A Payne(ful) Story

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January 23rd, 2025 | 4:50am

My name is Derrick Payne and the way this story goes is you’re going to hear each of my siblings perspective. So, what better way than to start with me, for I am the oldest by the way.

Our parents played a big part in our lives, especially mine. Mother used to always sing “Down by the River Side” whenever she cleaned around the house. Father taught me a lot about discipline and how to respect others and stand my ground. For a while, it was just me and them until my brother Josh came along in ’07. Josh was more rebellious, and he had a knack of getting into things he had no business doing so. Father, however, didn’t bother trying to raise him. He said it was my responsibility. I never understood why he didn’t care much for him, but I made Josh my responsibility and I’ve been taking care of him ever since.

The twins were born a few years later in 2010, both girls. They are both very dramatic and love attention an you could barely tell them apart. Lashanda and Nicole are their names. They love to boss people around and Nicole loves to brag about how she’s only three minutes older than Lashanda, which never made sense to me. Mother loved them both. She loved to dress them up and take them on shopping sprees, even though we were little on money at the time. Then last but not least is Yvette. She was born in 2012. She was cast out from the family, but not because our family didn’t accept her. She cast herself away. She was always quiet and to herself and when the time came she left and never came back.

See our parents sacrificed a lot for our family. My mother was very smart and she was able to take care of the money issues while father was in the military serving in the Army. He didn’t start serving until I was ten back in 2010. He wanted to make a difference in the world by serving for our country. Josh wasn’t very happy about it, but I thought it was inspiring. However, our parents died right when I finished college.

May 29th 2021 | Death of Marshall and Larae Payne

While on the phone, “Hey mom, It’s Derrick. I’ve been calling you for the past couple hours, but the graduation ceremony Is about to start. I called dad and he isn’t answering either. Call me back when you can. Love you”.

“Still nothing from moms, huh?” asked Josh.

“Nothing yet, but I know she’ll come through.”

“Yeah don’t get ya hopes man. Just enjoy your day. I’ll see you when you get back to the crib.”

“Alright man, I’ll see you soon.”

It was odd for mom not to answer the phone, for we always stayed in touch. Dad, on the other hand was hard to contact. Ever since he went to the military, it’s like he disappeared. He only sent letters every so often, just to let us know he hasn’t died yet. I know it’s somewhat weird to receive a letter like that, but that’s just how he is.

We headed down to the football field where the class of 2021 will be seated. I searched the stands to see if my mother was anywhere to be found, but I didn’t see her anywhere. We went through the ceremony and got our diplomas. We celebrated afterwards, but something felt off. I went to the bathroom to try and clear my head. Maybe it was just paranoia. I splashed water on my face and took a few deep breaths.

“Maybe she just got caught up at work,” I thought.

As I headed out the bathroom and started my way towards the car, I heard a faint scream. It was distant, but still loud enough to hear. Almost like a whisper. I dismissed it, since it is graduation after all. There’s bound to be some screaming. I got inside my car and headed back home. I turned on my favorite radio station: The Hornet. They always seem to know how to brighten up my day.

Ladies and Gentleman, good morning and thank you for tuning into The Hornet! Where you can get your daily news, freshest music, podcasts, and so much more. First thing’s first, lets go to Todd with our daily news.”

“Thank you Joe. Today is a sad day for the people of Boston. There has been a mass shooting downtown and it seems likely to be a gang war between the Vipers and the Cherons. If anyone you know has been downtown for the last few days, I advise that you grab your belongings and get out while you still can. And now for the weather! It seems for the next few days it will be cloudy with a high of ---”

Mother works downtown. Maybe that’s why she didn’t show up. All I knew was that I had to get to her before she could get hurt or even worse. I was going down 25th street when I noticed how empty the town seemed to be. Everything seemed abandoned, like no one ever lived here before. I didn’t know what to look for, exactly. My mom’s job was pretty confidential to the point she couldn’t tell us anything about it. So, was going into a gang war without knowing where to look, a terrible idea? Yeah, but it’s definitely worth the risk.

I stopped at a gas station on Raven Avenue. I felt like I’ve been driving for hours, so I decided a stake out would be best.

5 missed calls from Josh

27 new messages

New Voicemail

I totally forgot about Josh, but I couldn’t have him involved. What I’m doing is dangerous enough and I can’t risk putting him in danger because of my doing. However, it’s been hours since I stopped at the gas station. It was fairly dark, with the streets lamps to give the streets an orange glow. I didn’t realize how tired I was, now that the adrenaline was starting to wear off. I decided to take a nap in the car and continue on my search in the morning. I hopped off the hood and headed to the driver seat, but something wasn’t right. It felt as if somebody was watching me. I froze where I stood and slowly glanced around my surroundings, but there was nothing. I opened the door and I felt a gush of air behind me. I turned around and before I knew it, I was out cold.

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