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Strong Hold
Little Prince Station
Just a Line
Coming Up:
One by One

Episodio 5:


The truck came out of nowhere just in front of Slash, speeding onto the street from one of the Park of the Peaceīs walking lanes. Slash got to brake before they crash, and saw it dissappear beyond the highway as he tried to catch some breath again.
— Fucking suckers! —he snarled, still out of breath, his knuckles getting white as he still grabbed the wheel.
Then he heard, through music and startle, a groan. He turned to look towards the lane the truck came out from. There was something lying there, in the middle of the path, under the treesī shadows. And that something was moving just like a person trying to crawl, hoarsely groaning.
He jumped out from the van and ran towards it, picturing those bastards from the truck had run over somebody and got away. It was a boy lying down there on his belly, hardly 16, and Slash swallowed his own cry when he saw the pool of flood at his feet. He crouched by his side and rolled him to make him lay on his back, holding his head as he searched his body for the bleeding wound. The boy gawked up at him, desperately trying to speak.
— Lina... — he mumbled gripping Slashīs shirt. Slash discovered then the star-shaped knife wound on his side— Lina... They...
— They took her away? —Slash finished, grabing his arm and exposing it to the dim light. And yes, there they were, the marks, a blurry map made of lots of tiny bruises at the inner side of the elbow and the forearm.
The boy nodded, moaning when Slash slid an arm under his legs and lifted him up.
— This is gonna hurt, bud —he grunted, walking back to the van as fast as he could. He was felling his own blood boiling inside his body, and the effort of restraining his rage made his ears to hum. He placed the boy at the vanīs right seat and took off turning on his cell phone.
— Come on! —he hissed, ignoring a red light— Holly sh...! Old man, at last... Get ready, Iīm... Nop, none of us, tell you later.
He threw the cell on the panel and held the boy as he turned to right without braking, speeding even more as the van took the side street.
* * *
Run checked the time as he slid Roverīs cd inside the laptop and turned the tv on at the darkened living room. Rover explained in a few words all about those faces on the screen and that the four of them were to intercept a pure cocaine shipment at the harbor next night.
— It lands at morning —he said—, but they cannot deliver it on broad daylight. We can guess theyīre meeting between midnight and 4 am, before the first stevedores arrive.
— And theyīre gonna pay right there? —Trash asked from the large couch.
Rover nodded.— The sellers canīt live the harbor, but youīve got to follow the purchasers.
— The laboratory —Boss said, standing as always behind the couch Run used to sit at in their meetings, though the other was now sitting at the table, with the laptop, since Slash wasnīt there.
Rover faced him nodding again. —You canīt touch them till you find out where they process it.
Boss thought it curious how Rover never needed to put an explicit end to the meetings and despite of it, it was always cristal clear when they were done. He headed for the kitchen to pour some coffee and heard the door, telling Trash had left the living room. When he took the cups to the table, he saw Rover taking a fleeting glance at Run and nodding towards the front hall. The other followed in silence.
— You were supossed to stay off at least a whole month —the man said as soon as the door closed between them and the rest of the house.
Run just held up his cold look stuffing his hands into his pockets. Rover raised his brows almost repressing a sigh.
— I know you take all responsability for what happened back at that disco, Paradiso. We just want it to never happen again. One of your jobs is to refrain their tempers.
Run was about to answer when the street door got open. Slash stopped finding them there, but he soon dodged them to go on to the living. The other two went right after him in surprise. If the scarce light didnīt let them see the blood on his clothes, its smell was enough to tell them it was a good amount of it.
— Jesus! What the fuck happened to you? —cried Boss as they came back in.
Slash dodged him too, crossing the room towards the freezer, he took out a beer and drank a long gulp of it before facing them. He was all covered in fresh blood, not his, it was evident, but his rageous glare kept them silent, wainting for him to talk.
— Theyīre back —he said at last, cursing every sound.
Trash got back then, and she was the first to react. — Sterne? —she cried, frowning.
Boss turned to look at Run asking for an explanation, but his face told him to leave his questions aside for a while. Slash faced Rover breathing heavily.
— I just took to the Turkishīs place a poor boy they stabbed at the Park. He sure owed them big, for they beat the shit out of him, then marked him and took his girl away.
Rover nodded.— First hour tomorrow Iīll tell to... —but he couldnīt finish. Slash stormed across the room towards him. Runīs extended arm held him back when he tried to take grip of the manīs lapels.
— Like shit tomorrow! —he cried in rage, trying to brush Run aside—. Tomorrow theyīll be both dead, and some other poor brat will be bleeding the fuck out at some other place!
For the first time since he joined CRAP, Boss noticed Rover did feel the preassure of the othersī eyes fixed on him. The man glanced down at his watch, faced them again, almost shrugged turning to Run.
— I want that labīs address within two days —he said, and left.
Slash tried to follow him, but this time it was Trash who cut his way. Whe stood in front of him grabbing both his arms and forced him to face her.
— Calm the fuck down! —Slash looked down at her a bit surprised, finding her clear bright eyes drilling into his—. That girlīs done, no matter we go after her right away. And if the boy gets through, it isnīt up even to the Turkish. So go take a shower and come back, weīve got some work here.
Slash shook her hands off. — Three asses of a work —he snarled.
Run came to stop right behind Trash before him. — The Cartel is expecting a shipment tomorrow night.
His words were like a cold waterīs bucket. Slashīs face changed at once, surprise replacing rage, and not a minute later he was inside the bathroom.
* * *
— The small screwdriver?
— Cabin.
Boss left the undertable drawers and sneaked out to the backyard, being very carefull not to step where the floor was still wet. When it was Trashīs cleaning shift, the best thing to do was anything outside the house —trembling from its foundations with her music—, and keep from letting even the tiniest trace of dust inside until she was done. He crossed the backyard towards the cabin. Half way from the house, something was trying to overcome the noise coming from inside. Music, too. But utterly different. The violinīs melody seemed to pour over fallīs last flowers and caress them for a moment, to grow stronger at once and raise trembling towards the cold, cloudless morning sky. Boss entered the cabin without bothering in knocking the door. He knew it could take hours for Slash to hear him knocking, if he ever did. So, he managed it to find the tools box in the cabinīs shadows, took the screwdrivers and went out, closing the door behind him. The melody hadnīt even hesitated during his intrusion, and Boss guessed Slash hadnīt even noticed it. Then, he headed back to the garage, where he and Run were working on the vanīs engine.
Slash had barely heard Boss coming in and out. Drawn into the emotions that moved his fingers over the board, he was trying in vain to relieve all of what heīd seen last night had brought back He was palying in the dark, his eyes closed. Feeling the warm strings underneath his left hand was enough for the right hand to know how to move the bow. Itīd been a pretty long time since he didnīt need to read a score anymore. Plenty of time. Too much, maybe. Itīd always been a violin within the reach of his hand, as far as he could recall. His first music teacher used to say they seemed to be a match made in heaven, the violin and the kid... When had he played his first play? Was he five, six? He didnīt remeber anymore.
He felt the sting at his right side. He clenched his teeth and kept on playing. Scars donīt hurt, only memories do. And that star-shaped scar told him again about a blurry, dark time, when the only thing a bit clearer was Seldaīs memory. Selda, that pretty, shameless mate, the only one capable of keeping up with him. A time he went through alive just because of a miracle. Ant that miracle had a face and a name: Kao. The one who found him, just like he found the boy at the Park last night, and didnīt get away. The one who visited him very often during rehab, and finally introduced him to Rover. The first friend he ever had. The one dying now at that awful room, surrounded by lots of useless devices, while he was still able to play violin just because of him. Despite his amazing skill had dripped out prick by prick, trip by trip. Despite heīd never play Mozart or Beethoven like he used to. He was alive. And Kao was dying. And those Sterne, as they called them, were back.
A boy bleeding his life out in some dark alley, a girl —Selda, Lina, whoever— taken to punish the client after marking him for ever, the five in charge of the dirty work, the "collectors", having fun with her to death. Six months since they last knew about them, when they got away from their very hands.
The bow hurt the strings, making them cry. He bit his lower lip till he tasted his own blood. They were back. And he wouldnīt drop this chance.
* * *
Itīd been raining at sunset. Some fallīs short storm. It was colder now, and the sky was still full of dark, heavy clouds reflecting city lights behind them. Stevedores were loading a ship at some near dock, itīd sail at dawn. At this dock there was no trace of activity around the huge containers piled by the warehouses. Run was the first to hear the rumour of a car driving on the wet pave. It was entering the dock at a very low speed, it was turning to take the street by the shore.
— Coming —said a voice in his ear.
Lucky them Boss was able to back them up from the van. Run should rather have him out with Trash and himself, covering them from some high spot with his long range rifle and his deadly aiming. But there was no point in even thinking that Slash would stay back tonight.
— See them —he whispered—. One car only.
— Here come the others — Slash hissed then, posted at the other side of the warehouse, out of his eyeshot.
— Sellers on the left —Trash pointed.
Run raise his eyebrows but didnīt answer. Purchasers on Slashīs side. He just hoped that spending the whole day through locked up and playing his violin had been enough to keep him from doing something silly now. Theyīd surely find some Sterne scorting the purchasers, and they all know it..
— Cool, man. Iīm on it.
Run allowed himself a grin when Slash answered his thoughts.
— Four and four —Boss said then.
Both dark glassed cars drove by their hideouts and stopped before the main warehouse and its containers. All eight men stepped down. Four "businesmen", four bodyguards too well armed. Trash noiselessly sneaked out from her spot, among the next warehouseīs containers. Sheīd got to be ready to help the others if they needed to. If everything turned out right, she just had to go back to the van and follow the purcharsers with Boss as Run and Slash were doing the sellers. She saw Runīs shadow against the other wall of the warehouse, just twenty steps from the cars. There was a guy opening a secret shell in the bottom container. The other three businesmen were wainting behind him, the bodyguards stood by their own cars.
— There they are, fucking sons of a bitch —Slash hissed.
— Trade —Boss warned, cutting him—. Ready.
One of the bodyguards, a tall pale man clad in a wealthy black suit, was storing many plastic bags inside the purchasersī car. A briefcase had been opened upon the other car and the sellers were checking it out. One of the purcharsers was already back into the car. Soon the others took their places back at their own cars and the engines were started.
— Go —Run whispered.
He and Slash left their hiddings for spots from where they could aim better. Trash got ready too, as the cars drove back to leave the way they came from. When the purchasersī was exiting the dock, Run and Slash straightened up at the same time, ready to shoot. The other car turned slowly around. The flashing interference in the earphones told them Boss had just started the van.
Both shots sounded at the same time. Once the bodyguard behind the wheel was dead, the car lose all control and zigzaged for a few meters, until Runīs second shot hit the tank and Slash set the pouring fuel on fire. The bodyguard left jumped out of the car before it bursted, and seeing Run he tried to shoot him, but Trash cut his aim with a single shoot from her spot.
— Move! —She and Run heard Slashīs voices and Bossī growl when he was pushed away from the vanīs wheel.
— Meet you at home —Run told them without even looking at the van, that was now speeding away to reach the purcharsers.
Trash joined him a moment later. He glanced at her as he kept back his rifle and grined.
— Thanks.
She just shrugged and grimaced pointing at her earphone. Run nodded still grinning. Slash had turned the audio channel off as soon as he got into the van. They vanished together among the warehouses shadows, crossing the empty docks towards the harbor exit. Behind them, the car was stil burning in the middle of the shore street, people from the near docks started to came by, somebody shouted out loud asking for a phone.
— Hope that jerk doesnīt screw up —she said when they were on the street again.
Run shook the head checking that nobodyīd seen them coming out through the broken wire fence. —Boss wonīt let him do so.
They were coming near a trucks entrance with its guard cabin. The old guard showed up seeing the fire reflection from afar. Run put his arm around Trashīs shoulders and made her slow her pace. She got it and slid her own arm around his waist. Then they heard the audio channelīs click and a giggle.
— Bingo. And the mother fuckers are ther too. Weīve got them in golden plate.
They didnīt need to answer Slash, who turned the channel off at once. The walked together passing the guard; the old man looked at them wanting anybody to chat about the fire, and turned his back on them when they ignored him.
— At last, one that turns out right.
Run just nodded, his eyes lost in the avenue lights. Trash was right. But if those five butchers were again in the way, things were going to get harder from then on. The new click on the earphone called him back. It was Boss this time.
— Roverīs just called. Kao had a heart attack half an hour ago.
None of them heard if he said something more. Trash halted there and looked up at Run, her clear blue eyes wide open. He drew in a sharp breath holding up her eyes, that mixture of surprise and pain in the girlīs look seemed to tighten that sudden grip he felt on his throat. He just could hold her tight, let her hide her face against his chest so nobody, not even him, would know if she was crying. He felt the fingers pressing his back, he bent down his head.
Sayaki - 9/2k