Nodding my head, I say, “Alright, I’ll be back in a few hours. Contact me if you need anything or should something arise. Anything else, let me know when I get back. Fucking keep an eye open though. I don’t like the Russians being involved in any of this.”

“You and me both, brother.”

Bumping fists with me, I head to my car.

Sitting in the parking lot of Father Coss’ church, I press the number on my phone for Simon. He’s the guy who is pretty much the head of intelligence for us.

“Andrew.”

“Simon, got a call from Father Coss. Wants me to come in for confessional.”

“Interesting. Did he give any indication of why?”

“No, but he wanted it sooner rather than later,” I say.

“Understood, call me back when you’re done.”

Disconnecting the call, I open the door and get blasted by a gust of rain and wind. Fuck, it’s going to be a chilly night.

The church I enter is one of those big old castle looking types. It’s been here since Garden City was in its infancy and it hasn’t really changed since. All around the church and its parking lot are modern buildings, large glass looking behemoths. But they can’t top this church’s imposing look.

Going through the wide double doors, I shake off the rain in the entrance. Looking out to the rows and rows of pews, I see people of all walks of life sitting or kneeling in prayer.

Father Coss is up front, speaking to a couple of elderly women. When he spots me he gives me a slight nod of his head.

Heading to the left, I go straight to the confessional booth to wait for the grizzled old man. He has the look of an old drill sergeant, not the kindly look you’d think a priest would have.

Sitting down in the booth, I lean forward to close the curtain.

I once asked Lucifer what the good father has him talk about during these ‘confessional’ times.

I can’t forget the look he gave me when he said, “I don’t go to him. He comes to speak with me.”

When the old man enters the other side across the partition, I say, “Father.”

“It’s good to see you in church again. You haven’t been around in a while. I thought you might have forgotten where it was.”

“Ha!” I chuckle. He knows I wouldn’t be caught dead inside of one of these boxes if it wasn’t for the information he has for us.

“Laughing will only take you further from God, Andrew,” he says in a tired voice.

“I’m pretty sure I’ve already been forgotten by the old man. No sense in getting into his bad graces now.”

“Andrew, I’ve told you before…”

“Father, let’s bypass the rhetoric.” Reaching through the small panel in the back of the box, I slide the envelope full of cash his way.

“As you wish, but if you ever want to talk… Anyways, let’s see what you brought me.”

The ruffling of cash as he counts it makes me want to burst out laughing, but I know from experience if I do that I’ll have to pay more.

Keeping my mouth shut, I wait for him to finish up.

“It makes this old priest happy to see the youth of today taking care of the church,” he says, then quietly murmurs to me. “You guys have been making some waves around the city for a while now. Any chance of you letting things die down?”

“Soon enough, I suppose, but we still have things to take care of.”

“How many more bodies am I going to say last rites over before… He’s satisfied?” he asks with that same tired tone.

He didn’t use to always sound so tired and weary, but I think he’s getting tired of living in a city like Garden City. This place will either make you or chew you up and spit you out.

“If I had that answer, Father, we wouldn’t be here. He… isn’t happy, and when you make him mad it’s a long road to hell.”

We are speaking of Lucifer of course, my boss. The man is the true power in this city, so when someone fucks with him it’s a bad day for everyone.

Looking through the partition, I see Father Coss make the sign of the cross.

“There is word of something big going on, Andrew. Not on your side though. The deaths of the Yakuza have made things unstable all over the city. There was a vacuum left there and it’s starting to look like the Russians are filling the void.

“What’s the big thing happening?” I ask.

“That’s the problem, Andrew, there aren’t any whisperings of what’s happening. Just whispers of big people moving in. Tough men with dark names. The wives and mistresses of the Russians are in the dark as much as everyone else except the highest of their group. Normally, I would just pass this on to you guys and keep my peace here. But…”

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