CHRISTMAS BLUES! (SHORT-STORY)

By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

It was a freezing cold morning in the shopping and tourist district of Downtown Chicago. When he heard the blood curdling screams screams of a woman in severe panic.

The ear-hurting scream derived from a dimly lit alleyway, that despite the ankle high snow, the strong stench of urine that was deposited by homeless vagrants and drunk nightclub patrons could easily be noticed.

“I ran as fast as I could to see if I could maybe scare off her attacker, but it was too late officer”.

Officer smith with a sudden look of sadness and grief on his old and haggard face, looked in the eyes of the good samaritan that he now knew as the veteran U.S. Marine sniper, Eddie Diaz. The officer handed Diaz back his military identification, and said:

“Thank you for your service to this great country, Marine. I know you would of saved that women’s life at the risk of your own”.

As he walked away to speak with other police officers at the crime scene, he looked back at Diaz, and said:

“Keep your head up, Marine! You have nothing to be ashamed of”.

As Diaz stood in the freezing cold alley, with police and the forensics team working diligently on the gruesome and very bloody and frozen crime scene that looked like something out of the famed Michael Meyers film franchise. Diaz knew there was nothing he could do to save the woman he heard use her last breath to scream in agony before she died, he realized this after he overheard one of the medical workers say she was stabbed sixty-nine times. 69 times Diaz thought, a very sick joke, by a very dangerous man.

Officer Smith, before he left told Diaz, he believed it was probably an attempted robbery and rape gone wrong. Officer Smith, later said:

“We will not know for sure until the forensics team come back with their report, but many of the wounds on her hand and arms look like defensive wounds. Which means she fought like a soldier until the tragic end”.

Diaz knew that area was controlled by the vicious street gang known as the “Red Rebels”. They were a tough street gang that mainly consisted of poor and disenfranchised Black, Hispanic, and Asian neighborhood kids. Most of their criminal acts were in low level drug dealings, robberies, pimping and only on extremely rare occasions murder. If someone was killed it usually only happened during turf wars or a robbery gone wrong.

Diaz, Knew them well, before he was a decorated Marine sniper with over three dozen kills to go along with his glorious military awards, like the bronze star and the silver star and several others, he was a poor Afro-Cuban kid in that neighborhood. When Diaz was a student in a local neighborhood crime-ridden high school, he was part of a rival gang called the “Blue Blood Outsiders”. They engaged in many battles with the Red Rebels, one battle specifically left Diaz in the hospital with several stab wounds, and left his older cousin, Miguel Diaz in a morgue.

Diaz originally swore revenge for the death of his cousin, but instead of killing his cousin’s murderers and going to jail for it, or potentially getting killed himself , he allowed himself to be talked into joining the military, by his mother. She made him promise that he would get away from the ghetto Chicago streets, so that he would not die for some “ghetto street bullshit “, like so many of his friends, and family members. Sure, he could easily die in the military, but at least there is some honor in dying for your country, as far as she was concerned. Not that she wanted him to die, of course .

Now back in his old stomping grounds of his savage, youthful trouble making days, he realized what he had to do and that’s what he always did in his life when bad things happened. Diaz, did not know exactly which one of the Red Rebels killed the woman, but he knew who the leader of the Red Rebels was. A week later while Diaz was leaving a coffee shop before heading to the O’Hare International Airport to go back to his military base, he ran into officer, Smith, who said:

“Diaz, good to see you, I don’t know if you heard, but that gang that we suspect were involved in the killing of that woman in the alley, 20 of their members were killed by sniper fire last week. Just 24 hours after she was murdered, Cosmic Karma, I guess”.

Diaz, smiled and looked at officer, Smith and said:

“Well, back to the warzone to kill more bad guys”.

With s big grin on his face, officers, Smith replied:

“Continue to fight thr good fight, both foreign and domestic “.

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