The Battle of Moneyton

Twenty-three years-old was far too young to be looking into the mirror and not seeing anything looking back at you, but Sierra Mills quit seeing herself at least two years ago. She pulled the brush through her long black hair and did not think at all about what was on the other side of the mirror. She winced as she powered the brush through a "rat" in her hair.

She was still pretty enough to use her looks to score enough cash to satisfy her master. But, the sharp model looks that she had as a teenager had been dulled by years of painkillers and nerve pills. Her master was the drug. She felt like a marionette puppet. She just went through the motions as the drugs pulled the strings.

She was a white girl but her skin seemed to have a natural tan. Her younger brother Carson used to tease her that she was half-black but Sierra's mother denied ever sleeping with a black man.

Sierra could not even remember who she was supposed to go out with tonight, she just knew her date was supposed to make the evening worthwhile. In other words, the puppet master would be happy one more night.

"Sierra! Bring me another cigarette!" Sierra's mother Patty yelled from the next room. Sierra quickly complied and took her mother another L&M without saying a word. "What time are you getting back?" Patty quizzed her daughter.

Sierra shrugged her shoulders on the way back to the bathroom to finish putting her makeup on. Patty yelled out again, "Are you getting enough to get a half?"

Sierra shrugged her shoulders again and said, "I don't know Mom, I'll make it work out somehow."

"Well, don't be getting none of that crap Blue has. It sucked last night. Try to get some of G's. It's been pretty good lately."

Sierra dabbed some makeup on her face and said, "I got off of the phone with P and he says he's on his way back from Detroit with some fire. He says he's got some hot shit he hasn't cut yet."

"Damn!" Patty cussed but in a good way. Try to get some of that. It's probably pure until he cuts it."

Sierra tried hard not to think about what she was going to do to be able to appease her marionette master. At times, it just seemed like she dropped back and put it on auto control and the puppet master pulled the strings and made it all happen.

Patty was a beautiful wide blue-eyed beauty when she was Sierra's age. Alcohol was her drug of choice at the time. It gradually turned to Xanax and nerve pills and then after a car wreck and being through down the steps by a former boyfriend, she developed a taste for painkillers. Taste was a mild description of her addiction, obsession was a better word.

The pills and shots took its toll on Patty's looks. She was now approaching fifty and barely resembled the beauty she once was. She probably would look years younger if she had her teeth. She lost some teeth in a car wreck but had dentures. One day she was sick and throwing up in the toilet. Sierra was trying to help and was flushing the toilet as her mother puked. Unfortunately, Patty's dentures fell into the commode and Sierra flushed them. A year later and Patty was still toothless. Her jaws were beginning to sink in and her looks continued to deteriorate.

"Sierra, please try to hurry back. I'm getting sick already. Please don't stay gone until two or three. If you want I'll call and say I'm sick and you can tell whoever you are going out with that you have to take me to the hospital."

"Mom, just be patient. If you start rushing me I won't get as much money. I'll be back as soon as I can. If we get some of P's stuff, we will have to wait for him to come back into town."

"Well, don't wait too long on P, you know how slow he can be, just grab some of G's then. I'll be half dead before P gets back."

It was Patty Mills who introduced addiction to the Mills clan. Now, not only Patty and Sierra were trapped but also Patty's twenty year old son Troy and Patty's brother and sister. Several cousins were also chained to Heroin addiction.

Patty was addicted to OxyContin and was a regular at the pill mills of Southern Ohio in the mid 00's. She had been in a car wreck and upped her addiction from alcohol to painkillers. The pill mills would charge her $200 a visit. They did not conduct much of a checkup but would hand a prescription for around 180 OxyContin and 60 Xanax a month.

Soon, Patty was doctor-shopping for local drug dealers making trips to Florida and bringing back pills for the dealers. The dealers would send her down in a van full of addicts who would visit the clinics and buy pills. The dealer would let them keep a fraction of the pills and would pay for all expenses. It was a win-win situation for all involved because while the addicts walked away from the trip stoned, the dealer would get a large amount of product to sell at a high markup on the streets of Huntington.

As the states and Feds began to crackdown on the pill mills, painkillers began disappearing from the streets of Huntington. There were so many people addicted to the painkillers that the demand for product was high. Prices of painkillers increased.

The supply was low due to the crackdown of prescription painkillers. The demand was high and the addicts began looking for ways to scratch their itch. Soon, hundreds of drug dealers were bringing Heroin down from Detroit. Heroin was cheaper and stronger than Oxies so Heroin got popular quick.

The drug dealers of Detroit called Huntington - "Moneyton." They brought the heroin which was cheap in Detroit and sold it high in Huntington. Before long, Huntington was crawling with drug dealers. Crime was up as addicts ran out of money and began robbing to get the money for drugs.

Sierra started drinking at 15. Patty preferred that Sierra drank at home where she could monitor her and let her friends come over and drink. Patty figured that Sierra was going to party rather she liked it or not so she let her do it at home instead driving around with drunk friends.

Sierra soon graduated threw all of the gates. She started partying at Patty's and smoking marijuana with her friends. She then started stealing Patty's nerve pills when Patty got too high to watch over her pills. At 17, Sierra's boyfriend got her hooked on OxyContin. She started stealing them from her mother.

It was Sierra who then got Patty addicted on Heroin. Once, the pill mills were busted, the Mills' had to get their drugs from the street. Of course, the cost was way more than what they could afford as Patty received a social security check and was also supported by her boyfriend.

The puppet master, Heroin, had Sierra by the strings. Sierra did what she could do to please the puppet master. She found a few older boyfriends with money and drained them dry. Before long she had a habit over $100 and would share some with her mother. The first few years, Sierra could come up with the money. Incredibly, the cost was often $300 a day or $3000 a month. She had to work harder and harder to come up with the money. It was getting harder. Her looks were being ravaged by the drugs. The drugs were ravaging her body and she was having seizures.

A horn honked outside and Sierra yelled, "I'm leaving, Mom!"

Patty didn't even ask who she was leaving with, she just yelled, "Please hurry, Sierra. I'm getting sick.

Sierra walked out the door as the puppet master pulled the strings. She was sick too but the puppet master warned her not to show it or she wouldn't get the money. So the brave marionette headed out and got into the car of a man she had been talking to on the internet.

THE MAYOR OF MONEYTON

The Mayor of Huntington Rick Mason stood looking in the mirror primping his hair. He'd finish it off with a thick coat of hairspray. Image was everything to Mayor Mason. Unlike Sierra Mills, he saw exactly what he wanted to see when he looked in the mirror. He was in love with the man on the other side of the mirror.

"You about ready, Rick?" asked Mickey Hastings, Huntington's Director of Communications. Hastings was a younger version of the mayor. Like Mayor Mason, Hastings had a lean football player's build. Both men were around 6 foot 4 and had broad shoulders. The Mayor played tight end for Marshall University in the late 70's and had not gained too much weight. He had about 20 pounds on Hastings.

Both men liked to look immaculate and looked like they walked off of the cover of GQ Magazine. Hastings was twenty years the junior to the mayor who was rapidly approaching fifty. The two were close friends. Hastings was often referred to as the mayor's shadow or even worse - the mayor's lapdog.

"Just about," The mayor answered. "Got to look just right for these news conferences. It will be on all of the local channels tonight."

Mayor Mason loved the media even more than they loved him. In fact, Hastings was an-ex writer for The Herald-Dispatch. He used to lob softball questions when the mayor was running for office and newly elected. He also wrote favorable articles which provided free publicity for the mayor which is why Hastings not only got the job but he got it for $52,000 a year although council originally only approved $32,000 for the job when it was first created.

This was a big day for Mayor Mason. He was introducing his "Clean Up Huntington" program. Although "Beautify Huntington" was an award-winning program that physically cleaned up Huntington, this was not an effort to actually clean the streets of Huntington, but an effort to take the drugs off of the streets of Huntington.

"This is history," Mayor Mason grinned as he straightened his tie. "I have to look mayoral." Mayor Mason never met a camera he didn't like. In fact, he never met enough cameras. He loved to get his picture taken more than a teenaged beauty pageant winner. Mayor Mason wanted to be Governor Mason someday. He had every step calculated and every move he made as mayor debated in backroom meetings. Nothing the mayor did was unplanned, he was as programmed as a brand new office computer. He hired loyal friends he knew well to be his staff. Some called it "cronyism" and a thank you for helping him to get elected, but the truth was he felt secure around his cronies. He was on this ride for long haul which in his mind would be the capital in Charleston.

Huntington Police Chief Mike Nichols walked into the room and patted the mayor on the back. Nichols was a grizzled long-time street cop. He had a no nonsense attitude and was a key figure in getting the mayor to attack drug dealers. Nichols was part of The Old Centurions in the late 90's that warned Huntington officials that eventually they would be overran with drug dealers from Detroit.

The problem was evident back then as local jails began to fill up with Detroit residents. Many of the prisoners had tattoos on their knuckles that said M-U-N-N-I-N-G-T-O-N. The name evolved to Moneyton and as the problem got worse the name got popular. Back then, it was crack that was being brought into Huntington. It was centered mainly around Hal Greer Boulevard - the black part of town.

The pills hit in the 2000's and although some were coming from Detroit where they were bought cheap and sold higher in Huntington. Many of the painkillers came from Southern Ohio pills or Florida. Now, with Heroin the top dog in Huntington, Detroit was back on top as the top source.

For a decade, the drug trade was Huntington's dirty little secret. The drug activity was there and every now and then a murder would land on the front page of The Herald-Dispatch but city officials looked the other way and scoffed at a drug problem. In fact, when Mason was elected in 2012 he defeated Mayor Frank Wilson. Wilson not only ignored the drug problem but bragged that he his performance was so strong as mayor that the crime in Huntington was the lowest since the 80's. He said it was finally safe to walk down the streets of Huntington at night.

On the day Wilson was defeated by Mason, a double murder occurred in Huntington in which two Detroit drug dealers were shot and killed for their heroin. Heroin was mainly used by whites so the drug problem spread from the black part of town to basically everywhere. No neighborhood in Huntington was immune to the new epidemic. When the white sections of town began being affected, the cry for action to stop the epidemic increased.

Mayor Mason took the podium with a sense of urgency. The usual camera-esque smile was gone. Mayor Mason was proclaiming war. Pounding on the podium, he barked: "Our great city will no longer tolerate the presence of out of town drug dealers feeding off of our sick and addicted. If you are a drug dealer you better get out of town because we are coming for you!"

Prosecutor Mark Harding walked through the door. Looking up, the mayor pointed to him and proclaimed, "Welcome, Mr. Mark Harding, our new prosecutor, this is the guy that is going to put the drug dealers in jail once our police chief Mike Nichols and his officers put them in jail."

Rick Mason was an enthralling speaker. He pause and smile and then hammer ahead with authority. He spoke about how the religious community needs to ban together and help change the culture. They need to help create the feeling that drug dealing is no longer socially acceptable.

There is strength in numbers and the citizens of Huntington need to quit looking the other way when they see drug activity or run like scared rabbits. They need to make the dealers scared that they know what is going on.

The thing is that the mayor ignored the drug problem as long as he could. He did not want to deal with it. Several advisors told him if you admit that your city has a problem than there is a chance that people will blame you because you are the one with the power to fix it and you have done nothing about it. He was encouraged to only say positive things about Huntington. He never wanted to point out anything negative.

The problem just would not go away. When it spread into influential neighborhoods and the middle and upper class had to deal with their homes being broken into and robbed, then the residents started crying for something to be done.

The Mayor's Beautify Huntington campaign won a national contest . He made changes to the budget and had a surplus the first year. Mayor Rick Mason was everywhere. He was at supermarket grand openings, he was at Marshall University. He was literally everywhere there was a camera. He was on the news so much that viewers probably thought he worked for the TV station. There was no denying that Rick Mason was a popular mayor. Everybody loved him.

But then the drug problem got worse and worse. Murder victims and robberies were becoming the only things that made the news more than Mayor Rick. Then some goofy local activist named Alligator Jackson started writing blogs and books about the drug problem.

Then, neighbors who heard Jackson's rants and people who got houses broken into started calling the mayor's office and writing letters to the editor of The Herald-Dispatch.

Mason and his council and advisors met and decided that something had to be done. The Mayor decided to re-allocate some funds and put them into a fund that raised $500,000 to hire more officers. In reality, 8 more officers was not going to solve the problem but this was a smoke and mirror move that would give the illusion that something was being done. The Mayor was also calling on citizens to help. He was on the news night after night calling for the city to ban together just like Alligator Jackson was.

When the inevitable arrests started rolling in they were spotlighted in the media. The city seen that something was being done and the mayor was a hero. The police chief had been around long enough to know the problem would not go away. Quite simply, the city could not afford to fix the problem. They did not have enough jails to hold the druggies of Huntington. Court expenses would go up and there would be a backlog that would jam the system up forever if the drug dealers and users were prosecuted.

But, there were some getting prosecuted and the media got a lot of mileage out of each one that did and so did the mayor's office. The plan was that they could create the impression that the city was winning the battle because of high profile arrests and trials but more dealers were coming into replace the ones taken off of the street. The hope was the arrests would stay in people's minds and then be used in commercials for the mayor's re-election. Mayor Mason would brag that he fixed the problem and his leadership was crucial in getting the drugs off of the street. That would buy him another four years and then by the time people figured out that there was still a drug problem in Huntington, Rick Mason would be packing his bags to move to Charleston to be Governor of West Virginia.

“Nice job!” Mickey Hastings proclaimed as he clapped and smacked the mayor on the back as he came backstage from the podium. “You nailed it! This will be the front page story tomorrow!”

“We already have the story to go next to it,” Police Chief Nichols said as he hung up his cellphone. “They just made a raid down in the Highlawn area over on 27th Street. We’d been tracking a couple of heroin dealers for a while and felt this was a great time to bring them in. A perfect companion piece on the news to your speech and program.”

Mayor Rick was proud of himself and of his chief, as he grabbed his police chief in a bear hug, he said, “Operation: Clean-Up Huntington is now officially underway!”

Prosecutor Harding walked up and shook hands with the mayor and said, “Great speech, Rick. You know how to inspire the people. I just heard you already have some new prisoners for me!”

Mayor Mason smiled wide and blurted, “It’s just getting started, Mark. I promise that you are going to be one busy little public servant.”

Mickey Hastings shook Hardings hand and said, “Better get some rest because we are just getting started. We have the broom out and we are going to sweep these streets clean.”

Police Chief Nichols stepped up and shook the prosecutor’s hand as well and added, “I’m going to create all of the work I can for you. If I get my way, you won’t get much sleep. We are going to hit them hard and often and drive them back to Detroit.

Mayor Mason was on top of the world as he strutted through the blinking flash bulb lights smiling for the cameras and shaking hands. The only thing missing for him was a baby to kiss, Mayor Mason could teach a class on public relations and self-promotion. He was a machine: a big giant political machine and when that machine started rolling it was going to be hard to stop it.


No Love For Moneyton


G pressed down on the gas and the 2006 Chevy Malibu roared across the 6th Street Bridge and two more Detroit drug dealers approached Huntington city limits. G lit another cigarette as his cellphone rang. “Hey, Baby Girl, where ya at? We are just crossing the bridge back in town. We are back in business again. The shop is officially open!” G was laughing as he talked into the phone.

On the other end, Sierra Mills had just completed phase one of satisfying her marionette master as she counted the money in her hand. “Good, Baby. I miss you. Are we going to hang tonight?” Sierra purred into the phone.

“Sure thing. We are headed back to Rocco’s crib. Gotta set up shop and get ready to make some paper. Got some fire, time to turn it into cash!” G laughed as he inhaled deeply, he could smell the money already. The old Malibu was loaded down with fresh heroin from Detroit. Baggies were stuffed everywhere in the car. There were baggies in the tires, baggies in the vents of the air conditioner, and baggies hidden everywhere in the car. There was almost $50,000 worth of dog food in the car and it certainly wasn’t Alpo!

“I’m at Speedway on Hal Greer. Swing by and pick me up. I’m standing out front”, Sierra was getting excited. The marionette master had pulled the strings and she responded by coming up with money. Soon, the heroin master would be proud and Sierra would be one stoned little puppet. The process never ended and never would. Heroin is a greedy master and never gets tired of pulling the strings.

The silver Malibu picked up Sierra and she swore she could feel the H as she climbed into the back of the vehicle. The heroin master was getting excited as soon the fresh H would be pouring from her rig into her arm and all would be right in her puppet world. If the puppet master was happy then the puppet could dance and dance she would.

G was just another thirty-something thug from Detroit. He was just another street thug in The Motor City barely getting by. But in Huntington or Moneyton, as he called it, he was a thriving businessman. He was the supply simply meeting the demand.

He did not see himself as a snake spreading poison. In his mind, he was an entrepreneur simply building his empire.

At 6 foot two and with an athletic build, G (as he called himself) drove the young white girls of Huntington, WV. Crazy. He did not know if it was his street charm, his bulging muscles, or his Detroit drugs; and he did not really care which it was. He was somebody in Huntington. He did not have the fancy degrees like many of his customers, but his phone rang all day long, his wallet was stuffed full and he never slept alone.

Huntington was his kingdom. He had access to everything he wanted. He currently stayed with his cousin Rocco who was also his partner in the drug dealing business. The man sitting next to him in the car was his associate Reggie. Like G, Reggie was from Detroit. He did what Reggie told him to do.

Reggie was 6 foot three and powerfully built like G and while he called himself G’s muscle, G was more than capable of handling himself. In fact, G was proud of his reputation for tuning people into his point of view. Not only did he put the Marshall University college punks inline when they did not see things his way but he also had a reputation as a scrapper on the streets of Detroit. He had a raging temper and even though theoretically it was Reggie who was supposed to handle the fighting, G very rarely let Reggie fight alone.

Like many drug dealers from Detroit, G enjoyed the white girls of Huntington as much as he enjoyed their cash. The booty was just another perk of the job of being a drug dealer. He never sampled his product but he often sampled his customers. The white girls were not only status symbol for him but they also provided him with things.

Like other drug dealers from out of town, G never put his name on anything. The drug dealers always put the lease of the apartments they lived in, the title of the cars they drove, and all of the utilities in the names of gullible young girls. If something bad went down or the crib got raided, then the girls would get the blame and the dealers would move on to the next girl and set up shop again.

Sierra Mills was a hustler like G. She was just in it to keep the heroin master from yanking too hard on her strings. She went out and did what she had to do to keep herself and her mom from getting sick. She was trying to find her prince and fall in love or even trying to make a dollar, she was just trying to please Master Heroin and to make the string-pulling stop for a while.

The Malibu pulled up the hill on Marshall Avenue and headed for the house that G shared with Rocco and that Reggie crashed in too. As they started to turn into the driveway, G spotted a young clean-cut white male of about 25 walking through the yard to a 2012 green Mustang parked on the road.

“That Motherfucker…I can’t believe he is at my house,” G shouted as he brought the car to an abrupt halt and sprung out of the car and rushed toward the man. “What the hell are you doing here. You better be bringing me my money.”

The man was startled and stepped back as to defend himself, “Hey, man. I don’t have your money now. I’m just here to see Rocco. I’ll have your money next week.”

“You thought I was out of town, huh? Well, guess what Fucker? I’m back and you have about thirty seconds to give me my $600.”

“Dude, I don’t have any money now. I just came to get a fifty from Rocco. I’ll have your money next week.”

“It’s been over a month and I’ve been out here hunting your ass down and could not find you anywhere and then damn… when I least expect it here you are – at my crib.”

The young drug addict was about an inch bigger than G but lacked the dealer’s muscle. At this point, the young addict know as Jimmy Garrett did not care about much at the moment except answering to the string-pulling of his own marionette master. He just craved a nice warm shot of heroin right now and he was not going to let this street thug stop him any longer. He reached into his jacket pocket and started to pull something out.

The sudden movement was all G needed to see, he responded by reaching into his own jacket and pulling out his gun.

From the Malibu, all Reggie could see was two guys reaching in and pulling something out and then the flash of a weapon discharging. He did not even hear the noise he was already in action. Reggie sprung from the car and pulled out a weapon his own. It was all instinct now, he was just making the moves and providing the backup. This was just another show of force like he had done many times on the streets of his native Detroit.

For Sierra Mills, it was all about instinct as well. She was not thinking about much of anything she was just responding to Master Heroin. Soon as Reggie was out in the yard and away from the car, Sierra felt the tug. The tug was Master Heroin tugging on her marionette string with extreme force. It yanked her up out of the back seat and behind the wheel of the running car.

Sierra Mills yanked the car into reverse and was soon ripping out of Marshall Avenue and onto Hal Greer Boulevard. Sierra Mills had just hijacked $50,000 worth of Heroin. This coup should certainly satisfy her master for a while.

If she had been thinking, she probably never would have done what she did but her instinct to please her master kicked in. She knew the first thing she had to do was get her mother. She knew that soon G would be hunting her down and she was not sure where would go but knew he would kill her if he found her. Her mother did not have a phone so Sierra had to go get Patty.

When she pulled into the apartment on First Avenue and 27th Street, she could hear screaming coming from inside the apartment. She walked in and it was her mother Patty arguing with her Unle Jimmy.

Jimmy was furious, “Damn it Patty. Just give me my heroin back. I just passed out for a minute. That is all the money I had for a week and that was going to keep me from getting sick. Now, I’m not going to be able to work!”

Patty was sitting on the sofa trying not to look at her brother. “Jimmy, if I had it I’d give it to you, I don’t have it.”

Sierra knew this game well. There were five people who lived at this one bedroom apartment and they were all addicted to Heroin. Every time someone would fall asleep they would be stripped of money, drugs, cigarettes or anything of value that they had. It was a cruel, sick game but it was a way of life for the Mills family addicts. One day they were the winners of free drugs but the next night they may be the unlucky victims pleading for their stuff back.

Sierra rushed in, “Mom, we got to go. Get what you can grab and hurry we have to leave. Uncle Jimmy, you need to come too and so does anyone else here!”

Patty grabbed her daughter, “Did you get anything? Where’s it at!”

Sierra shrieked, “We don’t have time we have to go!” Now!”

Jimmy was furious, “I want my heroin Patty! I had about sixty dollars worth. Sierra, tell her to give me my dope!”

“I don’t have time for this”, Sierra said. “Mom, grab a few clothes, we have to go. Someone is trying to kill me!”

“Do you have anything?” Patty asked her daughter.

“Yes, Mom just some things, we have to go! Come on, Uncle Jimmy, some guys will be looking for me. We’ve got to go!”

“I’m not going anywhere. I ain’t afraid of those punks you run around with! I just want my dope back!”

“Please, Uncle Jimmy, is Angie in the bedroom?”

“She’s sleeping, leave her alone, we will be alright!”

“Please, they will kill you!”

“I can take care of myself, just bring me some dope back!”

Patty did not know what was going on and did not really care, she just wanted some more dope on top of what she stole from her brother. But she figured her daughter had some so she followed her to the car.

Sierra put the car into reverse and soon they were gone. She had no idea they where they were going to, she just knew her and her mother were proud owners of a Malibu full of heroin.

Reggie and G were furious. They threw the punk’s dead body on the ground and soon G, Reggie, and Rocco were in Rocco’s mini-van looking for a 2006 Malibu worth $50,000 and a soon to be dead heroin addict.

The trio made their first stop at Sierra’s apartment. G ripped open the front door and walked inside. Jimmy jumped up off of the sofa and said, “What the hell are you doing in my house?”

G looked sternly at him, “Where’s Sierra?”

“I don’t know a Sierra. Get the hell out of my house!”

Reggie said, “She ain’t gonna be here, she’s out shooting up that fire!”

G looked at him, then pulled out his gun and shot Jimmy straight in the forehead. He fell to the ground. G then walked into the bedroom and shot Sierra’s aunt Sheila in the head. The three had left their message and headed back out to find Sierra.

"Jesus Christ...what is going on here?" Police Chief Mike Nichols asked as he approached Detective Jerry Moore at the crime scene where Sierra Mills' uncle and aunt were shot to death. Nichols pulled out a cigarette and added, "I'm assuming this is related to the other murder."

Jerry Moore was a black Huntington Police Detective who had been on the force for ten years. This was the worst case Jerry had ever seen. "There's still a lot we don't know, Sir. It looks like some of the drug dealers the DEA had been tracking are involved. There was a scuffle on Marshall Avenue and the dealer known as G, Rocco Martin, and another associate were likely involved. One of the suspects shot and killed someone who had been at the house. Then, they jumped in a 2009 Chrysler mini-van registered in Alexandria Douglas of Huntington's name and came down here and shot Jimmy Mills and his sister Sheila Mills in the head. Both were close range shootings. Very messy crime scene as you can see."

"Very many people coming forward?" The chief inquired.

"That's a strange thing about it. In the past, with the whole snitches get stitches thing, no one wanted to come forward. But we have the cooperation of at least four people this time around."

"Very nice. I think the mayor's speech is bringing people together. I think people realize they don't have to go it alone. Anything stand out to you before I get a debriefing and hold a press conference?"

"Well, it looks like to me these murders here were about sending a message. I don't think the dealers found who they wanted. More than likely, they have been robbed and are searching for the people that did it. Three murders in two locations and they are definitely related because the mini-van was spotted in both places. Also, there was a 2006 silver Chevy Malibu spotted here just minutes before the shooting. Just my instinct, Sir, but something tells me that the driver of the Malibu is who the murderers are looking for?"

"Makes sense. Good observations. Let me know if you get any info from any of the neighbors. I got to run up here and see what else is going on. Thanks, Detective."

Detective Moore looked at all of the action going on. The crime scene was now full of HPD officers scrambling around and the scene had been lined off with yellow tape. Reporters were now on the scene and Moore refused to comment to two of them. He walked over to two police officers Angie Williams and Roger Terry.

Terry shook his head as Moore approached. Terry said, “Worse crime scene I’ve ever seen.”

Jerry Moore looked at him sternly and said, “I’ve got a bad feeling that this is the beginning. I think these guys are looking for something and are going to leave a trail of bodies until they find it.”

Officer Terry responded, “This city is Moneyton tonight. It’s getting hard to refer to the town we grew up in as Huntington. It’s just not the same. It is Moneyton. This city is becoming the drugs. This is heroin at its’ worst.”

Detective Moore grimaced and said, “No love for Moneyton tonight. No love for Moneyton tonight. God help us.”

ON THE RUN

Patty got into the car as Sierra went speeding into the night, “Did you get anything at all? I’m getting sick, Sierra.”

Sierra looked at the road and without looking at her mom, she said, “Mom, the car that you are driving is full of heroin. I’ve got G’s whole load that he was bringing back from Detroit.”

Patty looked at her daughter and without any emotion, she said, “You’re kidding me.”

“No, Mom. I’m not. I really wish I was, but I’m not.”

“Well, I’m sick. You need to pull over and get me a shot. Then we are going to have to figure this out.”

“Oh, yeah. They are going to kill us. They killed a man at Rocco’s. G was fighting with him and when Reggie got out to help, without thinking, I jumped into the seat and drove off.”

“We’ve got to get out of here, Sierra. But first I need a shot. How much do you think it’s worth.”

“Oh, there should be at least $30,000 here maybe more. G keeps blowing my phone up.”

“Well, let’s do a shot and then we will go out to my Uncle Eddie’s out in the country. We will be safe there until we figure something out.”

“Well, we are on the run, there’s not much to figure out about that. He will have everyone looking for us. It’s too late to even give it back because he will kill me anyway.”

“Sierra, please pull over. I need a shot. Now! This is too much for me.”

Sierra had driven the car across the 6th Street Bridge and was now in Chesapeake, Ohio. She pulled off to the side of the road. She found some heroin in the vent and began to prepare a syringe full. Her phone rang again. She said, “It’s G. Maybe I better answer it!”

Patty warned, “There’s ways they can track you. If they see we are in Chesapeake then they will know we are on the run.”

“They can’t track it without equipment.”

Patty pleaded, “The shot, Sierra, please give me a shot!”

Sierra dug out some heroin and loaded up a syringe. After she took a shot she handed it to her mom and played with her cell phone. There were several missed calls from G which she expected. She looked at her texts. The first text said, “YOU ARE ONE DEAD BITCH.” The text did not shake her up too much much because she expected as much.

As Sierra read the text, Patty said, “Tomorrow, you will need to dig the heroin out of this car and sell some and we will go to Florida until G quits looking for you. We can stay in the country tonight, but you’ll have to slip some of it tomorrow.”

Sierra’s eyes flew open as she read the next text, “Oh my God,” She gasped. “Mommy, they killed Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Angie!”

Patty did not say a word, she did not want to acknowledge that it happen. Deep down inside, she figured something like that would happen, she knew the Detroit dealers were ruthless and would not stop they got what they wanted.

Sierra sobbed while Sierra sat looking straight ahead in stunned silence. Sierra frantically searched the internet and after visiting WSAZ’s website, she shrieked, “Mom it’s true! There is breaking news on WSAZ’s site about three murders.” Sierra was nearly hysterical as Patty just stared straight ahead.

Patty’s thoughts were now focused on her son Bubby and her boyfriend Matt Jones. She knew that G knew where they could be found and they certainly would kill them if they killed Jimmy.

Sierra was screaming and crying at Patty, “Mom, did you not hear me? They have killed three times tonight, they are going to kill us! There is nowhere to hide! They know everybody. They’ll put a hit out on us!”

Patty still did not react. She pulled out another cigarette and lit it. “I need a coffee”, She said, referring to the Starbuck’s energy coffees that she sipped on throughout the day.”

Sierra was still shrieking like a mad woman, “Mom, did you not hear what I said. The text says, “Your aunt and uncles brains are all over your walls.””

Sierra grabbed Patty as to shake her and yelled in her face, “They are killing anyway close to us. They are going to kill us. Why are you not crying.”

Patty knocked her daughter’s hands away from her face and asked calmly. “What did you think they were going to do when you took their dope, Sierra? Did you think they were going to laugh it off and say they would forgive you this time? You know the game.”

“Game? They killed your brother and sister. They will kill us.”

“Call your brother, tell him to get somewhere safe, Sierra. We will seek shelter tonight but in the morning we are going to have to slip some of this heroin and get some money to get out of town.”

Patty Mills was certainly a drug addict. Her main concern in life the last few years was getting high. There was still enough of the old Patty left; however, to realize that the game has changed. She didn’t have to worry about her heroin for a while since the car was loaded with some of Detroit’s finest heroin, but she realized that in order to enjoy the heroin that she would have to stay alive. Patty Mills also realized she had to keep her children alive as well. So now that the buzz was assured, the name of the game was now survival.

Troy Miller was an enigma of sorts. To many people, especially those who left their car doors unlocked, Troy Miller was a worthless punk. Troy liked to smoke pot and shoot up heroin. He did not do a lot of heroin, he usually just shot up his mother and sister’s rinses. The rinses alone would give him a buzz. Troy did not like to work too much.

The enigma part was Troy actually had a good heart. He did not want to hurt anyone, it’s just that for some unknown reason he thought it was okay to take things from unlocked cars in order to get some money to buy some heroin. Even if he was working some, he did not help with any bills or even buy his own cigarettes. If he worked and brought home $300, then you could count on him spending all $300 on drugs before the weekend ended. In a twisted way, he figured he may as well not work because he never had money even if he worked.

He had been busted four times in the last two years for breaking into cars. Usually he serves a month or two in jail and then was back on the streets to open more unlocked car doors. He was a sweet-natured and respectful kid and always treated the magistrates with respect. Either the magistrates bought his good kid act hook, line, and sinker or Huntington’s legal system just did not need another resident in their jails. It was like catch and release, they would catch him and put him in jail for a little while and then let him go until he swam back under their nets again.

When they caught him, he was another positive statistic. Someone would get a pat on the back for catching him and then he ended back on the streets soon without anything to make him regret getting caught.

On this night, he had been out trying to find some easy money and was walking back to the apartment for a while until later, then he would go back out while most of the city slept. Troy preferred the night shift as most thieves do.

His first view of the apartment was one of red and blue lights. The lights surrounded the apartment. He first thought they were looking for him but then he realized there was too many to bother with him. He ran toward the apartment. He began to panic when he noticed the yellow crime-scene tape surrounding the apartment and ambulances.

As he approached the crime-scene he was stopped by a young cop he did not recognize. In a panic, he blurted out, “My mom, my sister….what has happened to them?”

The young police, Drew Davis, stopped him abruptly and yelled, “Stop! You cannot go in there!”

When it became apparent that Troy was going in anyway, Drew grabbed a hold of him and eventually pulled him into the ground. Huntington Policeman Joe Williams recognized Troy as he had arrested him once and questioned him on another occasion at this very same apartment complex.

Troy pulled away from the younger policeman and headed back toward the doorway when Officer Williams interrupted him by stepping in front of him and extending his arm out to him.

“Hold on, Son,” Joe Williams said stopping him. “Just slow down for a minute. There’s two people dead in the apartment but it is not your mother and sister.”

“Where is Sis and Mom. Mom! Sis!” Troy yelled out in sheer desperation.

“We need to talk about a few things, but you are going to have to calm down first. Let’s step over there and you need to catch your breath. Calm down and we can figure a few things out.”

“I need to find my mother Patty Mills and my sister Sierra Mills. We live here!” Troy Mills was a naturally hyper kid but there was so much adrenalin shooting through his body he looked like a flag blowing in the wind. His 6 foot 2 skinny frame but cut, muscular arms were literally bouncing up and down. His head was shaved and kept bobbing up and down and reflected the police lights as he moved.

Troy Mills loved his family. He felt guilty because he never carried his share of the weight and even often stole off of his own mother and sister but he would go down fighting for them. If they were in trouble, he wanted to be there.

“I have seen you around and talked to you before but I can’t remember your name,” Williams said in a calm voice. “We do not know where your mother and sister are. There are two bodies and according to ids we found it is Joe and Angie Mills.”

“That;s my aunt and uncle,” Troy cried out. “Who killed them?”

“That is what we are trying to determine. There was a red mini-van with three spotted here by the neighbors. All three were black. One was heavy and two were about your size and one had a little more muscle than you. Any idea?”

“Rocco! Rocco has a mini-van. The other two live with him. Reggie and G. But they were out of town.”

“Out of town? When and where?”

Troy blurted, “They left yesterday to go to Detroit to pick up a load.”

Williams asked quickly, “Heroin. Was it a heroin run?”

“Yeah. Yeah.”

“Also, there was a silver Chevy Malibu here earlier. Could that of been your mother and sister’s car.”

“We don’t have a car. That sounds like a car I’ve seen G drive.”

“Really?” Joe Williams was puzzled.

“Yeah, in fact, I believe that’s the car they took to Detroit. We bought some H from them before they left. Their last pack and they were heading out on the road. Yeah, they stopped here and dropped it off to us.”

This was starting to make sense to Officer Williams. He had been on the force for 12 years and had seen just about everything in this town. He had not seen many triple murders but he had seen a lot of bad situations. He was beginning to feel that somehow the car with the drugs had ended up in Sierra and Patty’s possession and that the Detroit dealers were engaged in a bloody chase to get back their possessions. Of course, there were other possibilities but this was the best working story he had at the moment. He still needed to see more pieces of this puzzle to guess what had really happened. But this very emotional young man had delivered a few pieces of the puzzle.

Troy settled down a little but then realized an urgency to get away from the police and find his family... or what was left of it. He answered a few questions and tried unsuccessfully to call Sierra's cell phone from the officer's cell phone. He got away as soon as he could and went off running into the night. He was not sure where but he ran any way.



Scott Stallings was tired and weary has he got out of his pickup truck at Speedway on Third Avenue in Huntington to get gas. He had just completed a long night of work the CSX Railroad shops and was heading home to his girlfriend Patty Mills and her family.

He was a tall skinny gray headed man who looked every bit of his 55 years. He put out a little cigar as he reached for the pumps and slid his credit card through.

He had just reached for the pumps when an older model Ford Taurus pulled up beside him. A black man stuck his head out of the window and asked, "Where's Patty?"

Scott started to ignore them at first but then just shrugged his shoulders and stuck the gas hose into his tank. As an afterthought he mumbled, "Dunno. I've been at work!"

"Well, goodbye you goofy piece of crap," The man said and as Scott looked up at him, the man revealed a gun. There was a loud bang and the car whirled away into the night. A lady getting out of her car screamed as Scott Stallings flopped against the pumps and slumped to his death. Blood streaked down the pumps marking the fourth Huntington murder of the night.

11:15 Saturday Night

"That bitch will be smiling when she sees me because I'll cut her throat from ear to ear!" G yelled and pounded on the dash of the car. Rocco, Reggie, and G had made several calls alerting everyone to be on the watch for Sierra Mills and her mother Patty and Troy Mills. The trio were not aware that Troy was out in Huntington on his own. They had assumed he was with Patty and Sierra.

Reggie looked out at Hal Greer as they passed by. "They've got to turn up somewhere. Too many people are looking for them. The only place they can run to is to relatives out in the country."

G added, "I know Sierra to well. She's going to try to move some of the H and get some quick cash. When she does we will nail her. I can't believe that hoe did this crap. What was she thinking? She knows good and well I'll kill her ass and kill her slowly."

Rocco yelled from the back seat, "Oh yeah, we have a lead on Cousin Cindy. We start cutting that nasty bitch's fingers off and she will lead us to any possible place that Sierra could be. She knows everywhere Sierra goes. She's at The V Club. Let's go get that skank!"

Reggie chipped in, "We got to get this done tonight. The heat is on about the murders. We got to get to Detroit sometime tomorrow or there may be no getting back!"

"Oh, we will have that bitch tonight. There's nowhere for her to hide. This is her last night. Her blood spills by daylight," G said with a smirk on his face.

11:30 PM

Sierra started out 52 in Ohio then stopped the car and headed for the other lane. Confused she pulled over to the side of the road and put her head in her hands. "What are we going to do , Mother? I want to drop you somewhere in the country and go find Troy but I am so confused. Why did I do this?'

Patty comforted her, "It is already done, Baby. We just have to live with the consequences. We have thousands of dollars. If we make it through the next few days, we can start over, maybe Florida. You aren't dumping me anywhere. We do need another vehicle and I know where we can find one. We've got to get a hold of your brother. I know you don't want to be traced but you are going to have to answer all calls in case it is him trying to find us."

"But mom, our phone is almost dead. Where are we going to get a vehicle? We don't have time, we have to find Troy before they do."

A text from G came through, it read "Bang Bang. Blood on the gas pumps. Your boyfriend’s dead, Patty!"

Sierra yelled, "Oh my God, Mom. G says they shot Scott!"

Patty did not respond. She just looked straight ahead. Right now, she just wanted to find her son. She just wanted her babies safe. Now that she had all of the heroin she could possibly shoot, she did not even want another shot.

11:25

Mayor Rick Mason scrambled up the steps of Huntington City Hall and headed into the building with a sense of urgency.

Mickey Hastings was already there and ran toward the mayor. Mickey said sternly, "The War Room is set up and the coffee is made. It's going to be a long night."

Police Chief Mike Nichols was in the War Room and stood up when the mayor walked in and said, "we are setting up road blocks. We figure these thugs are going to try to hit the road to Detroit and disappear as so as they get what they find what they are looking for."

Mayor Mason picked up a cup of coffee and a glazed Krispy Kreme donut and said, "Mickey informed me of the details on the way in. Chief, give me your insight of what is going down and what we are looking at."

Nichols said, "We have talked to several informants and the streets are on fire. Three dealers going by the names of G, Reggie, and Rocco brought in 40 to 50 grand worth of heroin. One of the dealers killed an addict named Brad Morris at Marshall Avenue while this happened a girl named Sierra Mills jumped from the back seat and drove off."

The mayor chipped in, "So she now has the drugs and the car and these guys are killing everything in their path looking for her."

Nichols shook his head yes and said, "Yes, sir, we now have four victims including the girl’s aunt and uncle. The latest victim was shot at 3rd Avenue Speedway as he pumped gas but we do not know how he fits into all of this yet."


Mayor Mason looked around the room at the activity as his staff started putting maps and diagrams on walls and making phone calls. The room was buzzing as city hall came alive on a Saturday night. The police station was busy as well but the mayor wanted a front row seat of the action.

The police chief was examining a map of the murder scenes and said, "What it comes down to is a race. We have to find the killers before they find the girl and the drugs. If they find the girl they will kill her and disappear to Detroit and we will never find them."

Mayor Mason pointed out, “We have to catch them tonight! We have no choice! This is the perfect way to kick off the new no tolerance on drug campaign. If we catch them quick then we are heroes and we are guaranteed the next election. We lose them and we are done! Tonight is our most important night since we have been in office!"

Mickey Hastings added, "It is Saturday night so the papers are already printed for Sunday. There is not a local newscast until 6 tomorrow. Of course, we still have the internet and good old fashioned word of mouth but we have time to spin this. We can have them in custody before most of the city even knows about it and avoid public anxiety and fear over this."

Mayor Mason had a gleam in his eye and a grimace on his face as he banged on the table and shouted, "No matter what we catch them tonight. No matter what we have to do this is going to end tonight. Call everybody in and call local departments. I don't care how we do it, those killers are going to be behind bars tonight!"

11:45 In Ohio

Sierra jerked the Malibu up Slate Run Road in rural Ohio and went bouncing down a rocky road. The car came to a sudden stop outside a broken down trailer. Sierra hid the car behind some weeds and grabbed several packages of heroin as Patty reminded her three times not to forget the heroin. They would dig out the rest of the heroin from the car the following day.

Uncle Willy came hopping out of the trailer and fired up his old maroon Mazda. He displayed his two handguns and a rifle to his relatives and they were soon barreling back down Slate Run Road.

"Where to?" yelled Uncle Willy over the sound of the car slamming across rocks.

"To Huntington." Sierra shouted. "We've got to find Troy and slip some heroin. Do you have any money Willy."

"No, I don't. I'm flat busted."

"Well, hit a Speedway. As much as we don't want to see we are going to have to lift a car charger. My phone is dead and we have to keep in touch with what is going on."

Patty added, "You know they are going to be watching anything open. How are we going to get in and out of there? It's not worth the risk."

Sierra looked at Uncle Willy and said, "You are going to have to lift one for us, Willy, while we hide."

Uncle Willy said, "Hell no!" as he shook his head. Uncle Willy was a lot of things but a thief was not one of them. He was the only one they could trust. He was actually Patty's Uncle although he was only three years older than Patty. He was as redneck as the Huntington area got. He was covered with a beard that was about four different colors and was not well-trimmed at all. In fact, instead of a beard it was like a collection of neglected hair that just accumulated over a period of time.

Uncle Willy was fearless perhaps because he just did not care enough about anything to get excited. He loved Patty and Sierra and would do anything to help them although he would complain about it the whole time. He constantly gave Patty and Sierra grief but he was the only person they could count on and the only person they knew that would not run if things got tough. Uncle Willy would surely use the guns if he had to... and he might use them even if he did not have to.

Willy stopped abruptly at the beginning of the bridge leading from Proctorville, Ohio to Huntington, WV. He said with a smile, "all right, you two, in the trunk."

Patty looked at him, "What? I'm not getting in the trunk."

Willy looked serious now, "Listen, I'm not getting killed over you two. We don't know what's happening over there. I don't want to steal anything but if I'm stealing a charger then you can ride a few blocks in the trunk. Now, come on, we don't have time to argue about this."

The two females reluctantly climbed into the trunk. Willy could tell as soon as he entered into Huntington that this was not an ordinary Saturday night. He passed two police cars in the two blocks that it took him to get to 29th Street Speed on Fifth Avenue and when he pulled onto the lot, there was a police car parked there.

Willy walked into Speedway to steal a phone charger so Sierra could turn some heroin into cash.

The tall, balding cashier was cleaning the coffee bar when Willy walked in. The clerk recognized the bearded man as a regular beer customer and said, "The city is on fire tonight. There's a drug war being fought in the streets. A dude got popped at the 3rd Avenue store. Dealers are firing at cops."

Willy got close to the charger display and looked out the window at the traffic rolling by. He said, "Lots of traffic for this time of night".

The cashier walked and looked out the window. He said, "Everyone is looking for a girl who lifted 50 grand in drugs from a D boy. The D boys have banded together and are tearing up the town. I think it is about more than the drugs. I think it's a war between cops and dealers as well. The cops are cracking down on drugs and the dealers are using this as an excuse to show force and fight back."

Willy snuck a charger into his pants and said, "It's all going down tonight, huh?"

"There's been tons of cops in here tonight. State troopers and DEA are coming in. There is talk of the national guard being on hold."

"One little girl causing all of that shit, huh? I know a few like that", Willy said with a chuckle.

"Well, in history class they always said that the Viet Nam War was a war in proxy between Soviet Unionand us, so in that school of thought, this is a war in proxy between the law and drug dealers."

Willy walked toward the door and said, "Bad thing is the people getting killed are innocent in this."

The clerk answered, "Ain't that the way it is with most wars?"



11:45 Fifth Avenue



Troy Mills emerged from the shadows long enough to go into the 7-11 store on 5th and 19th. He was greeted by a sloppy fat male cashier sitting on a couple of milk crates turned upside down. Troy approached the cashier and asked desperately, "Can i use your phone, please? It's a matter of life and death."

The cashier noticed he was shaking and sweating and he handed Troy the store phone and said, "Just don't be on there for more than two minutes or I'll get in trouble."

Troy tried To call Sierra's number three times but never got an answer. He asked the cashier if he could borrow his cell phone to send a text. The cashier gave him a disgusted look then handed him the phone.

Troy sent a message to Sierra that read: "trying to find you don't know what's going on don't know where to go Jimmy and Angie dead ill call when i can am at 7-11"

He thanked the cashier and went back into the night. He was running back into the shadows.

The clerk picked up the cell phone as the boy left and pushed a button. He said into the phone, "G, I think one of the people you were looking for was here. It was the kid. He was alone, on foot, and scared."

11:45 at V Club

Cindy Taylor, Patty Mills’ cousin, was not hard for G to find. One of his runners, Blue, picked her up at the V Club. She could be found partying at the V Club every weekend. She was a hardcore needle jockey. Once married to a Lawrence County, Ohio Deputy, she was now so committed to heroin that she did not even know where her two kids were. She became defensive when someone mentioned that and she swore she did not abandon them although she had not seen them in nearly eight months.

She would get drunk at The V Club and look for some rock. If she did not find any by 3 AM, she would find someone to sleep with for a few bucks.

Tonight was her lucky night as Blue promised her a nice big rock out in the parking lot. She did not expect to see G but she really did not think much about it as long as he had some heroin for her. The tall, bone-skinny blonde climbed into the back seat of a gray Jeep Cherokee and sat next to G.

“Okay, Cindy, I don’t have time for games tonight so we are going to play just one game. It is called “Live Or Die”. You have three chances to take to where your cousin Sierra is. Now, you want to really think about where she is at. Because, the first strike will cost you a finger. The second strike will cost you a hand. The first strike will gain you something. The prize is a free bullet in the head and an all-expense paid trip to the morgue.”

Cindy tried to play her usual game of being innocent. With a forced laugh, she said, “Now G, if I knew where Sierra was, you know I’d be with her. The girl knows how to find heroin better than anyone. But, I have not seen her,” she acted coy as she tried to turn and make her way out of the Jeep.

G pulled her back in and said, “I know I made it sound like it was a game but it’s really not. She has something that belongs to me. I’m dead serious. You better pick the three best places you can think where she would go. If we find her, you live and you have a rock that will last you a long time. Think real hard. I want your first guess in one minute.”

Realizing the graveness of the situation she was in, Cindy started playing her second favorite game – crying. She gushed, “G, if I knew I’d tell you and if I knew what she had done I certainly wouldn’t be where you could find me.”

G looked straight into her eyes and said, “30 seconds.”

Cindy squealed, “G, quit playing around. You know if I knew where she was I’d tell you.”

G glared at her and said, “Take out your cell phone right now and call her. She may answer for you.”

Cindy called and Sierra had had her phone on the new car charger for a few minutes and it rang through. At first, Sierra was not going to answer it when she saw it was Cindy but she was afraid that it was Troy who had found Cindy and was calling on her phone.

Cindy said, “sierra, I’m here with G and he says he is going to kill me if you don’t say where you are. What is going on?”

Sierra pleaded, “Cindy, get out of there. Run! Get away from in!”

Cindy thought she was playing a game now and added, “Where are you, let’s straighten this out before he kills me!”

G grabbed the phone, “Give me my stuff and I’ll let you go!. Just tell me where you will park the car and you can walk away!”

Sierra thought she could bluff him and said, “I’ll leave the car at the flood wall downtown.”

“Girl, I’m not playing any games with you. Where are you right now!”

Reggie had steered the Jeep out of the V club parking lot and they were now closing in on the west side of Huntington.

Patty screeched to Sierra, “Hang up before he somehow traces the call!”

G snarled into the phone, “Tell me where you are or I’ll kill her now!”

Cindy was not sure what was going on or how real the situation was and did not know G had already killed 4 people tonight. Cindy thought she was playing along and squealed, “Tell him before he kills me!”

The Jeep had now passed RT Champs. G held the gun toward Cindy’s head and pulled the trigger. The gun made a loud noise. Sierra screamed on the other side of the phone. Blood squirted against the Jeep’s window. G opened the door and shoved the body out on the road as

Reggie slammed down the gas and took off toward Ceredo, West Virginia.

Sierra was hysterical, she quite simply could quit screaming.

“Jesus Christ! Quit screaming,” Willy yelled. “You should of known what you were getting into when you took the money. Thirty thousand is not worth getting your head blown off or looking over your shoulder the rest of your life. But, there is no giving the stuff back, so don’t even think about it. He’ll kill you either way now!”

Patty was silent as she just stared at the windshield. She had spent most of her life with Cindy. They were very close growing up. Drugs brought them even closer together and they spent many hours plotting how to come up with drug money and finding the drugs. Drugs was their culture. It was their hobby, their value system, and basically all they knew. Now, her cousin was dead and perhaps her and her daughter were going to be next.

Sierra was shaking. All she could think about was why did she steal the car. She wish this would all just go away. She knew things would never be the same. She was beginning to see there was no way to survive the night.

Suddenly, a text came through. It was her brother texting on a 7-11 cashier’s phone. She had to rescue her brother.

She yelled, “Troy texted. He’s close to the 7-11 by Marshall. We’ve got to go get him.”

Willy announced, “We are going to need gas and to get out of here. You are going to have to slip some of the heroin. Do you know anyone close to Marshall that you can move the heroin to and then we find Troy and get out of here with a little cash.”

Huntington At War

City Hall 12:15 AM

Mayor Rick Mason and Mickey Hastings were in the mayor's office when Police Chief Mike Nichols walked in with a perplexed look on his face. The chief announced, "We are having a few problems that I didn't count on."

Mayor Mason looked at Mickey and then the chief and said, "What's going on now?"

Chief Nichols sighed and then said, "Well, we have several roadblocks set up inside the city limits but we realize now that no one's id is going to say G, Reggie, or Rocco on them. In other words, those names that everyone knows them by are aliases."

Mason winced and said, "They obviously won't be driving the vehicles we are looking for either. So even if we pull them over we will not know if they are who we are looking for because we don't have pictures of them."

The chief poured a cup of coffee and said, "Well, G has a hit out on the Mills girl and there are several cars cruising around downtown. We have pulled over several cars with three black men in them so they may be trying to fool them with decoys. They may even be split up and have one of the suspects in the car with decoys. We have made a couple of arrests of men from Detroit with outstanding warrants. We are also getting complaints of racial profiling by pulling people over. They say we are only pulling blacks over."

Mason looked like he was deep in thought as he scratched his chin and said, "The dealers must have some info that the Mills girl is downtown or they would not be congesting one area."

Hastings interrupted by saying, "Well, perhaps they have the decoys downtown to distract us while they are searching somewhere else."

Nichols shook his head and said, "It's really hard to tell at this point. We have the whole town blanketed. There's nothing else we can do. Likely the girl is in hiding but if she stole the car in a heat of the moment as it sounds, she could be scrambling around trying to find a safe place. If the dealer knows much about her he may be going to all of her relative's houses."

Mickey Hastings walked out of the office to see what was going on in the other rooms. City Hall was abuzz with activity. Phones were ringing and workers were scurrying around in the hall. It looked like a very busy weekday afternoon.

Mayor Mason stood up and paced around the office. "This has to end tonight. We just started our campaign and if these killers get away with multiple separate murders we are going to look like simpletons. This will be a disaster. The citizens will say I cannot protect Huntington. This has gone on too long, we have to catch them before any more murders."

Chief Nichols opened the door to walk out of the room and said, "I'm going to get the details on this latest murder. We are doing all we can. We even have small roadblocks in front of the interstate entrances in case they decide to make a run for it. We are rounding up all of our informants. We are interviewing witnesses. Anything that can possibly be done is being done. Plus, it appears as there are not going to stop killing until they found what they are looking for?"

The Mayor shouted out as the chief walked out the door, "What if the body they found is the body of the girl they are looking for? Then, they are going to get out of town."

Officer Paul Allen walked into the office and with a serious look on his chubby face, he said, "Another body has been found. This one is in the West End. It's an unidentified female around 30 and she was shot in the head and thrown out of a car. No identification on her. Also, it turns out that the man shot at Third Avenue Speedway is Patty Mills' boyfriend. Patty is the girl who stole the drugs mother."

"Five murders now!", The mayor bellowed. "We have state, county, and city police here and we can't catch someone driving around killing people!"

The mayor paced around the office for a few minutes and then his frustration got the best of him and he walked out into City Hall. He walked into the war room where Chief Nichols was on the phone and barked, "Come on, Mike. I can't sit around here anymore! Let's go out and get a first-hand view of what is going on!"

12:45 Sheetz West End Of Huntington

G, Reggie, and Rocco traded off their Jeep for a 2004 red Ford Mustang. The car was brought to them by a female drug groupie and she was going to ditch the Jeep. They made a quick stop at Sheetz and as G twisted the cap off of a cold bottle of Mountain Dew, he got a message from the 7-11 clerk that Troy Mills was spotted at his store. G made several calls and the trio headed toward Marshall University.

G turned down the stereo as he drove and announced, "All right, this is it. Popo's everywhere. We go up and find this Mills punk or hopefully someone does it before us but we keep him alive. We trade him for the car and drugs. Then, we are out of here. How stupid can these cops be? There's two on every corner and the people they are looking for are driving straight through them?"

Reggie wondered aloud, "What if we don't find him? What if we don't get the car back? At what point do we bail for home?"

G looked back at him taking his eyes off of the road, "That's not an option now. She ain't beating me! That little whore ain't beating me!"

Rocco shook his head up and down and said, "We getting him! There's too many dogs out there sniffing that boy out! We gonna hunt 'em down! That hoe will do anything to save her brother. We got it! We got it!"

G shouted, "We get this crap back and we will bounce to Detroit and then lay low a few days and disappear into another hick town and unload it. Maybe somewhere in Kentucky."

12:45 10th Ave. and 20th Street

Troy Mills had been wandering around aimlessly since he left the 7-11. He was trying to stay in the shadows. He really did not have anywhere to go. He was trying to avoid the cars that kept going up and down the street. He was heading down to the west end of Huntington and then was going to try to find another phone to try to contact his sister.

He turned the corner and saw a black man in a Marshall hoodie running toward him from a block away. The man was yelling, "Hey you! You! Stop! I want to talk to you!"

Troy turned back around and ran around the corner. He stopped running and crouched behind a white Ford pickup truck. He could hear the man's footsteps getting closer. The man was at a full sprint. He could hear the man round the corner. As the man approached the car he was hiding behind, Troy Mills sprung out and hit him low. The tackle brought the man down instantly. Troy had an instant advantage and climbed on top of him.

The man was stunned from the fall. Troy reared back to hit him and shouted in his face. "What do you want? Why are you following me?"

The man reached inside his hoodie and produced a gun. Troy saw it instantly and grabbed his hand. The two struggled and the man tried to shoot Troy. At the last second, Troy rolled to the left and punched the man in the face. He then re-grabbed his hand and bent it down. The man squeezed the trigger. After a few seconds the man was no longer fighting Troy. Troy looked down to see blood spewing from the man's head. He put the gun in his pocket. He quickly searched the man and found a cell phone that he desperately needed. He jumped up and took off running as lights started turning on. He could hear voices coming from down the block. As he began running hard, he could see headlights in the distance coming from behind him. He turned off of the street and began running through people's yards. He was confident that someone now knew who he was and was looking for him. But now, Troy had a phone and a gun. He had a chance at finding his sister.

City Hall 12:15 AM


Mayor Rick Mason and Mickey Hastings were in the mayor's office when Police Chief Mike Nichols walked in with a perplexed look on his face. The chief announced, "We are having a few problems that I didn't count on."

Mayor Mason looked at Mickey and then the chief and said, "What's going on now?"

Chief Nichols sighed and then said, "Well, we have several roadblocks set up inside the city limits but we realize now that no one's id is going to say G, Reggie, or Rocco on them. In other words, those names that everyone knows them by are aliases."

Mason winced and said, "They obviously won't be driving the vehicles we are looking for either. So even if we pull them over we will not know if they are who we are looking for because we don't have pictures of them."

The chief poured a cup of coffee and said, "Well, G has a hit out on the Mills girl and there are several cars cruising around downtown. We have pulled over several cars with three black men in them so they may be trying to fool them with decoys. They may even be split up and have one of the suspects in the car with decoys. We have made a couple of arrests of men from Detroit with outstanding warrants. We are also getting complaints of racial profiling by pulling people over. They say we are only pulling blacks over."

Mason looked like he was deep in thought as he scratched his chin and said, "The dealers must have some info that the Mills girl is downtown or they would not be congesting one area."

Hastings interrupted by saying, "Well, perhaps they have the decoys downtown to distract us while they are searching somewhere else."

Nichols shook his head and said, "It's really hard to tell at this point. We have the whole town blanketed. There's nothing else we can do. Likely the girl is in hiding but if she stole the car in a heat of the moment as it sounds, she could be scrambling around trying to find a safe place. If the dealer knows much about her he may be going to all of her relative's houses."

Mickey Hastings walked out of the office to see what was going on in the other rooms. City Hall was abuzz with activity. Phones were ringing and workers were scurrying around in the hall. It looked like a very busy weekday afternoon.

Mayor Mason stood up and paced around the office. "This has to end tonight. We just started our campaign and if these killers get away with multiple separate murders we are going to look like simpletons. This will be a disaster. The citizens will say I cannot protect Huntington. This has gone on too long, we have to catch them before any more murders."

Chief Nichols opened the door to walk out of the room and said, "I'm going to get the details on this latest murder. We are doing all we can. We even have small roadblocks in front of the interstate entrances in case they decide to make a run for it. We are rounding up all of our informants. We are interviewing witnesses. Anything that can possibly be done is being done. Plus, it appears as there are not going to stop killing until they found what they are looking for?"

The Mayor shouted out as the chief walked out the door, "What if the body they found is the body of the girl they are looking for? Then, they are going to get out of town."

Officer Paul Allen walked into the office and with a serious look on his chubby face, he said, "Another body has been found. This one is in the West End. It's an unidentified female around 30 and she was shot in the head and thrown out of a car. No identification on her. Also, it turns out that the man shot at Third Avenue Speedway is Patty Mills' boyfriend. Patty is the girl who stole the drugs mother."

"Five murders now!", The mayor bellowed. "We have state, county, and city police here and we can't catch someone driving around killing people!"

The mayor paced around the office for a few minutes and then his frustration got the best of him and he walked out into City Hall. He walked into the war room where Chief Nichols was on the phone and barked, "Come on, Mike. I can't sit around here anymore! Let's go out and get a first-hand view of what is going on!"



12:45 Sheetz West End Of Huntington

G, Reggie, and Rocco traded off their Jeep for a 2004 red Ford Mustang. The car was brought to them by a female drug groupie and she was going to ditch the Jeep. They made a quick stop at Sheetz and as G twisted the cap off of a cold bottle of Mountain Dew, he got a message from the 7-11 clerk that Troy Mills was spotted at his store. G made several calls and the trio headed toward Marshall University.

G turned down the stereo as he drove and announced, "All right, this is it. Popo's everywhere. We go up and find this Mills punk or hopefully someone does it before us but we keep him alive. We trade him for the car and drugs. Then, we are out of here. How stupid can these cops be? There's two on every corner and the people they are looking for are driving straight through them?"

Reggie wondered aloud, "What if we don't find him? What if we don't get the car back? At what point do we bail for home?"

G looked back at him taking his eyes off of the road, "That's not an option now. She ain't beating me! That little whore ain't beating me!"

Rocco shook his head up and down and said, "We getting him! There's too many dogs out there sniffing that boy out! We gonna hunt 'em down! That hoe will do anything to save her brother. We got it! We got it!"

G shouted, "We get this crap back and we will bounce to Detroit and then lay low a few days and disappear into another hick town and unload it. Maybe somewhere in Kentucky."



12:45 10TH Ave. and 20TH Street


Troy Mills had been wandering around aimlessly since he left the 7-11. He was trying to stay in the shadows. He really did not have anywhere to go. He was trying to avoid the cars that kept going up and down the street. He was heading down to the west end of Huntington and then was going to try to find another phone to try to contact his sister.

He turned the corner and saw a black man in a Marshall hoodie running toward him from a block away. The man was yelling, "Hey you! You! Stop! I want to talk to you!"

Troy turned back around and ran around the corner. He stopped running and crouched behind a white Ford pickup truck. He could hear the man's footsteps getting closer. The man was at a full sprint. He could hear the man round the corner. As the man approached the car he was hiding behind, Troy Mills sprung out and hit him low. The tackle brought the man down instantly. Troy had an instant advantage and climbed on top of him.

The man was stunned from the fall. Troy reared back to hit him and shouted in his face. "What do you want? Why are you following me?"

The man reached inside his hoodie and produced a gun. Troy saw it instantly and grabbed his hand. The two struggled and the man tried to shoot Troy. At the last second, Troy rolled to the left and punched the man in the face. He then re-grabbed his hand and bent it down. The man squeezed the trigger. After a few seconds the man was no longer fighting Troy. Troy looked down to see blood spewing from the man's head. He put the gun in his pocket. He quickly searched the man and found a cell phone that he desperately needed. He jumped up and took off running as lights started turning on. He could hear voices coming from down the block. As he began running hard, he could see headlights in the distance coming from behind him. He turned off of the street and began running through people's yards. He was confident that someone now knew who he was and was looking for him. But now, Troy had a phone and a gun. He had a chance at finding his sister.

He was running hard and was stumbling and nearly falling as he slashed through yards and at times ran zig- zag. He could hear sirens in the night as police cars responded to the shot that he fired and killed the man that had chased him. His mind was buzzing as he ran. He was in good shape but he was running hard and his lungs were hurting. Multiple thoughts were shooting through his mind.

Troy decided that he would try to make it to Ritter Park. At Ritter he would be able to hide out and call his sister and have her pick him up if she was able. He somehow sensed that she was looking for him. They had a bond since they were look kids. They always looked out for each other. It seemed like one could actually sense when the other was in trouble.

He knew what his major problem would be and that was crossing Hal Greer. He was getting closer to the boulevard and he could see lights of cars crossing. He knew that G and Rocco lived close to Hal Greer and that their friends would be looking for him. He also figured a roadblock would be set up and crawling with cops and he was right.

Troy came to a stop as he approached Hal Greer. The car lights behind him as stopped. It was quite likely that the police had heard the gunshot and had hurried to the scene of where he shot the man. The arrival of the police probable scared away the dealers that were chasing Troy. But since Troy shot the man although it was self-defense, the police would be after him so now he had both sides of the law after him.

He crept alongside of the Rite-Aid on Hal Greer as he stuck his head around the corner to witness the activity. There was a glare of light that looked like it was down by the Marathon station on one side and perhaps down by Papa John’s on the other end. It looked like there was two roadblocks, one on each end of Hal Greer Boulevard on the viaduct side. The good thing about this is it was likely the dealers were avoiding the area.

Troy stepped in behind the Rite -Aid. He called Sierra's number. Sierra answered the phone on the fourth ring. She was hesitant at first as she feared it was G but did not want to miss it if it was Troy.

"Sis, it's me. Are you all right?" Troy blurted out.

"Oh my God! Troy, where are you?" Sierra was nearly hyperventilating over the excitement of hearing her brother's voice.

"I'm beside the Rite Aid on Hal Greer. I'm trying to make it to Ritter Park. There are two roadblocks here. G's men are chasing me but I think the police have scared them off for now."

"We are not far from you. I am meeting Tay in the alley behind Speedway on 8th and 9th. I have a carload of heroin and we are trying to slip some for money to get out of town. Mom and Uncle Willy are with us."

Troy said, "I killed a man, Sis. Now the police are looking for me, too. It was self-defense. I took his gun and phone. He pulled on me and as we were wrestling, the gun went off to get out here."

Sierra was distracted by traffic passing by and then asked, "Do you think you can make it down here?"

Troy paused and then said, "Yes, it'd be easier for me to come to you then you come to me. I'll start now and then call you. I hope I get there before Tay in case it is a setup."

Sierra answered, "I don't think it is a set up. They don't know each other plus they are competitors and I'm selling 10 grams for $500. That's a great deal."

Troy eased back around the corner and peered at the traffic. The night sky was blue and red illuminated by lights from dozens of police cars throughout the town. Residents were seeping out of their houses but police officers would come by and warn them that they should be in their houses. Troy knew he had to make a break for it and was relieved that for the moment, he only had to worry about the police and not G’s men. He knew that once he cleared Hal Greer that police activity would be thinner but G’s men would be lurking in the shadows.

He saw some residents wander out by the sidewalk across from Tudor’s Biscuit World and he saw a cop walk over and warn them that they need to go back inside. He waited until the policeman was busy and he snuck out from around the corner and started crossing. He walked with his head down and his hands in his pocket.

He walked quickly and was getting ready to step up on the curb on the other side, when he heard a voice shouting to him. He walked faster as if he didn’t hear the voice but the voice got louder.

He turned his head halfway and tried to keep the hoodie he was wearing from revealing his face and had it draped over the left side of his face. He noticed the officer was about 15 feet from him. He then looked farther over his shoulder and could see Joe Williams the officer he encountered earlier at the apartment running up behind the other cop and yelling. Troy looked ahead and could see a street leading toward the park. He took off running toward the street. The police officers were running behind him.

Troy still had several blocks until he would be in Ritter Park and have a chance of shaking the police in the wooded area. He was much faster than the older police officers and was down the street into the darkness before Joe Williams and another veteran cop Mike Peters could get off of Hal Greer Boulevard.

Adrenalin was pumping through Troy’s veins and he shot down the street like a bullet. Joe Williams knew he did not have a chance at catching him and stopped to radio ahead. He recognized Troy from the apartment and knew not only that Troy was the target of G’s men, that he may know where everyone’s target Sierra was, and that the police had found the man Troy had shot and wanted to question him. They knew that the dead man did not have a gun and suspected that Troy had taken that gun so they considered Troy armed and dangerous.

Mike Peters was giving chase but stumbled and fell. Troy was running faster than he even figured he could run. He knew he had too. He was amazed he did not stumble over anything but he was totally pumped. He knew not only his life depended on it but so did Sierra’s and his mother’s.

Troy could hear siren’s moving into the night. He slashed through a couple of yards as police lights shined onto the previous street that he was running down. He could see Ritter Park ahead.

The sirens were getting louder and louder and he could see blue and red lights flashing in front of him. He jumped across the avenue and raced into the park.

Troy’s lungs were hurting as he sprinted hard across the park. Police cars were arriving and he could see that there was only one gap where there was not police cars so he headed toward it. The police were now entering the park on foot and were shining lights trying to find him. Troy reached the other side in which he thought was record time. A cop was parked down the street and he witnessed Troy leap onto the sidewalk and dash across the street and disappear into the darkness. Troy was having trouble dodging objects in yards and stumbled to his knees at one point.

Troy could fill his lungs start to burst and could hear sirens moving in the night. People started walking out into their front yards. One man tried to tackle Troy as he ran by but Troy stiffed armed him and the man fell to the ground and stayed their momentarily dazed.

Troy was only blocks away from the meeting place but did not want to lead the police there. He was still slashing across streets and noticed a dark spot ahead. He found a safe spot in between two dark houses and fell to his knees. He was gasping hard for breath and his heart was racing. He prayed that no one could hear him as he hid between two close houses.

Troy was still as possible. He had no idea of what to do. For all he knew, right now his mother and sister were being tricked by G while he was lying helpless in the shadows. He could not think of anyway to elude the police as he could tell by the sirens and lights that they were all around.

Suddenly, he heard a whisper behind him. It startled him and his heart about stopped. “Come with me,” the soft whisper said. He got up and seen a crouched girl walkly lowly toward a house. He followed her and they entered a back door. He did not know what to expect but knew he did not have any options.

They entered into a house and he followed a girl who appeared to be in her mid twenties who had long black straight hair flowing down in front of him. They entered a living room where another girl was sitting. The girl he followed was not extremely pretty but she looked like an angel to him because she was saving him at the moment. She smiled and had bad teeth but her smile looked heavenly to Troy.

The other girl was much heavier and had short blond hair. Together, the two looked like a mutant version of Laurel and Hardy. Troy didn’t care because he was safe for now.

The girl with the black hair said, “Why are you hiding? What have you done? It sounds like there is a war going on out there.”

Troy was still shaking as he said, “Thanks for bringing me inside. I’m not sure what is going on? Some men are trying to kill my sister and mother. I need to get to them. They are right down the street. They are trying to kill me, too, and I don’t know why. Plus, the police is looking for all of us even though I haven’t done anything wrong.”

The two girls looked at each other and then the black haired one said, “What can we do to help you?”

“You’ve already helped me a lot by getting me out of that war zone out there. I’m going to try to call my sister. Is there anyway you can drive me to meet her. I know it’s just right down the street but the police will pick me up.”

“Sure,” The girl said and added, “I am Kali and my friend is Connie.”

Troy laughed as he dialed his cell phone, “Kali and Connie. Ha ha, that sounds funny but cool. I’m Troy, nice to meet you.”

Sierra answered on the other end of the phone and Troy thought she sounded excited as she said, “Troy, we have been trying to call you. We had to cancel the meeting with Tay. He said it was too hot. It sounds awful up there. I was worried you got hurt with all of the sirens and loud noises.”

Troy answered, “I’m okay now. Two girls rescued me. I was trying to escape as the police was chasing me. I was hiding by their house but I’m inside now. Where are you?”

“We are down in the west end. Tay is going to meet us down here. How are going to get you. It’s too hot up there. There is police everywhere. The city as if it is on fire.”

Troy thought for a few seconds and said, “I think the girls will bring me down there.” He looked at Kali and said, “I hate to bring you into this, but do you think you can give me a ride to the west side of Huntington.”

Kali looked at Connie and then said, “Sure, it sounds exciting. We never have any excitement. We just sit here in the house all day.”

Troy blurted into the phone, “All right, Sis, I got a ride. How long until you meet Tay?”

“We are down in Ritter Park in the west end. We are meeting him in the area where Olympic Pool used to be. Remember that picnic area where we cooked out as kids and we had your 11th birthday party? Tay will be here in about ten minutes. We can wait on you if he beats you here. But, hurry, we have to get out of town.”

“Sure. I remember. Okay, please be careful, Sis. I’m hoping Uncle Willy has his guns?”

Sierra laughed nervously and said, “You know that crazy bastard doesn’t go anywhere with out his guns. And, Troy, this sounds strange, but you better ride in the trunk. The police are stopping everyone and G’s friends are searching cars too. It’s really, really crazy out right now. The west end is a little better but there is more of G’s men than the police down here. If anyone catches us, I hope it’s the police and not G. At least, we will still be alive if the police catch us.”

THE MAYOR ON THE MOVE

Police Chief Mike Nichols and Mayor Rick Mason left City Hall in an unmarked police car to survey the situation. The mayor had set up a war room in City Hall but did not like waiting and being a spectator to the action so he decided to be closer to where the action was.

Police Chief Nichols pulled out of the parking lot next to City Hall and was headed to Hal Greer Boulevard. The city sky was lit up with police lights of dozens of police cars. The cars were either at roadblocks or cruising side streets. Chief Nichols said as he crossed under the viaduct, “You know you are heading into a potentially dangerous situation, right? I really don’t know what is going to happen, this may come down to a firefight. We may be headed to war.”

The mayor smiled at the chief and said, “We’ve been down this road together before. You know as well as anyone that I can take care of my self. And yes, I do have a permit for my gun. I’m going to take care of this problem one way or another. It is my duty and obligation to protect my city.”

Chief Nichols smiled, “I’ve got to hand it to you, Rick, you certainly have balls. But, I guess you always have. This is the first time since you took office that I’ve seen you and Mickey Hastings apart. I guess when the going gets tough, he really is a lap dog after all.”

Mayor Mason looked grim and said, “Like you said, this situation could get nasty in a hurry and Mickey is a good kid. I don’t want to see anything happen to him but he just hasn’t been through the same type of crap that we have. He serves an important purpose for me and he wouldn’t be much of an asset in this situation.”

The car came to a halt by the first roadblock on Hal Greer. The two men got out of the car and began talking to officers on the scene. The town was lit up with lights. Residents were on their porches or peering out windows. The news media, although it was a weekend, had begun to roll in and different cameras were lined up alone Hal Greer Boulevard and filming.

Chief Nichols looked at Mayor Mason and said, “It’s going to be alright, Mayor. We are going to get them. They are running out of time and are about to get desperate. When they get too desperate is when they will mess up and we will have them.”

Mayor Mason looked away and said, “We will get them. The city will see that I will protect them.”

Detective Jerry Moore walked up to the chief and said, “We are getting reports from all over town from people who have seen the girl and the killers. There is a lot of activity all over town. It appears that a lot of other drug dealers are teaming with the three we are looking for. They are banding together and have a small army. And from what we hear they are armed. The word our informants are telling us that there is a hit on the girl and they will kill her even if she is in our custody. They will attack us to kill her.”

Chief Nichols shook his head and observed, “I know that she has a little dope that is theirs, but even if it is $50,000, that is small change compared to what gets traded and sold on the streets here everyday. It is not like it’s a million dollars or anything, why fight and die over that small amount.”

Moore said, “It appears that they are drawing a line in the sand, so to speak. They are aware of us stepping up our forces and they feel they have too much business to lose and are willing to fight for it. They realize since we are teaming up with the religious community and are outnumbering them that they have to come together or they will be defeated. They have seen the mounting arrests and have seen the mayor gain leadership. We have changed the cultures. The public is no longer afraid of the drug dealers. It’s no longer “snitches get stitches. The culture has changed. They have to fight back and put the fear back into the people.”

The chief looked at Detective Moore and said, “You are more or less saying that the dealers are taking this opportunity to declare war on us?”

Moore shook his head to indicate that he agreed and then added, “They are declaring war on us because they feel we declared war on them. The table is set and they are dozens of us and plenty of them and I think they are ready for a war if they feel they have an opportunity to put that fear back into our residents. Without that fear, our residents will stand together and run them out of town.”

The chief and the mayor just looked at each other in silence. The two men talked to different officers and got several opinions of the situation. Mayor Mason called Mickey Hastings back at City Hall and discussed the situation. The mayor kept in contact with City Council and his think tank and was considering their opinions in deciding a way to combat the dealers.

Fire From The Shadows

Perry Queen guided the police cruiser through the back streets of Huntington’s Fairfield district. He looked at his partner Craig Knight and said in a sad tone of voice, “I grew up in this town. I have lived here for over forty years. This is my home. I have seen a lot of things and have had a lot of fears over the years of where Huntington was headed. But, I never thought that it would come to this. I hated the name Moneyton for years but after what I’ve seen lately I have to admit that this is Moneyton. I have no love for Moneyton. This is no longer my hometown.”

Craig Knight was only in his twenties and said, “Well, it hasn’t been this bad but it’s been like this the last few years. My family moved down here from Cleveland in ’98 and it has pretty much been this way since. It’s just that people are starting to take notice and coming together to do something about it.”

Perry looked at him and said, “I just hope that we can get my hometown back. I think people really want to clean this town up. I think we can do it. If we have faith and stick together then I think we can make it happen.”

Knight had an unsure look on his face and said, “I hope you are right. Like I said this is pretty much the same Huntington I have always remembered and I’m ---“

The car was suddenly rattled by a barrage of bullets as Spider and Ghost squeezed their triggers. Bullets pounded against the side of the police car and Officer Queen lost control and slammed into a parked car.

Officer Knight was in pain but managed to call for help before he passed out.

Help was there almost instantly has two cars had heard the gunfire and followed the noise. Queen managed to open his mangled door and stumble out onto the sidewalk. He was dazed but not hurt badly. His partner had been shot but he looked like he would survive. Queen surveyed the darkness but could not see anything. Three other cars were now on the scene and suddenly a bullet pierced Queen’s shoulder as more fire rained down on the cops. The police scrambled for cover and looked to return fire but all they could see was darkness.

Little Paul emerged from behind the bushes from across the street and ran across the yard firing at the police. Sgt. Scott Woodyard spotted Little Paul and rolled to his right after him. As Woodyard emerged into the open more dealers began to fire at him. As the dealers started to fire they revealed their hiding places and the police was able to return fire.

Woodyard fearlessly stayed right on Little Paul. Little Paul went airborne and slung himself toward a big Chevy truck parked on the street. Woodyard knew he had one shot before Little Paul reached cover. The officer made the best of it and his shot knocked the drug dealer from the air and to the ground. Little Paul would not fire any more bullets at police or deal any more drugs.

The mayor was on the phone with the governor of West Virginia. Governor Davis was now in charge.

!:30 AM West End Of Huntington

G sat quietly in the car and smoked a cigarette. The music was now being played low. Rocco was no longer with him as Rocco was now riding with someone else. Reggie was beside him and he was silent. The mood had changed. G had a sense of urgency earlier but now it was hurry up and wait.

G was frustrated as he turned the radio off and said, “I never wanted the city to blow up like this. I just want my stuff. I’ve got obligations and investors that I have to answer to. I lose that $50,000 worth of heroin and that’s my ass.”

Reggie knew what was up and he knew he was in trouble too if they did not get the merchandise back. Like G, he was starting to get worried. He took a hit on a joint and said, “So what do you think is going on with all of that gunfire and fighting.”

G shook his head and said, “I don’t know, Dawg. I guess some of the dealers just have that gang mentality. They just want to fuck things up and destroy shit. I’m not into all of that. I just want what’s mine. They’re trying to turn this into something else, I guess; trying to make some sort of a statement. I just want my shit back and to get out of town.”

Reggie understood what G was saying and responded, “This is just plain fucked up. It’s causing a distraction and it’s making it easier for us to drive around because there are so many other dudes out now and the popo can’t tell who’s who.”

G shook his head side to side and said, “That was cool at first but it’s pulling more state troopers into the area. The national guard will be out soon. It’s getting out of hand. Every exit out of town will be sealed off. I’m not too sure all of this fighting is a good thing. It’s cool to have something to divert the police’s attention away from us, but I don’t see how all of this can be good for anyone.”

Sirens were getting close and they could see fire trucks coming out of a closeby fire station. They got out of the car and looked and could see smoke in the distance.

“Damn,” said G. “Now, they are burning shit down. All of this bullshit because of one greedy drug-addicted bitch. The governor will have The Army in here soon. This ain’t good. Even if the bitch does show up , we are going to have a hard time getting out of town.”

Reggie got back in the car and asked, “So do you think this Tay guy is legit? Do you think the bitch will show?”

“She needs money. She needs to get out of town as bad as we do. Even worse, cause if we get her she’s one dead bitch and she knows that.”

Reggie agreed, “Her crazy momma is probably stoned as hell shooting up our shit, right now.”

The thought of this made G mad again and he said, “Yeah, if her crazy ass don’t overdose then I’m going to kill her dead, too. She better OD, it’d be a lot less painful for her. All of this bullshit, these whores have caused me… they gonna die slow.”

More fire trucks hustled by. Sierra was just a few blocks away and she saw the fire trucks and started to cry. She never wanted anyone to get hurt. She blamed the addiction. She saw the opportunity for free drugs and that was all the persuasion her warped mind needed. She knew she was sick and she swore to herself she was going to get help if she survived. She begged God to get her out of this mess and she would change.

Patty Mills just sucked on her cigarette. She was quiet. She had always dreamed of having a ton of drugs and do whatever she wanted to do without the crutch of addiction controlling her every movement. With this much drugs, she could carry on with her life without having to worry about constantly being on the prowl for more drugs.

But now that Patty Mills had access to more drugs than she could use in a long time, she just wanted her family to be safe. Her son Troy was somewhere lost in the middle of a war and had half the city looking for him. She had all the drugs she could ever ask for and here she was, sitting in a car in a dark alley with a migraine headache and sick to her stomach.

Troy was in the back seat scrunched down as Kali was behind the wheel of her 2008 yellow Mustang. Connie sat next her and was staring at the window as they passed by a house that was on fire. They all sadly shook their heads.

They were on their way down Adams Avenue. They had seemed to momentarily escape the madness that was going on downtown and on Hal Greer. Troy was about to speak when suddenly an old Cadillac Escapade came flying out of the darkness and broadsided the car almost knocking it over. Kali screamed and was instantly covered in blood. Troy was knocked against the other side of the car and was stunned.

Troy looked up and seen a black man in a gray hoodie try to get inside the driver side door. The door was mangled and did not open. The man was coming to the passenger side door. Soon as he grabbed the door, Troy unloaded his gun into the man. Troy kicked open the door and knocked the dead man’s body away from the door. He bent over and took the man’s gun. He heard bullets and lunged to the front of the car and crouched next to the front.

Two men were moving around the back of the car trying to get a shot at him. He jumped up and turned to run. A bullet hit him in the arm. He saw one of the men open up the driver side door and a heard gunfire. Kali fell out of the car dead. Another sound went off and he assumed that they had killed Connie. He fell into the darkness.

He turned over on the ground and quickly sprung back to his feet. He turned and ran to his left. One of the men followed him. He whirled back around in time to see the man fire at him. The shot missed. Troy returned fire and the man went down.

He did not see the other man. He turned toward the West End and started running. All he could think about was being there for his sister. He was running and did not feel the pain where he was shot. He did not feel the air in his lungs…he just ran. He could feel his sister Sierra. It was like they were kids again and she was taking up for him against the bullies at the apartment complex. He could feel her in his mind.

He ran so hard he did not see the man behind him. He ran and ran. The man fired. Troy would not make it to rescue his sister, but in his mind he was back in the old apartment complex, just him and Sierra: young kids who were innocent and just playing. No addiction, no pain, no death: just love and pure innocence.

Troy Mills died in a violent nature but in his last thoughts, he was at peace.

Sierra was thinking of Troy at the moment he stopped breathing. She called him but there was no answer. Patty also had a sudden jolt as her son died. They sat in the alley. For the first time in years, Patty’s mind was not on drugs or getting money for drugs. In fact, this deal was not about obtaining drugs but getting money to help get her and her children out of town. It would be a new start. This time they would make the effort to get off the drugs. The money they would get from selling the heroin could buy a new trailer. It was time for a new beginning.

Willy put his hand on Sierra’s shoulder and said softly, “Be care, Baby Girl. I’ll cover you but make good decisions.”

Willy hugged both Sierra and Patty and disappeared into the night. Sierra looked at her mother and said, “Mom, I wish you would let me drop you off somewhere.”

“Sierra, you may need me. I can’t lose my babies. Just be careful.”

The pair waited for about five minutes and they barely talked. They were both deep in thought. They could hear sirens in the distance.

Sierra through a cigarette on the ground and looked up and saw a car turn into the alley. She walked toward it. Her heart stopped as G and Reggie stepped out of the car.

Reggie had a smile on his face and said, "My,my,my...who do we have here? He walked over to the car and pulled Patty out and said, "And we have Moma, too. Been looking for you girls everywhere tonight."

G walked up to Sierra and said with a grim look on his face, "I've had enough games tonight. Where's my car and where's my stuff? After as good as I've been to you I can't believe you stole from me but I ain't caring about all that now..I just want my stuff back."

Reggie put a gun to Patty's head, "Can I blow Moma's head off yet?"

Sierra screamed, "You lay one hand on her and you will never get your stuff back! You let her drive away right now!"

G grabbed her by the shoulders and shouted into her face, "Listen, you've cost me enough time and money. I want the car and the stuff or I'll kill you both right here!" Sierra started to cry and jerked away from him. She had spied Willy creeping up behind them and wanted to get away so he would have a shot. She turned to run. Willy was in position to shoot but he was concerned that Reggie had a gun to Patty's head so he held his shot.

G grabbed a hold of Sierra and yanked her to the car. Patty could see Willy and guess what he was trying to do but she could not break free of Reggie. She knew if the shooting started she would be the first one dead.

"Okay, okay!" Sierra sobbed. "The car is in the country. We hid it."

Willy was getting frustrated. G was not holding a gun to Sierra so he could easily take G out but then Reggie would immediately put a bullet into Patty's head. There was no way he could take out Reggie, he was almost on top of her. "Get in the car!" G ordered to the two women. "We are going to the car and if everything is how it is supposed to be I just might let you live despite the amount of aggravation you have caused me tonight."

Sierra's eyes flew wide open, she did not know if she could believe him but she was not counting on him letting them live. Patty was wanting the heroin for two reasons. The first reason was she was an addict and $50,000 of H would keep her satisfied for a little while. She also knew that if they sold the heroin, the money would make their lives easy for a while.

Willy was trying to stay patient, he was running out of town but he was hoping that he would get an opportunity to rescue them. Sierra was starting to lose hope. G and Reggie had escorted them to the car. G walked Sierra to the passenger side door and put her in the front seat. Reggie still had a gun to Patty and put her in the back seat. Willy crept closer. He was on the street now and was getting closer. Reggie pushed Patty into the car and secured the gun so her could sit beside her. Willy squeezed the trigger and a bullet in Reggie's head drove the thug to the ground.

G was now in front of the car on his way to the driver's seat. He spun around and could not see Willy as he drew his weapon. Willy seen him and two shots later G was dead in the alley.

Sierra screamed and patty rushed to her and hugged her. Willy looked up and yelled, “Get to the car! We have to get to Ohio!”

Sierra ran to the car and said as she opened the door, “What about Troy?”

As she spoke, red and blue lights engulfed the alley. Police cars blocked both ends.

Willy dropped his guns and put his hands in the air as police men got out of the car. “Crap! All of this and we survive only to get arrested. Dang!”

The policed ordered the trio on the ground. Sierra was searched and read her rights. She was led to a police car in handcuffs. Detective Jerry Moore walked up to Sierra as she was standing by the police car. “Sierra, I’m Detective Jerry Moore. I have some questions for you. Where is all the heroin that you stole from G?”

Sierra looked at him and said, “What heroin? I don’t have any heroin.”

Detective Moore looked away for a moment then looked back at her with a serious look on his face and said, “Listen, little girl, you made some very bad decisions tonight. It’s time to smarten up some or you are going to be spending the rest of your life in prison. We already have you for possession and an intent to deliver. A lot of people died tonight because of what you done. I’m not aware of you killing anyone yourself but you committed crimes in which someone was killed and with the amount of people killed you could spend the rest of your life behind bars.”

Sierra thought for a moment and then asked, “Has anyone seen my brother Troy Mills?”

Detective Moore paused for a moment and said, “Sierra, I’m very sorry but we believe he may be one of the dead bodies we have. We believe he was killed in a shootout with several drug dealers.”

Sierra looked ahead blankly, tears slowly came to her eyes. She looked behind her and her mother was crying as she talked to officers. She could tell she had heard the news too. “Can I talk to my mother, Sir?” Sierra sobbed.

Detective Moore walked her to where her mother was and the mother and daughter hugged each other. Patty looked at Sierra and said, “We lost just about everyone we have except each other. Jimmy, Angie, Cindy, Scott, and Troy are all gone. It’s just you and me and Willy.”

Sierra looked at Detective Moore and said, “I want to see a lawyer. Before I say anything about any other drugs I need to see a lawyer.”

Detective Moore led her to the car and said, “I understand. But since we have your Uncle as well. I think you ought to know that we plan on getting a warrant and checking his property out, so you better think about helping us fast. I know you want to make a deal but if you help us now it will make you look better. I’m telling you, Sierra, a lot of people died tonight due to your irresponsibility. You need to make some good decisions and make them fast. The more cooperative you are now, the more it is going to help you later.”

Sierra had tears in her eyes and said, “The rest is hidden at my Uncle Willy’s house. I’ll show you. I just want this nightmare to end.”

Detective Moore said firmly, “I understand but this nightmare is going to last a long time for a lot of people. There are many heavy hearts due to tonight. Moving on isn’t going to be that easy but if you work with us I’m sure the courts will try to work with you. I know you didn’t mean for this to happen but that’s the way it is with drugs. Bad things always happen because of drugs that no one really counts on happening. That’s what makes drugs so scary.”

Mayor Mason and Chief Nichols arrived on the scene. Mickey Hastings arrived and was talking with news media. He ushered the mayor off to the side and began working on his hair as he pulled out a can of hairspray.

The cameras gathered around and Mayor Mason said, “Tonight, the city of Huntington came together and said NO! to drugs and drug dealers. Several lives were lost and much damage was done but we won a major victory tonight.”

“We said earlier in the week that we were going to clean Huntington up and we knew it would not be easy but tonight, we think will be known as a night that good forces stood solid and defeated evil in Huntington.”

“I got to see some of the action first hand and felt some of the tragedy. I saw lives being lost. It has been a tragic night. But, I feel a sense of victory and I feel that the battle is over and we are a huge step closer to winning the war.”

Mayor Mason was soon to be known as the mayor who grabbed his gun to protect Huntington when the drug dealers threatened them. All in all, it was not a bad night for the mayor who was probably the only man in Huntington who was helped by The Battle of Huntington.

The sun would rise in a few hours and it would certainly be a new day in Huntington. The worst drug dealers were killed and the others cleared out of town. Huntington had a new hero in Mayor Rick Mason. The citizens of Huntington would surely fall behind their new leader and create the changes that need to be made. Well, that was/ is the hope, but driving away the supply does not necessarily lower the demand… and where there’s money, there is always going to be someone to answer the demand.

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Akriti Mattu 19 months ago from Shimla, India

Brilliant.

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