Julio Guerra had a secret, one that he took to his death. Police never found the killers of Brittany Brinkley. They had assumed they had fled to Mexico and disappeared into the jungles of Chiapas or the anonymity of the demographic sardine can that was Mexico City. They were wrong. Immediately after the murder of Brittany, Guerra personally executed the two young Blanco’s responsible for her death. He had told them just before shooting them in the back of their heads that he had worked too long and too hard to build and maintain peaceful coexistence with the Rojos and other Diablo sections. The last thing he had needed was for two young toughs to screw it up. In an attempt to head off the gang warfare that would erupt when the Rojos sought blood compensation, Guerra applied the retribution himself. It was, he said, a case of cleaning one’s own house.
There were only two other people who knew about this, but they weren’t talking. They weren’t doing anything. For the last three years their assorted skeletal remains were washing up along the shores and shallows of Joe Pool Lake, to be discovered by some fisherman or passerby. They would be forever unknown and forever unidentified beyond age, and sex. Their bones would be destined for a university laboratory, to be stored in boxes along with the skeletons of derelicts and John Does. Every now and then someone in a human bone identification class would peer down at their remains, but would receive only silence in return.
Evans Brinkley, of course, knew nothing of this. He and Guerra’s drive for blood compensation had been two ships passing in the night. Each had acted out their own drama on different stages. In the end Brinkley’s vengeance had been unnecessary. But the irony was inescapable. He had murdered the man who had avenged the death of his daughter. Blood had been their argument.
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