Catgirl of sorts
Pay Me Dammits! (SilverRain x MurderVictim)
It was approaching midnight and the streets were mainly deserted, save for a few drunkards and night shift workers. The wind was bitter and cold, but at least it wasn't raining. Tearing down the highway on his motorbike was Mark Winters - the one who collected protection rackets in this side of town. He worked for a gang called ShadowCross, starting off as a cage fighter then moving on to money collection. Most businesses in the area had paid their dues, not wanting their premises to be trashed or set on fire. But there was one store left - the general store owned by the Seele family.
They had apparently changed ownership - or at least that was what Mark thought when he first saw the girl working late. Getting some information from the surrounding businesses (and thugs), it turned out that the girl was called Piper. Mark had been watching her for the past few nights. What a scrawny thing she was. All the better to collect money from her then. Mark parked his motorbike in an alleyway, watching the store for a while. Good. No cops around. The last customer left ten minutes ago. There were a few loners standing about with cigarettes, but they looked away when they saw Mark striding onto the street, knowing that he was on his errands. Others who didn't know him, nervously jaywalked to the other side of the road when they saw the metal baseball bat he proudly carried on his shoulder. Mark continued striding towards the general store, smirking when he was just about in range.
He then seemed to press a device in his pocket, emitting the lightest of beeps. Said device emitted an EMP signal that would momentarily cause a disruption in electrical equipment. Inside the store, Piper would notice that the fluorescent lights would flicker, her CCTV display became static fuzz and her mobile would lose connection with the network. Shortly after, she would hear a loud bang as Mark kicked open the door, with enough force so that kept the door rattling.
The redhead stormed in grinning wildly as he saw Piper at the cashier. Finally. Payment time. As Mark approached her, he held out his bat straight out in front of him so that it was pointing at her squarely in the face. "You're Piper right? Owner of this store and such" said Mark as he stood in front of the cashier and placed his bat upright on the countertop so that only the tip was resting on the surface. "Name's Mark - ShadowCross gang. Time to pay your dues sweetchicks. Ten grand" said the redhead as he tapped the table three times (the ShadowCross sign), expecting the money.
((OOC: Due to different currencies etc, just assume that 10 grand is the racket payment stacked over some time. ))
I seem to be dead...
"Yeah, Dad. Everything's fine."
The store had been quiet all day, with hardly any customers. That was how things typically were, even on weekdays, but there was always the occasional busy day that kept the profits stable. Lucky for Piper, her first official week as store owner had been slow and easy. No problem customers, no hiccups in how everything was run. It wouldn't stay like that forever, she knew, but it worked out well for her days as a newcomer.
She gave an annoyed sigh, rolling her eyes as she pressed the phone to her ear. "Yes, I did inventory." Pause. "Yeah, I did that, too...And that! Dad, relax! I got this! You left everything in capable hands, trust me!" Piper relaxed as the voice at the other end calmed, though was interrupted by a coughing fit. She patiently waited until her father's coughs subsided, then nodded and smiled. "Okay, got it. I'll come see you later this week, and you can see the..." Her voice trailed off as the lights flickered. She didn't think much of it, and only found it annoying. The wiring in that building was old and needed to be brought up to code, much like many other things that the owners before he and her father had drastically neglected.
She held no concern, not knowing it was a warning signal for the approaching gang member until he came in with a loud bang. Her eyes instantly went from the poor lighting to the door. "Um, Dad. I'll call you back." Before her father could say anything in protest, she hung up. The last thing she wanted was him worrying over a problematic customer, especially since it would most likely mean him criticizing her no matter how she handled it. Piper laid the phone on the counter, now leaning against the edge of it behind the lone register.
"Yes, I'm Piper," she simply stated, then looked confused. "The...ShadowCross gang?" It sounded familiar, but not enough to be threatening. Perhaps, if she paid more attention to the city's behind-the-scenes affairs she might not have been so clueless. But that wasn't the case. She was more agitated than frightened.
She blinked. "Ten grand?! For what?" She stood up straight. "You must be crazy if you think I'm just going to hand you that money for...dues? What dues?" At that point, she was more than ready to tell him to get lost, and she would have right there and then if it wasn't for the bat he carried.
Catgirl of sorts
"Yeah - ShadowCross. What - you haven't heard of us?" said Mark not waiting for a response. Figures. The girl looks positively new to the whole deal. But no matter, most usually pay up when they realise the danger they're in. It looked like Mark had to tell her how it worked. He had to wonder what happened to the previous old coot. Didn't he tell her? Sigh. What a pain.
"The ten grand guarantees that your shop won't be trashed or robbed. Well usually anyways. Your old man's been avoiding his payments. So now it's you who has to pay. You can try to report me to the police, but nothing's gonna happen. And in 3 days it will be elven grand" said Mark before he pushed himself up from the counter and started to walk around, observing what was on the shelves. There was nothing interesting to take for himself. Or at least nothing valuable.
"So what will it be? What do you want me to destroy? The counter? The shelves? Or your pretty little face?" sneered Mark as he held out his bat towards Piper. The design of Mark's baseball bat was no ordinary one. It incorporated a device that turned it into something akin to a taser. Mark wasn't going to resort to violence straight away, but he could always smash a few things and follow up with an overnight robbery. This was the first time Mark was able to get a good look at Piper. The girl was a tad scrawny, but at least she wasn't the ditzy type. Who knows? Maybe he could have some fun taunting her and making her life hell.
I seem to be dead...
Pipper was going from being annoyed, to angry, then to frightened. Why didn't her father warn her about this? When her father had first fallen ill, she had only worked there part-time to help him out. During that time, she had noticed the shop income was a little smaller than she would have thought. Now she knew why. Her father's health had declined so rapidly, that he likely hadn't had the time to keep up with his so-called dues. Piper could understand, but now she was stuck. She had promised her dad that she would keep the place that was his pride and joy safe. She couldn't just sit back and let this Mark guy destroy any piece of the property, or hurt her. On the other hand, she knew the shop was barely surviving. To simply hand over ten grand would potentially harm it severely.
There was a button to the alarm system under the counter's edge, which she secretly pressed twice. When the alarm didn't sound, Piper guessed that it must have been messed with. Well, great. She had to think of something fast.
"Kind of springing this on me fast, aren't you? I'll pay you half tonight, and the other half next week." Paying that way would hopefully not be such a big hit to the shop. As much as she didn't want to be making a deal or compromising with a guy like Mark, she knew it was the only thing she could do safely.
Catgirl of sorts
Mark liked watching Piper's facial expressions change along the way. If only he had a camera with him. The man was unaware that she had pressed the alarm button, but regardless of that, he knew he had limited time before the CCTV would return to normal. The redhead was a little pleased to hear that he would be receiving payment, although the week long wait was a bit much. But seeing that this 'customer' was new to the works and that she didn't try to do anything stupid like calling the cops on him, he supposed he could make do. At least this one had some brains.
"Fine. $5000 tonight. Pay me the rest next week. I'll be watching you, so no tricks!" warned Mark as he momentarily walked to the front door and slapped a non-descript motorbike brand sticker on it. Mark returned to the cashier. "Don't remove that. Show's you paid. Our thugs won't be trashing this place. Got it? Now gimme the $5000"
"Oh and one more thing. Everyone here belongs to ShadowCross. Any White Wall guys are our enemies. If you see them, beat them up with those little fists of yours" said Mark with a bit of a laugh. Most likely this girl couldn't take them on. He didn't expect her to. But the White Walls were a dangerous gang. They preferred to set things ablaze before the negotiations. Or rather, they just preferred to loot damaged premises. They were like pests amongst pests. They had no real leader. Mark's gang was different. They saw the benefit of long term dealings. Looking up and down at Piper, Mark guessed that she wasn't exactly the violent sort. And yet she wasn't meek and defenceless either.
"Hey. You want to buy a gun from me? Protects you to a point" Mark asked with a genuine tone.
I seem to be dead...
Piper let out a mental breath of relief when he agreed. If he hadn't, she didn't know what she would have done. She watched him put up the sticker, confused until he explained why he had put it there. Oh, that made sense. She had no complaints there; the last thing she wanted was for a screw-up to be made. At his demand, she sighed and turned for the small doorway behind the counter. It led to the tiny office, where the safe was kept. She kneeled in front of it and reached for the combination lock.
It took her a few tries to get the combo right. Her nerves were jumbled - her pounding heart not helping - and she wasn't the best at remembering numbers, even during non-high pressure situations. Finally, she got the heavy metal door open. It was an outdated thing, needing replacement with a more high tech model, but that was a worry for another day. She plucked out the amount and firmly shut the safe tight. All the while she listened to what else Mark had to say, surprised at how calm she was through out this whole thing. The shop was in the roughest part of town, obviously, so maybe she was mentally prepared for situations such as that without realizing it.
Standing, she brought out the money, bundled in small stacks of a thousand each, and slid them on the counter towards him. She didn't want to risk getting close to him. 'I'll show you how little my fists are,' she thought, not having the guts to say such a thing aloud. "No thanks," she said, instead. "I already got a gun." Okay, well. It was old. It needed to be cleaned, and loaded with bullets that were lost to the abyss that was the back of the shop. And she needed to learn how to shoot it, plus get a permit for it in her name. But it was a gun! Piper made a mental note to get all that put together, if she even could.
"Is that all you need?" Piper's tone was a clear message for him to get out, holding a bit of confidence now that he had the money that he demanded. Or...Some of it, anyway.
Catgirl of sorts
Mark looked a bit disbelivingly at Piper when she mentioned she had a gun. If she had one, then why didn't she draw it? But whatever, if she didn't need it, then fine. He had other things to do anyways. Setting his bat aside, Mark took the money and counted it, as well as making sure it wasn't counterfeit. Hmm... Mark looked towards the safe, wondering just how much was in there. But he was no thug. He was in this for the long run. The money wasn't fresh notes, though that was actually better. The gang could spend it without being traced easily.
Mark nodded to himself once and looked towards Piper before playfully thwaping the amount on her head. "I'll take this for now. Don't forget next week, you hear? he stated as he tucked the amounts into the pockets inside his jacket. This revealed part of the tattoo he had on his body. Some would ask if Mark was ever concerned about being tracked down and caught because of the tattoos, but to Mark it didn't matter. It was his pride. And it wasn't like he ever needed to run from authorities. Corruption helped in that regard.
"This is my number. No one collects except me. Understand?"Mark scribbled his number on a piece of paper before heading out the door though he didn't glance back. "Nice doin' business with ya!" shouted Mark as he gave a passive wave and headed outside. Hoping onto his bike and turning the key, he smiled to himself as his bike came to life with a warm thrum. The redhead, turned onto the main road, heading off into the distance. Piper Seele. A promising customer.
(OOC: Feel free to either have other events happen or timeskip )
Last edited by SilverRain; 3 Weeks Ago at 10:03 AM.
I seem to be dead...
Piper didn't seem all that amused when he lightly hit her over the head with the money. If he wasn't a gang member with a baseball bat, she might have been tempted to jump over the counter and show him just how much of a mistake that was. Instead, she glared at him and waited for him to finally leave the store. She let out a breath of relief when he was out of sight, leaning on the counter once more.
Piper stayed for another hour, then locked things up. Her father had run the shop by himself for the most part, hiring the occasional part-timer only during the busier times of year. Meaning she was by herself, and would stay like that until she got things put together enough to hire a person or two, which probably wouldn't be for a while. She glanced at the darkened place as she left, hoping that no one would break in or jump her on her way home. If there was any way for her night to get any worse, that was the way.
Surprisingly enough, the following days were by without incident. Several regulars came in and out each day, glad to see her and wondering about her father's condition. Piper had several pleasant conversations with people that had known her family for quite some time, and were loyal customers. If it wasn't for them and their good word, she feared the place might disappear. One man questioned the sticker Mark had put on the window, wanting to know where she had gotten it. Piper wasn't sure if he asked because he knew of the ShadowCross gang, or because he was genuinely confused that a sticker for a motorbike was on the door of a plain general store. She answered that it was just something that a teenager had put up while her back was turned, and she didn't feel the need to remove it, yet. The man seemed satisfied with the answer, and bought what he needed without any more discussion about it.
When a week had gone by, Piper considered keeping the shop closed. Yet, that would obviously cause her more problems. Currently, she was standing there, at the counter, after midnight, just like the previous week. She drummed her fingers on the counter, waiting for Mark to show up and hoping that he had forgotten. That hope was shattered when she saw the lights flicker, and heard the door open with the small bell above it jingling. She looked up to see, not Mark, but another man.
He was tall, intimidating because he towered over her. His hair was long and black, and his facial features were pretty familiar. He looked similar to someone she knew, but she couldn't tell who. He eyed her as he stepped closer, and she noticed one of the side pockets of his jeans bulging with what was clearly a switchblade. He got up to the counter, and she was finally able to put two and two together. The man that had asked about the sticker! This guy looked a lot like him; he could possibly be his son, or perhaps a nephew. Whichever it was, the guy didn't seem very friendly.
"Hey, honey, why you paying off those ShadowCross losers?" He leaned on the counter in front of her, unbearably close.
"It's strictly business. I don't suggest you get involved." Piper stood up a little straighter, trying to put some distance between them. "And you are?"
"Name's Ronnie, of the White Wall gang. I can tell you've never heard of us, since you have that dumbass sticker on your window. They ain't worth shit." He flashed a smile that sent shivers down Piper's spine. It wasn't really friendly. It was forced and a little cold. "Trust me. You outta be paying your dues to White Wall."
"You'll have to bring that up with ShadowCross. I'm just an innocent bystander." Piper began to step away from the counter when she was stopped by a hand at the front of her sweatshirt. She felt Ronnie clench the fabric tight, then force her back to the counter where she was practically dragged over it. His hot breath was on her face, reeking of beer and junk food.
"You wanna rethink that answer, bitch?"
Catgirl of sorts
A week had passed and Mark was able to collect from most of the shops. Recently, there had been news of the White Wall gang encroaching on their territory. A command had been issued out to fight them on sight and flush them out. The White Wall gang were different. They seldom kept their promises, even pillaging their own stores for that extra profit. Most of their members had served time in jail, meaning that they were nothing more than rotten minds. The ShadowCross gang, whilst not heroes themselves, had placed value in those who respected them. They seeked partnership over time and their dealings were more focused on shipping goods and vehicles. They worked on a larger scale.
Mark arrived not far from Piper's shop, smiling a bit when he saw that the lights were still on. The redhead became a gang member through fate, but that would never erase his memories of his first job. Mark's first ever job was working as a cashier. He sometimes wondered what would have happened if he continued down that path. Would he be standing where Piper was now? Memories aside, Mark bit his lip when he saw a late customer enter the store. Oh just great. Another wait outside here in the biting cold. Would that damn customer hurry up? Grrr....
From the corner of his eye, Mark spotted what seemed to be a robbery. Strange. He didn't order one for tonight. Was it some random thug on his initial stint? Feh. Might as well go in and teach that dumbass a lesson. Looks like he had no knowledge of how things worked here. Mark approached the entrance and could see that it was a more hostile situation. White Wall eh?
Mark brought up his bat and tried to slam it hard onto Ronnie's head. If that worked and Ronnie was in a confused state, Mark would grab the bastard's leg and fling him across the floor into the magazine stand making it topple over. Mark would then stomp his foot on top of the fallen stand. "You're on ShadowCross turf you bastard. And you know what happens when you run into one of us? Bloodbath time" said Mark through gritted teeth as he brought up his bat once more. Mark turned towards Piper, to see that she was okay. "Hey, wanna bet how many hits it takes to crack open his skull?!" If on the other hand, Mark's attempt to slam the bat on Ronnie's head didn't work, the redhead would press a button on his bat and set it to 'stun'. Mark would then try to slide the bat under Ronnie's neck, his other hand with a glove grabbing hold of the end of the bat.
I seem to be dead...
Piper hadn't spotted Mark, and neither did the White Wall thug, until the bat connected with the back of Ronnie's head. The guy staggered and released Piper, allowing her to step away from the counter and out of reach. She watched as Ronnie was flung right into the magazine rack, cringing at the sound of his face connecting with it made. Then she cringed at the idea of having to pick all those up. Her gaze trailed up to Mark when he spoke at her, and she felt a little sick by what he said. "No! How sick are you? Just let him go and leave him be!" Yeah, the guy had been about to hurt her, meaning the red head had pretty much saved her ass. "Besides, I don't want to be cleaning that much blood off the floor!"
Meanwhile, Ronnie groaned. That hit to the head hadn't completely knocked him out, which was probably the worst. He grumbled several curse words under his breath, ones that were directed at both Mark and Piper. "Fucking ShadowCross. Too much of a coward to come at me face to face!" were the clearest words he spoke.