The Candy Shop

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“Damnit! I lost him,” Leon spewed and Peters dashed across the room to stare at the screen.

“Back up the time frame to the last place you saw him and roll forward again,” Peters instructed.

“I’ve done that three times already, but I lose him on the highway,” Leon groaned.

Rocco, who was on speaker phone, hollered and his voice filled the room. “C’mon guys, get it together! We’re running out of time. I need to know which exit he took!”

Peters snatched the laptop from Leon and started analyzing the feed. “This don’t make no sense man. He just disappears on the highway.”

“He can’t just disappear!” Rocco barked.

Running the feed back again, Peters noticed a gap in the time frame. “Holy shit!” He belted. “Somebody put a stop-drop in the feed.”

“What does that tech-jargon mean, Peters?” Rocco huffed.

“The surveillance feed has been tampered with,” Peters explained. “They erased a small block of time to create a gap which was just long enough for us to lose him.”

“Can you jump the gap and find him again?” Rocco asked, but Peters didn’t answer. He looked up to see a .45 aimed at his head. Leon disconnected the call and instructed Peters to put the laptop down, stand up and face the wall.

“What the hell, man?” Peters said, lifting both hands in the air as Leon pulled the 9mm from his holster and slid it into his waistband. “You’re one of them?”

“Shut up and turn around,” Leon ordered and then cuffed Peters’ hands behind his back. “Now, I’m going to dial Rocco and you’re going to tell him you accidentally disconnected the call and then you’re going to send him to this location.” Leon held up a piece of paper where he had scribbled down directions.

“That’s in East St. Louis, man,” Peters grimaced.

“I know,” Leon smirked.

“You can’t send a white boy alone into East St. Louis after dark,” Peters huffed.

“He won’t be alone.” Leon aimed the .45 at Peters’ head. “Are we going to have a problem?”

“No problem,” Peters mumbled as Leon redialed Rocco’s number and put the call on speaker.

“What the hell happened?” Rocco barked.

“Change of plans, man,” Peters spoke slowly. “You need to stay on the highway until you cross over the river into East St. Louis. As soon as you cross, take your first left on North Front Street. Pass Bloody Island and take your next available left. There should be some barges there.”

Rocco didn’t respond for several seconds. “That’s where Adrienne’s body was found,” he uttered. “I’ll call back when I get closer.”

“Bravo,” Leon sneered.

“Man, I pegged you all wrong,” Peters shook his head. “I thought you really cared about your ex-wife. I bought your whole sad sob story.”

Kira sneaked quietly out of the bathroom and peered down from the balcony. She saw Peters handcuffed and Leon holding a gun and it didn’t take a genius to figure out what was going on. The question was what was she going to do about it?

“You came here acting all righteous and shit, but they sent you here to stop me from being able to track down the killer,” Peters huffed.

“I didn’t have a choice,” Leon rebutted. “None of us has a choice.”

“That ain’t true, man. In life that’s the one thing we always got. A choice.” Peters pursed his lips together and shook his head. “You can choose to do the right thing, man. You can save Audrey and end this whole thing right here and now.”

The sound of the gun shot made Kira jump completely out of her skin. Leon had shot Peters in cold-blood. Pulling the 9mm from her waistband, Kira crouched down on the side of the bed, took the safety off and held the gun out in front of her. She knew Leon would come looking for her and she knew she was going to have to kill him.

The steps creaked under Leon’s weight and Kira felt as if she might vomit. Pressing her back against the wall she waited for him to reach the balcony and turn the corner.

“K…i…r…a,” he called out her name in elongated, sing-song fashion. “Come out, come out wherever you are.”

Kira’s heart beat wildly in her chest.

“Come on out. I’m not going to hurt you. You can trust me. Peters and Rocco are working for the Coronado family. They were going to kill you.”

He’s lying. He’s lying. He’s lying. She repeated in her head over and over.

“Come on. I’ll take you to see Frank. He’s worried about you.”

The sound of his voice grew closer and Kira’s hands trembled. Would she be able to shoot him if she had to? She had never shot anyone before, then again, she had never Tasered anyone before and she seemed to be a natural at that. Her breathing quickened and she tightened her grasp on the gun.

“Michael and Mallory are worried too,” Leon uttered. “Don’t you want to see them again? To make sure they’re safe?”

At the mention of her children’s names, a defensive rage that only a mother could understand filled Kira and empowered her to leap upward from her crouching position and unload her clip into Leon’s chest. The shots were rapid fire and Kira didn’t stop until the 9mm chamber clicked empty and Leon lay motionless on the bedroom floor.

Bending down over the body, Kira wrapped her hands around Leon’s right hand that was still clutching his gun, raised it up and fired two shots; and then she let his arm fall back down. The fact that Leon’s weapon had been fired in her general direction was enough to substantiate self-defense. “Defense attorney rule number one,” she panted sarcastically.

Leaping over his body, Kira ran down the stairs toward Peters. He had taken a bullet to the chest, but he was breathing. Kira dialed 9-1-1, grabbed the duffle bag that had Rocco’s extra guns and ammo, the keys to Leon’s BMW and the paper with the directions to where Rocco had been sent and raced out of the hotel.

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