El Club Cinco
Detective Laura Kimber cursed deep in her throat. Her breath froze on the air, misting her eyes, though it couldn’t cover up the sight that surrounded her. She let out a slow breath, trying to calm the slamming of her heart against her chest. The stench of death hung suspended around her, the gang violence that had been part of her daily existence for as long as she could remember finally slapped her with some reality. It was the first thing she wanted to cure when she graduated from the police academy.
She had sleepless nights and she knew something like this was going to happen. While off duty she’d stare at the ceiling, imagining fleecy sheep leaping over fences in a peaceful land of green, rolling hills. They leaped one at a time, making long, lazy jumps. It worked every time and she’d be off to sleep, but it didn’t make reality any easier. Her dreams were mostly of her childhood. She loved the way her mother used to sneak up on her and hug her when she wasn’t expecting it. Or the way she would recite nursery rhymes with her own little twists. The bedtime story of Little Red Riding Hood always happen to have a Laura Kimber in it and a Big Bad Wolf dressed in pimp clothing. Her childhood was amazing, but still she had to wake up from her dreams to face the world.
El Club Cinco was an underground party club, located on the lower side of Madison Avenue, where bad things happen even to good people. On the night of the shooting, several patrol cars were pulled off detail to cover the dog tracks over on Kossuth Street, and the shooting over gang colors left a floor of flesh and blood. Kimber realized that if the details were left alone, that would have made a difference here. Many of the dead were under age drinkers and party goers who wanted some mischief in their routine lives. However, the price was too high, and their lives picked up the tab.
Laura Kimber glared at her reflection in the partially shattered dance mirror against the wall in front of her. She was amazed on how much she aged since she’d joined the police force. Or was it the joining that aged her? Nonetheless the signs were there and there was nothing she could do about it. She continued staring at reflection ignoring the littered bodies that were also cast in reflection. Her pupils were dark, yet luminous. It was cold, but she could still feel a heat rise in her body, it made the skin tighten across her face.
Kimber knew that if she’d dug up some information on many of the dead, she would find some history in the computer, which can scan city arrests going back several years. But there would be nothing exceptional to lock many of them up for a long period of time; there would be mostly a few arrests for assault, disorderly conduct, and other misdemeanors. Nothing would have prevented what happened here in El Club Cinco.
“More dead in the back room,” shouted two uniforms from across the dance floor.
Laura Kimber nodded knowing all to well that they couldn’t see her acknowledgement. Suddenly against all common sense, Kimber caught sight of a shadow moving in the background. It was a tiny shadow, but a shadow nonetheless. She moved slowly towards the shadow and then she realized that she hadn’t really moved anywhere. She was caught in a daydream that she had no control over. She didn’t even realize that she’d closed here eyes in a grimace until the moment had sustained itself, frozen in time, and she became aware that she couldn’t see anything. She then opened her eyes and there was no shadow, and no blindness, only littered bodies of young people trapped on the floor of El Club Cinco.
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© 2013 Frank Atanacio
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