The Rise of Umbra Excerpt

Autumn couldn’t be sure, but she somehow knew Dread was smiling inside that helmet of his. Dread replied, “I suppose the need for deception is over. Everyone in this room is, in one way or another, a part of the Crime Cartel, including our very outspoken friend here known by the code-name Bumblebee. Let’s cut the chase, shall we? I am quite sorry for the deception, but all of you were brought here under false pretenses. Even as we speak, Earth’s government is making a move on all seven families of the Cartel. Within the hour, every family leader, every bodyguard, and every high ranking associate within the Cartel will be dead.”

Roaring with protests, threats, and accusations, the room exploded with sound. Leaping to his feet, Bumblebee, in his black and gold body armor, bellowed above the rest, “And just how do you know this?”

Without missing a beat, Dread responded, “Because I helped set it up, of course.” Several at the table pulled weapons and took aim at Dread, but he didn’t seemed about it at all. “Put your weapons away. All I did was speed up the inevitable. The Cartel has become too brazen, too bold. They’ve become sloppy. They shamelessly operate in the wide open. They don’t even hide what they are. Some are even seen as celebrities, working the talk-show circuits bragging about their crimes. This is not how good business is done.”

Autumn hated to admit it, but Dread had a point. It wasn’t like the good ole days when nobody but a select few knew the bosses. The bosses were now house-hold names. The had become so confident in their being untouchable, they were breaking every rule that had made the Cartel so powerful in the first place. Still, if the Cartel was gone, just how was Autumn going to make a living?

A slender dark haired fellow at the table with a boyish face jumped up from his seat. He pointed his weapon at point blank range at Dread’s helmet and cried out, “So you set up everyone I work with and had them killed? People owed me money, Dread. A lot of money, and dead men can’t pay their bills!”

Casually waving his hand, Dread replied, “Bloody, Earth was already looking for the Cartel. All I did was point them in the proper direction. Through their investigations and the Cartels’ own foolishness, the E.B.I. has acquired a complete list of Cartel member’s names—a list, I might add, which included all of you. Pulling a few strings, I managed to have each of you removed from the list, for now.”

Putting the pistol back in its holster, the dark haired Bloody took a step forward and got nose to chest with Dread. With a fire burning in his eyes, the young man gazed up at the armored behemoth before him. “So what is this? Blackmail?”

Placing his hands upon Bloody’s shoulders, Dread said enthusiastically, “No, my angry little friend. This is opportunity. Someone has to replace the Cartel. Why shouldn’t it be us?”

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