Chapter 7: You’ve Been A Bad Boy, Aaron

Rushing through the hall, I finally reach the interrogation room. Instead of bursting in with my pistol ready to fire, checking the observation room would be the smarter option. There’s no way the false Jameson could know we’re onto him yet, thus I can still have the element of surprise or ability to play along. His motive for getting in here is likely to be to have access to our mystery suspect, but that remains unclear. Taking out and impersonating an officer, knowing that they’re not meant to be at this precinct until tomorrow, screams careful planning.

I stand at the side of the door and open it, pushing heavily as I swoop in. The female officer lies on the floor, appearing to be unconscious, and didn’t see the blow coming at all. Was this Jameson’s doing? The lights go out in this room and the next one, causing me to swing my pistol at the door. Nothing but darkness remains to be seen. Is the power cut? It has to be, for the lights in this room, the next room, and the hallway to go out simultaneously.

Within seconds, the emergency lighting kicks on, giving off very little lighting in every area; enough for me to stick to the shadows and enough for Jameson as well. Bringing the truck back to the station gives Jameson a ride out of here, though I don’t think he’ll be leaving without his final bag of money. I take a look in the window of the interrogation room to see a body on the floor, getting only a faint view, thanks to the single piece of light. The blood is clear to see making its way across the floor.

Maybe the captain got the hint, because that looks like the false Jameson, judging by the clothing. Where’s the Captain and the suspect? If that’s Jameson, why’s the power out? I can’t bring myself to run on an assumption so I get in there to check out the body for myself and see that the Captain has been stripped of his clothing. Jameson has to be heading to the evidence room with the suspect.

That suspect is our link to finding Quinntella Wallace and I can’t risk taking that kind of loss. I re-enter the hallway and take the left path, hearing a roar of gunfire flooding in from the booking area. What the fuck is going on back there? The weapons I’m hearing are machine guns and I don’t think my side managed to get to the armory so fast. Are we under attack? Is it Jameson? Do I go back and see what’s going on? Maybe Jameson has the bag already?

All that gunfire can’t be directed at a single person, because it sounds like there’s a small army at war out there. The pounding in my ears from pistols and machine guns just won’t let up. I decide to head for the evidence room, as I’m the only one that knows what this new Jameson looks like. I cut through the maze of other hallways, passing more than a few well-armed officers who are going to join in the fight. The hallways are still very dark on the sides; nevertheless, the main path is lit enough for me to see through to each end.

In passing with a fellow officer, I ask, “You seen the Captain?”

The officer answers, “He was just escorting someone through here.”

He continues moving past me. I would like to request the aid of an officer, but that would just be another mouth to feed money to. Jameson knows about the money, aware that I’m the one who’s got three million sitting in a truck underneath me. With Terrell out of the picture, that last bag and the other six are as good as mine. I continue on with my pistol drawn, watching every nook and cranny for the false Captain eluding his way past goal-driven officers.

Reaching the darkened and recently unguarded evidence room is a cautious breeze. Where’s the guy that’s supposed to be behind the cage and why is the cage open? Beyond it only has few off-white emergency lights throughout the maze of shelves; no sign of activity past it, although something has clearly happened here. I don’t see any activity through the gaps behind each catalogued item, nor a corpse behind the cage. I enter the cage with sweaty hands, carefully as if I haven’t been able to see beyond it all along.

My venture into the darkness consumes me only briefly at the exit of each of the many overhead lamps. Before too many steps in, a crash alerts my senses, causing my to fling my pistol’s barrel toward the back of the room. Holding my aim, a crash and tumble reveals its presence in the center hallway then movement ceases. With the silence held and a direct sight into the light, my eyes inform me of the fallen body being the perp. The slight and weakened movement of the cloaked person signifies some kind of injury.

The imposter must’ve taken the suspect to slip past the others, dumping the now useless cover. Was he here to steal the money that we recovered and the money that I was meant to bring back? Did the false Jameson already get away? I rush over to the hooded person on the floor, noticing that they’re handcuffed from behind. Taking a peek around, there doesn’t seem to be anyone around in plain sight, though it’s still pitch black in most areas. Is the bag already gone?

I approach the perp and lend an assist, loudly comforting the twitches of fear at my touch, “I’m not gonna hurt you, I’m not gonna hurt you.”

The now obvious male halts his movements. I don’t have it in me to worry about what happens to this guy, until I realize he’s my only lead to Quinntella Wallace.

I attempt to take off the hood but the man backs away in a slight urgency, “Don’t. If anyone here sees me, they’ll know who I am. I’m injured. Help me out of here and I’ll give you information. Quinntella’s stash spots with more money.”

“I got the three mill already, fuck Quinntella.”

Before I can fully turn to ditch the bastard, he speaks again, “The cops will pin this whole thing on me, detective. I gave you the money, just help me out of here.”

“Who brought you here?”

“The guy that shot the Captain. He brought me along, busted up my leg, and left me here. Please, get me out of here.”

I cave in, “Fine, but you’re walkin’.” I help him onto his feet, guiding him out by his shirt with his right leg limp, “He must’ve taken the back exit to the parking garage under us. That’s where I parked the truck.”

He doesn’t respond, as I lead the way into the incredibly silent hallway. One of the two sides won and I don’t like not being sure which. The power’s still out, identifying some bad mojo for team cop. If we run into some trouble, this poor snitch is gonna have to be my shield. The info he has can be valuable; nevertheless, I’m not throwing away my life for a lead that I’ll have to pursue without a precinct to back me up.

Skulking around the dark corners, I hear a whisper from my perp, “How much further is the truck?”

I refuse the question with a whispered statement, “I ask the questions. What do you know about what’s going on here?”

“I came in here with my head down. It’s possible I was followed or somebody let word get out that there was a truck full of money on its way.”

“Is that another stab at me?”

“Look, your guy left the room, before you got back. When he got back, a gunshot went off and he dragged me out of the room.”

“Did he say anything?”

“No.”

“How do you know it was him then?”

“I don’t. With you guys, you never know who’s working for who. Why do you think I have this sack over my head?”

“Aesthetics.”

A couple of pistol shots up ahead disturb us enough to usher silence, followed by the thud of an obvious body hitting the floor. The next corridor is the cafeteria, the only thing between us and the elevator at the left wall. Instead of chancing the opportunity of getting my head blown off by peeking out to the left, I drag us back a few steps to the kitchen door. I lower myself and the suspect into a crouched position, cracking the kitchen door extremely slowly; waiting for a break in silence caused by gunshot and the speeding course of adrenaline to kick in. Nothing happens.

Whoever came to the station came in heavy with machine guns and those were pistol shots I just heard. Unless the shooter was facing the other direction, it’s hard to ignore a slowly opening kitchen door. Once it’s cracked enough for us to fit through, I guide my suspect in first, then at the continued sound of silence, deem it safe to enter myself. The kitchen isn’t as huge as I wish it was right now; it’s just a bar with appliances on the left and a serving station on the right. I aim my gun over the suspect toward the other end of the kitchen where an opening directly to the cafeteria rests.

I hold the door, carefully closing it to avoid making any noise that a single flapping saloon type door would make. After closing the door, I lead us forward and give a slight peek over the serving counter to see the metal frame that hold the glass. Raising my head higher, I notice someone through the slit, still not able to identify who it is. The person is walking to the elevator, so I rush over to the end of the counter where I can get a perfect visual of the assailant. Speeding to safely look into the cafeteria from the opening, I see my shifty partner Richard press the call button.

I call out his name, “Rich?” On maximum alert, he turns toward me with his standard issue up, bringing out my quick words, “It’s Harris.”

I gradually rise from behind the counter, then he eases his weapon as he speaks with an attitude, “Somebody know what the fuck is goin’ on?”

I bring up my cloaked suspect by his shirt as I respond, “Something with the new guy the Captain was with. Jameson. He killed Terrell and stole something from evidence. I need to get this guy out of here.”

“Who is he?”

“Anonymous, for now.”

“Fuck it.” The elevator sounds before opening, “Captain’s dead, job’s over.”

Part of me is applauding his cowardly behavior, which also the smarter decision than going up against who knows how many cop killers; the other part of me is in deep suspicion of what his lazy ass was doing, because from the look of things, he was leaving already. Upon entering the elevator with my suspect, I face the closing doors and spot the dead body of a cop. Richard is already facing forward, staring at the closed doors without a single taste of a word on his tongue. The elevator jumps, heading down. The suspect is behind us, clueless.

His gun is still in his hand, held as stiff as can be, with a firm grip clenching tighter on his gun. Did he kill that cop? Does he have something to do with what’s going on here or am I just being paranoid? Whoever stormed the front doors and started shooting up the building haven’t made it back here yet so why the dead cop? There’s no other reason to kill a cop and not blame a corpse that can’t defend itself, unless said party is involved; intending to kill me or maybe going to try and kill my suspect.

I’m not a good guy and have a truck with three million waiting for me in the garage. Throwing that away for this guy’s life isn’t something that I see myself doing. Another, and more likely, catch is he wasn’t after the man behind us, since he was already heading down here. I can only see him going after the truck full of money that I brought. My gut is sold on the idea and I don’t know how he knows but I know he does. I can’t let him take my money.

With him on my left, I casually place my hands on my hips, remaining inconspicuous as I inch my right hand down to my holster. He takes notice to my movement from the elevator’s reflection, not catching onto my right hand. His right index finger taps the trigger and I look into his eyes in the gray reflection to see him looking at me. Without warning or hesitation, I reach both of my hands down at his right hand, as he fires his weapon at my leg. I don’t release my grip during our tussle for the gun in his hand, that quickly forgetting I’ve got mine.

Letting go with my right and still holding with my left, I grab my pistol, pressing two bullets into his chest. Richard’s body falls back, smacking blood from his back at the wall as he slides down to the floor; dead as a doorknob. The cuffed suspect is backed into a corner, silent as can be, more than likely unaffected from being around the death-dealing Quinntella Wallace. I can’t tell what facial expression he’s carrying right now, but a little reassurance goes a long way.

I state, “He killed a cop in the lunch room. He would’ve killed us next.”

By backing away from the corner, his body language speaks volumes of trust now. There’s a camera in this elevator but the power’s down, not proving that this was a clean shoot, although it wasn’t. He popped the cop in the cafeteria then tried to pop us would be a plausible story, when my bullet comes back from ballistics. The elevator halts, opening to the faintly lit garage and a nice view of my truck from here. It’s time to find my way to paradise. This guy’s on his own from here.

I let the suspect lead out with a command, “Straight ahead.”

He instigates forward movement and I follow a couple arm’s lengths behind him. No one took a shot at him, therefore, I exit the elevator next and get whacked in the face. Instantly, I blackout from the blunt force. My eyes can’t see; however, I feel myself being dragged.

The suspect speaks, “Get these cuffs off me.”

Only a few feet of concrete can be felt under my head, before my legs drop. What’s happening? I’m trying to regain control of my senses but I can only feel and hear. My face is throbbing and I know for more than just a fact that blood is gushing from my head. My eyes open briefly as my pockets are being checked, then again shortly after, as the suspect takes his cloak off. It’s the imposter that was supposed to be in the Captain’s outfit; the false Jameson.

A smooth female voice speaks as she steps to the side of and stares at me, “Aaron Harris.”

My eyes open to a dark-skinned, slim woman with brown eyes and long black hair; Quinntella Wallace. I don’t understand what’s happening here. What happened to the suspect? I didn’t see their body with the Captain’s, yet somehow the imposter has the same clothing.

Quinntella speaks again as she sits next to my paralyzed body, “You’ve been a bad boy, Aaron. I paid you to back off and you went back on your word for more money. You almost got me killed, you know? That’s not good. An almost for me is a guarantee for you.”

She reaches her hand up above me and a baseball bat gets passed over to her. I’m certain that it’s what I was just smacked in the face with and why I can’t swallow the blood collecting in my mouth. Quinntella uses the bat to assist her stand as I cough blood onto my face. The coughing jerks my body, tilting my head a little bit to the right and seeing someone in the Captain’s uniform. It has to be the suspect, and their standing directly in front of a light, making it impossible for me to identify them, even now. Step away from the light and give a dead man one last wish.