. I lean against my car door taking a deep breath before heading on over. Taking a look back at my car, I can only hope no one tries to fuck it up again while I'm inside. I head up the few steps to the house and knock firmly on the door.
When the door finally opens up, a guy stands in front of me. He looks like the same age as Leanne with his dark blonde hair spiked and wearing a white T-shirt and baggy brown shorts.
“Who the fuck are you?” he asks, annoyed as he rubs his eyes and looks me up and down, hungover.
“You don't know me,” I begin, but he interrupts.
“Damn right I don't, now bye,” he confirms and tries to shut the door in my face, but before he can, I put my hand and foot in the door to stop him.
“Wait a minute.”
“What the hell you want?” He’s more annoyed than before and looks at me with a disgusted look.
“I need to talk to you about the party you had Saturday night,” I say as I raise my eyebrows, letting him know I was serious just from the look in my eyes. I don’t back down as he tries to stare me down. I’m not intimidated easily.
He sighs, giving up, and opens the door wider, letting me walk inside.
“So what's up?” he says as he stands behind the counter of the bar and takes out a bottle of alcohol with two glasses. He sets them down on the bar and starts to fill them up evenly, the sloshing of the drink echoes in my ears.
“The party you had that night, were you here?” I ask as I take a seat on the bar stool across from him.
“What the fuck kind of question is that? Hell yeah I was here. It was
party,” he scoffs and slides the cup of liquor my way.
“Look, I can deal without your attitude and sarcasm. Just answer my damn question.” I can’t help it, but I slam my fist down on the bar, making him jump. He knows then that I’m for real as the look in his eyes changes to someone who actually might care.
“Sorry. What happened?”
“My baby sister, Leanne, was here that night. Did you happen to see her when she walked in?” I ask, my eyes never leaving his.
“Oh, the one that came in wearing the purple striped shirt and had long, jet black hair? Yeah, I saw her, she was hot as fuck,” he says with a smirk and taking a sip of his drink, allowing the burning liquid to slide down his throat.
In reply, I roll my eyes, already feeling pissed off and wanting to sock him in the fucking face.
“Yeah, her,” I confirm, annoyed.
His eyes grow wide as he looks me over once more.
“Oh my God! You're the one that's in that gang! Big, overprotective brother, Collin! Nobody messes with you!” he says in a tremulous tone and takes a step back. “I apologize for earlier, the names Devon.” His voice is low and somewhat deep as he holds out his hand for me to shake.
“Devon,” I ignore his offer. “Don't worry I'm not going to kick your ass or anything, even though you deserve one after what you just said about my sister, but right now, I just need to know if you saw her leaving with anyone she did not come in with?”
“Nahh, I was in the garage getting fucked up high,” he laughs.
“Hmmm, I bet you were,” I reply sarcastically and nod.
“Why? Something wrong?” he questions, his head tilted to one side and taking another sip of his drink.
“Yeah, kind of, but that's none of your business. I just wanted to know if you'd seen anyone leave with her,” I say simply and get up ready to leave.
“Well, is there anything I can do?” He sounds genuinely concerned, but I shake my head.
“Nope, thank you for your time,” I mutter the last sentence as I open the door, the sunlight blinding me. As I step outside, Devon follows me out.
“Well if you need anything, come back anytime.”
As I'm walking out to my car, I see a black SUV driving by slowly. The windows are tinted so dark that I can't see who is inside. Everything seems to move in slow motion while my heart beats faster and my gut tells me something is wrong. I see the back window of the car roll down so I turn around as fast as I can, pushing Devon back inside.
“GET DOWN!” I yell to him as I pull him behind the bar counter.
Gun shots are being fired at us as the glass from the bottles are shattering around and falling on top of us. I cover my head and crouch down into a fetal position. Finally, after a few seconds which felt like a lifetime, the shots have stopped, but the sound still echoes in my ears, the sound I’ll never forget.
“Stay down,” I whisper to Devon as I raise up and look out the window and see that the SUV is gone. It had to be them. I remember faintly that was the car they were in when they shot me that night. Fuck! I stand up to my feet and brush myself off.
“You can get up now, they’re gone,” I say to Devon.
“What the fuck was that?!” he barks as he stands up, shaking the glass off of him. “Did you set this shit up?!”
“No, I didn't. That's the damn problem I'm having. Those mother fuckers have my sister!” It was unnecessary, but I yelled back at him as he stands down, realizing the severity of the situation.
“Oh shit,” he’s calm now.
“Yeah. I better go before anything else happens.” I run out the door and run across the street to my car. As I am getting in my car I can see a few neighbors walk out of their houses looking around, moments after that I can hear the sound of sirens coming behind me, but before they come any closer I turn the ignition and pull out of the side street and onto the main road.
Fear, anger, and worry rise inside me as I'm driving back home and my grip becomes tighter on my steering wheel as I get closer to my house.
When I finally reach the house, I immediately get out of the car and run inside, the overwhelming feeling starts to overcome me. I run upstairs to my room and pace back and forth, my mind racing and my heart pounding. I can't believe I'm actually considering this choice.
I head to the garage and open the safe where I grab my gun and my box of bullets, putting them in my back pocket and the gun going in the back of my jeans. I walk out of the garage, shutting off the light and head to the bathroom. I stand in front of the mirror, holding onto the counter, and then lift my head up slowly to look at myself in the mirror. My tried brown eyes now looking a little red from the lack of sleep and skin pale over the last few days as I'm sick with worry, anger, fear, and regret. Right now, all that shit goes out the window. I'm about to go back to my turf. Fuck everything that has happened lately. I'm no longer going to keep running. I'm going for it, for my sister and for my life. This is my life and I can't do anything else.
I. Am. An. I-Ten gang member. For life.
This is all I know.