Read Animal Online

Authors: K'wan Foye

Animal

BOOK: Animal
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Contents

Prologue

Part I: Mo Money . . . Mo Murder . . . Mo Homicide

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Part II: Omens

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Part III: You Ain’t Never Had A Friend Like Me

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Chapter Thirty-Four

Chapter Thirty-Five

Chapter Thirty-Six

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Part IV: Love & Gunplay

Chapter Forty

Chapter Forty-One

Chapter Forty-Two

Chapter Forty-Three

Chapter Forty-Four

Chapter Forty-Five

Chapter Forty-Six

Chapter Forty-Seven

Epilogue

“The Dream is birthed by a thought and is given heart, soul, and character by the road traveled in pursuit of that dream.”
K’wan

PROLOGUE

T
HE RAIN HAD STARTED EARLY
. F
ROM THE
dark clouds that had been brewing all morning it looked like it was going to be a full-blown storm, but so far, it had been limited to a constant drizzle. They say that when it rained it meant that God was weeping and if that was the case, then he wasn’t the only one because there were at least two dozen tear-streaked faces gathered around a hollowed plot at Rose Hill Cemetery. They had come to say farewell to a soul who was loved by almost everyone she encountered.

Ashanti stood off toward the back of the crowd trying his best to look comfortable. He was dressed in black jeans, a black t-shirt, and had two black bandanas tied around his wrists. Printed on the t-shirt was the phrase “gone but not forgotten” and a picture of the deceased. King James had been pressing him to wear a suit, explaining that it was a sign of respect to the deceased, but Ashanti wasn’t trying to hear that. A lot of the people at the funeral knew him and therefore knew how he gave it up, so wearing a suit would’ve been out of character for
him. Respect or not, he would say good-bye to his friend the same way he had said hello: G’d up.

On the other side of the plot someone had broken down into tears which made Ashanti uncomfortable. He had been around death most of his young life, but this was only his second time attending a funeral. The first time had been when his mother passed, and that was only because Social Services made his current foster family take him. She had given birth to him so they would always share the bond between mother and child, but other than that Ashanti felt nothing for her. How could he bring himself to love someone who had sold his sister off into prostitution to pay her own debts and released her baby boy to the streets to feed her demons? He felt no sorrow when his mother passed, only closure, because the one person who had been able to hurt them would never be able to again.

A cold chill ran through Ashanti’s body bringing him back from the place his mind was trying to take him. Standing to his left, hands folded over each other and head bowed, was Alonzo. He had passed on the suit also and opted for a button-up and some black-on-black Prada shoes. Alonzo, known as Zo-Pound to those who knew that part of him, was the younger brother of a dude who ran with King James named Lakim. Though Lakim was notorious on the streets, Alonzo wasn’t without his fair share of horror stories. He and Ashanti had gotten tight since both of them were reluctantly recruited into King James’s crew. Like Ashanti, funerals made him uncomfortable too, but he volunteered to roll with Ashanti when no one else did. Partially because he knew how important the deceased had been to Ashanti, and partially because he knew the parts they had all played in her death.

Ashanti’s eyes drifted to two women sitting near the head of the casket. One was older wearing a large colorful hat that he had seen around the neighborhood when he and Brasco were hustling in the projects, but her name escaped him at the moment. Sadness was etched across her face, but she held back the tears that danced in the corners of her eyes behind her bifocal glasses. The younger woman was far less composed. It seemed like every time the pastor opened his mouth the younger one would break out into a wave of sobs and the older one would reach out to console her. Ashanti wanted to go over and offer his condolences but couldn’t find the words. What does one say to a woman who has just lost a child? Watching them grieve crushed him, so he turned away for fear that he may not be able to hold in the sadness that filled his own chest. Wanting to focus on something else, he scanned the sea of faces sitting, standing, and some even being held up. Many of them he knew, but there were a few he didn’t. At the end of the day it didn’t matter who knew who because at that moment the pain they all shared was what bound them. Though he was standing merely a few feet away from her casket, his mind still couldn’t process the fact that Gucci was dead.

“You look like you just lost your best friend,” someone said from behind Ashanti.

“Something like that,” Ashanti said without bothering to turn around. His eyes were misty, and he didn’t want anyone to see him on the verge of crying.

“You know, eventually death comes to us all. Some sooner than others.”

“You ain’t never lied about that,” Ashanti said, looking at
the casket. “Seems like the good die young and the wicked live forever.”

“Indeed, which is why it’s up to men like us to keep the scales balanced. Killing is a dirty business, but somebody has got to do it. Ain’t that right, Ashanti?”

“Homie, you know me from somewhere?” Ashanti looked up at the man who was addressing him for the first time and was shocked to see who it was.

Animal stood there in all his glory, dressed in a long black trench coat and dark glasses. His long hair blew freely in the breeze.

“Holy shit!” Ashanti staggered backward, tripping over a hill of dirt and landing on his butt a few feet away from the casket. “Animal? No, no, no . . . you can’t be here. You’re dead, ain’t you?” Ashanti got to his feet.

“Dead as a doornail.” Animal opened the trench coat and exposed his bare chest for Ashanti to see. There were several bullet holes in his chest, some of which were still bleeding. He walked closer to Ashanti causing him to back up further until he was at the edge of the plot the casket would be lowered in. “They killed me, then they killed my lady, and none of my so-called homies did shit about it.”

“I been trying—”

“You ain’t been trying hard enough!” Animal cut him off. “Don’t worry yourself too much about it though. Hell is pretty nice this time of year, and I’ve come to give you the full tour.” Animal pushed Ashanti into the hole.

Ashanti awoke screaming at the top of his lungs. His head whipped back and forth, expecting to see the dirt walls of the
hole he had been pushed in, but found only the pale cream paint of his apartment walls. There was no ghost, and no cemetery. It had all been a bad dream.

He sat on the edge of his bed and let out a sigh of relief. Then he grabbed the half-empty bottle of tequila on his nightstand and tossed it into the waste basket. “No more Cuervo before bed. I’m switching back to dark liquor.”

PART I

MO MONEY . . . MO MURDER . . . MO HOMICIDE

ONE

“M
Y BABY, PLEASE TELL ME THAT AIN’T
my baby.” The woman burst through the throng of onlookers, dressed in only a bathrobe and house shoes as they were all she had time to grab when the frantic knocks landed on her door. The crowd parted like the Red Sea so that she could get a bird’s-eye view of what everyone else had been staring at for the last ten minutes, a corpse under a bloody white sheet.

Alvarez was the first to notice her. The tall Hispanic detective had been standing over the body, picking his teeth with a toothpick and analyzing the crime scene in his mind. Dressed in dark jeans, a T-shirt, and white Nikes, he looked more like a spectator than a detective. “Damn,” was all he could say when he saw the distraught look on the robed woman’s face.

The robed woman burst through the police tape to where the corpse was laid out, followed by two young ladies and a young man. They all looked distressed. The robed woman went to pull off the sheet, but was cut off by two uniformed police officers. They were a bit overzealous in their handling of the
woman, which caused a shoving match between them and the family of the victim.

“They said that’s my baby laying there! Get off me.” The woman struggled against the cops, which only agitated the already tense crowd.

“If you don’t calm down we’re gonna haul all your asses in,” one of the uniformed officers threatened. He was a beefy white cop with a salt-and-pepper mustache and a thick nose. In his hand he held a nightstick and looked eager to use it.

“Take off that badge and that gun and I’ll show you what to do with that nightstick,” one of the boys in the crowd threatened, which only stirred up the crowd more. Things were getting ugly.

From his position, kneeling beside the corpse, Detective Brown watched the officers roughly handle the grieving woman and a frown creased his dark face. Unlike his partner Alvarez, Brown was the straitlaced, no-nonsense cop who had a low tolerance for bullshit, especially from other cops. Brushing off the knees of his black slacks he approached the brewing mêlée. “Why doesn’t everybody just cool out.”

BOOK: Animal
3.96Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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