"If you had one shot. Just one chance to achieve your biggest dream. To gain everything you ever wanted. Will you seize that opportunity, or just let it go?" Grind said. "Say you had one opportunity, man. And we're the ones giving it to you. Will you take it, or leave it?"
"Yeah, I'll take it," he replied, making his voice sound as gruff as possible. Zack crossed his arms and straightened himself out to his full height. When he did this, he only reached up to Grind's chin. A ghost of a smile played on Grind's thin, purple lips. They strongly smelled of wine to Zack.
"Alright, punk, we'll see about this. Are you strong enough? Can you stand it? Will you pussy out after you join us?" Grind took a step forward and shoved Zack. He caught his balance just in time.
"Try me," Zack growled. "I'm strong, man."
Grind laughed harshly. "I like you. A guy who likes to fight. How much do you bench?"
"Nice. What's your name?"
"I'm called Zack."
"Zack, huh? Well that ain't good enough. The way we do it, we through away our Christian names and forget it ever existed. Name's Grind. I think Crack'll be a better name for you."
"Crack," Zack repeated. "Sick name."
"You think so? Well I'm the one who makes all our names up." Grind shoved his hands in his pockets. He looked up to the dark sky, streaked with grey clouds. "Gettin' stormy," he casually remarked.
"Yeah. Who else is in the gang?"
"Me, the top boss. Hawkeye, my co-boss. We've got many grunts. Shades, Viper, McFly, and five others. You're gonna be one of the many pledges we have. Most pledges pussy out and they're kicked out. We only accepts the best outta the worst."
"No worries, Grind. I'll make it. What do you want me to do?" Zack asked.
"Look, man. You're cool and all, but I'm not gonna waste my time. You're one of them pledges who act big, but really is a coward."
"Naw, I've got it. Take a shot at me. Your hardest test," Zack demanded, his green eyes glittering.
Grind's passive face was replaced by a sinister smirk. "Alright, Crack. Hardest test, eh?"
"Yeah," Zack said. "Give it your best shot. I'm all for you." He spread his arms as if offering himself to Grind.
"It's eight o'clock right now. Come to the old warehouse on Adams at twelve. Come too late, and you're gonna regret it. You hear?"
"I'll see you then." Zack walked back home, head bowed with a hood pulled over. The rain was pouring now, thoroughly drenching his backpack and hoodie. He unlocked the door, threw his backpack on the ground, and shouted, "I'm back, mom. Was hanging with a friend if you was wondering."
"Maybe you should take extra English classes with your friend too," his mom replied. "Dinner on the table. If you got anywhere to go soon, you know when to come back."
He smiled. "Thanks, mom." Zack sat at the table, silently eating his dinner except for a few words of praise to his mom. After he was done, he brought the plate to the sink and quickly washed it.
When it turned 11:30, Zack headed out the door. He navigated the dark streets, until finally reaching the old warehouse.
"Anyone here?" he called out. He scolded himself for forgetting a flashlight. "Hello? Grind?"
"Here, man," Grind replied, waving his flashlight. "Thought you'll never come. Seems like you forgot a flashlight."
"Well, no problem. We've got plenty of light. Hey, Hawkeye, light up some candles will you?"
Hawkeye lit up many candles. Zack could see that Hawkeye had an eye with a large scar that ran from his forehead to his cheekbone.
"What's up with your eye, man?" He asked.
"A damn hawk scratched me," Hawkeye answered. "Well, pledge, you ready for the worst night of your life?"
"So, Crack. Come here."
Zack followed Grind and abruptly stopped when he saw a figure tied to a chair. He realized that it was his girlfriend Amy.
"Yeah, we've got Amy here. That's your test." Grind handed Zack a gun. "If you can shoot her from this range, you're in."
"Can I talk to her first?"
"Sure. But she can't talk back."
Zack went up to Amy to whisper in her ear. "Don't worry, Amy. These types of tests happen all the time. This gun is just loaded with blanks." Zack smiled reassuringly. "You know my bro, Dan? Well, he's been through this type of test to get in another gang. He had to shoot me. Gun was loaded with blanks. So, you trust me? Nod your head."
Amy looked relieved and nodded her head.
"Just trust me on this, alright? If I get in this gang, I'll be rich and I can buy you whatever you want."
"Hey, Crack, enough talking and get on with it already. Stand here, and don't step over the line. Let's see how well you can aim a gun. One the count of five, you shoot. 5...4...3...2..1... fire!"
Zack shot the gun, his hand shaking from the recoil. But something wasn't right. If the gun was loaded with blanks, then it wouldn't have any recoil. He suddenly realized in horror that the gun was actually loaded with real bullets. A moan escaped his mouth when he saw a huge bloody spot on Amy's chest.
"Good job, man," Grind smirked. "Never thought you'll do it. But you're a cold heared bastard."
"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest achievement."