Hospital Fighter Ch. 4 - Coming to Terms
The Volga pulled up to the police precinct, a run-down relic building from the 1960s whose white bricks were turning yellow as the iron bars on the windows rattled in the wind. I've been here before and it was more lively back then. Now, there are no cruisers in the driveways nor are there any lights in the windows: the whole precinct was out. My escorts pulled me out and led me inside; both my hands were chained behind my back.
Gurov's partner guided me to a broken chair as the Sergeant himself went towards a staircase, probably summoned by the chief. As I sat, I studied possible escape routes and looked for signs the precinct was fixed. Could I use this chance and show my findings to a senior officer? He's probably the KGB's proxy so that's out' may even be accused of conspiring against the Soviet system.
My train of thought got derailed with a crash and a loud thump of a body hitting the floor; I saw a young man in handcuffs, covered in bruises and blood. He was squirming against his restraints as 2 huge masked men in black entered the premises; OMON operators. OMON is a special police unit made to counter more serious criminals and conduct high-risk arrests, provide rapid-response to terrorist threats, and riot control: composed of Soviet army veterans and formed in 1979. OMON are deadly close-combat fighters and won't hesitate to use force; I have to be more ruthless to get out of this.
The Precinct livened up as 3 more cops came to the commotion; "Throw him into the monkey-cell" (Russian slang for temporary containment cells) one of the OMON operators instructed. The cops complied and picking up the suspect, they herded him around the corner. I began analysing my possible escape route; no point of waiting for Gurov as he would detain me anyway.
"So what, monkey, you gonna make faces by yourself or should we help you?!" I heard one of the cops around the corner, hammering the cell with his nightstick.
"What right do you have to do this?!" A voice in pain replied.
"What right do you have to spy and conspire against the USSR?!"
The screams of pain continued as I shifted myself to get up, cuffs still on me, OMON operators are now gone (I noticed them walk down the hall) and this is my chance. What spring I had, I used it and darted towards the exit, didn't even notice that I knocked down a cop who tried to stop me; shoulder-spear to the chest put him down for a long time. Running as fast as I could since they will open fire, I reached some dense woodland areas; not a soul in sight.
So I got away albeit in handcuffs; now to get them off and return to the city to investigate other hospitals; I had a way of removing them - a guy who works in a garage could rip it off with a circular saw. Sergei, the guy whom I was going to see about them was a car mechanic all his life: working on old Pobedas and Zhigulis (Soviet-made cars) the senior citizens brought in to the new and shiny Mercedes that the "elite" drove; paid very well and doubled it to ensure nothing left the garage. Lucky for me, his garage was indeed on the outskirts of town so, I could drop by undetected by authorities - a guy walking around with hands behind his back will surely get me a following of baying fans in the city.
The garage was a series of steel structures where people locked their cars for security, fenced off by a chainlink fence with a heap of scrap. Jumping the fence, I studied my surroundings to ensure I wasn't followed nor was there any rogue eyes hiding out and progressed towards an open steel dome.
"Sergei!" I called out
"Yeah, what is it?" a nonchalant voice replied, "The LADA won't be ready till tomorrow: come back later."
A man of average height in blue-black (from the oil) overalls walked towards me, rubbing his hands on a raggedy piece of cloth "Oh, it's you." he relaxed, "What's up?"
Should I tell him the whole story? Should I trust him? Those thoughts raced through my head as I turned around to show him the cuffs. "A drunk cop thought it would be funny to arrest me for hooliganism." I half-lied.
"Sit over there." Sergei gestured towards a steel chair as he rummaged through his tools, fishing out a heavy-duty circular saw.
Testing its action, he gently brought the swirling blade to my hands and after 5 minutes of high-pitched grinding, my cramped hands could breathe again.
"Need to sharpen it," Sergei commented
"Thanks very much, you saved my hands here!" I replied.
"So, you are working in the big city, tell me how it is." the mechanic asked as he tapped the blade teeth to check sharpness.
I replied, "Things are going crazy, the police are standing on their ears; the day is not complete unless 2 patrol officers show up."
Sergei gave me a puzzled look, "Just the other day, I had an officer pay me a visit, he asked me about....a very angry and dangerous old vagrant who stabbed cops for fun;" just when things could not get any more twisted and confusing. "The officer said he comes out of nowhere and approaches with random questions." Sergei finished, listening for any sounds outside.
A crazy old guy, my mind jumped to the KGB files I stole; there was a case where an "elderly patient needed intrusive brain surgery" with a side-note of a transfer as well as his homeless status; with an emphasis on him not having any family or associates. He was among the first prototypes that have gone rogue; attacking police officers because they represent the system.
I sat down, nursing my hands and shaking them back to life as they were still numb while pondering how should I get to the next hospital as well as the endgame for my crusade, what happens when I find the next clue? I can only wrestle with the government and dodge the law for long. In the Soviet Union, reporting on your neighbor is a growing trend now where everyone was guilty before proven innocent. I remember my childhood where a kid who I hung out with became the first in our apartment block who got a video game system, a rare and expensive luxury of the time. I never met his father but I discovered he was detained later that month on "smuggling and spreading anti-Soviet propaganda." There would always be a loophole through which I will get caught. However, I was not raised to give up midway through the task so, it's not like I got anything else to do or anywhere else to go; not like I can get another job since escaping from police custody is a serious offense; enough to make me a wanted fugitive.
As Sergei continued working on a Volvo, I spotted a sawn-off double barrel shotgun sitting next to a toolbox.
"What's the gun for? Expecting guests?" I asked, pointing at it.
"Oh that, it sat there for 3 years now, found it under a car seat of a Mercedes." Sergei replied, "Want it? Less hassle for me."
"Don't mind if I do," I replied, taking the gun and a bandolier of shells next to it, I can use a better weapon.
Tying the bandolier under my leather jacket, I fashioned myself a sling from a belt; hanging the shotgun, which was sawn-off to be the size of a slightly bigger handgun, off my shoulder for easy access and a hidden panic button. Do I have to start killing everyone who looks at me funny? Probably but at this point, there's no other way.
© 2018 Jake Clawson