16Sunsets – Lessons Learned


“Join me or die.”

A voice piped up from the back of the room. “You’re doing it all wrong, boy.”

Everyone in the room turned to see a woman in an ankle-length, skin tight red dress. Had anyone in the room known more about women’s fashion, they would’ve appreciated the matching kitten heel pumps. What they lacked in fashion sense, they more than made up for in studying the female body. The dress was sheen – silk or some other expensive fabric. No breaks or lines where a bra or panties would’ve shown. All the men in the room knew the she wasn’t wearing anything under the expensive dress.

Joaquin scowled. “Anna.”

The crowd parted as Anna walked slowly toward Joaquin. She would stop and place a hand on the arm of a gang member. She appeared to judge biceps like selecting a cheese or piece of jewelry. She smiled with every action – lipstick that matched her dress and heels. Her hips swayed back and forth with each step. As she approached, Joaquin detected the faint odor of perfume. Gangbangers swayed in her wake.

Her arm waved loosely and in one hand the red hand cannon seemed more an accessory like a purse rather than the dealer of death anyone who was familiar with guns would know it to be. The brilliant red shine of the Smith and Wesson 460 revolver matched the rest of her outfit perfectly. Her other hand held a pair of matching red sunglasses. The lenses of her sunglasses, the grip of the S&W and the soles of her heels were the only things not matching red.

“Need a lesson on doing this properly?” she purred.

Joaquin smirked and waved his hand at the room. “I think I have this under control.”

“Control?” Anne looked around the room. “I don’t see control. I see children playing war.” She ran a finger along the jaw of one of the gangbangers. “Scared boys pretending to be men.”

Joaquin spread his arms, the knife he killed Lil’ Cee with still dripping his blood. “I’m not interested in what you got, yo.”

“No?” she asked, feigning offence. “You’re still doing it wrong.”

“How so?”

“You gave them a choice.”


She leaned in close to Joaquin. “Consider this an abject lesson,” she whispered. She raised her handgun and pointed it at the closest gangbanger and pulled the trigger.

She spun on her perfect pumps and pulled the trigger a second time, then the room erupted.

* * *

“Better get in there.”

The Kings’ lookout gaped at the warehouse that just sounded twin gunshots. His eyes were drawn to a red handbag lying in the door. A woman with a perfect body and an excellent taste in clothes had passed him only minutes prior. Her escort was urging him inside, but the situation screamed something was wrong. He turned towards the warehouse, but didn’t step forward. He felt a hand on the back of his neck. The hand was cold and his body reacted by duplicating the same cold. The hand seemed to drain all the warmth from his body. His joints ached and he was unable to maintain his balance. His hair and fingernails grew and the pain was unbearable. Suddenly, he couldn’t breathe and his left arm felt as if it was burning from the inside. His heart beat rapidly in his chest and then stopped.

Justin released the body and it slumped to the pavement. Usually a brief touch was enough to show someone he meant business, but this time it felt personal. As he watched Anne sashay into the warehouse, he felt a rage build. He was Anne’s plaything. He was at her call regardless of his desires or needs. She had a voracious appetite. When he was unable to fulfill her lust, she mocked him before casting him aside and continuing with whomever she could find. Male or female, it didn’t matter – anyone would do to satisfy her cravings.

It wasn’t as though he received nothing from her. The ability to touch another human being appealed to him. The problem was that his appeal resulted in people dying. Eventually he knew Anne would kill him. A bullet or a kiss – they were both equally as deadly.

Justin stepped over the body and walked towards the open warehouse door. He looked over his shoulder. I guess someone else could kill me just as easily.

* * *

Anne bit into the neck of the body directly on top of her. The spraying blood made a comical parody of her red lipstick. She spit a mouthful of blood into the snarling face of another gangbanger. As he staggered back, she raised her S&W and pulled the trigger again. Another obstacle waylaid, she thought, grinning like a fool in love. The next thing she thought as she felt a blade pierce her shoulder blade was, this dress is ruined. She reached behind and grasped the knife and pulled it out. He arm went limp and she brought the S&W up to her chest and pulled the trigger for a fourth time.

Anne’s eyes snapped open and she reached down and pulled one of her kitten heel pumps off and drove the three-inch heel into the thigh of someone standing over her. The thug bellowed and staggered back clawing at the pretty red shoe. She rolled over and found her S&W. She raised it and had Joaquin dead to rites. She saw the horror in his eyes and turned the weapon towards another body, smiled and placed it on the floor. She grabbed a pistol from a fallen ‘banger, pointed it instead of her S&W and pulled the trigger, cackling with glee.

She kicked off her other shoe and it impacted with another face in the crowd. She dropped the ‘banger pistol and picked up a knife lost in the melee. She leapt to her feet and drove the knife to the hilt into the neck of the thug she kicked with her shoe. There was certain finality as Anne spun to see the room littered with bodies. The only ones left alive was her, Joaquin and the final member of Lil’ Cee’s gang. He pointed a pistol at her.

She turned to Joaquin. “You’ve got a fifty-fifty chance,” she said before sprinting towards the ‘banger. He shrugged and fired twice, both bullets striking her in the face.

* * *

Joaquin watched as the ’banger he humiliated on the sidewalk fired his pistol twice. Both projectiles reached their target and Anne collapsed on top of one of the bodies. Tee ran up to her and towered over her body, pointing his pistol at her.

Joaquin watched her body convulse and he knew the moment she died – Tee fell over and landed on top of her. She rolled the bulk off her and sat up. She looked at Joaquin who hadn’t moved since the ordeal started.

Anne rose, facing Joaquin. She smoothed her tattered dress and walked up to Joaquin. During her leisurely stroll, she retrieved her handgun, ejected the cylinder and eyeballed the final remaining .460 before pulling it out. She reached out with her bloodstained hand and grabbed Joaquin by his belt. With her other hand, she pushed the round into his pocket, kissed him on the cheek and whispered, “I hope you learned your lesson.”

16Sunsets – Aftermath

Wassup, BJ? 1232 more 16Sunsets words, bringing the total to 20,143.

About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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