An Excerpt from A DEAL WITH DEATH
by Endy

Prologue

She was a hard-core crack addict who sat on the floor as she held the bowl of a crack pipe, filling her lungs with the thick, white smoke. Removing the pipe, she pinched closed what was left of her badly decayed nose in a desperate attempt to keep the smoke from escaping. Heroin had helped to eat away the bottom half of both nostrils from years of snorting the poison. When she was out in public, she wore a bandage to cover the gruesome sight.

She closed her eyes as her head began to spin. Her chest got tighter the longer she held in the smoke. Her face became pale when she could no longer hold on. She released what was left of the smoke from her lungs, and she began to cough and gag as she tried to regain regular breathing. She leaned over and scooped up a large portion of heroin and snorted it heavily. The burning sensation caused her to wince in pain as blood ran from her nose. Her eyes bulged out of her skeletal head as she reloaded the pipe’s stem. She had a strong urge to urinate, but the crack in the pipe seemed more important. She simply released the yellow liquid right where she sat, indifferent to its mixture with the bowel movement she’d had hours earlier.
She had been diagnosed with cancer, so she knew life would pass her by. That was why she’d plotted—and succeeded—in robbing a big-time drug dealer earlier that day. She knew her life was limited because she had made a deal with the devil, better known as Death. Since true death was already staring her in the face, it really didn’t matter.

She heard footsteps coming her way and she snorted the heroin faster in response. She struck three matches before she managed to light the pipe, which she shoved into her mouth and sucked on as the cocaine melted. The blood now flowed from her nose like water from a faucet. She just wiped it away and continued with her suicide mission.

The dealer’s crew walked in and surrounded her. They knew she was half dead before they even got there. The dealer raised his gun as his eyes began to tear. BOOM! Her blood splattered all over the floor. The crew members collectively shook their heads at the pitiful pile of flesh. This woman had once been the dealer’s mother.

____

Chapter One

How It All Began
Six months earlier

“What the hell?” the man asked, sitting up in the bed.

“What is it, honey?” his wife inquired.

“That smell. It seems like it got worse.”

It was a scorching, sticky summer night in Newark, New Jersey, and the man had the window fan on like he always did at night, trying to get some relief from the stuffy bedroom. But on this night the fan pulled a horrible stench from the outside air right into his bedroom.

He got out of his bed and walked over to the window. After turning off the fan and removing it from the window, he peered out the window while holding his breath. He figured the odor must be coming through a broken window directly across from his bedroom window. He could hear dogs growling, but he noticed that the growling dogs didn’t sound like the average dog.
“I’m calling the police,” the man told his wife. “I can’t take this shit anymore. Something’s not right.”

It was well after midnight when the station got the 911 call.
“911. What’s your emergency?” the dispatcher asked.

“There’s some God awful smell coming from the abandoned house next door,” the man complained. “And you know this is the same house where all those damn drug dealers and addicts hang out.”

“How long ago did you notice the smell, sir?”

“It’s been there for about two days, but now the smell is unbearable. My wife and I can’t even sleep.”

“OK, sir. We are sending the police to investigate now. Please stay on the line until they arrive.”

Police radios buzzed loudly as several officers stood below a ladder looking up at a fellow officer. The officer on the ladder removed a handkerchief from his pocket and placed it over his nose and mouth to lessen the horrible smell coming from the window. He peeked into the window and shone his flashlight into the room. A rottweiler suddenly jumped at the window and scared the shit out of him, causing him to fall off the ladder and land on the other two officers below. Other officers came running to aid and assist.

The dogs were going wild. Their barks were deep and loud, and it sounded as if they were trying to break out of the room. Fortunately for the officers, the windows were too high for the dogs to jump out. The sergeant had been called to the scene and was en route.

“What the hell?” the head officer asked as he watched the other officers gather themselves together.

“There are dogs up there,” the officer who fell responded. “We know there’s a dead body in there too. Don’t you smell it?” he asked, rubbing the bruise on his leg.

“Yeah, I do. Go get that leg checked out,” the head officer said as he removed his gun from the holster. “Gimme your flashlight,” he ordered no one in particular.

The acting officer in charge climbed the ladder and held on with the same hand that was holding the flashlight. His other hand held his gun, cocked and ready to fire.

Once he reached the window, he could hear the wild dogs growling ferociously. He peered in the window as the dogs jumped at the window again. He shone his flashlight in their eyes as the stocky canines stood side by side. Blood covered their snouts and the officer could see flesh and clothing hanging from their teeth. The smell was a combination of decaying flesh, urine, and feces. He gagged at the stench.

There, in the corner, was what looked like the body of a male.
“We got a dead body in here! I only see one, but who knows what else is in here? Call animal control,” he yelled down to the officers below.

About an hour later, the dogs had been tranqulized with darts. Investigators, EMTs, and other officers swarmed the house. The body of a teenage male lay on the feces-covered floor. Raw steaks had been tied to the body to encourage the dogs to feed. The medical examiner estimated that the man had been dead for weeks.

Sergeant Terrell Tilmond, the handsome, tall, black police sergeant walked out of the building. The air outside wasn’t any better, but it was a big difference from the horrible stench that was on the inside, and he welcomed the outside air into his nostrils. He looked around and it seemed everyone in the neighborhood was standing outside. He looked at his watch and it was four am. Were the people of this neighborhood that nosey that they would get out of their beds at four in the morning to see a dead body? He shook his head and answered his own question. Hell, yeah, they were, and they had gotten out of bed. He walked down the steps to greet his lieutenant, who was walking toward him.

“So what’s the story?” Lieutenant Dickson asked.

“We got a dead body and tranquilized dogs.”

“Dogs? What happened?” The lieutenant placed a lit cigarette to his lips.

“From what I can tell, someone wanted to make sure the boy was dead. They tied steaks to his body and let the dogs loose on him, I guess to get rid of the body, so to speak.”

“Shit! What the fuck is this, some kinda cult sacrifice?”

“A cult in this neighborhood?” Tilmond laughed. “He was dead before the dogs got to him. He has three bullet holes to the chest.”

The lieutenant looked up to see the EMTs pushing the gurney with a black body bag on it. He and Sergeant Tilmond walked over to it.

“Let me see,” the lieutenant ordered.

The zipper on the bag was pulled down to expose the face of the dead teen. The horrible odor immediately assaulted the lieutenant’s nose.

“Shit!” He turned his head away to get a gulp of fresh air, then he turned back to look at the body. “He doesn’t look eaten to me.”
“Zip it all the way down,” Tilmond instructed.

When the EMT exposed the body, all the color drained from the lieutenant’s face.

The legs of the young man had been eaten down to the bones, leaving hanging flesh and exposed veins. A chunk was missing from his abdomen, to which a piece of the steak was still tied. The intestines dangled outside the body, and the inside of the stomach was visible.

“Get him outta here! Jesus Christ!” the lieutenant exclaimed. He turned to Tilmond. “This shit has got to stop! Bodies are turning up all over this city, and no cases are being solved. It’s like we got people on the inside working with these damn hoodlums. Tilmond, I want you to lead up some of these cases and close ’em!” And with that order, the lieutenant stormed off, hurrying to leave the horrible sight behind him.

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