By Lenardo Dedman & David Hunter

Prologue: The Strange Old Lady Across the Street

In Compton, whenever anybody's out way late in the night, it can mean only one thing.


I mean serious trouble. Even I knew that. And I was only 12 years old.

The first time I saw the ole Creole lady it must have been 3 o’clock in the morning. A full moon lit up everything outside. The scene looked like one of those weird old black-and-white movies.

I had just gone to the bathroom. I happened to glance out the window and saw a thin hooded shape opening the front wrought-iron gate of the big house across the street. Only by her super-long hair could I tell it was a woman.