Thirty-Five

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This chapter contains the first mention of a character I decided to add very late in the writing process. Her name is Nikki and eventually her tale will be added to the rest of the story.

Lester waited on the street corner waiting for his contact to pay off The Count. Earlier in the day he had received a call telling him when and where he should make the drop despite the fact that he had never given any of The Count's cronies his number. He didn't feel especially safe with so much money on him but he had a handgun stuffed in the back of his waistband pressing it's cold steel against his flesh as reassurance. The money he carried had been take from the stash they stole from the church a few days earlier. He waited ten minutes before a black sedan pulled up next to him and the rear window rolled down. Inside sat a bulky muscular man with a cane.

"You Lester?" He grunted.

"I am. Who are you?" Lester asked.

"Kessler. Give me the money." Henry barked. Lester pulled a folded bulging envelope from his back pocket and placed it in Kessler's outstretched hand. The man quickly counted it and placed it into the breast pocket of his jacket. "See you next month chump." He said before rolling the window back up and driving away.

So that's Emma's step-father. I should have shot him. Lester thought. Oh well. There's always next month. He reached into his pocket and felt the weight of a bullet from Emma's rifle. They wanted to have more on hand so Jackie suggested Lester visit the gun shop and firing range where she learned to shoot to purchase more. He had some time to kill before group so he hopped on the bus for a short ride then walked the remaining distance to the shop. When he entered there was one other customer perusing ammunition in one of the aisles so Lester walked up to the counter and showed the clerk the bullet. "I need some more of these."Lester said.

The man whistled and took the bullet from Lester's hand. "Don't sell many of these. Most people are turned off by their price. Almost three dollars per round." He handed it back to Lester. "How many do you need?"

"Good question." Lester thought for a moment. "One hundred should do it for the time being. Oh, and I could use a couple more mags for a Barret M82A1 if you have them."

"Sure do. Hang on a sec." The clerk walked around the counter and grabbed the things Lester asked for then came back. "You must really want to make sure something is dead." He joked. "What are you shooting an M82 at that you need this much ammunition?"

"Just targets. I want to be ready for the zombie apocalypse." Lester replied.

"You joke, but you'd be surprised how many customers come in here that are seriously stocking up for the end of times. It's nutty, but good for business." He scanned bagged everything up then said. "That'll be five hundred and eighty-eight dollars and sixty-seven cents."

Lester produced some money and paid then lifted his bags which he guessed weighed about fifty pounds and made walking a bit strained. Even so he took two buses and a short walk home. Once inside he opened up the new magazines and a box of rounds so he could load them up. Once finished he stashed everything away in the hall closet with the golf bags. He realized then the time had come to make his way to group so he made his way to the community center.

He arrived early as usual and assisted Father Bishop by setting up chairs. By the time they finished several others had arrived and situated themselves in seats. Lester grabbed a cup of coffee and found himself a seat of his own. The chairs were all full by the time his coffee cup had emptied.

"Hello everyone. Welcome once more to Victims of Wicked Men, our little safe place for an hour a week." Father Bishop began. "For those of you who haven't been with us very long welcome back. I"m glad we've been helpful enough to keep you coming. For the rest of you, thank you for validating my belief that a group such as this is necessary in our increasingly wicked world. Who'd like to get us started?"

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