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And then a swarm of bees attacked.

BZZZZZ BZZZZZZ BZZZZZZZ

Bees?

Bzzzzzzz. Bzzzzzzz. Bzzzzzzzz.

My burner phone vibrated on the end table, jumping around and playing the same cheesy ringtone all the burners I’d ever had played. Some fucking happy tune that never seemed to match my less than happy mood.

I was thankful when it stopped dancing. I smashed my face back into the mattress.

Three seconds later it started again, and again I ignored it.

Three seconds after that it started yet again.

Only one person had my number and when I first left Logan’s Beach he called me every day.

I never answered.

The calls slowed to once a week.

I never answered.

When the calls stopped completely I felt a mixture of both hurt and relief.

The phone buzzed for the fourth time and I couldn’t take it anymore. I reached over and pressed the green button, holding it to my ear without saying a word. “Bear? Bear is that you?” a female voice asked.

Doe.

“I’m so glad you answered. You don’t have to say anything, but you need to come home. Something’s happened,” she said, the worry in her voice cutting through my fog.

I sat up on the bed quickly. Too quickly, and saw stars.

“I don’t know where to start. It’s just that…” she paused and it sounded as if she’d covered the receiver with her hand. “You’re so pushy,” she said, but not to me. There was a commotion on the line like the phone was being passed and I knew exactly who it was being passed to, even before I heard him murmur, “I’m going to make you regret that smart mouth of yours after the kids go to bed.”

I didn’t need to hear that shit. It was hard work sustaining the constant headache that pounded between my ears and I needed to get back to it.

“You there?” King asked. I responded with a grunt and the sound of my lighter as I lit a cigarette. The smoke opened up my lungs and sending just enough nicotine to my brain to make the rusted wheels in my head start turning again. “I’m here,” I said in case he didn’t hear my grunt, my voice dry and scratchy. I reached over for my bottle of Jack Daniels but it was empty.

I tilted it back and opened my mouth, the remnants dripped into my mouth.

One, two, three, done.

“You sound like fucking shit,” King said.

“Well hello to you fucking too,” I sang.

“We have a situation here more important than the sound of your fucking voice and as much as I’d like to take care of it for you, I wouldn’t know where to start.”

“What?”

“Gus was here…”

Holy shit.

I leapt off the bed, and again it was too fast because I fell to the floor with a thud. The phone slid across the carpet. Turning over onto my back I grabbed the phone and again held it up to my ear.

At least I didn’t lose my smoke I thought, crossing my eyes to look at the cigarette still dangling from my lips.

“What the fuck is going on over there?” King asked.

I looked over at the clock on the nightstand. “Don’t worry about it. What you should worry about is why a brother is at your fucking door at three o’clock in the morning.” The MC was after me. As much as they’d love to take out King, killing civilians brought too much heat, but I still couldn’t think of a single reason why Gus would be there, other than taking out my closest friend to get to me.

“He’s not here anymore. He had a girl with him.”

“Gus has a girl? He’s an awkward motherfucker, but good for him, I guess,” I said.

“No, shut the fuck up and listen…”

“I’ve got a headache the size of the fucking Grand Canyon so cut the vague shit and tell me what the fuck is so important in the middle of the night that a text wouldn’t have been sufficient,” I said. The popcorn ceiling above me had blackish mold growing in the corners and if I closed one eye I could practically see the patch of fuzzy spores slowly growing into long-term lung issues.

“It’s one in the afternoon,” King corrected. “And I just sent you a picture. Check it,” King said.

Clicking over to the messages a little red number one appeared over the green bubble. I clicked on the icon and when the picture popped up I sucked in a breath. It was a girl. Naked, bruised and bloodied. Her hair was a weird shade between red and blonde.

Pink maybe? Or maybe that was the blood in her hair.

“You get it?” King asked.

“Looking at it now, but why the fuck are you sending me a picture of a dead girl?” I clicked the speaker button so I could talk to King and look at the picture at the same time. She looked familiar. Her eyes were closed and her crazy colored hair was covering most of her face. “I’m not Preppy, this kind of shit doesn’t get my dick hard.”

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