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Zara thought she heard noises behind her. “Damn!” she cursed aloud.
She turned around a number of times, but couldn’t see a thing in the dark. Her night vision was terrible, and she probably needed glasses, which were rare in Gang Territory. When Noel Kennedy took charge there, she re-introduced a lot of necessary services, including eye testing, but by then Zarah was too old and too vain to wear them in public.
She thought back to the powerful man she’d been foolish enough to challenge. She’d been asked—no, warned—to drop any thoughts of blackmail, but she’d been too stubborn to agree.
There was only one streetlight working on the entire block. She hurried along, glancing behind her, and she was glad to see low flickering flames up ahead. It was old Slim warming his hands in the embers of a dying barrel fire.
“Hey, Slim,” she called to the old header. He’d been drugging since he was old enough to drop out of school and hold a needle, and, until Noel, that had been at age twelve.
Farther down the street, the Ramon brothers reclined in a car parked in front of their house. The car had been abandoned there long ago, and the brothers used it as a hangout and a place to sell drugs for Warren Simpson.
“Come on! Get inside, baby,” Manny Ramon, dark-haired and handsome, said to her.
“One day I will, little boy. Then we’ll see what you do.”
His brother Emil, looking more like an older twin, laughed.
“Guess she told you, little boy!”
Zarah just shook her head. She wasn’t worried now. Anyone would be crazy to try something on her block.