Jay passed a parked car with two men sitting in the front seat. Then he heard the car doors open. Ahead and midway in the block, two men got out of a car that was parked across the street. They started walking toward him. In the streetlights, he caught the gleam of a gun that one of the men held at his side as they slowly moved forward right at him. A quick glance over his shoulder, Jay saw the two men that he just passed were now out of the car and walking behind him. Jay's heartbeat accelerated. This didn't look good. Am I about to be mugged? he thought, but then these guys didn't look like muggers. He had witnessed muggings in the streets of New York. They don't sit in cars and wait for victims. Are they policemen? Why? Are they looking for me? Are they expecting me? Who are these guys?
Jay's heart was racing and his mind was trying to keep up. Should he run? Can he make it to Sarah's apartment? Don't panic. Keep your cool. You are known for being cool under any circumstances. His body and mind seemed to be moving in slow motion. And so did the people in the street and the men behind and in front of him. The man with the gun at his side, raised his arm and pointed the gun at Jay from about thirty feet away. People started running up the stoops and into apartment buildings. They knew something was about to go down and so did Jay.
Feeling an adrenaline rush, Jay dropped the wine he had purchased for Sarah and ran up the stoop of the apartment building to his immediate left. He heard a voice cry out , "Get him, get him." Almost instantly, a shot rang out and a bullet piereced the door of the building. "Shit, they're shooting at me. What's going on?" Jay said out loud but talking to no one in particular. He stumbled as he raced into the lobby and ran up the stairs. He heard two more shots. Bullets shattered the glass in the door behind him. He could hear the men running after him. His heart was about to bust out of his body. Jay ran the first flight of stairs two at a time. As he reached the landing, he heard them bust into the lobby.
Another shot hit the wall of the first floor landing. He was racing to the second floor. Stumbling as he ran , he reached the third floor. Where am I going? Why are they after me? Can I get out of this building? These question raced through Jay's head as he raced up the stairs.When he was near the fourth floor, Jay felt a sting to his leg, saw blood drip on the floor and realized he had been hit by one of the shots . He heard apartment doors open and close then locked. Will someone let me in if I knock on one of these doors? Do I know anyone in this building? Those thoughts came and went in an instant. Jay knew better. He also knew that he had never been in this building before. He lived on the block for over one year, had never been in the building and never met anyone who lived in it. Where am I going? was his dominating thought.
Not having an answer to his mind's questions, Jay kept running and falling up the steps. The men closely behind. His leg was starting to hurt now from the shot but he knew he would hurt more if he stopped and they got him. He was now at the sixth floor and he would soon be on the roof. Again his mind raced, Is this rooftop door locked? if it is, I'm a dead man. Is this how I'm going to die? shot to death and found in a pool of blood in a tenement stairway in Harlem.
This just didn't seem right to Jay. He felt that he deserved a more dignified death.
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