Three men walked in the shadows under a bitter cold weather, their hats bent low over their faces and the collar of their over coats turned up, each of them were fully wrapped in shawls to prevent the cold from stinging as that of a four degrees Celsius weather. The street was quiet, save for some barking from stray dogs and unsubdued croaks of crickets and other vile creatures.
The men had been walking for the past one hour, each lost in thoughts, no one spoke out for fear of been discovered, they stayed in the shadows and avoided any cop or armed personal on their way, just the man in the middle knew where they were going to. They could not even speak out in fear, each frightened of the other betraying him.
Finally the voices of laughter from a drinking parlour cleared the thin air of fear they had for the man in their middle.
“I would do the speaking, neither of you should open your mouths, and hide your faces especially you Jason, don’t forget that these are dangerous smugglers, they won’t hesitate to pull a lead bullet into your skull especially when they find out you have a multi million bounty on your head, Xavier no matter what happens, never start a fight, never start a fight I repeat” Alexander Korjev said before they walked into the drinking parlour.
The Sea Man’s Inn was surely not a place that could pull the crowd that sat drinking in it, the walls were brownish and the paint falling off making the place look like a dead zone, the room was almost half as cold as outside but neither of the drinkers cared one beat. A large sign just above the bar man’s head said it all.
“Drink hot or die cold”
As the three men walked in, all eyes were fixed on them, their dressings rarely depicted that of Sea men, neither did they look like cops which frequented the place in search of wanted men from time to time, the Inn held the likes of them in frequent numbers and they were always the toast of the Inn until they are arrested.
Hush whispers followed as the three men walked towards the bar area which was empty at that moment save for the bar man who was making a cocktail. They trio walked towards him and sat down on high stools.
“Two shots of tequilas each for this young men seated here and a bottle of beer for me” they two young men stared at the old man like he had gone bonkers, Jason just smiled and gulp his drink at once while Alexander was drinking his slowly with out a care in the world. Xavier pushed his away in disgust.
The old man leaned forward and motioned the bar man to draw nearer, “where is Black Panther? I need help”, he withdraw back but not after placing some crumpled notes in the bar man’s palm.
“Who is the Black Panther?” The bar man shouted out a little but too loud. A hush silence followed as all murmuring and discussions ended, all eyes were fixated on the sitting trio. “Sorry, I know nobody by that name” he said and excused himself.
A table tumbled over, chairs shifted as someone got up, the silence was so eerie that a patient with high blood pressure might have died from fear of the unknown. The footsteps grew louder, neither of the men turned. Xavier quickly gulped his drink and awaited the unknown.
“Hello gentlemen” a hoarse voice spoke from behind them, two large arms were planted on Alexander shoulder, “can I see your identity cards please because cops have been a little weary of this place since two months ago, why do you seek the Black Panther?”
“The Black Panther is a friend of mine, I need a little favor, now be kind enough to take off your fat arms from my shoulders, it weighs a ton” Alexander replied calmly.
“Wow, this one has guts brothers” the unknown smuggler laughed out heartily, Alexander joined in to laugh but the repercussions for his actions was fatal. He was twined on the stool to face a giant of a man.
About six fee tall and bulging muscles, his hardened face showed that he was a hardened man who had seen lots of battles. One hand came off his shoulder but it was only to flatten him with a heavy punch to the jaw. The crowd barked out in excitement as Alexander was flunged to the ground from his stool. Xavier made to intervene but Jason held him back.