“A’right, man, see ya later, kay?” Tristan called as he walked out of his friend’s house and into the Alleys.
“Git outa ‘ere, man,” the friend said playfully with a shooing of his hand
“H’im gawn,” Tristan said as he walked down the street.
The sunlight never really shown through in the Alleys. There always was an overcast it seemed. Especially since Victor’s bar was burned down. No one’s seen him since but the few people that escaped all said something about the Tower and a man with white and black hair. With that, all the gangs in the area had been trying to duke it out for the new number one spot in the alleys.
What little sunlight there was fell on Tristan’s dark skin. His skin color was lighter than most but not as light as some of the others. He wore dark clothes and jean pants that sagged. When he passed a large group of people he kept his head down, not looking at anyone of them. Groups of people usually meant a gang, a gang meant trouble, trouble would happen to you if a gang saw you as a threat. Tristan was usually a good boy. He was just stuck in unpleasant circumstances.
He was nearly home when he felt something. It was almost like a sixth sense in the Alleys. He turned around and didn’t see anything but he knew he was being watched. Tristan looked forward again and pretended he didn’t feel he was being watched. He whistled a little then turned around suddenly. Sure enough there was someone there. Only this time they didn’t even bother hiding themselves at all.
The person following him wore all black also, his long black hair swaying a little as he walked. Tristan though he saw red eyes staring at him. He might have but it also could have been his adrenalin rushing.
Then he heard someone whistling the same tune that he was whistling earlier. He looked ahead and saw someone there as well: a redhead with his back against one of the alley walls. He was polishing an M16. It didn’t take much for Tristan to realize that this wasn’t good.
He ducked right down another alleyway with a quicker step, on the brink of running. The alley he ducked into was a connector between two larger parallel alleys. When he exited the connector he started to dart right but then he saw someone else standing there in a dark purple cloak. He turned and ran.
Tristan went through his list of possible gangs he might have upset but none raised any red flags. I mean, no one took him very seriously. He considered himself the Jester of the Alleys. And he was for the most part.
He noticed some motion to his left, a girl running alongside him. She ran on top of the wall, looking down over him. Her glasses had a glint in them as she seemed to smile. Ahead of him were two others, one with blue hair and the other with white. Tristan looked around for an exit and found one to his right. He ran looking over his shoulder until he ran into something and fell back. Tristan shook his head a couple times before looking up to see what he had run into.
Fang loomed over him. All that Tristan had heard about the vanishing of Victor was coming back to him now. He looked at Fang’s appearance and it clicked. Tristan tried to scoot back but ran into Shadow’s legs.
“Off so soon?” Shadow asked playfully.
Tristan head darted from Fang to Shadow and back to Fang. He gulped expecting the worst.
“‘Come into my office,’ said the wolves to the rabbit,” Fang said as he walked to a door at the end of the alley.
It was then Tristan realized he was really led into a trap. He felt two strong hands lift him to his feet. Alister smiled wolfishly as he pushed Tristan forward toward the door.
“It’s ‘bout time,” he said, “I’m starvin’. How ‘bout some rabbit stew?”
The door closed and it was all dark. Tristan tried to walk the same pace as his capture as he was pushed over to something. They sat him down in a chair. A light turned on and Tristan squinted to see. The light was fixed and he could see who he was facing. It was the one he had run into.
There was a table between them, a cup of tea, and a folder. Fang took a sip of his tea and sighed.
“Look,” he said, “you can stop shaking. We aren’t going to hurt you or anything.”
Tristan looked around. One of the other wolves was sharpening a dagger, another was loading a gun. The reflection on the glasses of the one wearing them was frightening by the way she smiled.
Fang sighed again, “Stop it, all of you.”
“Oh, com’on! We were just ‘aving a ‘ittle fun,” Alister laughed.
Fang stayed silent.
“Fine,” Alister muttered.
“Sorry about that,” Fang said to Tristan, “I just have a few questions.”
“I ain’t sayin’ nothin’,” Tristan sat back.
“I’m sure,” Fang flipped through some files, “Now, where are the Dancing Dragons?”
Tristan stopped. Of all the questions, he wasn’t expecting that one. He stuttered. Fang stared at him, waiting for an answer.
“Oh, you know the one,” Fang said, “the gang you claim to rob banks with. Yeah, we want to know where they are.”
“Look, Man, I don’t know what yous—”
“Okay, then where will they hit next?” Fang continued.
“Wait, what Man?”
“What are any of the member’s names?”
“I don’t know Man!” Tristan shouted.
It was silent in the room for a few minutes. Fang looked disinterested as he took a sip of his tea. He expected this to happen but he was also expecting to get at least some information out of the kid before the day went out. Fang set the cup down and looked at the boy
“So then I suppose you don’t know any of their security numbers then?” Fang asked.
“I’m tellin’ yous, Man! I don’t know nothin’!”
“What are their features? Are they buff, skinny, fat? Be specific, please,” Fang looked down at the file.
“What about eye color?”
“Why don’t you check the Underground, Man!” Tristan shouted.
Fang raised an eyebrow in interest, “The Underground, Tristan?”
Tristan opened his mouth and stuttered. He was led into a trap again. Twice in one day by one man. He was stressed and wasn’t thinking straight. It was only a matter of time before he said something.
“And you’re sure the Dancing Dragons go there?” Fang asked.
Defeated Tristan nodded, “‘Day always lookn’ for new recruits. But you didn’t ‘ear it from me man.”
“Of course not,” Fang closed the folder, “We’re done here.”
Tristan looked up as Alister walked over. Alister grabbed the boy by the arm and dragged him to the door.
“Na, Man!” Tristan struggled, “You didn’t ‘ear it from me, Man! I wanna ‘ear you say it! Say it or I’ll tell the Dragons that yous commin’!”
Fang looked at Tristan with murder in his eyes. He didn’t like his plans interrupted by a little mice that could easily be squashed at any time. There was some silence as everyone in the room held their breath. Alister held Tristan still but the boy wasn’t moving as hard as he used to.
When Fang spoke his voice was low and to the point, “If you say anything to anybody, I will hunt you down until I will find you. And when I do, you will wish you were dead.”
There was a deadly silence.
“Do we have an understanding?” Fang asked.
Tristan nodded. Fang waved his hand and Alister dragged the boy outside.
“We’re leaving for the Underground, pack your things,” Fang said.
The others tiptoed around him and headed out the door. Shadow stayed a while and watched Fang. Fang noticed.
“Didn’t I say to get going?” he asked.
“Someone is cranky,” Shadow smirked.
“Shadow, I don’t have the time or the patience for this,” Fang looked at him.
“For this, now?” Shadow asked, “Or for this case entirely.”
“Right now, a little bit of both,” Fang said.
Fang was about to walk out the door when Shadow stopped him.
“So what’s your problem?” he asked, “You know, your issue?” Fang looked like he didn’t quite understand, or didn’t want too.
“For example,” Shadow continued, “Me. I have a few issues, if you call enjoying the feel of blood a few that is. Then there’s Alister. There are no words to describe what’s wrong with him. And Penelope, you never know when she might just snap. Oh, and Blue, he doesn’t say anything but the doctor says he’s quite capable of doing so. Raven is just weird. Arisa is…well…how many twelve year old pyromaniacs do you know? And you step into all of our messes as if it is totally normal to you! Then this happens and I’m thinking something’s going on. You care to share?”
Shadow stood there expecting an answer he knew, secretly, he wasn’t going to get. Fang looked at Shadow for a while.
Without smiling he said, “I think you should mind your own business.”
Shadow put his hands up in retreat. But secretly he would keep digging. Fang walked out into the alley where the others were waiting. Tristan was long gone. Fang squinted as he looked at the sky. It was hard to tell but he sensed that it was sometime in the afternoon. Night would be falling in a few hours. They had time to get to the Underground that night.
“Alister, come here,” Fang said, “I have to talk to you.”
Alister looked at Fang for a moment. After judging whether or not he was in trouble he walked toward his leader.