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She stood wishing she knew what time it was as the blanket of darkness crept around her, inveigling her. She wanted to leave to give in to the darkness, to return to its shadows, creeping back to her home. But she didn't. She waited. He was supposed to be here by now. That's the problem with working with people, they were never reliable, never trustworthy. Trust. Everyone always told her that she needed to learn how to do it, but never again. The last person she trusted... She let the thought drift off as her hand automatically massaged the scar on her neck. She remembered, no matter how much she wanted to forget.
Finally out of the shadows, a man slunk toward her. He wore a business uniform, she wondered idly, how bad of an idea this really was. Growing was one thing, you didn't have to talk to people, you just had to be with the plants, to nurture the plants. Plants never hurt her, sure they could die, but they could always be grown again. Selling was an entirely different thing. You could get hurt if you sold. Thrown in jail. You never know who to trust.
“You've got the stuff?” he asked, his voice was deep, but he spoke in a whisper. It was like a loud hum. She nodded and held the small bag out to him. He looked at her, but could only see her hand sticking out from the safety of the shadows. His face scrunched up as he squinted into the dark. “What kind did you say it was?” he asked quietly, but she was already walking away. She'd written it on the bag. It was called, Crystal Angel. He'd never heard of it before, and he was a cop. He'd heard of everything. Kids these days, the names they invented. He shook his head in awe.
He came back again the next night, and she was there again. But he could never see her face. She was different from anyone else he'd ever met. She was almost like a shadow. When he'd called her back, that night, she didn't make small talk. She just answered the phone, it was quick and sweet.
“Hello?” She spoke so quietly, he almost couldn't hear her.
“I would like another twenty. But could we meet somewhere else, that place seems a little sketchy,” he said in hopes she would pick a place that had less shadow. He didn't really care about her he wanted to find out who her supplier was. He needed her to trust him, so she would confide in him. But this may be harder than he thought.
“No,” she answered and hung up the phone. This was why she didn't sell, people always wanted to know her, to understand her. She knew she was “different,” but it didn't matter to her. He called her back seconds later, like she knew he would. She knew everything about him. She could see it on his face. He didn't plan on smoking what she gave him. Plus, she could see the shiny silver of his badge sticking out from beneath his jacket. Idiot.
“Yes.” She was going to sell to him again. Even though she knew who he was, she needed the money. Besides, he wasn't the type to just arrest her and get one dealer off the street, he was trying to take down the whole operation. But he wasn't as smart as he thought he was.
“Fine, we'll meet at the same place.” She hung up saying nothing. He knew the time and place, all he had to do, was bring the money.
She waited, the rain soaking through her black overcoat. Her hands were shoved deeply into its pockets. One hand was wrapped loosely around the bag, while the other hand was wound tightly around a sharp switchblade. She had learned not to be afraid. Fear led to hurt. But with no fear, there was no anger. She was happy with her life. Though, her brother, he thought she was sad. He always tried to help. But there was no such thing as help, not from him anyway. She shuddered, as the man appeared. She'd heard him coming, he didn't have quiet feet, he stomped into the puddles of water heavily.
She was still hidden in the shadows, no light touched her other than the arm that she held out to him. He took the baggy and pulled a pipe out of his pocket. But when he looked up, she was already gone.
“Wait!” he called out desperately. “Don't you want to match?” Suddenly, she was behind him. When she spoke, he jumped and tried to keep away the scream that had risen in his throat.
“No. I don't want to match,” she answered quietly, her hand wrapped tighter around her knife. His eyebrows furrowed as his racing heart began to slow.
“I'm giving you my money, the least you could do is indulge me,” he said trying to keep the annoyance from his voice.
“No.” He was desperate, he needed to catch her supplier. His informants told him she bought from one of the biggest distributors in the state. The cops had been trying to catch them forever. But the dealer was nearly untraceable. There was no evidence linking anyone with these people except this girl. He supposed they were part of the mob or something. He was wrong, dead wrong.
“Fine, I'll pay you three times as much. Let's match, please,” he begged, feeling stupid. She didn't say anything, for a moment he feared that she had already left, but her hand shot out of the darkness. He pulled sixty dollars from his jacket and laid it gently in her palm, before loading the pipe.
“What's this stuff called?” he asked taking a hit. She stared at him wondering if he was really asking her that. She pointed to his pocket. He pulled the bag out, it was the same stuff she'd given him the night before. He'd taken it to the lab and had it tested to make sure there were no chemicals in it. The scientists had told him it was completely organic. He handed her the pipe and she took a long hit before suddenly dropping it onto the concrete ground, where it shattered into a million pieces.
“What the hell was that?” he barked angrily. But she was already backing away into the shadows, far away.
“What the hell are you doing in my territory?” she heard a man's voice shout. His voice wasn't as deep as The Cop's, but he was menacing. He was twice as big as the muscular cop.
“I'm...” his voice started out strong, but he faltered as the man pulled out a knife. In this area, no one used guns. Everyone used knives. “I was just buying.” The Cop backed slowly away from the other man.
“Just buying?” the other man sneered. “Buying from the enemy. From Dark Angel? Why the hell would you do that?”
“Dark Angel?” The Cop asked slowly, a victorious smile spreading across his lips.
“What? Are you some kind of...” his voice trailed off and he took an imminent step toward The Cop, his knife held out in front of him. “Cops have no place in this area. Especially not cops trying to take out Dark Angel. She has her own way of dealing with people like you. I would runaway far away and never return. Never try and find Dark Angel. Don't come anywhere near her. She knows everything worth knowing about you, the first moment she meets you. She'll never trust you. Ever.”
“You don't know who I am, or how many connections I have. Thanks for the tip, but I really don't think I should be listening to another drug dealer. In fact, put your hands behind your back, you're under arrest.” The man laughed viscously, but made no move. “Tell me your name.”
“My name?” he asked incredulously. “My name is The Panther.” Now it was The Cop's turn to laugh.
“The Panther? That's even stupider than Dark Angel. At least Dark Angel is kind of scary. But The Panther?” Dark Angel shook her head and silently stepped closer, watching. This cop was stupider than she'd originally thought he was. He probably had a gun just at arms length, but still. The Panther had his name for a reason. One that she knew all to well.
Why hadn't the cop been there a year ago. When she was under his care? Why couldn't he have been there, then. Again she reached up to her neck and gently rubbed the scar. Why hadn't the cop been there three years ago when her parents... Well when her parents were killed. Why hadn't they come then? Now he was here, and he was going to get hurt. She thought about stopping The Panther. But she knew she wouldn't do it. Couldn't. No matter how much she hated him, she hated the cops even more.
As The Panther stood silent, she could see the impending fate of this cop. It was the same fate as her mother and father, and many others. The Panther was evil. Pure evil, he played with his prey. Making them think they have some kind of a chance, when they have little. He was the kind of person that would fight to the death, and if he went down, he'd be bringing you with him.
“Turn around now!” The Cop commanded, but The Panther ignored him, as he did most people. Dark Angel watched almost intently at the scene that was being played out in front of her. She wished that she could have been back home, with her beautiful plants. She wished she could smell the wonderful scent that filled her nose every second of the day. She wished so much that she could be curled up between her animals, tending to the warm fireplace. But she was here. Standing in the pouring rain watching. “Come on now, Panther, if you just put the knife down, and come with me, you won't be in that much trouble.” But still, The Panther was silent. He was waiting for The Cop to make the first move. But maybe, just maybe, The Cop would give up. Maybe he would leave. Dark Angel hoped that he would, she hoped there would be no blood shed today in front of her. But she knew death was imminent. It always was when The Panther was involved. He loved to spill the blood of others. It was one of the only things in the world that made him happy.