Drive by Wolf

By: Jordyn Tracey

Chapter One

This shit doesn't happen in the city. Not in my neighborhood.

What fool's dumb enough to take their trash out after dark round there unless they're packing something big and powerful? Not me. Like I told Derrick, my teenage son, if it's not in the alley before the moon rises, well the trash men won't get it until the next go round. That's the rule. But you already know the rules are made to be broken. And always at the most inopportune time, when you're about to get your life rearranged for you.

That particular night when it happened, I was home alone. Derrick was spending the weekend with his Dad. You know the type, the kind that comes around only when it's convenient and when he has a little change in his pocket he can use to buy my son's love. People say you can't buy a kid's affections. Yeah well, they haven't been a fourteen year old boy with friends who have the latest PSP, handheld, cell and whatever else they can get their hands on these day. Don't get me wrong. Derrick knew his father's game, could smell his bull long before he rang the bell once every six months or so. But he wasn't stupid enough not to smile and kindly thank his father when he was showing off either. So he went along for the ride. I was pretty confident that loser wouldn't taint my boy's sharp mind in just two days. That left me with the trash he forgot to put out, and the smell of rotting food I could smell on the way down the steps 5

as I went about cleaning the house. There was nothing worse than scrubbing and cleaning everything only to have it ruined by the stench of day old fish.

When I couldn't stomach it anymore, I broke down and bagged the stuff up, changed the trash bag and stood at the back door peaking out. I was hoping one of my neighbors happened to go out too. For a minute, I thought about calling Ree next door to see if she would watch me as I went. What was the use of that when I knew Friday night meant my girl was humping it with her latest man, either in her bed or his. That girl was freaky. I admit I was jealous, but damn she had some hot muscle in and out of her house for months, a different one every week. Shouldn't be any surprise though. Boyfriend fifty-five, or whatever, paid for some body work and now Ree was so hot, I almost wanted her—if I went that way. Which I didn't.

The back alley was quiet. I had to hand it to the folks in this block, they kept it clean. That didn't stop the druggies sliding through or the drive bys, but it was a least some small comfort. Normally, Mr. Jenkins across the way had a flood light that came on when there was movement, and most of the time it just stayed on—maybe it picked up the neighborhood strays—but tonight it was out. I almost didn't go out there.

Finally, I slipped off the chain, turned the key in the dead bolt and followed with the lock in the doorknob. When that was done and I had opened the door, I had to use another key to unlock the screen door. Can't be too careful. 6

As I inched open the screen, I couldn't remember if the security system had beeped because I opened the door. Not that it was active. I couldn't afford the bill. The system had come with the house.

With my throat dry and no spit to wet it, I stumbled down my steep wrought iron steps to the ground and ran to the end of the yard. All the while I was trying to pick up if anybody was ready to jump me or shoot me. I couldn't hear a thing over the jingle of my earrings I had forgotten to remove after I got home from work, and my fearful breathing wasn't helping either.

"Shit, shit, shit," I whispered, finding my trashcan turned over and the top missing. The night was too dark and I was too scared to fumble around for it, so I just tossed the bag in, yanked open the gate and threw the trashcan down the steps to the alley. Of course it fell over and the contents sprung out. Mr. Jenkins would lecture me on that, so I better get it. I searched the area. Voices of guys laughing came to me from somewhere further down. A bottle broke, and someone cursed another person out for it. I still couldn't see them. With my attention on righting the garbage and trying to be sure the guys I heard weren't headed my way, I didn't even hear the thing sneaking up behind.

Like I said, in this neighborhood, you're scared of getting shot, not bitten. Yeah, you read that right. Bitten. The thing grabbed me before I knew what was happening. An arm wrapped around my waist, jerking me off my feet, a good foot higher in the air. Enough to get my neck right where it needed it.