“SHIT!” Terrance yelled, slamming his fists into the table sitting in front of him. “Those fucking Cripps are gonna die! We gonna do worse than kill those mother fuckers, we gonna eliminate them from fucking existing!”
As Logan listened to Terrance yelling and cussing and spitting out every harsh retort he could think of, he realized (as he had been doing more and more as the months dragged on), that he was running out of the people who actually knew him. The “before” part of him. He was only eleven or twelve when he met his oldest friend - the first man he had ever smoked with, drank with, killed a man with, told stories of the girls he had conquered to . . . the man who was now lying dead in a pool of his blood. Shot by those fucking Cripps. As he stared at his former best friend, Logan wondered how much longer he was going to make it. The only true friend that he still had was Ethan Harding, and he was just barely holding on. All these other people - they had all come after Logan and his gang of friends. All of the older gang members were dead. Terrance was the current head of the gang, but after the mauling they had just received from the fucking Cripps, it was starting to look like Terrance was not going to be around too much longer as their leader. Who were they going to replace him with? Jonas was probably the most likely candidate, but he was still pretty young. He was three years younger than Logan.
Briefly, very briefly, Logan thought of the possibility that he would be asked to take over. But that wouldn’t happen. Not anymore. Not after he had already been offered the role of head honcho and he had turned it down. They had beaten him within an inch of his life for saying “no” to them. But they had cooled off a little. They realized that Logan had no intention of leaving (at least, he didn’t have any intention of leaving anymore), so they let him live. Then they did something that did sort of surprise him - they named him the number one right hand man.
Being the right hand man was a complicated thing. He had to be the peacekeeper between the head of the gang and the gang members. He had to be the head voice of reason whenever one of the fucking Crips offed one of their own. Except for today. This raid was not Logan’s idea - it was all Terrance’s.
Terrance was a very intimidating man physically speaking. In all the ways that Logan was not. Logan was tall, yes, but he had a very scrawny body. Tall and lanky - that’s all that Logan had ever been and would ever be. Terrance, though, stood a towering six foot five and weighed three hundred pounds of solid muscle. So, in that respect, it made sense why the gang would have chosen to name Terrance the leader of it. Of course, they had decided to do that only after Logan had turned down the offer to be the head honcho. That was four months ago, though. Back when his oldest friend was still alive.
“Harding!” Shredder screamed, shaking him forcefully. “Harding! Come on man, hold on!”
The man they all called “Doc” because he generally dealt with all the medical complications and medical emergencies grasped Shredder’s shoulder. He clasped it tightly and said, “I’m sorry, Shredder. He’s gone.”
And just like that, Logan was alone. At least, alone in terms of who was still around from the old days. The pre-gang days. There had initially been seven of them - Logan, Steven, Harding, Lawrence, Bouncer, Gil, and Vance. Bouncer died just two months after they joined the gang. A drug overdose, at least, that was what it looked like. Gil and Lawrence were killed about a year or so after that, in the first real fire fight that the boys had ever taken part in. That was how Logan always thought of it - everything before Lawrence and Gil died, they were boys. After that, they were men. Vance was shot by the guy who was the boyfriend of the girl he had been cheating with. And today, he finally lost the final two - Steven and Harding. He was alone.
Even if Logan could consider himself to be in the company of people who loved him, he didn’t have many that he had a personal investment in their lives. Steven was always the more outgoing recruiter of the two of them. Logan had only recruited two guys - and they were both killed, killed by the very gang they had sworn allegiance to. Because that was how the gang handled people who tried to leave. Unfortunately for Isaac and Reggie, they had only been with the gang for about two months before they tried to leave. They hadn’t built loyalty into the minds of the gang members. Logan was going on about eight or nine years with this gang. Truly, they did view him as a brother, because if they didn’t, they would have killed him when he tried to run away, too.
Maybe they should have killed me, he thought solemnly. I’m dead either way. At least if they decided to execute me, I wouldn’t give the fucking Cripps a win on top of my death.
Ultimately, though, he couldn’t do it. It wasn’t so much that he was scare of what God would say - it was because of his mom. The mom he had hurt so much; she was dead. And back then, Logan hadn’t thought about (or cared, truth be told) that she had died. He had learned about her death when Seth invited him to the wake and the funeral.
“Come on, Logan,” his brother had begged. “Just one night - you don’t have to come to both, if you don’t want to. Your gang can survive without you for three or four hours. Just come, please.”
But of course, Logan hadn’t cared. That was back when he was still worried about pleasing the gang leaders. Back when he would have done anything (willingly) to please them - even take his own life, if that’s what would have been asked of him. That had been the last time that Logan saw or heard from his brother. Seth wrote him out of his life (and Logan could admit that it was done rightfully so) the day that their mom was buried and done without both of her sons present. Though Logan couldn’t admit it to anyone yet, he actually did feel an almost unlivable amount of guilt for not going to say his final goodbye and other parting words to his mom. He had visited her grave about two years ago . . . the other members of the gang had went out on a giant raid at the Cripps’ local hangout. Though he shouldn’t have left the Bloods’ home base, Logan knew that he had at least four hours before any of the others would return, or need him, so he walked the three miles to the grave yard that he knew his mom was buried at.
The graves at the cemetery that Rita Green was buried at were laid down chronologically. There weren’t any “family plots” or anything like that; hell, most of the plots were held by the bottom rung of the pay scale; so many of the families had to clean out three months of their current living situation just to cover the funeral costs. So, Logan walked over to the newest part of the cemetery and started scouring headstones he passed, looking for his mom’s name. After about five minutes, he saw it - a simple headstone, much smaller than all of the other ones around her.
Staring down at the headstone, Logan was suddenly overcome with an unreal sense of regret and shame. It had been years since Logan had thought about his mom. Years. What was worse, he hadn’t talked to her since he left home at fifteen. She certainly tried to find him. She got close, too, but every time she started sniffing too close to his home base, Logan would move and leave no trail for her. The last time he had seen his mom was the morning he had run away. Of course, she just smiled at him the way she always did; she didn’t know he was planning on cutting the cords. As if that weren’t bad enough, he felt an empty hollowness in the pit of his stomach; he couldn’t remember why he had wanted to leave her home when he was so young. It wasn’t like she was a bad parent; she was a single mom and she worked so hard to provide for him and Seth. But he was a selfish, immature teenager; he couldn’t see all that she did for him.
Thinking back, he remembered that first night that he and Steven had run away. The two of them felt like such bad asses for leaving.
“It’ll just be us from here on out,” Logan whispered to Steven as they lay sprawled out in the field behind the train tracks. “No more parents, no more school, no more . . . anything.”
Steven laughed at that. Giving Logan’s shoulder a soft punch, he affirmed, “Yeah - here’s to us from here on out.”
Logan turned to look at Steven right then - his bloody chest with three bullet holes where the fucking Cripps had shot him. How could that have happened? How could Logan ever actually lose Steven. They grew up together. They had done everything together. There was no one that knew Logan better. Now, his empty eyes stared up into Logan’s and it was unbearable.
You know what you promised to do for me if I ever died, Logan, he heard Steven say in his head. You promised to make sure my brother gets my necklace. Maybe if you can find a way to talk to my brother, you’ll figure out a way to talk to your brother, too.
Letting out a long sigh, Logan gripped his pocket knife and forced himself to walk over to his brother. With a slow exhale, he said quietly, “I remember, Steven. I’ll make sure that Ryan gets your necklace.”
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