- 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
- 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
- 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 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
- 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
- Rover faced him nodding again. You canīt
touch them till you find out where they process
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- * * *
- The small screwdriver?
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Trade Boss warned, cutting
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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