Chapter 1

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I stood in front of my brother's grave, along side my other brother, Romeo

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I stood in front of my brother's grave, along side my other brother, Romeo. Romeo and I were the last of our siblings to make it out of the neighborhood we grew up in. Well, we barely made it. Romeo was still hanging around the old neighborhood, slanging to make a living while I moved away once I reconnected with my husband.

But the death of Kendrick is what initially drove me away from the old neighborhood. I was 17 when my oldest brother was killed in a drive-by right outside of our house. I knew Kendrick was involved in some shit he had no business being in and was moving with the wrong crowd, but I didn't think that would get him shot, nor did I think I'd be burying my brother who was only 22 at the time.

I was sitting on the front porch of our old house the day he was killed and can remember everything going down plain as day. I could remember hearing the birds chirping and the children screaming and playing around in the middle of the street just a few houses over from us, but that somberness was cut short the minute a black Nissan Altima came driving down our street.

It was nothing strange about the car though. It didn't catch anyone's attention because it didn't stand out amongst the cars in the area, which is why they drove it. Well, at least that's why I think they drove it. I think they drove it to fit in with the neighborhood so no one would get thrown off by a sports car, hooptie, or even a luxury car driving through this neighborhood. So, when they drove down our block like they were just passing through, nobody really gave it a second glance.

My body tensed up as I remembered the screams from the children once the bullets started flying. The sound of my mother screaming from inside of the house. I'll never be able to forget that sound or the sound of those guys pumping bullets in my brother's frail body; or even seeing them do it. A guy in the passenger's seat and a guy in the back seat did the shooting. Both of them shot my brother at the same time so badly that we couldn't even recognize him once we took his body to the funeral home. He was too mutilated to be seen, so we had a closed casket at the funeral.

But the guys in the car are what stuck out to me the most. I couldn't see them since they had masks covering their faces. I tried to get a good look at them as they pulled off but I couldn't see anything and that always kept me on edge. It always kept me wondering if I went to school with or was even in the same place as at least one of the niggas that killed my brother. It had me scared to go out, thinking they'd retaliate, so I stayed in the house for the longest after Kendrick's death.

Just thinking back on how those niggas ruined my family is what haunts me to this day. Yeah, they killed my brother in front of me and took away somebody's son, but the damage they caused our family will haunt us for years to come. My Dad left my Mom soon after Kendrick's death, my Mom turned to alcohol to cope with her emotions and eventually lost our childhood home since she couldn't keep up with the bills.

She was in and out of motels for the longest until Romeo let her stay with him a few months ago. I love my Mama but I didn't want her staying with me. I needed my space and I didn't want to constantly be looking over my shoulder in my own house. Since she started drinking, she's been stealing, fighting, and lashing out, which makes me think she's doing more than drinking these days. Regardless, I don't wanna be involved in any of her nonsense, so I keep my distance from her and my Dad, who's a bitch that ran as soon as shit got hard.

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