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.

“Open fire!”

“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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Comments 32 comments

LaThing profile image

LaThing 3 years ago from From a World Within, USA

And here I am trying to find those pages to turn and read some more...... WOW, Frank, for a minute I forgot that I was reading a novel teaser....... Wonderfully descriptive, and very touching! What can I say, Frank, you are great!

Voting up and everything!

xstatic profile image

xstatic 3 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

Yes, Frank, WOW! This one had me almost holding my breath as the detective approached that van. I thought "What the hell is he doing!" Sounds like a no choice situation though, these guys chose their own ending. Great hub!

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

This has probably happened countless times and I am sure many are full of these nightmares from this life, and where would we be without them. Thank God for the brave. You do some great writing. ^

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you Lathing X-man and Jackie for visiting my nightmares :)

tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Hey Frank, this was well worth the wait, a definite page turner. Great write.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you tobusiness

Moms-Secret profile image

Moms-Secret 3 years ago from Central Florida

I wonder sometimes. I believe I would make a horrible detective because I lack that part of me that would be disappointed that I could not take them alive. I would attempt to but just the one time. Great story. So happy to be reading you this afternoon.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

oh and its good to see you Moms :)

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

Upup and away for this one Frank !!!Have I been missing you on here Frank;I shall have to check .

A great read and keep them coming.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks Eddy :)

Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 3 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Wonderful story, as usual for you. I can feel his disappointment that he couldn't make them pay for a looong time.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks Becky Katz :)

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Valleypoet 3 years ago

I wasn't sure which way this was going, it kept me gripped as the tension builds, and there is so much happening within a small time frame...doing all that, as effectively as you do, takes talent...welcome back Frank:-))

Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 3 years ago from United States

Your stories always pump up my blood stream and heart beat.

Great writeup frank.

Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 3 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

Welcome back Frank

This was yet another gripping story

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

Thank you Valley, Rosemay and Ruch bless you all :)

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

By the time I was done reading I felt like one of the policeman. so much detail and such an insight into the detective in such a short time. Excellent!

Voted up, awesome, and interesting.

b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 3 years ago

Good one Frank, and sometimes "words" become meaningless as the Detective displayed in the end...Glad justice was served.

epigramman profile image

epigramman 3 years ago

.....Everytime I arrive here Frank I just have to say one thing and keep the streak and tradition going - you are one of my all time favorite writers here at the Hub.

God bless you,


lake erie time 7:17pm

Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

It was late yesterday. I'm glad I came back to this. Thank you

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much Til, Mhatter99, Mister Epi, and of course B Malin bless you all for stopping by :)

Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Great writing here, Frank! Yes, I am sure their reality continues into their nightmares, unfortunately! Very vividly written, as if I were there too, and now may have the nightmares as well! Voted up and sharing

God bless and sweet dreams, Faith Reaper

Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

As Jackie said, “This has probably happened countless times.” We aren’t there on the ground with these detectives…what they live through and relive in their nightmares. Often, there is no resolution except more death. You brought this compelling scenario to life, Frank, with great writing and intensity. Not easy to do. Voted up ++ for this page turner.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much Faith and you too Genna East bless you both :)

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland

LOL!!! Frank I was actually sweating - and not a hot flush either - to see how this was going to end! And yes, that poor detective is going to have yet another nightmare that will 'piss him off'.

Absolutely awesome!!!! Voted up + shared!!

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

Seeker your too kind :)

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lovedoctor926 3 years ago

Frank, you've always been a good writer, but your work lately is top notch! I really enjoyed this one. voted up! check your hubpage email. I sent you a link to an article that I wrote on raisin bread. lol. have a good weekend:)

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

I will thank you Marlene :)

Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

Frank, you present your shorts wonderfully.

I never took mystery genre seriously until I began to read you.

Thanks for capturing my attention.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

Once again I thank you Vin :)

Gyamfi 2 years ago

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Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton Author


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