The Need barely felt the bullet graze
across his ribs as the window exploded towards him. It turned
aside and leapt for the rear of the car, hunkering down by
the chrome bumper, as the shattered glass fell to the pavement,
scattering like small diamonds dancing across the darkened
It could smell the palpable fear emanating
from the fat man in the car, and knew that it was simply a
matter of time before he played out his sorry hand. Win or
lose, it would all be over soon.
* * *
SS heaved himself from the back seat
of the car and grabbed the top of the roof for support. His
bulk, intimidating when he was with his men and on his own
terms, was now a serious drawback. There was nothing left
between him and his adversary except empty space.
He looked across the roof of the car,
his weapon sweeping left and right. The lot was empty. He
spun around and looked towards the building, where shadows
hid the front entrance.
That little fucker is here somewhere,
he said aloud. But where?
A noise came from the rear of the car
and he snapped his broad head around and then turned towards
the possible threat. He took two faltering steps and carefully
leaned over the trunk.
Sweat streamed down his face and dripped
into his eyes and off the end of his nose. He used his gun
hand and wiped the sweat from his eyes.
* * *
The Need crawled underneath the car,
ignoring the grease, oil and grime on the undercarriage, and
lay in the darkness beside the rear tires. It kicked the fuel
tank to draw SSs attention and when he leaned over to
look, slipped silently from his hiding place and stood close
behind the fat man with the razor sharp knife at his side.
Lookin for me, ya fat fuck?
the Need said and pricked the fat mans neck with the
tip of the knife. A small trickle of blood snaked its way
through the folds of flab and dripped onto his shirt. Youre
mine, anytime I want ya.
SS turned around quicker than his size
allowed and pushed the barrel of the pistol against Reggies
chest and pulled the trigger.
The expected gunshot never occurred.
Both mens eyes were locked on
each other and while one man knew the final outcome, the other
SSs eyes darted to the pistol
and saw the junkies thumb pinched between the hammer
and the firing pin. He tried to draw the hammer back and try
again, but the Need knocked the gun from his hand.
The dark sunglasses had been knocked
off of his face in the scuffle and he could see small, red
veins streak through the whites of his eyes. The fat mans
lips quivered and a line of fetid drool leaked from the side
of his mouth and dripped down his chins until it became lost
in the folds of fat.
SS knew that this was his ticket out.
He would be killed at this little junkies whim at any
moment. His crew had been killed and help was not forthcoming.
He was alone. He was now exactly what he always had been:
a fat man in fancy clothes trying to be something he could
never be. His life had been reduced to this sad state of affairs
and he had no one to blame but himself.
* * *
The Need could smell the fear dripping
like sweat from SSs pores and it fed on the raw savage
power it gave him. Scenes flashed across its brain, of Bishop
falling on the filthy landing after being shot down like a
rabid dog and the vicious attitude of SS and his crew as they
murdered his only friend.
Each image slammed against the one
before it and intensified the rage that was building inside
of the Need. Its eyes burned with the fire of revenge and
its breath came in deep, ragged gasps.
SS was nothing more than a quivering
mass of blubber that opened and closed his mouth, begging
for succor like a fish on a hook. Gone was the gangster that
had ruled with an iron fist and directed his crew to do his
despicable bidding. He was nothing.
The Need slammed the palm of his hand
against SSs forehead and pushed his head back as far
as it would go. SSs knees buckled and his bladder emptied,
filling the air around them with its cloying, rancid smell.
He dropped to the street and tried
vainly to hold Reggies arms away from him but the Need
would have none of that.
You earned this moment, ya sack
of shit. Enjoy it, the Needs voice rasped and
it plunged the sharp knife into his fat throat, twisting the
blade sideways in both directions.
Blood exploded from the ruined flesh
and rained down on the street. SS tried to stop the flow,
but the Need slapped his hands away and laughed mirthlessly
as the fat man struggled to breathe.
He ripped the blade from the bleeding
throat and, using both hands on the handle, stabbed SS in
his fat gut and then with a mighty effort pulled the blade
upwards as far as he could, eviscerating him on the spot.
SS blew the last breath of his life
out of the ruined throat in a red, frothy mist and felt his
insides slide out of his body and then heard them smack wetly
on the asphalt.
The Need watched impassively as SS
bled out and his body dropped like a sack of rubber onto the
street. The last of his lifes blood oozed from the open
wounds and dripped slowly into the growing puddle of dark
liquid and gore beneath him.
The Needs rage began to subside
as it looked at the carnage in front of him and slowly returned
from where it had come. It had served its usefulness for the
moment and allowed itself to be held temporarily in check.
* * *
Reggie became vaguely aware of what
had happened and blinked his eyes several times in disbelief.
He looked down at his blood and gore spattered clothing and
then at his blood covered hands. He turned around in the lot
and saw the other men lying in pools of blood, not moving.
He shook his head trying to remember it all.
He remembered the drugs stuffed down
the front of his pants and patted the bulge reverently. It
was still there and safe, and it was all his. All he had to
do now was to make his way across town and return to the relative
safety of his room without raising any undue suspicion along
He knew that he couldnt go the
direct route because of his appearance. If someone saw him
now and reported it, it would be all over and everything he
had worked so hard for would go down the tubes.
He left the parking lot of the morgue
and, staying in the shadows next to the buildings, turned
down the nearest side street just as the shrill sound of police
sirens pierced the night and grew louder as they neared his
location. Sweat broke out on his forehead as he realized how
close he had been to being caught at the scene of his crimes.
He felt a brief tingling deep in his
brain and knew that the Need was still there and that it craved
what he carried with him. He looked around for a likely place
to shoot up but realized that he couldnt do it here
in the open.
He was too far away from where he felt
safe and was in unfamiliar territory. He couldnt afford
to be caught on the nod with all the dope he had with him.
He would be an easy target for some other lowlife street scum
if he succumbed to the craving here. He pushed the thought
to the back of his mind and forced himself to continue on
his way home.
* * *
Vic Anders, a twenty-three-year veteran
field sergeant of the municipal police force, two years away
from retirement, had never seen anything like what lay in
front of him tonight. Hed worked on many a homicide
in his time, but none so brutal as the carnage he faced here.
He walked around the perimeter of the
crime scene and watched as his officers strung the bright
yellow tape marking off the area. Hed called dispatch
and had them run the vehicle's license plates and then had
them contact the coroner and the homicide detectives and ask
that they be sent to his location as soon as possible.
He posted two younger officers to work
media control because experience had taught him that it would
be only a few more minutes before the network cockroaches
began to crawl from their hiding places and jockey for the
best positions to broadcast the latest blood and gore story
and have it in the can and ready for the early morning news.
The radio crackled on his shoulder
and the voice at the other end gave him the owner of the car
sitting in the lot. His eyebrows rose when he heard the name
and looked closer at the body lying on the ground by the rear
of the car.
Son of a bitch, he thought.
Wonder who had the balls to pull this one off?
Before he could answer his own question,
a set of headlights swept the lot and a gray, nondescript
sedan pulled up to the yellow tape and stopped. The man inside
lit a cigarette, tossed the match out of the window and stepped
He was tall, well over six feet, and
powerfully built. His blond hair was cut short in the style
that was well known among the military and police departments
as high and tight.
He showed his shield to one of the
officers and then walked towards the sergeant, taking a last
drag of the just lit smoke and then dropped it at his feet.
Gotta stop that shit one of these
days, he said disgustedly and held out his hand. Good
to see you, Vic, the man said. Been a while, hasnt
Murphy, you old son of a bitch.
Vic smiled warmly, gripping the mans hand. I thought
youd called it quits a year or so ago.
I did, Murphy replied.
But the chief asked me to return temporarily to lend
a hand on this gang banger problem.
Problem? Thats an understatement
if I ever heard one, Vic stated flatly. Ive
never seen it escalate this fast and, God knows, never this
viciously. These boys are playing the game for keeps and as
it appears, they dont give a shit about a goddamn thing.
Murphy nodded in agreement and turned
towards the bodies on the lot.
Coroner on the way? he
asked, removing a small notebook from his side pocket. He
thumbed through to a blank page.
Yeah. Doc should be here any
minute, Vic replied. Hope he beats the news maggots,
though. You know how he is about being featured on the frigging
Murphy smiled and wrote the date and
time at the top of the page and then glanced at each body
and noted its position relative to the car.
Looks like some heavy shit went
down here tonight, Vic. Any idea whos who in this puzzle?
The fat guy at the rear of the
car was Skinny Smith, the brains behind this crew of cretins.
His real name. I shit you not,
Vic answered with a chuckle. His mama had a real sense
of humor or very poor taste, one or the other. Went by the
street name of SS and was one of the deadliest dealers in
The others are the rest of his
crew and we havent been able to make them yet. None
of them carried IDs.
Why here, though, at the morgue?
Murphy tossed out. Kinda strange, dont you think?
Yeah, it is.
Sergeant, one of the cops
standing by the entrance to the morgue called to him, over
As Vic walked to see what the officer
wanted, he noticed small, bloody footprints leading away from
the entrance and over to a grassy area to the side of the
building. He hollered to Murphy and pointed them out and then
continued to the door.
What is it? he asked.
Look here, Sarge, the cop
said, shining his flashlight on the concrete in front of the
In the bright circle of light from
the triple cell flashlight, he saw what the officer had seen.
The same type of bloody print hed seen in the lot was
cut in half by the locked doors of the morgue.
What the hell? he mumbled.
Murphy, you better see this.
Murphy acknowledged the sergeant and
finished writing in his notebook. He took a small digital
camera from his pocket and shot a couple of photos of the
footprint and then replaced the camera. Careful of any evidence
on the ground, he joined the two cops at the door.
Vic pointed to the footprint under
the doorframe and looked at Murphy, who just shrugged and
bent down for a closer look.
This is getting stranger all
the time, he said at last. Where the hell is Doc?
No sooner were the words out of his
mouth than the sound of screeching brakes and a car horn blaring
several times alerted them of Doc's arrival. Vic told the
cop to stay by the door and he and Murphy walked over to greet
the coroner, who was already standing by the nearest body.
Now dont this just take
the cake? Doc said. A fucking slaughterhouse in
front of my office, and to top it off, the Bobsey twins together
again. I swear, life just dont get no better than this.
Good to see you too, Doc,
Murphy said as a satellite TV truck pulled in front of the
yellow tape and disgorged a young, good looking talking head
with his cameraman in tow.
I was wrong, it seems,
Doc sighed as he looked over his shoulder at the commotion.
He shook his head. Now my life is complete.
* * *