12 Rounds (Knockout 1) - Page 2

A joyous chorus of Hallelujah sounded off in Connie's mind and a wicked leer spread across his lips. “Now that you mention it, Sean, there is.”

“Really?” Relief washed over the boy's features. “I feel better now. I don't like taking and not giving back. So, Uncle Connie what is it I can do for you to repay you for your kindness and generosity?”

“All I need is a pledge from you, boy-o.”

“A pledge?”

“Yes. A pledge of your loyalty.” Connie paused and cupped his arm around Sean's shoulder. “Do you remember the Braithreachas Don Saol?”

Chapter One


April 2010

I am alone on the side walk.



Frantically trying to make it to the safe haven of my car.

You see, this part of the city is sketchy. The part of the city with abandoned builings, boarded up houses, and rusted, rotting cars lining the streets. Smoke unfurls from chimney’s, coating the midnight colored sky with an eerie fog. I’ve heard from a few of the kids on campus that gun shots, and howls in the night, are normal songs on the soundtrack that set the back drop for this part of town.

Soft breaths leave my lips.

Aside from that…


Maybe the kids on campus were wrong.

The silence swells and expands, deafening my clogging footsteps against the pavement. I’m nervous—wary—and I swear I can feel my heart pulsating in my throat.

Questions flood my mind like the brown, murky waters of the Ohio River. Why did the study group insist on coming to this part of town to cram for finals?

What was so special about Manzo’s Pizza Shop? Why couldn’t we go to a Pizza Hut or Papa John’s closer to the Carver University Campus?

The silence breaks when I hear another set of footsteps fall in line with my own. I spin around, walking backwards, “Hello!” The words come out jittery because I’m already nervous. Now fear can be added to that equation. “Is someone out there?”

No answer.

Then my back hits a wall.


It’s not a wall.

I’ve bumped into someone or something.

And whatever it is, is threatening.

I can feel the terror inside of me spike as a hard body presses into my back, warm breath trails down the back of my neck, and raspy breathing pounds against my ear drums.

I’ve heard of some people getting a sudden rush of adrenaline when they’re seconds away from dying. It’s like a last will of action, pumping through you, a part of you that’s logical and tells you that you’re not ready to die.

I wait for mine.

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