The front door crashed in, and a glint of black steel hit the corner of her eye. Gertrude unloaded her gun into the chest of a boy who looked no more than sixteen years old. He fell to the floor. She crossed herself and reloaded her gun faster than a woman of years would be expected to move. Jasmine, Erin, and Amy joined Keisha and Dana behind Gertrude. "God have mercy on your souls, I'll kill every last one of you before I let you hurt these babies, again."
"That was Big D's brother. Ma, I wish you hadn't done that--" a large hand grabbed the back of NaTonya's hair and pulled her to the ground like a dog. She winced from the pain. "Ma, please just let me have the girls."
Another man entered through the front door. Gertrude emptied her gun into his chest. A voice told them to go through the back. Keshia whimpered in Gertrude's ear.
Mama, how could you? Why did you bring them here?" Amy whined.
"Shut up! Y'all all I've got. If I didn't give you to him, he'd kill me. Do you want your mother to die? Ahh." NaTonya pulled at the spot where Big D pulled her head.
"Enough." Big D. pulled NaTonya to her feet by her hair. His eyes averted to the blood pouring from the hole in his brother's chest on the floor. He pushed NaTonya to the bottom of the stairs in front of Gertrude. "You killed the only thing I cared about in this life, so I'm gonna take away everything you love."
Gertrude reloaded her shotgun and aimed it at Big D as three other men lined up behind him. They all stepped toward the stairs and she leaned back to protect Keisha. Two more men lined up next to them. "Soldiers assume the position."
The five young men pulled nine millimeters from their jackets. Each of them pointed toward the stairs. NaTonya's eyes widened as she screamed and lunged toward Big D. Big D shot her in the shoulder slamming her back into the stairs.
"Mama, please, let him have the girls. I don't wanna die." NaTonya grabbed her shoulder and writhed in pain.
"Shut up child, I'm trying to think." Gertrude positioned the shotgun on one shoulder and took the .22 from Dana and aimed it at Big D. "Sir, me and my girls don't have no business with you. I'm sorry about your little brother but I'll do whatever I have to do to protect my family, including that fool bleeding on my steps. Call your men off, take her with you until your business is settled."
NaTonya sobbed. "You love them more than me, I knew it."
Gertrude grunted. "Shut up, child."
"This is bigger than a debt. NaTonya's debt is nothing compared to what you owe me now." Big D. nodded, and the young men cocked their guns.
"You don't have to do this, please, I'll do all their tricks please." NaTonya sobbed.
"Don't nobody want your stretched out snatch. The only reason you aren't already dead is because you knew how to get us here. I wanted to make sure you lived long enough to see this, but I'm tired of your mouth." Big D. aimed his piece at NaTonya's head and smiled at Gertrude.