In the End

January 17, 2008
By Zhi Hong Li, Brooklyn, NY

The moonlight followed the descending steps of the staircase. Only on the opposite side of this abandoned subway station was another beam of moonlight piercing through the staircase that led up to the other side of the street. The air was thick and humid. In the midst of silence, a mouse ran in between the subway tracks, squeaking every now and then. An odor that smelled like urine filled the air. Water from the ceiling dripped into the puddle below the track.

I was sweating so much it looked like I’d just came out of the shower. No one, probably except for the bums, would come down here. It was the perfect place to hold a gang battle without attracting attention. But the problem was, we had no clue why we were fighting in the first place. All we knew was to follow orders from our leader. The five of us, including my brother Jack, were waiting at the bottom of the stairs for our opponents.

Jack and I had lived in our grandma’s house since we were little. Our parents died when we were still kids. Grandma told us they were involved with the local mafia and murdered someone. They planned to run away from jail. One day members of the other gang found and killed them in revenge.

Ever since that she made it her duty to remind us everyday, “Don’t grow up to be like your parents.” She believed in the saying “What comes around, goes around.” But she never knew we followed our parents’ footsteps. We secretly joined a gang.

These memories in my mind was soon disrupted by the sound of footsteps. Shadows walked down the staircase on the other side of the station, as if they were people. Three tall and buff teenage guys followed behind the shadows. Our gang had uneasy looks on their faces.

“Don’t worry, we have more guys than them,” Jack said to the group. “We can do this, right Tony?”

“Yeah, no sweat!” I said, but I could already feel my legs shaking.

“Hah, check this out, a bunch of weaklings!” said one of the guys, smirking. The other two laughed.

“What did you say?” Jack shouted, clenching his fists. “Want to see who’s the weakling?”

Soon everyone was swearing. One of the guys pushed Jack on the ground. I approached him behind his back and tried to trip him. He quickly turned around and landed a fist on the left side of my jaw. Then he lifted my body and tossed me down onto the subway tracks. I landed in a puddle of dirty water. I stood up on the tracks, my head still wobbling from dizziness, and saw one of the guys draw out a butterfly knife from his pocket and head towards my brother.

“Watch out Jack!” I yelled as loud as I could.

He turned towards my voice, but it was too late. The knife sunk deep into his heart the moment he turned. Everyone darted towards the staircases and ran at the sight of blood. They all left my brother lying on the ground, the knife still in his chest. Tears like streams ran down my cheeks. I took the knife out of his body. The only thing on my mind was vengeance.

The next day I frantically searched the whole neighborhood. I noticed police cars were patrolling the area. They were probably looking for guy who killed my brother, but I had the knife, still stained in blood, in my pocket. I could not let them find me before I had my vengeance. I ran in fear with my head down, hiding my face from the police. Then someone bumped into me. I raised my head to look. He stood there, eyes as wide as watermelons, and stared straight at me. I found him.

I threw several punches at his head without thought. He collapsed and lay flat on the ground. He was squinted his eyes and tears came out. This was my chance for revenge. I pulled out the knife with haste and aimed for his chest.

“What comes around, goes around,” a voice echoed in my head. I could remember that sweet and gentle voice of grandma’s. I recalled the story about my parents. I realized I was in their same position. If I killed him, I had to hide from the police and his gang for all my life.

I slowly lowered my hand and dropped the knife. Soon the sound of sirens came closer and closer. Police cars surrounded us. He was handcuffed and arrested immediately.

Time has past so fast that it’s already been twenty years since that incident. Every day was a happy day living with grandma. Our days were plain and simple. However, today was a special day.

I took out my pistol and loaded six bullets. I snapped the pistol onto my belt. I was ready.

“Good morning, officer Tony!” said Grandma. “Don’t slack off on your first day!”

“Yes, sir!” I yelled. We both laughed. I walked out the door with my head up and back straight, smiling as I pinned my police badge on my shirt.

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