Chasers

Chasers by Lorenzo Carcaterra Read Free Book Online

Book: Chasers by Lorenzo Carcaterra Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lorenzo Carcaterra
when I tell you that,” Maria said. “As much hate as I have for the people who killed our Angela, I would never ask you to put yourself at risk in order to get back at them.”
    Boomer leaned closer to his sister and rested a strong arm across her small shoulders.
    “You don’t need to say any more,” he whispered into her ear.
    “I’ve been to too many funerals,” she said, lowering her head, the words mixing with sobs. “Buried too many people I loved. I don’t want to lose you, too.”
    “It’ll be different with me,” Boomer said, his voice calm, assured, and confident. “The way I’ve lived, it’s bound to happen sooner than later.”
    “She was a lot like you in so many ways,” Maria said. “My husband used to tease her when she was a teenager, tell her he fathered Uncle Boomer’s kid minus the gun and the shield. Angela had your spirit, your courage, kept her fears to herself. She put a hundred percent into anything she tried, and even when it didn’t go her way she never let it get her down. And she had heart.”
    “She saw the good side of people,” Boomer said, his strong voice easing into breaks, tears sliding down his face. “No matter who they might be or where it was they hailed from. I figure that’s how it’s supposed to be when you’re her age and looking at life through her eyes. She never got a close-up glimpse of the evil that’s out there. Not until that last day. And by then it was too late. And I wasn’t there to keep it away. I had sworn to her that I would always be around to keep her safe, keep her world clean. I couldn’t and I didn’t. Those were nothing more than wasted words said to make a little girl feel safe.”
    “There was nothing you could have done to prevent what happened, Boomer,” Maria said. “You should know that better than anybody.”
    “I could have told her the truth instead of hiding it in a corner,” Boomer said. “Show her the world through my eyes. Give her a better feel of what really stands outside our walls. Have her be ready for anything, anyone, at any time.”
    “And it still wouldn’t have been enough to save her,” Maria said. “She would have been a girl going through her day-to-day afraid to live her life. Our Angela would have hated to live that way.”
    The two sat in silence for several moments, lost in their private thoughts. “I need to get back,” Maria said, starting a slow slide out of the pew. “Would you walk with me?” Boomer nodded, genuflected, and then stood and followed his sister. They walked down the main aisle, their backs to the altar, his right hand gently holding on to her left elbow. “Would you do me one favor, Boom?” Maria asked, her head bowed and her voice low.
    “Name it,” Boomer said.
    “Don’t keep me in the dark on this,” Maria said, slowing her step. “These people killed my daughter. If I can’t stop you from going after them, then I think I deserve to know who they are.”
    “You’ll know,” Boomer assured her. “And you won’t need me to tell you.”
    Maria stopped and stared at Boomer, chilled momentarily by the dark weight of her brother’s words. He looked back, his hard eyes telling her all she needed to know about his vengeful intent. “This is a side of you I had once hoped would be buried away,” she said. “I hate to see it keep coming back. And I just don’t know how many more of these wars you can go out and fight and how many more you can walk away from.”
    “With luck and a few prayers, this one,” Boomer said, leading his sister by the hand out of the darkness of the empty church. “This last one.”

8

    Buttercup crouched against the cold side of a cement wall, head tilted to her left, her thick paws curled under her muscular brown hide. Her tongue hung low and lapped against the sharp teeth on her lower jaw, and her droopy cocoa-colored eyes gazed down the tenement hall with a look of casual indifference. Two detectives were braced on either side

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