Chapter 4: Slave to Stray

“Heard you were the guy to talk to about ghosts.” Cobra locked the trophy case with Keitaro’s knife inside on display. He returned to his loveseat and reclined with one arm stretched back over the cushion.

“Metaphorically?” Keitaro said.

Cobra laughed which made Thiago and Gunner laugh.

“Estupida.” Thiago smacked Keitaro upside the back of the head.

“Literally.” Cobra picked up his pistol. “Lemme show you.”


Keitaro ducked, Thiago fell back and Gunner jumped at the desk. And for a minute while the shots rang out in the studio-apartment-sized den, everyone except Cobra stood in shock at the shooting. Their horror-struck faces gaped behind the couch where Keitaro couldn’t see.

Cobra replaced his pistol to the wood table. “Wait.” Another puff of marijuana.

Gunner shrugged when he and Thiago exchanged a glance of expectation. Turns out, they weren’t that stunned by what happened. Surprised it had happened, but they both knew it was coming and weren’t distraught the time had finally arrived.

Cobra checked his phone.

A wet cough followed by gurgling and gasping sounded behind the couch. A final struggle for survival that ended in a drawn out sigh of life. Then the silence of death.

Keitaro thought about retrieving his knife. He thought about escape.

Cobra tipped his head up, laid his phone down.

Legs appeared to Keitaro’s right. Stumbling backward from the grizzly crime behind the couch. Victor combed his hand back through his hair in distressed shock. He turned to Cobra and sobbed, “¿Porque?”

Cobra’s smile delighted in Keitaro. “You see him.”

Keitaro turned from Victor to Cobra. “You killed him.”

“Now tell me why the fuck this is happening?” Cobra said. “When I kill a man, he’s supposed to stay dead. Not try to kill me from the grave.”

“What do you want me to do about it?” Keitaro said.

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