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In that moment, we all knew what was happening. The rev of motorcycle engines was enough of a sign that we weren't wanted here. Taking what we could, we ran. The plastic bags stuffed in our pockets popped, the money spilled onto the floor. It didn't matter anymore. Salvage what you could be for our rivals burnt it all to the ground.
"T.K, grab the gun and watch the door," I ordered as the workers ran through the door.
T.K glanced at me and his face painted with anger. He had that angry glare that told me he wasn't happy and I would regret ordering him. Yet, I was the one in charge and we couldn't return without spilling blood.
"The Dragons have our ticket," T.K replied. "Let's get out of here."
I stared daggers. T.K was a coward, leaving the task to me. I handed him the packets and a few rolls of money. His ridiculous jacket had deeper pockets.
"Listen here," I murmured, digging my fingers into his shoulders. "The boss is going to want to break some bones if he sees you before me."
T.K's eyes were wide, but I still sensed he had dumb thoughts bouncing inside the hollow skull.
"And, if you try to screw me over," I continued. "I will shove this shotgun down your throat and pull the trigger."
My words cut like steel.
"I'll be waiting, boss," T.K murmured.
There was a thud and the sound of splintered wood. T.K writhed out of my grasp and ran out the back-door with the workers. It was only me in the rundown building, with a mess of lab equipment and an old gun. I knew it was going to be an uphill fight, but I only needed to kill one of them.
Grabbing the gun, I loaded it. The Dragons had entered the lab beyond the door in front of me. I imagined them checking the tables, the cabinets. Taking it slow as they ensured there was nobody inside. These Dragons wouldn't stop there.
I aimed the barrel at the door. The moment somebody touched that doorknob they would meet a nasty surprise. It would have worked, I even heard somebody approaching the door. One pull of the trigger and I would run out into the night. The cold barrel of a small gun pressing against my neck changed that.
"I got one!" the Dragon shouted. "Open the door and don't blow my head off, you idiots!"
The Dragons were evil people. I was no saint and neither were the people I ran with. Yet, the Dragons took it to a whole new level. If they go their hands on you, you wouldn't die with a bullet in you. You would die with several knife wounds as teenagers who held the knives gawked over your corpse. The Dragons took lessons from the cartel, but that also made them as dumb as bricks.
My gun was still raised.
When one of the Dragons placed their hand on the doorknob, I pulled the trigger and let the kick knock me back. The Dragon who held a gun to my temple fire as his friend got chewed to pieces by the buckshot. My ears rang with a gun firing so close to my head, but adrenaline kept me moving.
I grabbed the Dragons gun with my left hand and smashed the shotgun into his wrist. With him disarmed, it was no problem knocking him out the way and making a run into the alley. Halfway down the narrow way, I pointed the gun back and fired shots at the door. Anybody thinking of following me immediately changed their mind.
I was out onto the street, but not far from danger. Drive-bys were common with the Dragons, motorcycles made it easy for them as well. My options were few and my ears were still ringing. Without having much choice left, I ran. The sooner I joined up with central traffic the better. I didn't need the cops recognising me either.
Turning a corner I pedalled up a side-road towards Chinatown. It was a fair ways-away, but that only meant more distance between me and the Dragons. I heard no motorcycles, I heard no gunshots. I was home-free.
I spotted some workers in Chinatown, which wasn't good news for me. Luckily, a taxi happened to roll by and I waved it down. I eased myself into the backseat while the workers pointed towards me. She was talking to a nobody civilian, so they couldn't do anything but watch as I drove away.
"The splints, memorial street," I told the taxi driver.
The old man coughed in reply and drove onwards. He didn't seem to mind the heavy breathing or the gun in my hand. Either that, or he hadn't noticed. We joined up with the main traffic and I had a scare when I noticed a Dragon. He was driving between lanes, checking the inside of cars.
I played it cool, not knowing what else to do. Once more, I danced my way out of this one when I heard a police turned on his siren. The Dragon gave up the search, drove up the lane and sped away. The police, unable to follow, must have informed central. Whatever they did, it saved me.
"Damn hoodlums," the old man coughed. "No respect for what matters."
"And what's that, grandpa?" I asked, half-listening.
"The city has laws, boy," the driver replied. "Laws that help them see my age one day. My son would be married with kids right now, if he didn't join those people. Now it all goes to waste."
I looked back towards the driver. His face painted with fury, a mixture of grief and anger. Even that sight in the rear-view mirror was disconcerting.
"I'm sorry to hear that," I murmured.
"Don't be, his killer got what he deserved," the old man replied. "Killed by another boy with guns. At least in that line of work, every one of them meets their fate. You believe in karma?"
The old man's eyes flicked to the rear-view mirror and focused on my face.
"Yeah, yeah I do."
"Then you believe in justice."
The old man stared at me a moment longer and his eyes capturing my attention. I gripped the handgun, waiting.
"Your stop, that will be three dollars," the old man muttered.
I handed him five.
"I'm sorry about your son," I told him as I left the car.
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