Chapter 3

A loud swearing was coming from the entrance of Gideon's pawn shop. Gideon, the owner, was a short, fat man with wild eyes and such a voice that the crow's cawing, in comparison, sounded like a nightingale's song. Gideon and Tin Tin were arguing over some blood-stained merchandise Tin Tin was trying to trade. Finally, Gideon managed to send Tin Tin away, seeing him out with a racist insult. Tin Tin returned the courtesy, gave him the finger and closed the gate.

"Lucky I didn't stab your fat ass", he muttered, and walked off.

Meanwhile, several meters above the squalid maze, a crow was flying over the rooftops; with the same gracefulness, a bride followed, running noiselessly across the roofs. The dark red stains of blood that speckled her white dress made her look like a giant, beautiful butterfly.

Suddenly, the crow landed, and Shelly stopped beside it. A familiar image formed in front of her gray-blue eyes: a muscular Afro-American man with a trench coat. One of them. The piece of shit that cut her throat. And there he was, right below her.

She let herself fall down, and with the lightness of a cat she landed on her feet, some steps far from Tin Tin. The odious knife-thrower saw a white, veiled figure coming straight towards him and, much strange to him, he began to feel uneasy. Then the figure got more sharpened before his eyes: a punk chick with a wedding dress. He snickered.

"What happened to you, pussycat? Your hubby won't fuck you on your wedding night?"

But, very much stranger to him, as the punk bride got closer and closer, his feeling of unease began to turn into something else. Fear. He pulled a knife and challenged her.

"Come on, dolly."

Before the blade could touch her, Shelly had already pinned him down in the mud, and they fought. More surprised than angered, Tin Tin hit her in the face with a powerful fist, and the woman, showing no sign of pain, turned her face back to him and smiled, a smile that froze Tin Tin's blood. She punched him square in the face, sending him against a wall. Tin Tin was stunned and scared. This woman was nearly half his size, but three times stronger. Something was wrong.

The woman went to him and kept him pinned against the wall.

"Murderer!", she growled into his face.

"I ain't murdered nobody, I don't even know you, what the fuck you want?", he cried like a little boy.

"I want you to tell me a story. A man and a woman in a loft, a year ago." There was an increasing rage in her voice. "You killed them both, on Halloween. I'm sure you remember… You cut her and raped her!"

"Yeah, yeah, well, a couple of fuckers, whatever. Why the fuck do you care?"

Shelly slapped him.

"His name was Eric! You stabbed him! You shot him!"

"Yeah, Eric… What a flight we made him do, I'm sure he loved it!", Tin Tin insinuated, then suddenly, taking advantage of Shelly's painful memory, he hit her hard with his head. Then he took a lead pipe and began hitting her on the back.

"Let me tell you about murder", he shouted, "it's fun, it's easy!"

That's the problem, Shelly thought angrily. It's too easy. Dying is so easy, while coming to life is so hard…

The blows with the lead pipe would have left even a bodybuilder with broken bones, but Shelly got herself up effortlessly, fixing her veil and facing him. Deep inside, Tin Tin was scared to death, there was something definitely unnatural in this chick. But he didn't give up. He took off his trench coat, and pulled two knives.

"I'd like you to meet two buddies of mine. We never miss."

He threw his first knife, but Shelly ducked it. Tin Tin tried to repress the uneasiness thinking it was only luck; but when he threw his second knife and Shelly deftly batted it away, he began to worry.

"Try again, try harder", she said, with a hint of mockery in her voice.

Maddened, Tin Tin threw a third knife, and this time Shelly caught it between her hands. Before Tin Tin had the time to realize he was in trouble, Shelly threw the knife back at him, nailing him in the wall by the shoulder. In a flash she was before him, pulling a knife and pointing the blade at him.

"Victims", she said. "Aren't we all?"

And she stabbed Tin Tin square in the chest. Luckily he didn't pass away at once. Shelly drew some precious information out of him, then slowly cut his throat. She used his knives to stab him in each organ and watched him die, enjoying every second of his agony.

Sarah skated towards The Pit, and entered the dive. At one of the tables she spotted her mother Darla, necking with Funboy. She approached them and boldly sat at their table, letting out a "ahem" to get their attention. Seeing her, the two looked annoyed.

"I told you to stay outta here Sarah", her mother weakly said.

"So I guess you're not gonna be home till a lot later, huh, Darla?"

Sarah had stopped to call her 'mom' a long time before. It was senseless. Darla had barely taken care of her when she was very little, and now she didn't even seem to care if her own daughter was alive or not. Yet Sarah didn't hate her. The clever teenager knew it was because of drugs, and despite feeling so loathed at the sight of her own mother so weak, so pale, dressed like a bitch and surrounded by the scumbags' dirty attentions, she kept caring about Darla.

"She's busy", Funboy unpleasantly replied, "Go play with your dolls."

"I don't have any dolls."

Darla gave her some money. "Get some food."

"Somebody already bought me dinner.", Sarah said. She had been offered dinner by Officer Albrecht earlier that night. They had become close friends since Eric and Shelly's death.

"A policeman", she added, looking at Funboy and hoping to see him behind bars for the rest of his useless life. Then she took the money and walked off.

Eric, Shelly, I miss you so bad, my pals, Sarah thought, with tears in her eyes.

Officer Albrecht and his boss Officer Torres watched Tin Tin's body being carried off. It looked like a giant, bloody pincushion. On the wall, a huge crow had been sketched with Tin Tin's blood.

"Who's this sack of shit?", Torres asked.

"That's Tin Tin, one of T-Bird's men. I think you can rule out 'accidental death'", Albrecht replied.

"Don't any of these street-demons have real grown-up names?", Torres commented, snickering.

Albrecht was serious. "It doesn't look like your usual gang crap."

"Come on Albrecht, spare me. You're a beat cop now, so be a beat cop."

"I'm supposed to thank you for that, right?", Albrecht said irritably.

"A word to the wise," Torres said. "Watch your fucking mouth."

Then Torres's eye was caught by the giant crow blood-sketch. "And what the hell is that?"

"I call it blood, detective," Albrecht said. "But I suppose you'll write it up as… graffiti", he finished with sarcasm.