By Thalia


Leaning on his broom, he was watching the sunset, letting the quiet of the evening wash over him like a comforting blanket. He didn't need to look at his watch to know it was time to close the shop. Sighing, he went back inside, crossed the now empty main room and headed for the stockroom and the back door to take out the trash. He was ready to turn back inside when the still of the evening was suddenly broken by shouts coming from the front of the street.

Frowning, he stepped to the edge of the shop, staying in the shadows to look into the street… and froze. A crowd of Anderson's Grey Coats gang was pushing a black boy in front of them. He had been gagged and his wrists were tied. And they were heading straight for the Fists' stronghold, on the other side of the cemetery. His eyes suddenly flared. He knew the boy. Had met him a few days ago while asking Mr. Potter for a summer job in his shop. And he had seen him in the Rez too, talking to the Shaman. He was known among the people for his gift at healing although he was still quite young by white people standards. For the tribe, such a gift at healing should be taken care of and nurtured and so Kojay, the Chief, had intervened and agreed to have the young man learn of their ways, even though he wanted to become a doctor in the white school. Jackson, yes, that was it, his name was Nathan Jackson. But how had the Grey Coats gotten their hands on him? Nathan would never knowingly try and walk across Little New York on his own…

Still wondering, he walked back into the shop, his first intention being to call the cops. The gangs knew better than to walk across Four Corners like that, brandishing their insignia. The sudden scream of tires had him running to the front door. There, on the street, a red jeep had come to a stop in front of the group of teenagers and a busty blond jumped out of it, like propelled by a rocket.

"What are you doing here?" she yelled at them. "You know very well you cannot be here, not with what you're wearing!"

"Outta my way" the one that seemed to be the leader yelled. And when she wouldn't move, "What? You wanna fight it out with me, girl?" He leered and walked towards her… to suddenly scream as she threw herself at him, nails first landing on his face to leave bloody twin tracks. Furious, he backhanded her and she fell into the dust, dazed by the shock…. But not for long! She sprang to her feet and looked around her for someone that could help her. But people just turned their back on her. They were certainly not ready to get between a gang and their prey, even if said gang was on their territory. She just heaved a disgusted sigh and followed the crowd still trying to come up with an idea to help Nathan.

That had him thinking. It would take them about 10 minutes to walk to the cemetery… maybe enough time to ask Kojay's son, Chanu and his friends to stand guard so nobody would cross the border to the next district. Or maybe not… they were not ready to step in between Black and White people just like that, even if the Black boy concerned was a gifted healer they cared for.

Taking a deep breath, he was about to step into the street to see what he could do to help, when Mr. Potter came out after him.

"Boy, if you go after them, you won't find a job here anymore."

"No problem, Mr. Potter, I don't aim to die with a broom in my hand anyway," he gently smiled at him and gave him back his apron.

"At least, take that, it could be of help," the old man gruffly said, thrusting a baseball bat in the boy's hands.

"I've always loved a good game," he chuckled and as he was about to step out of the boardwalk into the street, something made him lift his eyes and look straight across the street into another pair of eyes asking him a silent question.

What crossed his mind at that moment, he didn't know. The strength he could see in the clear green gaze lifted a weight off his shoulders he didn't even know he had. He wouldn't stand alone in this. Silently, he nodded and started walking down the street after the crowd.

"If we cut across St James' Street, we should be just behind them, Chris," said a quiet voice on his right.

He turned to look and all he saw was another tow-headed teenager with dark brown curls looking straight ahead of him. The one on his left that he assumed was Chris, stopped and turned to the kids that were following them.

"JD, Ez, I think it would be better if you got back home… besides, you can always stop on your way at Mr. Potter's and call the station. Now JD," he interrupted the kid who was ready to protest, "you don't want to get caught in that and I have no time to discuss this with you."

"JD, kid," the brown-haired one interrupted, "you know we can't help the guy if we worry about what happens to you… now, you don't want him to be lynched and us to be beaten because we would have been worried about you," he added, hardly able to resist the hurt in the boy's eyes. "If you go and call the station, they will believe you. You live with us and the desk sergeant knows it too. You just have to say it's an emergency, is all. Come on kid, you're our back up here, you know… we'll go in easier if we know for sure you've called the cavalry. Go now!" He pushed him towards the shop.

"Ez," Chris started…

"I'll keep an eye on the kid, Mr. Larabee," the other kid said, following in JD's footsteps.

"Okay," Chris, sighed, "Buck, it's you me and…"

"Vin," the other boy introduced himself, "Vin Tanner," and then he turned back to the task at hand.

"This way Vin," Chris showed a street on the left, "it's a shortcut to the cemetery." And the boys started running towards the encounter, their hearts in their throat, not knowing what would happen in the next few minutes or so, but very much aware of the fact that their lives were in the balance.

Unknown to them, two figures stepped out of the shadows and followed them.

"Lucky the phone was free and the Lieutenant was there," JD smiled.

"You are totally right my friend," Ezra smiled back. "And now, for some fun…" He wriggled his eyebrows mischievously.


To Street Gang V