Justin lifted the final box out of the moving truck and took it inside his dad’s new apartment. His father, Duane, had just gotten a new job in Cleveland and brought Justin with him to start a new part of their life. Justin’s mother died four years before they moved and ever since that day, Duane and Justin became distant. Duane was always working and Justin knew after his father became the regional manager for his company, which forced the move, that he would see his father even less.
After Justin unpacked the final box in his room, he decided to head outside and explore the apartment complex. He stepped out the front door and looked around. To the left of his apartment was the entrance to the complex that connected with the main road. In front of Justin sat two more buildings of apartments aligned perpendicularly to his building. Finally, to his right, sat a basketball court and a pool. Justin loved basketball and decided he’d head over there first and check it out.
The basketball court sat inside a fenced area next to a tennis court. On the fence near the door a sign was hung that read: “Court Rules. No alcohol or drug use. No glass. No littering.” Justin laughed and thought to himself, Who’s really gonna enforce these rules anyways? Next to the sign hung a large white clock. He compared the time on his phone to the one on the clock and noticed the clock was about six minutes slow. He shrugged and looked around for a ball and saw one in the corner of the court and went and grabbed it. With all his time being spent on the big move over the past couple weeks, Justin hadn’t really had any time to go shoot hoops. He decided he’d shoot around for a little to calm his nerves about the new place.
Justin dribbled the ball around, then pulled up at the elbow, jumped up and shot an airball. He couldn’t help but laugh to himself. He got his rebound then headed to the block to try a layup. The ball left his hand, bounced around on the rim, then fell to the ground without going in.
“Man basketball really isn’t your thing,” Justin heard a girl say from behind him. He turned around to see a brown haired girl, about two inches shorter than he was, smiling at him. The girl’s brown ponytail fell onto her right shoulder. She wore jeans and a Cleveland Cavaliers hoodie. She looked confident and Justin couldn’t help but find her a little attractive.
“I’m Abigail, but you can call me Abby. You new here?”
“Yeah just moved here,” Justin replied as he got his rebound, “my name’s Justin.”
“Oh well you’re gonna love it here,” Abby said sarcastically as she looked down at the ground, “there’s tons of stuff to do.”
“Yeah, what do you guys even do around here anyways?”
“Well I do one of two things. I either come out and shoot, which it looks like you enjoy too, or I walk down the main road a little ways and look inside the abandoned warehouses. Some of them have some pretty cool things in them. Like the other day I found this cool old phone and I Googled it and found out it’s worth like five grand or something,” Abby answered. Justin smiled at her and thought about how nice it was to have someone be so friendly to him after just moving.
“Well Abby, I think I should go eat dinner now and do the dishes before my dad gets home. It was nice meeting you and we should talk again soon.”
“This neighborhood’s got a lot of lame kids in it, but you seem cool. Here’s my number and we can just text after dinner,” Abby said as she typed her number in his phone.
The two went their separate ways for dinner just as the clock that was hung on the fence around the court read six o’clock. On the way back to his apartment, Justin got a text from his dad that said he’d have to work late again tonight, so Justin was forced to eat alone. He walked to the pantry and looked up and down over the freshly packed shelves. Finally, his eyes settled on a box of Frosted Flakes. He made his way to the living room and ate in the dark.
After eating his cereal, he watched TV alone in his living room, until he saw his phone light up on the couch next to him. It was a text from Abby that read, “I’m so bored right now...let’s go for a walk around the complex.”
I guess I’ve got nothing better to do, Justin thought to himself as he got up and put his shoes on. The two met up outside of Abby’s family’s apartment and walked down the sidewalk in the complex.
“So how long have you lived here?” Justin asked Abby.
“Most of my life,” she replied, “I think I moved here when I was like five.”
“And do you like living here?”
“It’s alright I guess. There’s been a bad problem with drugs here lately and my parents are stressing out and talking about moving to get away from here.”
“Well moving is probably like ten times more stressful than any problems here,” Justin replied jokingly.
The two walked onward toward the basketball court when all of a sudden they heard an old man call to them: “Hey can you two come help me find my cat. He just got out and he’s gotta be around here somewhere.” The two looked at each other, shrugged, and headed over to the old man’s apartment. They looked around for about ten minutes before spotting the little orange kitten under a bush. Abby grabbed the cat and brought it back to the old man.
“Thank you so much! I’m Brian, Brian Jones,” he said as he smiled at Abby and Justin, “You guys wanna come in real quick? I’ve got something to give you as a way of thanking you.”
The two stepped into the apartment. Justin looked around at where the man lived. There was only one light on in the place and Justin had to strain his eyes to see some things. The apartment was pretty run down, much rougher than Justin’s spotless new one. The walls were dirty and dust sat on top of a wooden table that sat next to the door. Justin felt bad that this old man had to live here alone and wondered where his family members were and if they ever visited him. His thoughts were interrupted by the old man returning to the doorway where Justin and Abby stood, in his hand he held two five dollar bills. The two grabbed their unexpected reward and left Brian’s apartment. On the way out, Justin couldn’t help but notice Brian’s nice car in the driveway. It was a 1990 Yellow Chevrolet Corvette with a license plate that read, “SCRRRR.” Justin couldn’t help but laugh as he parted ways and headed back to his apartment for the night. There’s some real characters in this park, he thought to himself. Justin opened the door to his apartment, climbed up the stairs, got into bed, and fell right asleep.
Justin woke up around ten o’clock to an empty house. He grabbed a pack of Poptarts out of the pantry and sat down on the couch to watch Sportscenter. Justin had nothing to do for the whole day and knew he’d want to spend some time with Abby. After only knowing her for a day, Justin knew that he really liked her. She was funny and he had a great time hanging around with her, even if they were just shooting hoops or walking through the apartment complex.
Justin heard the buzz of his phone vibrating on the counter. He knew it was Abby and walked over to read it. The text said: “Let’s go explore some of the warehouses down the road today. Bring a backpack just in case we find something we wanna take home.” Justin smiled and closed his phone. He ran up the stairs, grabbed his backpack, then left for Abby’s apartment. They met up and chatted for a while before starting on their way. After walking for what seemed like hours, they found a spot that looked sketchy enough to explore. Parked behind back of the warehouse, in a place that couldn’t be seen from the road, Justin spotted a Yellow Corvette with a license plate that read: “SCRRRR.” He didn’t think much of it and moved on, not even making the connection that that was Brian’s car.
The two circled the large grey warehouse looking for a way in.
“Here’s an unlocked window!” Abby yelled to Justin. He hurried over and climbed in first. His feet landed on a dusty cement floor inside what appeared to be an office, which was just a small area of the large, abandoned warehouse. He looked around the room. To his left was a large filing cabinet next to a counter with a couple electrical outlets in it, perhaps for a computer or something. To his right was a large metal door with a dust covered window in the center.
“Well aren’t ya gonna help me in?” Abby asserted sarcastically from the window. Justin hurried over and let her into the unlit room. After looking around for a bit more, the two left through the door. Immediately upon leaving, the two were ran directly into a railing.
“Should’ve brought a flashlight,” Abby said as she wiped off the dust from her pants.
“Why is this railing here anyways?” Justin asked.
“Maybe it’s like stairs or something. I don’t know I can barely see.”
“Here let’s just use my phone’s flashlight,” Justin said as he removed it from his pocket.
“You’ve had that this whole time. What the hell, dude?”
He turned it on and shined it around, then focused on the railing. They weren’t standing by any stairs. They were standing on the ground level looking down into the basement of the giant warehouse. Oh my god, Justin thought to himself, this place is bigger than I thought. After looking down into the basement for quite some time, Justin noticed a light coming from a room on the other side of the lower level. He showed Abby then the two quietly moved to the stairs and descended into the basement.
They made their way to the lit room quietly. As they got closer, they heard an older man’s voice. He was yelling at somebody else. The two got to the doorway of the room and looked inside. In the center of the room was Brian, yelling angrily at a younger man, maybe college age. Taking up the majority of space in the room were pallets with packages wrapped in brown paper stacked on each of them. Justin had watched enough TV to know that there were drugs in those packages, maybe millions of dollars worth in just this one room.
“Oh my god. Are those drugs on those pallets Justin? Is this the cause of the drug problem around here? And was that Brian, the guy with the cat, from last night? This is too much,” Abby whispered to Brian. Brian looked over at her. Abby looked like she was about to cry. Her eyes watered and her face shifted from her seemingly permanent smirk to a frightened look of awe.
“Just calm down. We might be able to bust him and catch him in the act. He’ll go to jail forever. We have to do this Abby.”
Abby calmed her emotions and the two shifted their attention back to the confrontation in the room.
“This is the last time you cross me, Jeremy,” Brian said as he lifted a pistol out of the waistband of his jeans. He pointed the gun at the the younger man as he begged for another chance. His pleas were ignored. Brian pulled the trigger and the bullet found a home in the younger man’s forehead. His body fell to the floor and sat there. Lifeless.
Justin looked over at Abby and she let out a cry. Brian snapped his head to the doorway and spotted them. He aimed his revolver in their direction and fired off a couple shots. Luckily, Abby and Justin had left in time and were already heading to the stairs to get back to the window they came in through. Brian ran out from the lit room and fired three more shots towards them as they ran up the stairs. One grazed Justin’s arm, but he hardly noticed as he ran to safety.
“He’s out of shots,” Justin yelled to Abby as they ran toward the office,“it was a revolver. He shot six times he’s out of shots!”
The two entered the room and knew Brian would be right on their tail.
“I’m ending this,” Justin said as he turned back toward the door. Brian rounded the corner and was instantly met by Justin. Justin latched onto Brian’s plaid shirt and pushed. Brian pushed back, but Justin’s body rushed with adrenaline and he overtook complete control of Brian within seconds of grabbing his shirt. Brian could do nothing but backpedal as Justin pushed him until his back hit the railing. With one final push he sent the evil old man over the edge. Brian fell directly on his back. With his body motionless and his eyes still frozen looking up toward the railing and Justin, he let out a final breath as his heart stopped beating.
Justin climbed down the stairs and checked to make sure that Brian was dead, then called the police. Within minutes numerous squad cars and emergency vehicles had arrived on scene. The police seized the drugs and the paramedics patched up Justin’s bullet wound. A patrol car took them back to the complex where Justin was met by his dad with a big hug.
“I’m sorry I’m never here for you, Justin,” Duane said as a tear fell down his face, “I can’t help but feel a little responsible for this incident.”
“I just wish you didn’t work all the time. You’re never around and I literally never have anything to do. Just promise me we can spend some time together every once in awhile, maybe watch some basketball or something. The Cavs play Golden State tonight, we can watch that.”
“Alright, son. No more late hours. Let’s go watch that game now,” Duane said as he led Justin to their apartment.
Weeks after the incident, the drug problem in the neighborhood had subsided. Justin and Abby were regarded as heroes for stopping the distribution of over 30% of Cleveland’s heroin. Duane and Justin’s relationship hit a smooth spot upon the time of Justin’s departure for college. All those years of late hours and hard work that Duane put in payed off in the form of tuition for Justin’s college endeavours. Justin was lucky enough to be able to go to Ohio University along with his favorite neighbor, Abby. The two became very close and eventually fell in love. During their Senior year at Ohio University, the two held a small wedding and made their love official by becoming husband and wife. To this day, Abby and Justin still feel the darkness inside of them from the fateful day in that warehouse, but luckily they’ve had each other to confide in ever since and have been able to overcome the emotional stress that came with those horrible events, and rid themselves from those dark memories.