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Chapter Three: Legacy to Become

Selflessness, ” I said aloud as I sat up in the bed, ” or selfishness? ” It was a continuous debate I had with myself anytime I had this reoccurring dream. Nobody held me down like she did. So why keep reliving the nightmare of leaving her? I shook my head clear, before slowly making my way to the edge of the bed. With a sigh, I reached for the first glass I could make out on my nightstand. It was roughly half empty. I reached for it deciding to calm my nerves and muster up the energy for the day before dragging my feet towards the shower.

I stood at the doorway to my bathroom, eyeing the glass as I leaned against the frame. The room was brightly lit from the mid-day sun shining through the window. The vibrant colors rattling my eyes. It took a few seconds for my vision to sit right with the blood rushing too my head all at once and lighting like daggers to eyes from every angle. But nevertheless, I stumbled forward. My hand dragging across the sinks counter-top. Tripping over the sink in front of the rug, i stumbled my way to the shower side.

I turned the handle clockwise, and lost my balance. Falling forward i was able to catch myself on the side of the tub, but my glass clattered to the floor. I stood up right (or as much as i could) and tried to focus as hard as i could to find my balance, just to locate the empty glass laying on the floor. I contemplated downing it while waiting for the water to warm up. The moment the steam became distinguishable in midair, I climbed in. The water turned my skin red on contact, but i was oblivious to the heat. I spun around a few times to get wet before drowning my face in the boiling waterfall. I reached passed the shower curtain and grabbed the bottle of New Amsterdam I kept on the shelf above the towel rack. I took a shot. The liquid burned my throat going down while the water turned my skin red on the outside. ”Live with no remorse, die with no regrets… ”

I turned the water off and reached for my towel. I wrapped it around my waist before pulling the curtain back. The bathroom was foggy with steam. I stepped out onto my bath rug and wiped my feet before walking over to the mirror. I leaned over the sink and wiped the steam clear enough to see my reflection staring back at me with the same dark brown eyes. I saw a five foot eleven man with a milk chocolate complexion. I turned my head side to side to appreciate my medium fade, and on the left side I had 3 horizontal lines (shortest to longest) leading up to the crown of my head. The longest line stopped just above the tip of my ear. My hair was naturally curly up top. I had a thick rough chin strap that connected with my mustache.

I laughed. I knew I was feeling myself, and just brushed my teeth. I splashed hot water in my face to wake up. Exhaling deeply as I began drying off with the hand rag. I walked over to the doorway and admired my dynasty. It consisted of a queen size bed. The frame was wooden and black. The sheets were blue and had a matching brown and blue comforter. With eight pillows: four regular sized (two brown and the others were blue), three mediums that were brown, and my personal head pillow (the only one I slept with). Just looking at it you could tell it was soft. But once you laid in it, you were so awestruck at how much softer it was then you could imagine.

I walked over to the edge of the bed and sat down. I looked around for my phone; it was on my nightstand. The screen read 10:15 AM, I wasn in a rush. I took my time getting dressed, throwing on some jeans and my black and white tie-dye shirt. I grabbed my wallet and phone from off the nightstand and made my way down the hallway of my one bedroom apartment. It wasn much but I wasn one for showing off. Before walking out the door I made sure to grab my car keys that I hung up at the door.

I walked up to my Eclipse, still absent minded. I could feel my hand rustling through my pocket. I pulled the key out of my pocket and climbed in. I loved my car, I bought it myself, careful not to draw too much attention to myself. I put the keys in the ignition, applied pressure on the clutch and gas before shifting into first. Pulling out of the parking spot, it only took me a few minutes before i disappeared down the highway.

I was carefree on the road, but attentive to my surroundings. I kinda just let it all go when I was behind the wheel, as i headed to the range. I didn live too far from it. On a good day with no traffic it was probably a thirty minute drive. I had about another half hour before Id be late. So there wasn any rush.

I pulled up on the lot and turned the car off. The sound of gunfire going off surrounded the area for miles. I turned up the volume, reclined the seat, and just got lost in the music. It was a habit of mine. I was waiting until the car cut off before I got out. I caught myself closing my eyes and mouthing the words, ”I been trying to find your heart, Im still trying. You can find someone else, but you still mine… ”

”The hell you talkin? ” Hype gave me this puzzled look as he made his way to my window. I hadn noticed him approaching my car. ”Come on, then. ”

Michael ”Hype ” Taylor was like a brother to me. He was the smart ass two years younger than me, that lived next door. He was a light-skinned, who stood about 510 ”. He usually had a low cut with a crescent part a little of center with a distinct birthmark on his forehead in the shape of the Jordan jump-man symbol.

”None, bro. Don een worry bout it, ” I was getting reckless. One too many shots and the world knew what I was thinking as soon as I did. No hesitation, no filters…just whatever left my mouth and whoever was close enough to hear.

I got out of the car and stretched before walking around to the trunk. I pulled out my SCAR and followed Hype to our lane.

What was wrong with me lately? That night just kept replaying in my mind. It was one thing for a nightmare to keep you up. But it was something more when that reality interferes with your everyday life.

”Aye, yo…Ayden! You got that look in your eye again. You sure you up for this, Bro? ”

I closed my eyes and inhaled sharply through my nose. Holding my breath for a few seconds, I allowed my mind to go blank. I brought my arms up; the cold metal stock of my SCAR was pressed against my shoulder. I exhaled through my mouth, opening my eyes at the same time.

”Peachy, ” I said calmly as I switched the safety to off and pulled the trigger back at the same time. There was a flash and loud bang, instantly followed by a chain of recoil that forced my body to roll with it. The barrel jolted up as a few rounds spiraled through the air. Immediately the air was filled with the smell of gunpowder. I was relieved some of the pressure from the trigger and re-centered my aim. My left eye closed, I brought the stock well back up to my cheek. My vision first focused on the center front post of my iron sight, evening out with the rear posts. After getting all three evenly spaced I made sure the tops were flush. The motion took me a total of about seven seconds.

I lined the posts up and aimed down range. Two headshots slightly diagonal from one another and a close group impact scattered around the chest of the target. I smiled, pleased with myself.

”Thats my boy, ” Hype cried out, ”Daddy taught you well. ” He laughed at his own joke.

”Bitch, please. Only ya mama llowed to me Daddy. ” I started applying pressure to the trigger, swift and steady. Another set of bursts went off as the rounds left my barrel gyrating through the air. ”So…is you gone stand there runnin yamouth all day like a damn cheerleader, or did you come to shoot? ”

”You ain impressin nobody whiles you over there stroking yaego. Anyone can hit a still target. ”

I laid the gun across the bench and watched quietly. Hype could shoot, Ill give him that with a fierce quick draw. But he was far from the best. He stood with his shoulders squared apart, and parallel to the target. Just as fast as he pulled his M4 up to his chest, he had let off seven rounds before dropping it back to his side. Seven in the chest, tight around the lungs and diaphragm.

”I guess even a pretty boy like you won sweat if they ain running. ”

”Yea? Lets test that theory. How bout I give you a two minute head start? ”

”If you ever pull a gun on me, you better shoot to kill. ” My words were lethal, and were far from an empty threat. My eyes were still, my fists were clenched, and my body tense. The entire atmosphere changed. My expression was as cold as the words that left my lips. As easy going and laid back as I am, that was one thing that put me on edge.

”Well, we better hope it never come to that… ”

He aimed his rifle down range as if nothing happened. He pressed on firing in silence, well without another word anyways. I picked up my SCAR and followed suit. We kept going until all our clips were empty. A few hours had gone by before we started packing it up.

”Think we done for the day. But don forget bout paintball next week. ” I was quick to remind others of anything of importance. Mainly, so I wouldn forget myself.

”Don worry bout me, ” he gestured over to the targets, ”ain like Im the one who need the practice. ” I turned to compare targets. The group was pretty close together for the both of us. Hypes group was a little more jam-packed. But thats probably because he only aimed for the chest. ”Just make sure you on time for once. ”

Since when does the lil bro lecture his elders, ” I questioned mockingly. I started to walk backwards, towards my car. I heard he call out as I began to spin around to face in the direction I was headed.

”Yea, don need Don losing him mind. ”

Nah, never that… ” I shouted over my shoulder, and just shook my head in silence. ”That psychopath needs some serious help, ” I thought out loud to myself.

Liam ”Don ” Brock was a sociopath in every definition of the word. He stood about six foot two and was pretty built. Don had a caramel-brown complexion and freckles. He had a scar over his right brow that stopped over his top eyelid, and light brown eyes. He had both ears pierced. And Id hate to admit it; he had a smile complimented with his dimples that got the impossible done. He used his looks to his advantage, and that honest smile was anything but. He was the type, that once his mind was made up, hed finish the task by any means necessary.

”Yea…you heard anything about the new job yet? ”

”Nah, none new, ” I thought about it for a minute, ”all I know, we got bout two weeks to prep. ”

”Yea, with paintball comin up this weekend and planning out routes, we bout ready to win the lotto. ”

”True, but aye! Im gone for now. Hit my line if anything come up, ” I walked away as the words left my lips. I couldn concentrate on the conversation anyways. My mind began to wonder, how did I get here?

I walked up to my Eclipse, still absent minded. Was it going to be like this anytime i got behind the wheel? I pulled off onto the highway and began driving home. Memories of my past were flooding my head; my focus was in and out the whole way back.

My phone went off. I flashed a quick peek at the screen before looking back straight ahead. She was calling me. Just seeing Nicoles name brought back so many memories. But why was she calling me, now of all times? I looked back at my phone to hit answer, but grew timid when I saw it was Hype calling me. This was getting ridiculous. Why was she on my mind so heavy lately? Truth be told, Im surprised she hadn tried to reach me for as long as its been. It had been about two years since she last tried. It had been two years since I last saw her…but not a day went by when she wasn on my mind.

It didn take long to reach my apartment. When I pulled up it was a little after five. I walked to the door and went in. It was a decent size apartment, more than comfy. It had two bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, a laundry room, and a kitchen. It had a washer and dryer included. It was spacial for someone who lived alone. But i liked my privacy.

As soon as you walked in, immediately to your left was the kitchen. I had all the bare necessities: a double sink, dishwasher, fridge, and freezer. The sink sat opposite of the fridge with the counter-top going all the way around. Above the counters were cabinets topped with empty liquor bottles. There were trophies and memoirs.

I went to the cabinet closest to the fridge and pulled out the Hennessy. I reached for another cabinet where I had all my cups. I pulled out a small twelve ounce glass, opened the fridge and got a can of coke. I poured up half the glass and watched the bubbles sizzle down before topping it off with Henny. I filled it to the lip right below the rim. I lifted my drink a few inches away from my lips and stared at it, waiting for it to settle.

”Chaser for the first drink… ” I tilted my head back and finished it on-the-spot like a shot. The first drink was gone faster than I could pour it.

The liquor burned my throat and made my lips go numb. I always chased the first drink to mellow everything. The rest of my drinks were straight. I poured up and downed them just as fast as I could count. Three…five…six…I sat my glass down once my vision began to blur.

I stood up and stumbled, knocking my chair back a foot or so. I stood up too fast; the blood went rushing to my head. I took a deep breath and waited until my vision settled. I walked to my room. I knew I wasn walking a straight line but I felt fine. I didn stumble after I got up from the table and I didn need support to make it to my bedroom.

I walked in and went straight to the edge of my bed. I leaned over until I fell on top of it. I landed face down. Half my face was buried in the middle of the bed. I forced myself up with my left arm and rolled over. Kicking my shoes off after a few minutes of a lazy struggle, I laid there, staring at the ceiling fan spinning. I concentrated on the rotation of the blur, slowing it down so I could count the fins. My eyes mimicked them; my head began moving just the same. Even though I kept track of the individual blades, my vision grew fuzzy and it got harder to concentrate. I was drifting away…

”Nicole, ” I heard myself whisper out loud…

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