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Hunter's Haven

Hunter's Haven

Book excerpt

Medea screamed when the blood splattered across her cheek.

Gore and blood turned her high-pitched wail into shrieks of terror and had her shaking where she stood. Her scrawny form, petite to begin with, shook like a leaf in the wind. With raccoon rings around her eyes from running mascara, she remained frozen to the spot. The remains of her pimp, Dwyer, were oozing down the now-slick leather of the ruined sofa.

The man who killed Dwyer didn't pay her any attention despite the noise she was making. In fact, he didn't appear to see her at all as she continued to shriek, trying to wipe pieces of Dwyer's brain off the sleeve of her blue vinyl jacket. Stepping away from Dwyer, he slapped another magazine into the LSAT machine gun he was carrying and surveyed the room, looking right through her as he regarded Pinto and Armstrong in more or less the same state as Dwyer, their blood seeping through the parquet floor.

“You should go,” he said simply as he turned to leave.

Medea fell silent immediately and nodded. Conditioned to obey when orders were given, her shriek came to an abrupt halt in her throat. The killer strode past her, all six feet one of him, blue eyes seeming almost black in this light, just like his brown hair. He wore a black military coat and his gloved hands clutched the machine gun he'd used to cut down Pinto and Armstrong when they had tried to come to Dwyer's aid. God only knew how many of Dwyer's crew was dead downstairs.

She'd heard the gunfire when he'd swept into the club, followed by the screaming of fleeing clubbers into the night. By the time the gunfire below fell silent, Pinto, Armstrong and Dwyer were poised and ready to take him on. But the shooting didn't come through the door to the upstairs apartment. Rather, it came through the floor. Even now, she could see the bullet holes that riddled the floor beneath them. Debris from cracked mortar and broken glass covered everything else.

Dwyer tried to make a run for it, but there was only one way into the apartment, and the man with the black coat was already there. He put a bullet into Dwyer's shoulder, forcing the MAC-10 from his hand, then spent a few good minutes clubbing Medea's former daddy about the head until he was good and bloody.

Then he asked his questions.

Medea crouched in a corner, hands over her head, trying to remain unnoticed. She was nobody in the scheme of things, just another bitch in Dwyer's stable of girls. Quaking in her stiletto heels, she tried not to listen as Dwyer spilled his guts to the stranger, giving him all the answers even though the revelation would mean death when Othello found out. In the end, it hadn't mattered anyway.

When the man had his answers, he shot Dwyer in the face without a moment's thought.

He didn't wait for her to answer after telling her to leave. He just walked out.

* * *

The EMTs raced into South Chicago.

Normally, they stayed clear of the area, but something was happening in Triple C territory tonight, something that lit up police switchboards from the South Shore all the way to Hammond like Christmas trees. Reports were coming of mass shootings, with bodies left on the street or in the wrecks of burnt-out cars, as well as an equal amount of fire-gutted buildings. The authorities put it down to an internal turf war. After all, Triple C was an amalgamation of several crews under one leader, Othello Price. It was best to let them fight it out and clean up the mess when it was done.

As the night progressed, it became increasingly clear that this wasn't one crew jockeying for position, but all of them running scared from a new player in town. Someone was moving through the neighborhoods with systematic precision. Originating in South Chicago, the violence spread out like a virulent plague, laying waste to everything in sight, leaving destruction behind like someone scorching the earth.

In the course of a single night, someone was dismantling the Triple C hierarchy from the low-level mules to the producers and dealers, distributors and finally to the first-rung soldiers. Anyone wearing Triple C colors was being exterminated, and while the cops knew they should be racing to the scene to determine who was responsible, Chicago PD remained strangely indifferent.

By 2030, Triple C had grown to become the largest gang in Chicago. It was born out of the Criminal Deportation Act of 2016, allowing authorities to repatriate second- and third-generation Americans to their country of origin if convicted of serious crimes. The act was passed due to a nation's increasing fear of the rise of homegrown Islamic terrorists, but was quickly exploited by law enforcement to target ethnic gangs such as the Latin Kings and the Pistoleros Latinos. With the deportations, the void left was quickly filled by Triple C.

In the early days, the gang mostly made its coin from auto theft, extortion and dealing. Eventually it began moving product for the Mexicans before expanding into the lucrative sex trafficking industry by bringing in girls from Eastern Europe and Asia. Very soon, Triple C was dominating the criminal landscape and, as most of its members were disenfranchised African-Americans, many of whom lived below the poverty line, they were immune to the Deportation Act.

Furthermore, with the end of the war in the Middle East, a new conflict arose, this one involving the country of Azerbaijan, nestled between Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It drew in all the major super powers, ensuring the country's attention was focused on international politics while ignoring the growing problem at home—the rise of the gangs.

By 2030, Triple C was as large a threat to Chicago as the Latin Kings were before them. Its current leader, Othello Price, ruled absolutely over South Chicago and its neighboring communities. By paying off or intimidating city officials, he kept the law out of Triple C business. When that didn't work, Triple C wasn't above killing cops, and if a clear message needed to be sent, he got to their families. So savage was his reputation that attempts to prosecute were simply abandoned. Prosecutors were just as expendable.

The law was happy to oblige on this particular night.

Some cops even switched off their radios and ended their shifts in bars, toasting the carnage and laughing that they could just hose the place down in the morning to get rid of the garbage. The powerless had long memories and karma was a bitch getting paid tonight.

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