Meet Vic from Murder Creek, a 0.99 full-length novel on sale now at Amazon (click picture link) and Barnes and Noble.
The downtown cityscape of Murder Creek looked the same from his window as it did behind bars. Messy. And the smell was no more pleasant.
Victor Ramsus Graves peered through the dingy glass at the park across the street and sighed. Everything in this town could be described like the swings in the distance; used and abandoned, fodder for the archeologists of the future to dig up.
This town needed a nuclear-holocaust to clean the streets. But without that option, they’d have to settle for him.
Surveying his lost territory, he ground his teeth.
The dregs of Neuhaven ended up here, the city’s cesspit, where the suburb circle dumped their human trash. Drug dealers, pimps, organized criminals, and freelance hitmen lived in the nicer blocks of Murder Creek. The poor souls they preyed on, collected in the heart of hell, huddled in run down Victorian homes only a shadow of their finer days.
Survival saw two or three families packed together, hacking out an existence in three bedroom one bath houses still using knob-and-tube electricity.
Local industries kept a few decent people in Neuhaven, but in the Murder Creek center, crime was a way of life. No matter how good you were born, sooner or later you’d turn. Everyone broke and bent the law to suit their needs, whether the culprits were Christian mamas sheltering their ‘gone-wrong’ wanted children, or grocers who didn’t bother to ask where the cheap fruit came from.
The corruption-saturated inner city never seemed to get out from underneath the pall. Even the smog blocked all but the most energetic of the sun’s rays, covering most mornings in shades of gray. And if a tourist had an irrational itch to visit, they’d probably return to their picket-fenced half acres in Middle-class-ville addicted to anti-depressants.
If they returned at all. Murder Creek had the ability to swallow people whole.
And he should know. He’d been waiting a long time in the bowels of the beast to be shit out.
Vic turned from the window and scanned his single room studio apartment as if something to help ease his boredom had magically appeared while his back was turned.
Nope, still jack to do and shit to look at.
The place wasn’t much. In fact, it wasn’t nothin’. A small television stood on top of a milk crate in the living room, perched in front of an old seventies buffet chair with metal legs and maroon vinyl stapled to the cushions. In the corner, a mattress sat lonely on the floor with a couple of old sheets thrown on it along with a crocheted afghan his buddy Grey’s grandma made for him as a ‘getting out of jail’ present.
The apartment wasn’t exactly what he’d call furnished, but he didn’t exactly get much notice to pick out curtains and wallpaper. He could barely wrap his head around the fact he’d been released at all.
One day he was sifting through a nudie magazine, plotting a way to survive the gas chamber, and the next, he received a pardon and a kick in the ass to the street.
Luckily, before anyone could hurl a bullet or a fireball at his head, Grey hustled him this hole to lay low. Here, no one asked questions, and the landlord didn’t care how much blood was on the money as long as it came in on time. What more could he ask for?
Walking to the fridge, Vic already knew there wouldn’t be much to see: A couple of ketchup packets and a six pack Grey left behind. Bleh. Never mind.
He fished an old fast food cup out of the sink, filled it with water, and carried it over to his chair. He sat down and flipped through the four channels he received, only one of which had less snow than the Himalayas.
Sighing, he flipped to another foggy channel and listened to the news.
His body jerked, and he was aware only that he’d fallen asleep and awoke alert with a nagging feeling, like he’d left his guns in the car.
But he didn’t have his guns right now—Grey did—and he didn’t have a car either.
As his blurry gaze slowly focused, his weary brain struggled to comprehend what he was seeing—a giant ass coming straight for him.
He hammered his fists against the outer thighs of the sumo-wanna-be holding him pinned to his chair. Weren’t wrestlers supposed to let go when someone tapped out?
“Ge’…off!” he choked. The man just chuckled.
The more he fought him, the more pressure the gorilla applied. Vic turned his head to the side—to avoid being smothered in back fat—and came face to face with a sneaky piece-of-shit he’d hoped to never see again.
Gato’s smug smile could only be described as oil-slick, proud of himself for tracking Vic down. There weren’t many people living who knew what The Rattlesnake looked—and in Gato’s case smelled—like, and when Vic got his hands on the bastard, there would be one less.
“How’s it goin’, ese?” Gato asked, making a great show of dusting off the sleeves of his Armani suit. Vic had one just like it—if he survived this reunion he’d burn it. “I was worried someone was gonna hose you before I had the chance to collect on that favor ya owe me, eh?”
Vic sucked in a breath but couldn’t respond.
“What favor you ask? The favor of not telling your enemies where I found ya, ese. I figure—ya owe me for that and I’m thinkin’ ya don’t wanna be telling me no about now.” Gato’s grin practically slithered across his face. “Ain’t that right, Paulo?”
Paulo looked over a mountainous shoulder at him. “I had eight cheeseburgers and three orders of chili cheese fries.”
Vic struggled harder.
“Right then.” Gato squatted, resting his forearms on his bended knees. He enjoyed his bullying a little too much for Vic’s tastes. “You see I have this problem: This wart on m’culo that needs a bit of learnin’. And she’s good. Almost better than you, Man. Definitely harder to track,” Gato thumbed his nose as if gloating over his ability to sniff Vic out despite his precautionary measures.
“You might still be better on the kill than her, but you been locked up for a couple years and she’s been takin’ your shift, so t’speak. I thought I’d get her t’work for me yanno? Word on the street is that she guns for The Agency, so ya know she’s whacked. And whacked is what I needed t’get the job done.”
Vic nodded absently, trying to absorb what Gato babbled on about but his chest was pushing through his spine and he couldn’t keep his eyes open.
“Yo, Paulo, ease up a little, we’re having a conversation here!”
A continent drifted and the pressure changed, allowing Vic to draw a life saving breath.
Gato punched him in the arm. “Pay attention, Man. So look, this whore…her name’s Ice. I contracted her to steal some stones and now she ain’t givin’ ‘em up. That’s why she needs to be taught a lesson, ese. No one crosses Gato. No one!” Gato stood and paced like a lost schitzo. “But everyone I’ve sent to collect hasn’t come back. Ricky, Cuervo…my best wolves, man. Dead and torched! She gotta die, ese, and die hard. I already put a little bit of love on the streets for her tonight, yeah? Something temptin’ she ain’t likely to pass up. All you gotta do is the smearin’.”
Vic blinked to clear his vision, catching what he could of the conversation through the pain haze.
“But, don’t off the bitch before you get m’goods! Shit’s hardcore and I wan’em back. You do this for me, and I won’t tell every hired freak out there where to find your ass, yeah? I’ll keep all of my Lobos from contractin’ to track you down for the hit squads and, because I can be a generous man, I’ll pay ya good.” Gato surveyed the empty apartment then scoffed. “Looks like y’could use some green. Are we understandin’ each other?”
“Right. Stones…dead bitch.” Vic choked out.
“Ya disappoint me, and I unleash the hounds, yeah? C’mon Paulo.”
Once Paulo lifted his huge derriere off him, Vic rolled from the chair onto his hands and knees, gasping for breath. A loud squeak, like air seeping from a defective tire, brought Vic’s gaze to Paulo as he deflated from sumo-size to runt-of-the-liter. Clothes that once fit him snug, now hung off the Hawaiian’s scrawny frame.
Dark eyes twinkling, he gave Vic a two finger salute. “Welcome home, Vic.” Paulo chuckled.