Sketches by Eric Walters

Book: Sketches by Eric Walters Read Free Book Online
Authors: Eric Walters
noticed what’s happening? Look!”
    I turned toward where Brent was motioning with his chin. There were people on the street. A steady stream of them passed by the opening to the alley. As I looked, a man slowed and peered into the shadows.
    â€œJust take the money,” Brent said. “Let me go and I’ll give it to you.”
    â€œNobody’s letting anybody go. Where is it?” he demanded.
    â€œIn my pocket. Right front pants pocket.”
    He stuck his hand into Brent’s pocket and pulled it inside out, coins popping out into the air and showering down on the pavement. He opened his hand to reveal more coins and some bills and a plastic bag . . . a plastic bag holding marijuana! When had he bought that?
    â€œLooky what we got here,” he said, holding the bag up. “Some money and a little bonus.”
    â€œJust take it and go,” Brent said.
    â€œIs this all you got?” he demanded.
    â€œThat’s all we got . . . I swear,” Brent said.
    â€œAnd the girls? Do they have any money?”
    â€œNone,” Brent said. “I don’t let them have money. I keep it all so that it’ll be safe.”
    The guy laughed. His laugh was as evil as his smile. “Yeah, you kept it real safe,” he snarled. He turned around, and I was terrified he was going to come back toward me. “Now if either of you girls decide you want to be really safe you can stop hanging out with this loser and come with me. Let her go,” he ordered, and the two released my arms. “Who knows, maybe I could even figure out a way for you two ladies to make some serious coin, if you know what I mean.” That sick smile returned to his face. I noticed he was missing a front tooth and the remaining teeth were yellow and stained.
    â€œYou got the money. Now leave us alone,” Brent said.
    Just then someone stopped at the entrance to the alley. It looked as though he was taking a long, hard look, maybe thinking about coming to see what the noise was all about.
    â€œYeah, you’re right,” the guy said. “Let him go, too.”
    The two other guys released Brent and he slumped forward. The first guy started to walk away down the alley, away from the street. I felt a sense of relief, and—
    He turned back suddenly and kicked Brent in the side of the head, and Brent bounced against the wall and then crumpled to the ground!
    â€œDon’t you go telling me what to do or when to leave, you understand!” he bellowed. “And you better remember that, faggot, for the next time we meet!”
    He took off again, and the other four trailed behind him, laughing and joking as they walked. I stood motionless, watching them go, terrified they might turn back around. Suddenly my feet became unstuck from the pavement and I had to fight the urge to just run away. I couldn’t do that. Instead I rushed over to Ashley and helped her as she staggered to her feet. She cringed in pain and clutched her side.
    â€œAshley, are you all right?” I gasped.
    â€œI’m . . I’m okay . . . Brent?” she called out.
    He started to struggle to his feet and then tumbled back over. We rushed over. He took my hand and used it to pull himself up. Blood still poured from his nose,and now the whole side of his face was scraped and cut and raw.
    â€œYou’re hurt bad!”
    â€œNot as bad as I’m going to hurt him,” he snarled. Brent reached down and pulled his knife out of his sock.
    â€œWhat are you doing?” I demanded.
    â€œI’m going to get our money back.” He started to walk in the direction they’d gone, stumbling over his feet and practically tumbling over again. I caught up to him and grabbed him on one side. Ashley grabbed his other arm.
    â€œAll you’re going to do is let him finish killing you,” Ashley said. “You’re too hurt to go after him, and I’m too hurt to help you.”

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