When I was about 10 or 11, I went to visit my mum. It had been months since I had seen and I hated visiting her but since it was summer I got out voted by the adults who felt that I needed to spend time with her. She lived with her boyfriend who was also a drug dealing gun trafficker. Real upstanding role model. He had a son from a previous relationship who was about two years older than me. We went to the same school but since he was two grades ahead of me we didn't hang out much. Merely smiled and said hi if we happened to pass each other in the halls. Neither of us really wanted to have to explain to our friends how we knew each other. It was an unspoken understanding and we both kept our end of the deal.
However that summer we both were there and attempting to make the best of it. One Saturday night our parents (my mum his dad) went out leaving the two of us alone. There was no A/C in the trailer so we were sitting on the front porch. The porch light glowed behind us as we chatted about school, parents, and not wanting to be there. Suddenly a car sped past. It was a black thunderbird. It didn't go far before it stopped. We could see the red of its brake lights. I remember Junior saying, "Wonder who that is" as the car slowly reversed. It stopped right in front of the house. It seemed like eternity but I am certain only seconds passed as we sat on the porch squinting through the darkness at the figures huddled in the black thunderbird.
That was when three figures exploded from the car and we were bombarded with loud bangs, but mostly I just remember the ping ping sound the bullets made as they ripped through the front of the trailer. I was frozen in place. Fear and the ping ping sound would not allow me to leave that spot.
I most likely would have died that night if Junior hadn't been there. I remember him grabbing my hand and screaming "Run". At his command, my feet unfroze and we ran. Through the night, through the darkness behind the trailer, through the woods, through the fields of corn, through the poison ivy and down a sloping hill. The entire time we could still hear the ping pinging of the trailer and voices coming closer so we ran.
I don't know how long we ran, but suddenly Junior stopped. I slammed into him and he dragged me down behind a tree. He placed his finger upon my lips and pulled me close to him. There under the moon behind a tree surrounded by weeds and creatures of the night we sat and waited.
Eventually the pinging stopped. We heard tires squeal, loud voices, and after what was probably only minutes the bouncing beams of flashlights slicing through the night. We didn't move. I remember my teeth chattering as sweat poured down my face. Junior held me tighter. The bouncing lights danced on all sides of us. We didn't breathe. Finally a voice called out, "Junior, it's your dad. Where are you guys? Are you ok? Come out. They are gone. It's ok now."
Junior was skeptical. I remember his hot breath against my ear as his lips whispered "stay here don't move I'll be right back" and he disappeared into the night. He backtracked, up the hill, behind the bouncing lights, behind the voices, behind me. After he gone as far as he dared go, he finally stepped out into the night. I prayed he would come back for me. The bouncing lights fell upon his face and it was his dad, his uncle, and a friend of theirs. His dad hugged him, asked if I was ok. Junior said "Yes one sec I'll go get her" and he walked to our hiding place and helped me out. I remember holding his hand so tightly but he didn't complain.
My body was almost convulsing I was shaking so hard. His hand in mine and his arm around my shoulder we walked back to the trailer. Back to the ping pinging. As soon as we reached there, I phoned my gran. It would be a year before I visited my mum again. That would a decision I would also deeply regret.