Electric Buzzing. The gate in front of Dustin slid open before him. Eyes watching as this would be the last day he would be trapped behind this electrified barbed wire metal fence. Hand clenching tight to the one bag that held everything he had to his name. It was a lot to show for the last ten years of his life.
“Number?” Questioned the Officer at the checkout gate. Unmoved by this moment as he scanned along with the clipboard that was handed off to him.
“115595, Rainehart,” Spoke Dustin, heart pounding away in his chest he had waited for this day to come for so long. One that in his mind was well overdue.
Dustin stood there as the paperwork was looked over once more by new eyes. The number given confirmed and matched with the photo he knew was printed on the sheet as well. Even gave the officer the twisted smile to match as he looked up to check. He quickly became overwhelmed by all that was happening as he watched the final gate move open allowing him to step to his freedom.
Looking back over his shoulder one last time before he stepped just out of reach of the prison that no longer had any control over him. Ten years, ten years he had been locked away and forgotten by most. Being forgotten didn’t hurt him as bad as one may think it should. With the one expect for being forgotten by his little brother.
Lungs’ breathing in deeply enjoying the smell of fresh air. The only thought crossing his mind was ‘what next’? What was he to do now? Looking around as he walked a little further from the gates wondering if his ride was going to show or not.
“Dude, over here!” Called out a familiar old voice.
Turning around Dustin looked in the opposite direction. A smile forming on his face.
“My man!” He called out picking up his pace as he made his way over.
The other male pulled Dustin into a quick hug, hand pounding on his back between his shoulder blades, “Ready to blow this joint?” He questioned.
“Yes, ten years past due. Do you even have to ask?”
They both got into his car. Dustin threw his things in the back seat before getting in himself. Leaning back as one long exhale escaped him as they drove past the place that took ten years away from him. Dustin played catch up with Trevor the whole drive home. Talking about all the things that have happened since he was away with their chapter of the gang.
Lighten the mood by swapping stories about anything they found to be amusing or messed up. Thanking him more than once for picking him up. Knowing the four-hour drive out here was no little feat. Trevor assuring him it was all good and that’s what brothers were for. Holding up his fist showing his knuckles off, inked with the letters SONS. Dustin in response doing the same thing revealing a matching but a faded version of his tattoo bumping fist like time hasn’t pulled them apart for so long.
Don’t get Dustin wrong he was more than happy to be out and a free man once again, but was he free? Still being tied with the gang that got him locked away in the first place wasn’t something that sat well with him. Ten years stolen from his life was a hard pill to swallow for just about anyone. Even if they were family.
Once they finally got back to their home city where it all started Dustin was shocked that he wasn’t greeted by the rest of the gang. Looking around as he stepped out of the car grabbed his bag from the back.
“We’re having a party later tonight for you. Don’t look so surprised. It’s not like we can forget about our best Enforcer.” Spoke Trevor, as he unlocked the front door to his place.
Dustin was mixed with feelings at the moment. Not sure how he truly felt or if he felt anything. He had become numb over the years. These men were his brothers. His family but has he moved past this part of his life now? Was the gang something he needed to leave behind? Shoot the straight and narrow life. This was a thought that crossed his mind day in and day out.
Trevor’s girl welcomed him home with a warming hug as he moved through the front door.
“You’ve been missed,” Tink spoke, pushing up on her toes kissing him on the cheek before finally letting go of him. “I just got done cleaning out the spare room for you. You’re welcomed to stay as long as you need. You know you’re family in my home.”
Tink even took his bag of things leading him through the house to the back room opening the door. It wasn’t much just about a foot or two bigger than the cell he was living in. The room was just enough for a queen bed and a small standing dresser in the corner. Oddly enough he was perfectly fine with just that. Feeling like too many things would overwhelm him even more. Not used to the freedom to do whatever he pleased.
“Thanks, Tink,” Dustin spoke watching as she placed his bag on the bed for now.
“No. It’s my pleasure.” Smiling over at him, “Now I’m pretty sure you want to shower and settle in a little before the party. Your bathroom is just across the hall there,” pointing over to the door, “towels and anything you need should be in there.”
As she walked past him to leave the room she stretched up once again to kiss him on the cheek. Whispering again that she was glad to have him back home. Tink had always been open and warming to just about anyone that stepped through her door even more to him since he was pretty much glued to Trevor when they were all younger.
Standing in the bathroom looking at himself in the mirror. Thinking how neither Trevor nor Tink looked different from the last time he saw them versus himself. Running his hand along his chin feeling the black scruff that covered the bottom half of his face.
“I’m fucking old.”
Twenty-eight was old. Locked up just after his eighteenth birthday. Young and dumb. Prison showed on him. Staying in the shower way longer than he should have. Catching himself washing over the same parts wanting to wash the filth from prison off. Not fully satisfied before he heard a knock at the door asking if everything was fine.
Shouting back that he was good, turning off the water. Resting his forehead against the warm tile taking in a deep breath before he got out drying off catching another glimpse of himself in the mirror. Eyeing the ink that ran up along both of his arms over his chest and back. Most of the ink was all from when he was out running the streets.
Gang ink, things that showered where he was from. What he did. What he believed in at the time. Some ink was newer collecting it while in prison from a few guys he trusted.
“So when is this party of mine?” He asked.
Walking out into the living room sitting down in the free chair off to the right of the little love seat. Running his finger through his hair pushing it back smiling as Tink walked in holding an open beer which he assumed was his. Smile growing bigger once she handed it to him.
“Whenever you want it to start honestly just gotta make a call and it’s on.”
“The old clubhouse I assume?” Dustin asked.
“Of course nowhere else to do it.” Chimed Tink, sitting next to Trevor on the sofa.
“Either of you know if Devin will be there?”
Tink looked over at Trevor questioning if she should even say anything giving Dustin a shake of the head no. He honestly figured that much. Devin hasn’t spoken to him since his last court date where he got sentenced. He took a long sip of his cold beer, letting the flavor roll over his tongue. Dustin was pretty sure he wasn’t going to be seeing his baby brother anytime soon.
The three of them sat there for over an hour just chatting mostly Tink. His beer hand never went empty either like Tink had some sixth sense to when his last sip was coming up. Trevor gave the call to put things in motion for the night waiting for about another hour or so before they all left together.