True to the game iii, p.16
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       True to the Game III, p.16

           Teri Woods
 
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  “I don’t know, but we’re running out of time.”

  “Where would you go if you just left a murder scene?” Ellington asked. “Where would she go that was safe?”

  “I don’t know, but if I was her, I know where I wouldn’t be going. I wouldn’t be going to Grandma’s, or to her friend Markita’s. Remember, she’s still got some asshole out searching for her.”

  “If she’s smart, she’s on her way out of town. She’s got to be; there’s nowhere left for her to go. Especially knowing that a maniac is after her,” Ellington said. “She’s getting out of town tonight.”

  “Who is this ‘she’?” Miles asked.

  “It’s in the report,” Ellington told him. She and Davis raced out of the motel room and headed for their car. “She’s going for the money!”

  “Yeah, but where?” Davis asked, climbing into the vehicle.

  “Where in the hell would you keep that kinda cash?” Ellington asked. “And, remember, wherever it is, it’s got to be accessible to her tonight. That pretty much rules out all the banks.”

  “So, where else do you store money?” Davis asked. He and Ellington stared at each other. The answer hit them both at the same time. “At a fucking storage unit!”

  “Call Cleaver!” Ellington told him. “And the lieutenant!” She peeled out of the parking lot.

  Neither of them saw the FBI agents in the Chevrolet Impala pull off behind them. And neither was aware that a tracking device had been planted beneath their car.

  “What are we doing?” Gena asked, peering out the window.

  “What do you mean?” Quadir asked.

  “I mean, this, all of this? What are we doing?”

  “We’re running. What does it look like?”

  “I know, I can see that we’re running; it’s just that I’m trying to figure out where we’re going from here.”

  “Safe, we’re going somewhere safe.”

  “Safe, did you say safe? That’s a fucking joke, but then again, I guess I would be safe with you, huh? Now you can call your wolves off, right?”

  “Wolves? What are you talking about?”

  “Quadir, because of you, my grandmother was brutally raped, Gary is all fucked up and needs more corrective surgery, my friend Markita is dead. She was raped and then killed.”

  “Hold on, Gena, I didn’t have anything to do with what happened to Gah Git or Gary or Markita. Ever since you left, I’ve been looking for you. I’m putting myself out there rescuing you and all you can do is point the finger at me like I’ve done something? I saved you from Jerrell, remember? And if I hadn’t come when I had, Rik would have had your ass tied up and buried six feet under.”

  “I thought . . .”

  “You thought wrong. I don’t know who is behind the attacks on your family. I just figured that whoever it is, he is after my money. Come to think of it, where is my money, Gena? Because I really want it back. I want my money back.”

  Gena sat and listened with her eyes wide open at every word he spoke. He was telling the truth. He really did have nothing to do with the attacks. Then who the hell is after me if it’s not him?

  “You haven’t been after me to get your money back?”

  “After you for what? Gena, you’re going to give me my money back. I don’t have to harm you or anyone else. I know you’re going to give me my money back.”

  He spoke as if he had a crystal ball foreseeing the future. Why does he think I’ll give him anything? Is he crazy? Does he really think that I would give him all that money so he can go run off with his Doctor Dolittle bitch and have a merry life, while I have nothing? He must be mad. I won’t do it.

  Quadir pulled over the car to the side of the road, put it in park, and took his foot off the brake. Raindrops began to drizzle, hitting the windshield with every breath he took.

  “What?” Gena asked as she kept her eyes glued out the window, unwilling to face him.

  “Gena, I want my money. Had I died, Gena, then you would certainly be the rightful owner of my hidden treasure. But you aren’t, and I just need you to do the right thing. I really, really, really need you to do the right thing.”

  “Or what, Quadir?”

  He looked at her strangely. “What do you mean or what?”

  “What I said. Or what? If I don’t give you back your money and do the right thing, then what?”

  Quadir thought for a moment. Ever since they had been together he had done nothing but provide for Gena, take care of Gena, and love Gena. To this day, he still did. He couldn’t believe that she was that selfish and that greedy, that she wouldn’t willingly give him back his paper.

  “Then this is where we say good-bye. You go your way and I go mine.”

  “Just like that, you’d let me go? You’d let me walk away with your money?”

  “You know what, Gena, if I had to hurt you, or do anything outside my character in order to make you return my money, then I wouldn’t want it. I want my money; yes, I do. I hustled for that shit, I died for that dough—of course I want my money. But you have it now and I can’t make you give it to me. It’s not a pawn, it’s not an option, it’s not a deal. There are no deals here, Gena. You want to give me my money back, fine. You don’t want to give me my money back, then all that shows me is that all this time I was completely wrong about you. And if I’m wrong, then I don’t want to be right. You take it, have it all, if that’s what you want, but I swear to God, you’ll never ever have to worry about ever seeing me again. Ever.”

  He spoke with true conviction in his tone. He wanted to be as forceful as possible without hurting her. He didn’t know if she believed him, but every word he spoke was the God’s honest truth. If she didn’t tell him where his money was, he had every intention of leaving her standing on the side of the road, he had every intention of moving on, even if it meant moving on without her.

  She watched as the rain fell and listened to every word he spoke. Deep down, she knew he was right. She also knew that once she gave him the money, she’d probably never see him again. The money was his, all his. It wasn’t hers; he was right. And the right thing to do was to let him have it. If that’s what he wanted, then she would oblige him and give it back.

  “It’s at 4-U-Self-Storage,” she whispered as she kept her head turned away from him. The last thing she wanted him to see was her tears. The little bit of pride she had was swallowed up by his demands and the reality that she would be left with nothing, not even him.

  A Deadly Ringer

  Excuse me, may I help you?” asked the storage night watchman.

  “Yes, I’m looking for a storage unit,” replied Terrell in all seriousness.

  “Oh, we have plenty. What size unit do you need?”

  “No, you’ve already rented the unit I want.”

  “I’m sorry, come again? I don’t understand.”

  “I’m looking for a storage unit in the name of Gena Scott,” said Terrell, hoping and praying this guy was smart enough to just give him the storage unit number.

  “I’m not following you,” said the guy as he brushed his blond hair back from his forehead.

  Just then Terrell noticed a Range Rover pulling into the storage unit. He watched the truck park and noticed the girl and the guy immediately.

  “Never mind, thank you.”

  “I’m sorry, excuse me, you can’t go out that doo—”

  Terrell silenced the night watchman with a gunshot to the head. The night watchman slumped down like a cartoon character. Terrell stuffed his body under a desk, placed a sign on the counter that read be back in 15 minutes, and walked out the door the night watchman had told him he couldn’t use.

  Quadir pulled up to the storage facility and parked around the back. He peered around the nearly empty parking lot and thought twice about where he was parked. He backed the Range Rover deep into a wooded area next to the storage facility, parked, and then followed Gena around the various units until she came upon hers.

  Gena led Quadi
r to her storage room. She used her key to unlock the lock, opened the door, and showed him the two suitcases filled with his cash. Quadir rushed over to the suitcases, opened them, and breathed a sigh of relief. His money was there.

  “Let’s hurry,” he told her.

  Quadir lifted the suitcases as they both headed for the door, only to find a stranger waiting for them.

  “Going somewhere?”

  I thought he was dead. Oh, my God, nobody dies anymore? What’s he doing here? Gena thought to herself, amazed at the dead man in front of her.

  “Jerrell,” said Quadir, unsure, and knowing that Jerrell had died during their altercation in the motel room.

  “Naw, nigga, don’t look so amazed; you act like you don’t remember me. Nigga, we grew up together.”

  “Terrell?” asked Quadir, realizing it wasn’t Jerrell at all but his brother, his older twin brother, Terrell.

  “That’s right, you do remember me. I used to fuck you up at the playground, nigga. You couldn’t hide either, remember? I’d find you and whoop your little ass and take your fucking lunch money.”

  “Who is he?” asked Gena, still not connecting the dots.

  “He’s Jerrell’s twin brother, the one that’s been after you. He must have thought you killed Jerrell.” Quadir added that line with mad sarcasm, hoping to catch Terrell’s attention. “Truth is, you should have been after me, Terrell. I’m the one who killed your brother, not her. And all that talk about the playground, just know it’s a new day, nigga, and I’ll murk your ass just like I buried your brother.”

  Ice-cold blood ran through Terrell’s veins at the sound of Quadir voice. He stood toe to toe with Quadir. Their eyes met and Terrell saw no remorse. Quadir’s face was emotionless. He had no sympathy and no regard for what he had done and to top it all off, he had the nerve to admit that it was he who had in fact murdered his brother, without fear, at that. Who do this nigga think he is? Him and this bird-ass broad. I’m going to fuck her while he watches. We’ll see how cocky this motherfucker is then.

  Quadir saw the gun first, and he reacted. He slung one of the suitcases toward Terrell, distracting him. Terrell caught the bag as Quadir dove into him, knocking the gun away and sending it sliding down the hall. The two of them fell to the floor and began to struggle. Gena knew that it was him. She knew that this had to be the man who had brutally violated her grandmother, the man who shot Gary, the man who shot Bria’s boyfriend, the man who killed Markita. And now she knew why. He looked just like his fucking brother; he looked just like Jerrell. He had been stalking her to avenge his brother’s death.

  Terrell and Quadir grappled with each other, rolling around on the floor, jockeying for position while trying to free their hands. Each was occupied with not allowing the other’s hands to become free. Both men knew that they were in a life-and-death struggle.

  Terrell threw a punch that landed squarely on Quadir’s jaw that stunned him and allowed Terrell to throw Quadir off him. He immediately began to crawl for his weapon. Quadir grabbed Terrell’s leg and yanked him back. He punched Terrell in his back and side and crawled back on top of him. Terrell elbowed Quadir in his stomach and rolled over, again knocking Quadir off him. Quadir threw a wild punch, striking Terrell in his chin. He followed that with a left cross that struck Terrell’s nose. Terrell swung and landed a solid blow on the side of Quadir’s head. This blow was followed by one that landed on Quadir’s ear. Quadir wrapped his hands around Terrell’s throat, determined to squeeze the life out of him. Terrell broke Quadir’s grasp by kneeing him in his testicles. Pain shot through Quadir’s body, causing him to cry out.

  Quadir’s wounds had closed, but they had not fully healed. His tissue began to pull apart from the inside, causing a searing pain throughout his body. He knew that he wasn’t going to last much longer, not going blow for blow with the monster he was battling. But, then again, he knew that he couldn’t lose. His life and Gena’s life were on the line. Not to mention that if he ended up at another crime scene, Amelia’s life too would be affected, and he didn’t want that. If his body were found, there would be some serious consequences behind it. Amelia would lose her license and probably even go to jail. Gena would lose her life, and that would definitely send her grandmother to an early grave. So many people depended on him at that moment. So many people were counting on him to be the man they always believed him to be. Was he truly gangsta? Was he really built to last? Were they all wrong for looking up to him, admiring him, wanting to be like him?

  Quadir summoned every piece of strength that he had left in his body and swung at Terrell. The blow sounded as though it could be heard clear across the city. He followed it with another blow, and then another. He wanted to put this nigga to sleep. But Terrell had other plans.

  Terrell growled and head-butted Quadir, opening a gash between Quadir’s eyes, just above his nose. Terrell knew that he was built to last. He wasn’t going out like no sucker. He wrapped his hands around Quadir’s throat.

  Gena could hear Quadir gasping for air. She raced down the dark hallway searching for Terrell’s gun. Desperate, she dropped to her knees and scoured the floor until she found it. Quadir needed her. And despite what she had said before, she didn’t want him to die. She loved him. She wanted him to live. She needed him to live. No matter what happened between them, no matter what was going to happen between them in the future, she wanted him to live, even if that meant he’d be with someone else.

  Gena raced back to where Quadir and Terrell were struggling and pointed the gun. She was scared to pull the trigger. Scared of hitting Quadir instead of Terrell. Scared of actually having to kill another human being.

  Quadir’s eyes rolled to the back of his head and slowly he leaned forward. Terrell smiled, knowing that he was squeezing the life out of Quadir. There was nothing like killing a person with one’s bare hands. Quadir leaned forward until his and Terrell’s faces were nearly touching. And then he smiled. He was a built-to-last nigga.

  Quadir opened his mouth and clamped down on Terrell’s nose with the ferocity of a hungry pit bull. He shifted his last bit of energy to his jaw muscles and bit until his teeth met. Blood ran down his chin as he rose and spat Terrell’s nose down the hallway. Terrell covered the bloody hole where his nose used to be and rolled around on the floor screaming in pain.

  Quadir kicked Terrell in the head, then stomped his head down into the ground so that the back of it hit the concrete floor hard. He stomped again, and again, and then again. After the fourth stomp, blood oozed from the back of Terrell’s head, and he stopped moving completely. Quadir turned to Gena, who rushed into his arms.

  Quadir was barely able to stand. His old wounds felt as though someone were sticking a red-hot poker into his flesh. He was out of breath, tired, and sore all at once. “Help me pick up all of the money,” he said weakly. “We got to get out of here.”

  Dick Davis hung up his cell phone and turned to his partner. “Ratzinger said that this thing’s getting out of hand. He wants us to tighten things up.”

  Ellington peered over at her partner. He looked pale.

  “Dickie, what’s the matter?”

  “He wants us to kill her,” Davis whispered. “He wants us to kill her and whoever’s with her. No witnesses.”

  Ellington nodded. She had known what the deal was from the beginning. She knew that Gena’s death warrant had been signed the moment they all agreed to go after that money. Davis was green. “Dickie, are you okay on this?”

  Davis nodded. He hadn’t bargained on having to kill anyone. He thought it would be just a matter of taking some drug money away from some undeserving little dope dealer’s wife and distributing it among police officers who truly deserved it. But murdering people over it, that was something else entirely. Would that make them worse than the drug dealers?

  “What did Cleaver say?” Ellington asked.

  “He said that there’s only one self-storage place along this highway that is open this late. That’s 4-U-Se
lf Storage.”

  “He give you an address?”

  “Yeah.”

  “Well, let’s go and get our fucking money,” Ellington said excitedly.

  “Josh, it’s Steve over in technical,” Lavon Stokes said.

  “Hi, Steve!” Josh shouted toward the receiver.

  “Josh says hi, Steve.” Lavon told him. She turned back to Josh. “Steve says that they just intercepted a call from Ratzinger, giving the order to kill the girl.”

  “Holy shit! They got it on tape again?”

  Lavon nodded. “He says that he’s already played the tape for Galvani, who had it played for the district attorney and for one of the federal magistrates. The judge is heading into his office to sign the arrest warrants as we speak.”

  “Yes!”

  “The district attorney is going before the grand jury first thing in the morning with evidence,” Lavon told him.

  Phil patted Josh on his shoulder. “Good work.”

  “Ask Steve where those assholes are right now. I want to slap the cuffs on them as soon as the warrants are signed,” Josh said.

  “Steve, you got a location on the suspects’ vehicles?” Lavon asked. She turned back to Josh. “Cleaver’s vehicle is headed this way. Ellington’s car is just up ahead. Ratzinger is still at the station.”

  “Good work, Steve!” Josh shouted toward the handset. “Get rid of Steve, and call Tony, Mike, and Dan. Have Tony and Mike round up Ratzinger, and tell Dan to meet up with us as soon as we give him a location. We can take down Cleaver, Ellington, and Davis all at once. Get me some more agents out here. We’re going to get these sons of bitches tonight!”

  The Getaway

  Ellington pulled up about the time Cleaver arrived.

  “Are you sure this is the place?” Cleaver asked. “I hope that I don’t look like an asshole.”

  “What’s with the patrol cars?” Ellington whispered.

  Cleaver shook his head. “I sent them. That little bitch isn’t giving us the slip this time. There’s a fire escape around the back of the building. I’m going to send the officers in through the front, while we are going to go and cover the back, which is probably how they intend to escape.”

 
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