Chapter 1

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The night air crackled with electricity as Crash walked the streets of the city. He inhaled and thanked the ancestors for another night. He looked around and frowned at the pollution that flooded the streets. Not trash, but people, their souls. They were trash. Literally. He was sick, saddened, and disgusted at the state of his people. His people. He scoffed at the thought. As if all of them in the Africa diaspora were connected. In the motherland, they'd been separated by tribes, country lines, warfare, language barriers, but connected by the desire to be more, grow more, build more, and to become greater than they had ever been.

The people he sidestepped and grimaced at on the streets bore more resemblance to the people of the past. Their auras were filthy. Stained with misinformation. Broken by miseducation. Distressed by the knowledge. But at the same time, they were comforted by the blanket of ignorance.

"Ay, my man," a gruff voice called out.

Crash stopped and turned to his left. A brother, he used the term loosely, leaned against the window of a laundromat and waved him over. Crash looked him over and swallowed the bile that had started to rise in his throat. The brother couldn't have been more than twenty-five, but the life he'd lived had destroyed his body. His face was hard, cracked, and an ugly scar ran from his left temple to right under his chin. His black air force ones had seen better days as they too were leaning. His jeans were hard, not because they'd been starched, but because the dirt had hardened and kept them in place. His beige shirt had been born white, but it too, had seen brighter and better days. Crash assumed the brother could have at one point been called handsome, but his brown eyes were dull and his lips cracked. His nose was bent because he'd lost one too many fights.

Crash raised an eyebrow, but didn't approach. The man reeked of death. Not his body, but his spirit. Beside him, Crash could see the demons of addiction and strife leaning on either shoulder of the brother, keeping up upright, and holding him in place. Their smiles were menacing and Crash knew that they didn't know that he could see them.

"You got a couple of dollars to spare. A nigga hungry," the brother rasped out. While waiting on Crash to answer, the brother pulled out a cigarette and lit it.

Crash was getting ready to tell the brother no and continue his stroll when a ray of moonlight illuminated the brother. The demons flinched and tightened their grip on the brother's shoulders. Suddenly the brother was awashed in yellow and turquoise light. The smoke he exhaled was a light green and Crash gripped his waistband as he took a step further. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. He watched as the demons shuddered and once again tightened their grip. Who was this young brother and why were they so determined to keep him in their grasp.

"Ay, brah, I don't want no issues," the brother declared as he raised his arms. He knew what a defensive posture looked like and it looked like Crash. He looked over at Crash and immediately regretted asking him. The man stood over six feet tall, Brandon would put him at a cool six-two and weighed at least 225 pounds. It was pure muscle. Even though he wore black Nike Slides, Black cotton nike shorts, and a white shirt, he knew the grimacing man was anything but casual. He saw him grip his waistband and raised his hands in submission.

Crash cleared his throat. "Yeah, I got it." He moved his hand from his waistband to his pocket and pulled out a few crumpled dollars. He extended his hand.

Brandon relaxed and took the money. It was seven dollars. He thanked the man and stood up straight. There was a deli down the street that served good sandwiches. Now he had enough for a meal.

Crash watched as the young brother walked, no limped away. It looked as if his right foot was injured. He watched as the demons sauntered behind him. It was then that Crash invoked the spirit of Cagn, a God that ruled over sorcery and shapeshifting. He grunted as the power filled his body and once again he gripped his waistband. Only this time he pulled out a staff He knew that to people passing by he appeared to be engrossed in his cell phone so he wasn't worried. Once the staff caught the moonlight, it glowed. It was then the demons turned back to him, finally noticing him and acknowledging him as an enemy. They gnashed their teeth and growled, but Crash only chuckled as he approached them.

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