I apologize for not posting in a while. (If you follow me on social media then you already know that I've had my hands full lately.) I am working on some new pieces to post here for you guys. Some of the posts are short stories that I wrote specifically for the blog and others are meant to give you an update on what's going on in my life. Stay tuned. For today though, I'd like to share a chapter from one of my bestsellers, "Death in the City." Enjoy...and subscribe to my Patreon Page. I've been posting chapters from all of my current works in progress over there.
1 - Crumbling Tombstones
he nightclub resembled a graveyard that early in the day compared to how alive it would be when it was filled with decadent people partying later on that night. Enoch, the owner, stood alone in his office on the second level of the swanky establishment and grimly stared down at the empty dance floor as the house DJ’s crew tweaked the sound system. As the boss stared down at his kingdom through the tinted window, he sipped warm, vintage, red wine straight from the bottle and savored the bitter sweetness of it. He had been saving it for a special occasion but with all of the strange things that had taken place as of late, coupled with the murders of two men that were the closest things to friends that he had, he thought it was a great time to celebrate the fact that he was still on his feet and not buried under a tombstone six feet deep.
Enoch had a good idea how things had gone sour at the body shop which ultimately ended with Manuel catching a bullet to the face. Enoch had warned the man many times about greed. There was no need for a shepherd to fuck the sheep that he sheered and if you don’t find a way to keep the wolves around your borders at bay, they eventually do what wolves do. Enoch didn’t need all the details to know what had probably caused that bloodbath. Manuel’s habit of robbing his own customers from time to time must have come back to bite him. That was something Enoch knew would eventually happen. However, Sammie Slim’s murder disturbed him. The fact that his burnt body had been found inside the smoking ruins of Manuel’s place of business wasn’t a coincidence. Both incidents weren’t the result of any prior conflict as far as Enoch could tell. He had ears to every wall on every street so he was aware of almost every beef in the city, big little or small. Even though Enoch couldn’t figure out who may have done the fat man in, he felt the crows circling above his own head. That made him think of a man that he hadn’t heard from in a few days. As he took another sip of wine from the bottle, someone knocked on his office door and derailed his train of thought.
“Come in!” Enoch barked.
“Hey Boss, I have a gift for you,” said Molly, one of the bottle service girls that worked at the club, as she entered the room. “I figured that these might cheer you up a little bit. I heard about Sammie,” she said as she handed Enoch a little wooden box.
“Thanks Molly,” said Enoch as he opened the box of hand-rolled Cuban cigars.
“You’re welcome Boss,” she answered and blushed when she noticed the way he looked at her. “I know he was your friend.”
“I don’t have friends,” Enoch corrected her. “Still, it’s fucked up…the way he died.”
Enoch was so numb to seeing the girls that worked in the club for him dressed in skimpy outfits that it actually turned him on to see Molly dressed in tight jeans and a regular blouse. He carefully removed a single cigar from the little wooden box. He smelled it and admired it before he set the box with the rest of the cigars down on the red sofa next to where he and Molly stood. He never took his eyes off of her as he bit the tip off of the Cuban and spat the end of it on the floor.
“Need a light?” She asked and then handed him a pack of wooden matches that she had stashed in her designer clutch.
“I always wonder why you girls spend your tips on shit like that,” said Enoch, pointing to her little purse as she let his cigar.
“A girl’s gotta have at least a few nice things when she works hard,” she giggled.
“I suppose,” he said as he brushed his fingers gently against her cheek and tucked a few loose strands of her hair behind her ear. She had dyed it a dark shade of red, almost the same color as the expensive wine he had been drinking all day and Enoch liked it. “Everybody likes nice things,” he said as his eyes worked down to her deep cleavage.
The bright-red, broken heart that was tattooed in between Molly’s breasts were a bigger tease and more attractive to Enoch than her ample chest. It took serious commitment, completely reckless impulsiveness and very deep pain to prompt her to make such a bold statement on a part of her body where most women wouldn’t have marked themselves. He wasn’t sure if it was because of the wine or maybe the feeling of impending doom that loomed over his head but Enoch knew what he was in the mood for. He figured that Molly did too when she started to unfasten his belt. He unbuttoned her blouse all the way and pulled down her bra to expose her D-cup breasts before she got down on her knees in front of him.
Enoch had always kept his hands off of the girls that worked for him. He believed that if he made any one of them feel as if he sexually desired them, he would lose too much of his authority. Most of them were used to men always pawing at them and if they got a sense that their boss wanted to sleep with them, they would view him as the same as every other man they had ever played. However, the way he was feeling that day, there was no way he wasn’t going to make good use of Molly’s hot, wet and willing mouth. She kissed the tip of his privates and flirtatiously batted her eyelashes when she looked up at him. It was sweet and she was very cute but Enoch wasn’t in the mood for sweet. He grabbed the back of her head, forced her to take him deeper than she expected and nearly made her choke. Then, when Molly realized what he liked, she didn’t back down or shy away. While she was down on her knees she aimed to please and she showed him just how deep her throat was.
Enoch smoked the cigar while Molly went down on him like a porn star. His office door was still wide open but neither one of them cared if someone walked in and caught them. As good as she was at what she was doing, Enoch held on for much longer than even he expected. He even felt sorry for Molly for a moment and wondered how much more her jaw could take but she didn’t seem like she needed a break. When he felt his orgasm coming, he grabbed her hair, pulled her head back and let everything go, all over her face and the tattoo he admired so much. Molly smiled, smacked her lips and did her best to lick up everything that dripped. Her mascara had run and streaked down her cheeks but there was no sadness in her eyes. There was only a longing gaze as she waited for some look of approval from Enoch that never came.
“Go clean yourself up,” Enoch told her as he pulled his pants up.
“Okay,” Molly answered as she looked around for napkins.
“You can use my restroom,” he told her and pointed to the restroom door. “When you’re done, I’ve got a couple hundred in my desk drawer. Take it,” he offered.
“You don’t have to,” she started to say.
“Just take it,” he cut her off. Enoch didn’t want her to assume that what had just happened between them was personal or that it would lead to anything else. For him, it was what it was and that was all it was going to be.
“You sure that’s all you wanted? You know, we could do more. You have a nice dick,” she flirted. Going down on him had left her wet. She didn’t mind living out her kinky boss and secretary fantasy. She also knew that none of the other girls at the club had been with him which made it even sexier.
“Not now…but thanks,” he politely rejected her offer.
While Molly freshened up in the restroom, Enoch slumped down on the red couch with his wine and his cigar. When curvy Molly reemerged from the bathroom, he pointed to his desk to remind her to take the money, which she did and then strolled out of his office. Enoch was happy that she closed the door behind her so he could be alone with his own thoughts again.
A thick cloud of smoke swirled above Enoch’s head as he thought about all of the death that seemed to be lingering all around him with a taste of cigar and the wine on his lips. He thought about the girl he had allowed to be tortured and murdered downstairs in the gambling room at the back of the club.
“Stephanie didn’t deserve that,” he slurred and murmured to himself.
Because of him and his schemes, a lot of people had been sent to the reaper but, he wished that she hadn’t died the way she did even though he couldn’t have let her get away with pulling a gun on him. She had just been a sweet girl that fatally got caught up in someone else’s drama. It was true that Sammie Slim had done the deed but it was Alicia that damned that poor single mom to an ugly death because she got mixed up with her. As soon as Alicia crossed his mind, Enoch thought about Mr. Crowe and what both he and Sammie Slim had paid the man to do. For days, Crowe hadn’t answered any of Enoch’s calls and that gave Enoch a good reason to suspect that some sinister deal might have been struck between the contract killer and the woman he was supposed to kill. He wondered what currency Alicia might have used to save her own skin. Crowe had never failed to fulfill a contract before so Enoch wondered what could have possibly persuaded a man that had always been cold-blooded and professional to suddenly forget what he was about. Then, and even more troubling thought entered Enoch’s head. He wondered if Alicia had somehow managed to turn the tables on Crowe. That was and even scarier scenario to consider because if she had killed Crowe, it would mean that Alicia was way more dangerous than Enoch could have imagined. Underestimating her was what might have gotten Sammie Slim butchered and burned. Just in case that was true, he didn’t intend to make the same mistake.
Enoch half-stumbled, half-staggered over to his desk and unlocked the drawer where he kept the prepaid burner phone he used to keep in contact with Crowe. He dialed the only number he had stored in the cheap flip phone but once again, it rang over and over again but no one answered. He snapped the flip shut and flung the phone back into the drawer. Even drunk, he could feel something very bad riding towards him and whatever it was, he planned to be ready for it. He had no intentions of being someone’s prey, as it seemed Sammie Slim had been. He pressed the panic button under his desk and a panel in the wall behind him slid open to reveal a room that only he knew about.
Enoch spun around in his leather swivel chair and peered into the eerie blue light that illuminated the secret room where he kept a deadly arsenal of assorted firearms. On the shelves and on the walls he had everything, from revolvers, to automatic handguns, to high-powered assault rifles. Whatever, or whoever was coming for him would find him ready and well-prepared. His life was not going to be easy to take.
“What are we doing here?” Alicia asked as Crowe drove right up to the rusty metal gate of an old, private cemetery.
Crowe didn’t answer but before long, an elderly man with a grizzled grey beard that extended well beyond his chin, hobbled up with a huge ring of keys. With uncanny familiarity, he put his wrinkled finger on the one that would open the gate and then unlocked it. For a moment, Alicia felt bad for the old man as he struggled mightily to part the heavy, iron gate. Crowe didn’t blink or make a move to get out to help him. Once the opening was wide enough for the car to pass through, Crowe drove inside and the old man locked the gate behind them.
Underneath the thin layer of untouched virgin snow, there was the faint hint of a paved trail. Crowe navigated his way through the twists and curves with the familiarity of a man who had driven down that winding hidden road many times before. Alicia looked out of the passenger window and stared at the rows of weathered tombstones. She had never been in a place where the air felt so still. The only things that moved were the blackbirds that were perched on some of the headstones or the ones that darted across the winter sky on jet black wings. She remembered that her mother had told her that crows where the guardians of the dead souls that remained here stubbornly after they should’ve moved on to the other side.
“We’re here,” said Crowe as he gently applied the brakes and stopped the car.
“Here? Where is here exactly?” Alicia asked, still confused and in the dark about what they were doing an old cemetery in the middle of the day.
“Let’s go,” he said and got out of the car without answering her question.
Alicia reluctantly stepped out of the car into the cold winter air and immediately missed the heated seat that had been keeping her butt warm. Once she was outside the car, she regretted not wearing jeans instead of the short black skirt she had on as Jack Frost put his cold lips to both of her ass cheeks. She quickly zipped up her short, bomber jacket before he also froze her tits.
“What the fuck?” she said as Crowe appeared from the back of the car with a shovel he had just retrieved from the trunk.
“Come with me,” he said as he handed her a large, empty black duffel bag.
“It’s cold out here and I’m not really dressed for this…whatever this is,” Alicia complained as she pulled the fur-lined hood of her jacket up over her head.
“I told you to wear jeans but you wanted to show off your thighs,” he reminded her as she walked behind him.
“Why not? My thighs a magical,” she mumbled.
Crowe and Alicia walked through the cemetery and its rows of graves that no one visited anymore. The tombstones defiantly poked out above the snow as they displayed the names of the people buried there, even if no one would ever place flowers in front of them again for the dead people who were laid to rest beneath them. Alicia’s eyes watered in the cold and as she walked behind Crowe, she felt as if they were trespassing in the home of hundreds of lost souls. An eerie feeling started to become stronger and stronger until it made her skin tingle. She had never believed in ghosts or any kind of strange, unexplained, otherworldly things but nothing could’ve convinced her that THAT place wasn’t haunted. There was absolutely no breeze but she thought she felt the wind whip across her face and heard whispers.
“Here we are,” said Crowe as he slammed the blade of the shovel into the ground in front of one of the graves.
“What…the…fuck?” Alicia whispered when she saw the name etched deeply in the tombstone.
It read: Patrick Crowe.
“Don’t worry. I’m not a zombie or some dead man who has come back to life,” he laughed as he started digging.
“Why is your name on that headstone? Did you?” Alicia started to ask.
“No, I didn’t steal someone else’s identity either. I am who I say I am,” Crowe reassured her.
“Well, that’s just fuckin’ creepy. Who does that? Who has their own headstone made and placed on the grave before they’re even dead?” she asked.
“People who won’t have anyone to bury them, or mourn them after they’re gone,” Crowe answered as he continued to shovel up piles of earth.
“I would mourn you,” said Alicia.
“That’s sweet,” he answered but sounded skeptical.
“Why are you digging up your own grave now? You plan on dying in the next hour or so?” Alicia asked.
“You’ll see,” he answered, a little out of breath from the effort it was taking to dig up the frozen soil.
Twenty minutes later, Crowe’s shovel hit something and made a hollow sound. Alicia assumed that it must have hit the lid a coffin but after ten more minutes of his digging, she found out that it was a wooden, coffin-sized crate buried in the shallow grave. Crowe used the shovel awkwardly to pry the lid open and Alicia was completely surprised by what she saw inside it. Along with bundles of money that were stacked neatly and wrapped in plastic, there was an assortment of deadly firearms as well.
“Give me the bag,” Crowe told her.
Without hesitation, Alicia quickly handed him the large black duffel bag she had been carrying and looked around nervously as if she was worried that someone might discover them.
“Aren’t you afraid that somebody’ll rob you?” she asked as he began to stash cash in the bag.
“No one else knows about this except for me…and now…YOU do too so, you’d have to be the robber I suppose,” he answered.
“But the old man at the gate,” Alicia reminded him.
“The groundskeeper? Don’t worry, he’s blind,” Crowe answered. “And besides… I own this place and no one visits these poor souls anymore. I’m the only one that comes here.”
“You own a cemetery?” she asked, somewhat surprised.
“I told you…me and Death have a special relationship,” he answered and Alicia couldn’t quite tell if he was joking or being serious.
“What are those for?” she asked as he also stashed a few guns in the bag along with the cash.
“You’re not done. You’re not going to stop with Sammie Slim,” Crowe answered. “You haven’t mentioned him but I know that Enoch’s been on your mind too, and I know what you want to do. Right now, after the fire, he’s off-balance and confused…trying to figure out what’s going on. He’s been calling my phone nonstop but I haven’t answered. If you want to get him…now’s the time. You won’t get another chance. Are you sure you want to do this?” he asked Alicia one final time.
“Enoch paid you to kill me. He let Steph get tortured and then shot her. He doesn’t get to live either,” she said with grim determination and concrete resolve.
Crowe reached up and handed Alicia the duffel bag but he purposely left it open, curious to see what she would do next. He watched as she briefly stared at the contents of the bag; enough cash for her to disappear and live comfortably somewhere quiet along with loaded guns, any of which she could easily use to kill him, right then and there. Crowe waited tentatively for her next move with the words of the prophetic palm reader heavy on his heart. He was in the perfect spot if the sands of time in the hourglass of his life have finally run out. He had already done her the favor of digging his own grave if she decided to betray him.
“You know…when I killed that pig Sammie, it didn’t make me feel much better about what happened to Steph so I doubt that killing Enoch will make me forget everything he took from me but…it’ll be a good fucking start,” said Alicia as she stretched down her hand to help Crowe out of the grave.
Copyright © 2016 Keith Kareem Williams
All rights reserved.
Click HERE if you'd like an autographed copy of "Death in the City."
Or, if you prefer eBooks, you can download a copy HERE.