The streets of New York where no place to be at night. I knew that. Especially on this side of town. My gang was from the other side of town, and that could be treacherous. This side of town was the low lifes. The people who would hurt, steal, even kill on rare occasions. A shiver went down my spine. This was not good, I had to get out of here. "There, there's a bus stop", I told myself. "I'll just wait for the next bus out of this place."
Why, you might ask was I on this side of New York City, well, I was forced to be there. My so called "friends," aka the member of the new gang I was in, dared me to. They wouldn't let people in unless they did. Wanting to fit in, I agreed. "Gosh am I stupid," I thought. "Why did I ever agree to this?"
"What was that?" I spun around so quickly that I almost lost my balance.I could have swore that I heard something behind me. "Just your imagination, nothing to worry about," I told myself.
"So Roger," Iturned to see who was talking, and came face to face with Tyler, the leader of the gang on this side of town. I recognized the nineteen-year-old even in the fading light by the long, red scar he had running down the left side of his face from his dirty, here I use that literally, blond hair to his stubbled chin.
"It's Robert," I replied with anger growing inside of me. I knew that I should be more worried by the people lurking in the shadows, but the danger didn't register in my mind at that moment.
"Haha, sure, Robert then," he said mocking me. "Whatever, anyway, you're on my side of town. That's not good." He turned around to the shadows, "Boys, I think we have to teach this newbie a lesson." His smile told me that I had better get out of there, and fast. I looked up and down the streets praying to God that the bus was somewhere in sight. Just my luck, it wasn't. What else could I do? Quickly looking over my shoulder at Tyler and his gang, who was now coming out of the shadows they had been hiding in, I ran as fast as I could. I knew that if I could made it to my side of town, I'd be safe. But that was twenty blocks from here. What was the chance that I'd made it there unharmed? Zero to none.
That's when I heard the footsteps behind me. "Come on, boys, we can get him," screamed Tyler. "You can't make it, kid, trust us. We know this town better than you do, and we will win!"
"Nineteen blocks to go, oh my gosh, what did I get myself into? Don't think. Just run. You have to stay one step ahead of them." I ran passed building after building, a McDonalds - too bad that wasn't open -and a lot of run - down looking homes. I realized that the footsteps where now only two or three feet behind me. They where fast, too fast. I quickly changedmy path and ran down a side alley, hoping to dodge them. No luck. They ganged up on me, and pushed me against a wall.
They beat me up. They wouldn't stop. I had blood coming down my face, and I hurt all over. There wasn't a place that they ignored. I tried to fight back, but if it's five to one, more than likely, five will win. It hurt, oh so bad. I couldn't wait for the time when the pain would stop and they would leave me alone. Suddenly, one pulled out a knife."Gosh no," I thought. "No, please don't," I begged them, fearful for my life.
"Haha, look boys, I guess his fellow gang members never told him not to beg. Too bad he won't ever have the chance to learn." He put the knife against my throat. You know how right before you die, people say their life flashes before their eyes, well that's crap. Mine didn't. The only thing that went through my mind was oh gosh, why was I so stupid? What did I get my sorry self into? Now I won't ever be able to tell Jenn how much I love her, or hug my parents again, or even tell my little 10- year - old brother that I didn't think he was all that bad. I wished I had more time. The thought of not being able to do any of those things made me feel guilty. I vowed that if I ever got out of this situation I would do all of that. I wouldn't percrastinate. He pressed the thin blade into my neck, just enough for a little trickle of blood to come out. "Say your prayers, boy." I flinched.
Just then the knife fell out of his hand. Someone had kicked him. I slid to the ground, and heard fighting. Lots of fighting. I tried to stay awake, but it was too much for me. I blacked out.
I awoke to Juan, the gang's good-looking, Puerta Rican leader, standing over me. I was still sitting on the ground, and I could see the rest of our gang behind him. On the ground lay some members of the opposing gang. They were out cold. My attention switched back to my gang.They looked concerned, and were looking at Ed, one of the members of our gang, with displeasure."Hey, Dude, you okay?" Juan asked, and bent down so that he was level with me. "You where in a rough situation back there. Good thing we came when we did, or else you'd be a goner."
"What happened?" I asked stupidly.
"Well let's put it this way, when we tell a newbie that they have to find their way out of the other side of the city, we always tag along and make sure they make it out okay. A couple years ago, we made a mistake and the newbie, John, ended up dying. It was a hard day for all of us. We might be a gang, bro, but we like brothers." He gave me a sad smile. "Tyler's gang never takes it easy on us. Not to say that we take it easy on their members either, but we have never, and will never, kill them. I refuse to drop down to their level. Anyway, we always watch to make sure that something like this never happens. Ed was supposed to be watching you while the rest of us tried to figure out where Tyler and his gang where. Well, he turned around to get a cigarette, and when he turned back around, you where gone. He heard Tyler yell at you, and he quickly called the rest of us. We set out on a chase for you." That explained why everybody was looking at him.
"Yeah, thanks," I said weakly, still recovering from my near death experience. "It's a good thing you came along when you did, or else I would be dead."
"Yeah, and let's be thankful that Greg here has been taking karate for years and was able to kick the knife from his hand."
"Amen to that, bro."
He helped me up. "Oh yeah, I think you'll be happy to know this. You're in the gang. Here," he handed me a bandana. It was checkered yellow and red. A wolf head was in the center of it."This is our symbol. Wear it proudly."
Startled, I took it. "Oh, and rookie," he said. I looked up, "Tyler was right, you should never beg. Accept your fate as is. Even if it means death. You still have a lot to learn, but don't worry, we'll teach you." He gave me a smile. One that I took as friendship. "Come on, we better get out of here before things get bad."
My so called "friends" became just that. Friends, and they became the best friends that I had ever had of my fifteen years. Juan became my greatest friend, though. He kept his promise. He taught me, and he taught me well. When he died at the hands on Tyler and his gang three years later, I was the one who cried the hardest. The gang appointed me as their new leader, and to this day I still lead them. One day I will avenge Juan's death. Until then, every newbie that comes in here I treat just like Juan treated me that day, with compasion and patience. Oh and most importantly, friendship.
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