Bullets of Love and War

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Chapter 71

“I think we’ve lost them! Keep going Antonio!”

I suddenly lose my breath and a panicked Blake asks if I’m alright.

“Of course not!” I blurt, my head spinning in a whimsical circle.

I snap back from memoryland, being closed in by thick darkness and an empty road ahead of us. I have no idea where we are or if we actually lost the Chicago Saint’s or not, but all I do know is that I’m unexpectedly scared. I’m scared out of my mind. I don’t think anyone in this car knows what’s bound to happen next, and that’s the chilling part. Where do we go from here? How do we move on with life after this all ends; however this ends? My heart is assaulting my chest in alarming, quickened beats as I subconsciously feel as if I’m having an out-of-body experience. This seems to be going on for forever. Sitting here with weapons and anxiety radiating so loud I can smell it. I’m about to go crazy. I feel my body sweating bullets of angst and I crane my neck to look behind me.

I’m the one who catches the same vehicle that’s been on our tail for miles still following us first. They have not left. They have what looks like a thousand bullet holes decorating their exterior but for some odd reason, the driver is still alive.

Blake notices and complains he’s out of ammo. Antonio is driving as fast as he can and looks as if he might lose it any moment.

“Ron! Give me your fucking gun! Now!”

“No!” Antonio interjects. “Fuck this shit! Bullets ain’t working!”

As if we’re descending from a high elevation, my soul catches in my throat and my body sprouts a flash of chills. Antonio starts slowing down the car. Blake, Valerie, and I are screaming at Antonio to drive but he doesn’t listen.

He has lost it.

The Saints car catches up to us in a flash. I squeeze my eyes shut and prepare to be murdered. I feel heat rush through me at a terrifying rate, as if bullets have already entered me. I feel my pulse stop, but there is no heat and there is no blood. My own body is just shutting down on me early.

SLAM.

We start skidding on the side of this abandoned road. The Saints are not letting up. They are determined to kill each and every one of us in this car.

Valerie starts blasting at their car now that we’re elbowing neighbors and shoots a Saints member in the side of their neck. The driver gets pissed, slamming into our car once more. Antonio is focused on not letting us die. Not like this. Not allowing them victory in this war.

Another slam, then another. A car from up ahead whirls around us and I squeeze Valerie’s hand, feeling my body tighten. Antonio is screaming as we’re about to lose control. His grip is very loose at this point.

Since I’m on the left side of the car behind the driver’s seat, I am the furthest away from the horror show but I am closer to the risk of this car flipping over the side of the road. I can’t breathe. I feel my heart stop. My body jerks in response to the Chevrolet getting hit again but I’m jerked even more by Blake’s sharp, blistering cry.

He is bleeding and convulsing in his seat.

I start screaming and reach out for him.

“BLAKE! BLAKE HOLD ON TO ME!”

“ANTONIO!!!”

SLAM.

And in the blink of an eye, I see my life flash before my eyes...

~

Breathing. Someone is heavily breathing. They sound as if they just ran a 5k race in five minutes with what little breath they’re working with. I can’t tell who it is. I can barely comprehend reality. My face is against something wet and hard. My body feels broken and unable to move. I’m compressed in a tight space. I smell bark and sweat and something unbearable. I feel glass wedged in my face. I feel all these things but don’t feel anything at the same time.

That is, until shuffling occurs around me. I hear groaning. Deep, agonizing groaning. It moves and finds it way out of this tight space. Incapability finds it’s warm hands around my body, wanting me to forever go to sleep.

Forever go to sleep. That’s what my body wants to do. I feel myself fading. It’s hard to keep thinking when there’s nothing left to think about. I am dying. I am actually, truly dying.

Whimpering. Crying. Wailing. How can I hear these things if I no longer exist? How do I know if that’s exactly what I’m hearing? How do I know I haven’t been dead for months already and my parents are just balling their eyes out on another sad day remembering their failure of a son who couldn’t find happiness in this cruel world?

Something doesn’t make sense. This death thing isn’t sitting well with me. Maybe it’s because it’s not time yet? Why am I still processing thoughts? Where are the angels and the white light? Why am I still in this God-forbidden tight space?

I slowly open my eyes and realize our car has been flipped over on the side of the road into a puncturing forest embedded with lush darkness and lurking nocturnal animals. I realize I am broken but alive, my limbs feeling like thousand-pound weights. I blink a few times to realize the members are no longer in the car anymore. I focus in on coming back down to Earth to realize that all the commotion I hear outside this tight space is about Blake.

“Blake...please stay with us...please stay with us...”

Breathing. Deep, agonizing breathing.

My love...

“BLAKE!” I shout from inside the upside-down car, using whatever energy’s left in me to wiggle my way out, cutting myself on sharp ends and glass in the process. A bloody hand helps me out, and it’s Antonio, bruised and wet with fluid himself. I’m not sure as to how Antonio, Valerie, and Blake all made it out of the car and decided to leave me, but that is the least of my concerns. I lose my fucking shit when I see Blake sprawled out in Valerie’s lap, a gaping, dark red hole in his chest with cuts all over his face from the car accident. I fall to my knees and grab him out of Valerie’s grasp for myself. I’m shaking, uncontrollably shaking and wanting to vomit. Blake feels so fragile but heavy it’s ridiculous. Blood is gushing out of his beautiful mouth, staining his beautiful skin and ruining his beautiful clothes. I hold him as tight as I can, my heart ripping to shreds in my chest. My tears fall onto his nearly lifeless face. Antonio is leaned against the upturned car facing the vacant road while Valerie is behind me crying and gasping for air. Blake keeps trying to breathe. He keeps fighting for his life.

“Blake...” I whisper through clenched teeth, about to die myself if he doesn’t live with me. “Blake...speak to me...say anything...”

Gurgling. Choking. Breathing. Blood keeps abandoning him. I put pressure on his gaping wound and start giving him CPR. I keep doing this and telling him to stay with me. Not “us” as a gang, but with me only.

Valerie is wailing which is doing nothing for the situation but worsening it. Antonio is in his own world and I am dying to keep Blake alive. More breaths as I’m patching up his wound. More soft kisses to his face. More of everything to keep my love alive.

But these things aren’t enough. It’s not enough. I don’t come to terms with it until Blake grabs my wrist to stop me from helping him.

“Ron...stop...”

I can barely make out his features in this blinding darkness and with this sheet of tears blocking my vision. Valerie gets on the other side of Blake and starts cupping his face, which is slowly losing touch of life as I think to myself.

Antonio joins too. We all beg him to stay alive for us. We cry and shout and hold him. But it’s not enough.

“G-Guys,” Blake chokes, silent tears dripping down his face. I want to shrill and collapse and have a full-blown panic attack. I hold him even closer, feeling his blood stain me and mark me whole.

“Blake please don’t do this to me don’t do this to meeeee...” I start wailing. I can’t take it anymore. “I love you so much don’t do this to me Blake! Please!”

Rattling him doesn’t help, and shouting never helps. Antonio has to stop me from crushing Blake’s body from my overly passionate meltdown. He is dying and there’s nothing I can do about it. He was shot in the chest and was lucky enough to make it out of a car accident. But as far as we’re all concerned, Blake is practically dead.

He shares his last, final words with us before forever going to sleep.

“At least I get to see Barbara again you guys. Ya’ll will be okay without me. I will always love ya’ll. Always...”

Antonio let’s out an ugly sob and Valerie squeezes what’s left out of Blake’s body. I can’t take my eyes off of him, even as he looks at me for one last time and whispers, “Be mad Ron. Always be mad...”

I have the most disturbed look plastered on my face, my eyes twitching and expression torted in hurt and confusion. Blake dies right in front of me. It leaves me at a loss for words. It leaves me sick to my fucking stomach. It leaves me wishing I never knew him at all.

“NOOOOOOO!” I shriek from the top of my lungs, body taken over in uncontrollable hysteria. Blake is dead. He’s not here anymore. I did all of this for him to die. He found my scars in the locker room, loved me for who I am, and died on me. I can never feel the same again.

Especially when trouble finds us mere seconds later. Trouble that wears a specific coded uniform with specific colored lights indicating that trouble has arrived.

Antonio and Valerie immediately put their hands up when guns are aimed at us from countless police officers. I don’t. I continue to hold Blake in my arms as if he will awaken. The cops don’t scare me. Nothing scares me anymore. Absolutely nothing. Not the police, not bullies, not death, not anything.

“Put your hands up where we can see them!” a voice orders me to do.

Fuck this shit. It’s over.

Blake died just in time. I hope he gets to see Barbara again, just so they can be comfortable in the afterlife together. I hope he keeps his promise and continues to love me beyond the grave. I hope he smiles all the time in heaven and looks after me with proud precision. I hope when I’m locked up in prison somewhere for murder and drug affiliation, that he encourages me to stay mad and brave and show people that I’m not the one to be messed with. I hope he gets to forever be at peace with himself and maybe find childhood innocence someday. I hope I get to see him someday again. I hope it’s soon. I hope it’s tomorrow.

I will never forget the one person who noticed me when I gave up on myself. I will always love him and remember him. Even if I die tomorrow. Even if I rot in a cell for the rest of my life. Because the bottom line is, I vowed to do this for us. I vowed to do this for us. And all that matters is that I vowed to do it for us.

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