Sammy and Lu followed Alex Harper down the alley towards the back parking lot of the apartment complex, nervous and scared, all three of them were staying as low and quiet as possible.
“Uh, Mr. Harper?” stammered Sammy.
“Yeah, what is it boy?”
“Are you taking us back into the apartment complex, back towards the bad guys?” whispered Sammy.
“No, of course he’s not Sammy! Mr. Harper isn’t a dummy.” interrupted Lu.
“Well, yes I am.” said Alex flatly.
“That sounds like a really fucking stupid plan Alex!” scolded Lu.
“Yeah, we’ve slipped past those monsters twice today, and both times we’ve burnt their faces, I don’t think lady luck is going to shine thrice.” Sammy worried.
“Kids.” barked Alex “It’s going to be just fine. I’ve got a plan.”
Sammy and Lu looked at each other in the way that only people with a psychic connection understand. They could still hear the behemoths cursing and stamping around Sammy’s apartment. They continued to follow Alex through the alley into the lot behind the apartment building, towards the manager’s apartment, which was set off towards the back of the lot, not connected to the rest of the building, it’s own building adjacent to the apartment’s laundry room.
“Wait. Fuck. Alex! I mean Mr. Harper” Sammy, exasperated “Are you taking us to your place?” His arms popped into the air and then fell deflated to his sides.
“Yes. It’s safe. Those jokers don’t know who I am, where I live, and if they have half a brain between them, they’ll not think for one second we’d run off to another apartment here.” Alex explained. “It’s fool proof.”
Sammy and Lu shared another look, but this time they decided Alex wasn’t so crazy after all.
“Welcome to your salvation.” Alex beamed as he threw open the door, and ushered Sammy and Lu inside.
The inside of Alex’s apartment was not at all what either of them expected. His home was clean, and beautifully appointed. Everything had a modern sleekness, with straight lines and a simple but refined color palette. Concrete floors, stainless steel, and nondescript abstract art adding a pop of color in just the right places. It felt as if they’d stepped out of the parking lot of a low rent apartment building, through a magic portal, into a high priced penthouse thirty stories into the clouds.
“I. Well. This is.” Lu’s turn to stammer.
“Mr. Harper, this is surprising.” Sammy filled in.
“What? A guy can’t have taste in this neighborhood?” Alex frowned.
“No. That’s not it. It’s just…” Lu trailed off as another piece of art caught her eye.
“It’s fine. I know what you mean. It’s odd.” Alex confirmed.
“But here’s the real coup de grâce.” Alex swiped his hand over a part of the back wall of his living room, which began to recede to reveal an arsenal; large hand guns, shotguns, knives, and assault rifles. Drawers of ammunition, and a rack of flack jackets.
Both Sammy and Lu’s jaws dropped.
“What in the actual fuck Alex!” gasped Lu.
“A man needs peace of mind in this neighborhood Lu.” said Alex. “Anyway, those boys show up here, and we’ll be ready.” Alex grinned.
Back at Sammy’s trashed apartment the Tong brothers are holding a tiny phone up between them, their massive shoulders pressed against one another, tiny heads leaning in, trying to hear their now livid boss’ whispering.
When Mr. Li got really mad he whispered.
“Find them. Find them. Find them. Find them.” Mr. Li continued to whisper over and over.
Eddy looked at Daniel and knew exactly what he was thinking.