His boss was going to kill him later. He had run out the backdoor of the bar without any explanation. And there was no hesitation to stop when he heard the faint yell of his boss, “Reoni! Where you goin’?!” In fact, he didn’t even comprehend it.
He couldn’t pick up his feet well enough to avoid drenching his bare legs in the muddy puddles. His head was screaming at him to recall the layout of the alleyways—the path to lead him to the heavily patrolled marketplace—but the noise of footsteps behind him was trampling on those thoughts.
In a sudden decision between two paths, he took a right. Sitting at the end of darkness, the glimpse of cars consuming the street lights as they raced past made his head eagerly raise. His feet started to run on their own, stifling a laugh through his harsh breaths.
But he learned it wouldn’t be so easy. The intersection was attached to a boulevard, meaning it was practically impossible to safely run across to the marketplace without a red light. He veered to the left passageway and slumped behind a dumpster, constricting his mouth and nose with his hands to muffle his pants.
The cars paused in their rush through the boulevard. The footsteps had even started dimming. There was no reason for him to continue running, he thought. If he got out now, he might arouse them once more.
Thankfully, the footsteps vanished.
The alleyway cowered with an absence of outsiders as a black van parked into the exit nearest to the marketplace. Its back faced the inside the alley, the doors flying open to release a file of armed men that formed a blockade around Reoni. He was no longer awake. The sedatives were quick to work after all of his energy was exerted on running.
A man with a half shaven head marched through the flocking. Apart from him, all of the men wore caps with only tusks of their hair—if there were any—poking out from the back. Each of them wore the same lime green bomber jacket: a rigged snake with a vicious black tongue was embroidered on the back, and black Japanese text lined the front pockets. The only difference between their uniform and the lone man was the red armband he sported.
He towered over Reoni and studied the small face that was lightly coated in perspiration. Unprovokingly, he slammed his foot into his exposed calf. Yet there was no response.
He released the leg, a rosy print of his sole pressed into the skin, with a garnish of mud and gravel. The short stomp was enough to form patches of purple where the calf was squashed the most.
The man lowered to the ground to search Reoni’s pockets. He extracted a slim wallet from his shorts with an identification card from Sailand Lagoon Bar inside. Reoni Kesal, 22, 5’6. Elite Member. The surrounding men waited for his approval.
“Just who we’re looking for.” He rose, pocketing the card, and as he motioned through the crowd again, he announced, “Job’s not over yet. Stop standing around.”
Out of the group of six, two approached Reoni, two stood watching over the open alleyways, and the remaining men scrounged through a duffel bag. One grabbed a rope, and the other a sack.
The man with the shaved head returned to the driver’s seat, handing the found wallet to the passenger before he wrapped his seatbelt around himself. He wore a similar jacket, the silk fabric rustling as he tossed his cigarette out the window to read the card.
“He’s young for an elite,” he commented, setting his arm down on the open window. “Goes to show you we’re getting a large payday soon.”
The driver grinned. “The things about this guy were right.” He positioned his head between the two seats to watch the others load up the van. “What’s the hold up? Worry about tying him up when he’s in!” he yelled.
The ones with rope sat in the backseat with their job prepared. The men tasked with carrying Reoni scrambled to pick him up by the limbs. They had started to inch closer when a gunshot echoed through the alley. In an instant, they dropped Reoni and collapsed. Both were shot in the chest.
One of the lookouts was replaced by a brawny man leaning against his orange RT motorcycle, his arm extended out with a pistol. Before the other lookout even turned around, he was dead.
His raised tattoo sleeve gradually shifted to aim at the van. A gold Rolex fitted his veiny wrist, glimmering in the side view mirror of the passenger’s side. The man could only make out the black, riled up tufts of hair deflecting the glow of his accessory. His eyes widened as he involuntarily leaned forward a closer look.
“Shit! It's Putra! Shut the doors!”
“But we still have to—” one in the back started.
“I don't give a shit! We're on his turf!”
The driver cranked his keys into ignition and jumped on the gas pedal. The men in the back nearly slid out as they attempted to shut the doors, ramming into them with full force once they locked into place. Shots whirled past their ears and rattled the van with the high-pitched sound of metal getting impaled. The vehicle drifted onto two wheels when it swerved into the road.
The driver repressed his breath as he corrected the wheel haphazardly, and luckily, he fixed onto the road. Their tires squealed as it tried to grab onto the asphalt, wanting to claw its very way back to the alley.
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