Brice pulled over to the side. “What’s he up to? Vapor had stopped a block ahead of the bus stop, which had been packed with students. But then PP raised his arm, pointing to Mario.
Railroad crossing lights flashed. Vapor charged the Trans Am after Mario. Crossing guards went down. Mario took off. Brice shifted to D, keeping his foot on the brake. The passenger pointed a handgun out the window.
The noise sent the kids scattering. Mario smacked the concrete.
Brice tried ramming the car but Vapor made a U-turn. He didn’t give chase; the screams stopped him. He jumped out and ran to the curb. He edged his way through the crowd to where Qadira held Mario’s head up with her arm. She used her other hand to apply pressure to his wound.
“Move out of the way,” Shawn shouted. Mario’s hand lost its gripped on Qadira’s arm. His body laid still. Brice reached down to pick him up but Shawn pushed him back.
“I’m taking him to the hospital,” Brice said, pushing Shawn away. “He can’t die in the street like he doesn’t belong to anybody, like he’s nothing.”
“He’s dead, Brice,” Shawn said.
Why did PP kill him? Brice thought, reaching down to lift Qadira. Brice glanced over at Mario’s body then he folded the boy's arms across his chest and closed his eyes.
“You need a gun,” Khalilah said, rubbing Qadira’s back. “Then you could shoot back.”
“Nobody’s killing anybody or buying a gun,” Brice said, twisting around in Khalilah's direction. The cops need to arrest the person supplying the guns and drugs so kids can live safe.
Brice took Qadira’s coat off her suitcase, wrapping it over her shoulders. She forced her blood stained hands through the coat’s sleeves.
“You don’t have to worry. These drug dealers eventually kill each other off,” said an officer rolling a toothpick around her lips. Her gun belt sagging around her thin waist and dark circles surrounding her eyes gave a worn out look.
Officer Newberry also known as Worthless, Brice thought. In other words these dealers killed each other off and a new set will come. Newberry called it job security.
“Who saw the shooter?” Officer Newberry asked.
Brice took Qadira to his car. It didn't make sense to Officer Newberry he escorted Qadira away from her. Yet, Brice lived here and knew no cop had protected a witness 24/7. The killer had ways of finding and murdering Qadira tonight before he was arrested for Mario's death.
“The no snitch rule is in effect.” Newberry said, spitting out her toothpick. “Hey you, is she a witness?”
Brice seated Qadira in his car, and then he closed the door. He had done the same by never identifying Arcadio as Shawn's shooter. “Are you talking to me?”
“Yes.” Officer Newberry strutted away from the body.
He couldn’t risk Qadira giving Newberry any information; she’d likely leak it to the dealers. He blocked Officer Newberry's view into the passenger’s window.
“Go on back to the Dunkin Donuts,” Shawn said. “We’ll handle the shooter ourselves.”
“Let’s go home, everybody,” Brice said. He dispersed the kids before Officer Newberry went hard ass on Shawn or his students. “Come by the community center if you need to talk to somebody or talk to your counselor in the morning.”
After the students left the area, Brice consoled Qadira until the wagon came for Mario’s body. His mind was consumed with the thought: Destroy the dealers to save his kids’ lives.
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