The Nightmares Own the Detective
It’s over, it’s history. It was a hell of a run. Several gas station hold ups in a row came to an abrupt end. The money spent and the constant bragging finally caught up with them.
Police were lined up a block ahead of them and two blocks behind them. There was a brain-dead gas station clerk sprawled out in front of pump number three. There was also a wife who was shot in the face at point blank range and her husband standing watch over her body. He had the faith and certainty of a religion, that there was no coming back to the land of the living for her.
The police knew that they had to stop these men in their tracks before the death counts continue to rise. The first robbery left a ten year old boy fighting for his life as he was stabbed repeatedly. After that every robbery got worse.
The lead detective would squint his eyes in the morning sunlight. Then uniforms took their position as they followed the chains of command. His eyes narrowing across the bleak landscape. From the beginning of Clinton Avenue to the end of North Avenue, a good part of that section was blocked off to protect the people in that area.
Several hold-ups and each one of those held its own nightmare. Those nightmares would quickly fill the empty space in the lead detective’s subconscious mind. The nightmares would always scare the hell out of young detectives; some of them relive the nightmares over and over, mocking them. As they become veterans, the nightmares just start pissing them off. However, there was no truth in that statement for the lead detective. He would always believe that the nightmares own the detective.
He turned his attention to the gas station. He surveyed the property. It was empty except for the clerk, the dead woman and her grief stricken husband. He walked quietly toward the van that held three desperados. The sun was now slightly higher. The street was empty except for a group of uniforms holding up riot gear urging the lead detective to take cover.
The lead detective heard a noise and looked to his left. Two young police women took cover behind a small red compact car. Their police issued revolver drawn, but pointing down. He took a deep breath and continued his slow pace toward the van. His skin tingled and the fear was thick.
Suddenly there was a crack of a gun fire that snapped through the still morning air. The bullet hit the street five feet to his left. A second shot followed almost immediately. That one was too close for comfort. The lead detective instinctively dived behind a parked truck. He held his breath and waited for another shot. There was none. Tentatively, he eased his head out on the left side of the truck. His head was no sooner visible than a third shot was fired. The bullet cut through his hair, leaving his scalp stinging where it nicked him.
He wanted to capture these men so they could pay for their crimes and live their fear until they rot in jail, but that wasn’t going to happen. He scrambled back for cover. He cursed as he stood behind the uniforms in riot gear.
“Orders?” asked one of the uniforms.
“Are you sure?”
“That’s a direct order!”
The lead detective was much less confident than his voice indicated. There was a certain crazed look in his eyes and he realized he would have to cross a line in order to end the stand-off.
The uniform nodded and gave the orders to open fire. The lead detective shook his head sadly. He knew deep down inside that he never wanted this to end in the loss of more lives, but he had no choice. The desperados were not going to give up. They were going to kill or be killed.
“Sir, the situation is all clear,” said the uniform.
Another nightmare stored. The lead detective seemed to be grappling with an appropriate response, but ended up saying nothing.
© 2013 Frank Atanacio
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