Excerpt for The Detectives of Engelwood by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

The Detectives of Engelwood

By

Anthony Ivins

Published by Anthony Ivins @ Smashwords

Copyright © 2017 Anthony Ivins

No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of very brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Jack eased back against the wall. His pistol had a round in the chamber as he held it tightly in both hands, pointing towards the sky.

“Mike?” he whispered.

“Yeah,” replied Mike, equally softly.

“How many guys do you see?”

“Three. Two behind that yellow Corvette and one in the doorway of the drug store.”

“I get the same count. What we gonna do?”

“If we move from here we are going to get blasted. We need to stay put and wait for backup.”

“How long did they say?”

“Dispatch said they were ten minutes out and that was about five minutes ago.”

Jack felt his palms sweating, the gun starting to slip in his grasp. Each minute that passed felt like an eternity. It was as if he was on death row, waiting for his last rites. Throughout the fifteen years he had been on the force, he had been in these types of situations many times. This is what he was trained for; such situations were his bread and butter. His partner of those fifteen years, Mike, was like a brother to him. They had grown up together, attended the same school, both went to police college and ended up being partnered together when they graduated.

They had even chased the same girl, Millicent, who they called Milly for short. Jack had dated her first but then they had a fallout and Mike took over, eventually marrying her. At first Jack was upset but soon came to terms with his ‘loss’. Now he saw Mike and Millie as the brother and sister he had never had; they were his family.

Jack and Mike were both highly decorated detectives in the Chicago Police Force, working the Engelwood district. Englewood had one of the highest crime rates in the Chicago area. Hell, it had one of the highest crime rates in America. That’s what kept Jack and Mike busy. There was enough crime to keep five pairs of Jack and Mike busy.

When it came to assigning cases to Jack and Mike, they had their pick of the litter. To their credit, they never took the easy ones - they left those for the rookies. They enjoyed the high-profile cases, the tough nuts to crack, but although they had solved a few high value robbery cases, they preferred murder cases, Mike seemed to have a sixth sense, and found evidence at crime scenes that baffled the smartest of crime scene experts.

Each crime scene told a story and Mike was able to read the scene like a book. He would walk up and down the crime spot, muttering to himself under his breath. He would then recount to Jack what he saw in his ‘vision’. Nine times out of ten he was right. Sometimes they would apprehend the suspect before they had any proof, based solely on the vision that Mike had. They always got the proof in the end, sometimes even getting a confession before it was required.

The clouds parted slightly, letting some of the moonlight fill the gloomy air. There was a chill in the air but nothing like the cold winter air that bites through to the marrow of your bones. Jack let out a small shiver.

Dammit. It’s cold and I’m sweating. Surely I can’t be nervous? Jack slid one hand off his pistol and used it to pull up the collar of his jacket, placing it against the back of his neck. Although not adding too much warmth, it was more a psychological feeling of being warmer.

“Which one is the killer?” asked Jack, still in a hushed tone.

“One of the guys behind the Corvette,” replied Mike, matching his tone.

“How did he know we were coming?”

“He didn’t, I think his crew was also waiting for him and saw us first.”

“We need to get him alive, or we may never find out where he buried that girl.”

There had been a few break-ins at the St. Bernard Hospital. It was small stuff, some medicines here and there. Nobody took too much notice and didn’t even bother to investigate the case. Then a week ago, one of the night shift nurses stumbled upon the robbers busy looting the dispensary. They were stealing prescription medication to sell on the streets. There was a major drug supply problem and demand for prescription alternatives had gone through the roof.

All that was left at the scene was a large blood stain and a broken cupboard with empty shelves. The nurse’s name was Rose Turner, no relation to the famous singer, although she did once dream of becoming one. The blood stain was matched to her DNA, a sample of which was taken from the hair brush that her flat mate had given to the detectives. Given the amount of blood found on the scene, the detectives assumed that she had a severe head injury.

It seemed she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Five minutes earlier or five minutes later and she would have missed them. Her body was never found. Mike had done his walkabout of the crime scene and had pieced together the sequence of events. The robbers were thorough and had all worn gloves, leaving almost no trace. Almost no trace - Mike had found a partial thumbprint on a pair of bolt cutters used to break open the cupboard. The robbers must have left the cutters behind in their haste to clear the scene.

The fingerprint was traced to a Declan Armstrong, a juvenile offender who had turned mechanic. At first he claimed to have sold the bolt cutters on Craig’s List but a quick search of the site proved this a lie. He was taken downtown and after a few threats of doing time he finally came out with the truth. His brother had borrowed his bolt cutters a fortnight ago and had yet to bring them back.

Both Declan and his brother, Martin, had spent time in a juvenile detention facility. Declan had followed the straight and narrow when he was released but Martin had continued on his crooked path. He had picked up numerous misdemeanours, theft out of motor vehicles, public drunkenness and even a charge of basic assault. He had always managed to walk away with a slap on the wrist and a threat that next time he would be in serious trouble. It seemed now that he had found serious trouble.

The detectives had Martin placed under surveillance for a few days, hoping he would lead them to Rose, praying that she would be found alive. Deep down both Mike and Jack knew that the chances of Rose still being alive were slim at best. With her losing that much blood she would have needed urgent medical care. A quick check found no record of her being booked into any of the local hospitals; there weren’t even any Jane Does to cross-check.

The breakthrough in the case came when a phone call was intercepted between Declan and Martin. Martin had mumbled an admission to Declan about the robbery. How the nurse had stumbled upon them and he had to hit her over the head to keep her quiet. He kept saying over and over again that he didn’t mean to do it, he just wanted her to stop screaming. Jack and Mike knew that this meant the girl was dead. To prove the crime however, they needed a body and Martin was the only one who knew where it was.

Now that the detectives had real evidence, they planned their next move. They wanted to take Martin by surprise. The last thing they wanted was to have to kill Martin, or worse, to have him kill himself. This often happened when they cornered suspects. The thought of doing time was sometimes too much for them and they took their own lives, often with a bullet through the brain.

Martin worked at a drug store, Rex Pharmacy, on Halsted Street. This would explain where he got the information to rob the hospital. Jack and Mike had gone into the drug store that morning to scope it out. They had bought a bottle of pain killers. The elderly lady at the front desk was angry and rude and Jack had wondered if she wasn’t also an ex con.

They didn’t see Martin but assumed he must have been working in the back, probably unpacking stock. The detectives went back to their office and planned their next move. They would wait until Martin had finished his shift. From the information that Declan had given them, this would be around 8pm when the store closed. They would approach Martin casually as he left the store, take him by surprise and arrest him,

Their plan had almost worked. As Martin left the store the two detectives got out of their car and started walking towards him. What they didn’t count on was that Martin’s crew were also waiting for him and had noticed the two detectives walking towards him. One of the crew, Isaac, had been taken in for questioning by Mike beforehand he recognised Mike instantly.

Before the detectives could get close to Martin, Isaac pulled out a .38 Special stubbie Revolver that was hidden in his belt under his shirt. He pointed it at the Jack and at the same time shouted out to Martin, “Take cover, they’re coming for you!”

At first Jack and Mike were confused but instinct kicked in immediately. Jack crouched down and drew his service pistol aiming it back at Isaac. Mike had taken cover behind a Ford Saturn that was parked on the side of the street and had hastily drawn his service pistol.

“Police!” yelled Jack “Don’t shoot. We only want to ask Martin a few questions.”

Isaac looked over at Martin, back at Jack, then aimed and squeezed the trigger.

Jack sensed that he was going to fire and lunged to his left, rolling on the ground as the bullet ricocheted off the tarmac at the exact spot he was a split second before. Mike was too shocked at first to return fire and watched as Jack continued to dodge more bullets. When he saw Jack roll to safety around the side of a building he returned fire.

Mike’s shot was wide of Isaac and caught the wall next to him, sending shards of brick and mortar into his face. The rear glass of the Ford Saturn shattered next to Mike. Dammit, there’s another shooter! Mike peered over the trunk and saw movement in the doorway of the drug store. He looked around for Isaac and when he didn’t see him, guessed he had taken shelter with Martin behind the Corvette.

Mike looked across at Jack, “You alright?”

“Yes, I’m fine. Some skin off my hands but other than that no harm. How you doing?”

“I’m good, no damage.”

The street had gone quiet. Anybody who had been around had gone into hiding the moment the first bullets were fired. That suited Jack and Mike perfectly. The last thing they wanted was for any innocent casualties, or possible hostages.

“How many more minutes do you think?” asked Jack.

“About two or three.”

“Damn. That long? Should we make a move? What if they make a run for it?”

“Then they get away. We need to wait for backup.”

The wail of a siren in the distance broke the eerie silence.

“Here they come,” said Mike.

“They’re gonna make a run for it!” exclaimed Jack.

“Hang on Jack, just another minute and the backup will be here.”

A bead of sweat ran down the side of Jack’s forehead, carrying on down his cheek and dripping off his jaw before splattering on his shoulder. It was now or never. Jack moved around the building in full view of the Corvette and drug store. He saw movement in the doorway of the drug store and raised his gun, pulling the trigger the moment he saw a shape fill the doorway. His bullet landing with a thud as it sent a blood splatter against the white frame.

The body fell in a crumpled heap on the ground, a dark pool of blood growing larger and larger on the floor. From behind the Corvette, Isaac had stood up and aimed directly at Jack. Before he could pull the trigger, a bullet caught him in the shoulder sending him reeling backwards. As he was spinning Isaac managed to get off three shots, the gun wavering in his hand.

That was too much for Martin to handle and he got up and sprinted for the drug store. Jack saw him running and aimed, firing two shots in quick succession. Martin fell to the ground, grabbing his leg and screaming in pain. The bullet had caught him squarely on the knee, shattering his knee cap. Jack walked calmly across to Martin who was writhing in pain on the ground.

“Where’s the girl?” He knelt next to him.

Martin looked up at Jack, his face contorted with agony. “Get me a doctor” he demanded.

“Is she still alive?” Jack placed his hand close to Martin’s shattered knee.

“Maybe.”

Jack moved his hand slighter higher and started squeezing. Martin yelled out in pain. “Ok, ok, stop! She’s gone.”

“Where did you put her body?”

“We buried it. In the garden.”

“Whose garden?”

“The garden at Isaac’s house, on Wood Street.”

“You hear that Mike?” Jack stood up and looked around for Mike.

That is when he saw Mike’s motionless body lying on the ground. “Mike!” He ran over to Mike’s body and lifted his blood-soaked head, placing his arm underneath it. Tears streaming down his face he pounded Mike’s chest with his fist “Why! Why! Why!”

This was the sight that greeted the squad car as it pulled up, sirens wailing: Jack holding onto Mike’s lifeless body, Martin writhing on the ground in pain, and two bodies lying motionless on the floor.

The two deputies were out of the squad car in a flash. Guns drawn they moved in on Jack.

“Damn Jack, what happened?” one of them asked as he got close to Jack. Jack looked up, Mike’s blood smeared down his left cheek.

“They killed him! They killed Mikey!” wailed Jack, dropping his head to look down at Mike’s body.

The patrolman pulled the radio’s microphone strapped to his shoulder to his mouth. “Bravo Two Zero this is Papa Seven. Over.”

He waited for a few seconds for a response. “Papa Seven this is Bravo Two Zero. Send. Over”

“Bravo Two Zero we have an officer down. I repeat we have an officer down at 6853 Halstead Street. Copy Over.”

“Papa Seven. Confirmed Officer Down. Dispatching medical assistance. Hold On. Over”

The radio fell silent for a few seconds before crackling back to life. “Papa Seven. Medical assistance on its way. ETA three minutes. Over”

“Bravo Two Zero. Roger that. Over and Out”

The second patrolman had moved across to Martin and rolled him onto his stomach, placing his hands behind his back in handcuffs. Every time the patrolman moved Martin he screamed out in pain.

The ambulance screeched to a halt next to Jack. Two paramedics bust open the back doors and scrambled towards Mike’s body, opening bags and dumping equipment next to the where he lay. They ripped open his shirt and placed the electrode pads of the Lifepak 15 monitor and defibrillator onto his chest. Almost immediately the machine started emitting a continuous high pitched beep sound.

“Please move aside Sir. We need space.” The paramedic instructed Jack.

Jack stood up and moved a few paces backwards.

“Jim, let’s start the analysis,” said Paul as he pressed the analyse button.

After a few seconds the display beeped and Paul leant forward, reading the small interface.

“Ok Jim, stay clear, we need to shock.”

Jim moved a step backward. Paul also moved slightly backwards and pressed the shock button on the Lifepak. Mike’s body jerked as the force of the shock made its way through his body. The beeping sound continued.

“Let’s try again. All clear,” said Paul as he sent another shock through Mike’s body.

Still the beep sound continued. The paramedics tried in vain for another ten minutes but nothing could stop the machine from its continuous beep.

“I’m afraid we have to call it, Jim,” said Paul as he looked at his watch.

“Call what?” asked Jack.

“Time of death,” replied Paul, “There’s nothing more we can do for him. I’m afraid he’s gone.”

At that moment, a black sedan with a flashing red light came to a screeching halt next to the ambulance. The door opened and out stepped a man in a smart suit, the street light glinting off his immaculately shined shoes.

“What happened Jack?” the man asked as he approached Jack.

“They shot him Captain. We went to pick up that piece of garbage over there and they started shooting at us. They killed Mikey!”

The captain looked down at Mike’s body, and seeing his blood-soaked head knew there was no chance he could have survived that headshot.

“Okay Jack. Come and sit down in the back of my car. We need to clean this up and then get your statement.” The captain put his arm around Jack and led him to the back of his car, opening the door so Jack could sit down.

A crowd had started to gather around the crime scene, curious as to what was happening.

“Get some tape and move those people back!” the captain yelled at the two deputies.

“Yes sir,” replied one and made his way to the patrol car. He removed some yellow tape from the trunk and cordoned off the crime scene.

A news truck had arrived and within minutes the reporter was sending out live updates which were being broadcast over the local TV station, WGN-TV. It wouldn’t take long before the big stations like CNN picked up on the story and sent their own reporters. Cop killings were big business.

By this time another five police cars had arrived and were helping to keep the crowd back, which was growing by the minute. The paramedics had placed silver foil blankets over the deceased and were waiting for the pathologist to arrive to hand the scene over. Jack sat in the back of the car, almost in a trance. In the very depths of his daze he heard a familiar voice calling out, “Jack!” He recognised that silky voice immediately and lifted his head, looking around anxiously to see where it came from.

She was standing behind the yellow tape waving at him frantically. “Jack!” she was calling out his name.

Jack got out of the car and slowly made his way towards Millicent, his head bowed. He couldn’t bear to look her in the eyes. When he got to the tape and looked up, his face said it all. No words were needed. Millicent’s eyes went wide and her face turned pale. She moved her hands around her mouth and started gasping for air before collapsing on the ground. Jack tried to reach across and catch her but he was too late.

The tears were streaming down her face, mixing with her make-up and leaving trails down her cheeks. Finally, a sound came out of her mouth. At first it started as a bone piercing scream, sending chills down the spine of all gathered there and then changed to a pleading, begging voice “No! No!”

There was nothing Jack could do except put his arms around her and try to shield her from seeing Mike’s body. He held her as tightly as he could, rocking gently as they sat on floor. Her sobbing grew less and less, and after a few minutes the initial shock had worn off. Milly lifted her head from Jack’s shoulder and used the back of her hand to wipe the tears away from her face.

“What happened?” she asked Jack, looking into his face. She could see from the pain in Jack’s eyes that this was hurting him as much as it was hurting her.

“They just started shooting. Caught us by surprise. I managed to get one and then Mikey also got one before they got him. It was a freak shot, the guy was spinning around and shooting, the one bullet hit Mikey in the head.”

“Did he suffer?”

“No, he didn’t even feel it. It killed him instantly. I know it’s not a consolation but he didn’t even see it coming. I’m so sorry Milly. I feel like it’s all my fault.”

Jack dropped his head, staring at the floor. Millicent moved her hand under his chin and lifted his face up, looking directly into his eyes.

“It wasn’t your fault Jack. I know how close you and Mike were. I guess it’s always a risk; every time you go out there you put your lives in danger. I just thought it would never happen to Mike.”

The tears started to fill her eyes as she smiled at Jack. Jack looked back at her and the tears started flowing from his eyes.

“I’m so sorry Milly! I’m so sorry.”

Millicent leaned over and put her arms around Jack. It was her turn to console him. They held each other for a few minutes, sobbing occasionally until they both felt ready to face the world.

“Can I see his body? I need to say goodbye” her voice quivered.

“Yes, come with me.”

Jack took Millicent’s hand and he led her to where Mike’s body lay, covered with the foil blanket.

“Do you want me to take the blanket off Milly?”

“No, its fine, I want to remember him as he was.”

Millicent knelt next to Mikes body and placed her hand on top of his covered chest. She closed her eyes and started a silent prayer. Mouthing the words, she recited “The Lord is my shepherd” silently. When she had finished her prayer, she made the sign of the cross over her chest and ended with a loud “Amen.”

Jack stood next to her, his hand resting gently on her shoulder. When Millicent had finished her prayer, she rose to her feet, stood next to Jack, and looked down at Mike’s body.

By this time the crime scene investigators had arrived and were busy placing markers where bullet shell casings lay and using chalk to outline any objects of interest. There was an almost continuous flash of bulbs as they snapped picture after picture. The captain looked across at Jack and motioned him to come over.

“How is Mike’s wife taking it?”

“A bit of a shock at first Captain, but she seems alright now.”

“Can you do me a favour Jack? Please take her home and look after her. You can come in tomorrow morning and make your statement. The guys will be busy most of the night processing this scene.”

“Sure thing, will do Captain. What time tomorrow?”

“Say nine sharp”

“Okay see you tomorrow Captain.”

“One more thing Jack.”

“Yes Captain”

“How are you holding up?”

“I’m good Captain. Mike was a good cop and an even better friend. I’m gonna miss him that’s for sure.”

“We are all gonna miss him Jack. You be safe and I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Jack turned around and walked over to Millicent. He placed his arm around her shoulders and led her towards his car, opening the front door and letting her slip into the passenger seat. He closed the door and walked around to the driver’s side, looking at Mike’s body one last time before jumping behind the wheel and driving off.

Jack was at the station at exactly nine a.m. the following morning. The Captain was already seated behind his desk, docket book open and ready to transcribe what Jack told him.

“Good morning Jack. Sleep well?”

“As well as could be expected Captain. Maybe an hour or two.”

Jack and Millicent had stayed up most of the night, reminiscing about the good times they had all spent together. They had opened a bottle of red wine in Mike’s honour and nursed it the whole night. Millicent finally fell asleep on the sofa as the first rays of the morning sun broke through the horizon.

“Let’s start at the beginning. You and Mike went to arrest Martin Armstrong. Take me through what happened from the time you parked your car.”

“The plan was to take Martin by surprise as he finished work. We would approach him as he left the drug store and place him under arrest. What we didn’t know is that two of his crew were also outside waiting for him to finish work. When we saw him leaving the store we approached him on foot. We were about fifteen yards away when a guy suddenly recognises us as cops and warns Martin. He pulls out a gun and starts shooting at us. Mike takes cover behind a car and I roll to my left until I get cover behind the side of a building. Martin takes cover behind a yellow Corvette.”

“How many shots did he fire?”

“At least about five. I wasn’t really counting, I was too busy dodging them.”

“Okay, what happened next?”

“Mike fired back at the guy.”

“Did he hit him?”

“No I think he missed. There was another guy standing in the doorway of the drug store that we didn’t see. He took a shot at Mike.”

“Is that the shot that killed him?”

“No, it missed and took out the back window of the car he was hiding behind. That gave the first shooter, Isaac I think his name was, an opportunity to get cover behind the yellow Corvette, with Martin. We then waited for backup to arrive.”

“How long did you wait for?”

“A couple of minutes. Mike was getting really edgy. He was worried that they would make a run for it and we would lose them. I had to keep telling him to wait for back up. Then we heard the siren in the distance. Mike was convinced they would make a run for it. He got up and started moving towards them. The guy in the doorway saw him and was about to shoot Mike but I managed to shoot him first. Isaac got up from behind the car and was about to fire at me when Mike shot him. Isaac managed to get off a few rounds before he fell to the ground. Then Martin tried to make a run for it and I managed to shoot his leg. I rushed over to neutralize him and then I realised that Mike wasn’t behind me. I looked around and saw his body. He must have been hit by one of those flying bullets. It was bad luck, one in a million that it could have hit him.”

“I spoke to the pathologist this morning and he said that Mike was hit in the side of his head.”

“When Isaac was shooting, Mike turned around and tried to get cover behind the car again. That’s when he probably got hit.”

“Yes, that’s probably it. The bullet went clean through, from temple to temple. They’ve been searching the for the bullet but haven’t managed to find it.”

“From what I can see it’s pretty clear cut. Not much more to investigate. We will charge Isaac with manslaughter. He is going to jail for a very long time.”

“Good. Is there anything else you need from me Captain?”

“No. Nothing at the moment. Thanks, Jack.”

“Captain?”

“Yes Jack.”

“I’m thinking about taking some time off. Getting out of town for a while.”

“Sure Jack. Take all the time you need.”

“Thanks Captain.”

Jack got up and walked out the station, pausing at the top of the stairs. He let out a huge sigh, he felt like an enormous weight had been lifted off his shoulders; he felt free.

The captain, staring through a small crack in the blinds of his office window, watched Jack as he made his way down the road and out of sight. He walked over to the docket and closed the cover, sat down on his chair and rubbed his chin, deep in thought.

Feeling better Jack went straight to see Millicent. He had left the front door open and walked straight in. He was expecting her to be fast asleep and was surprised to see her making coffee when he walked into the kitchen.

“Morning Milly. How did you sleep?”

“I kept seeing Mike in my dreams. He wants to tell me something but the words won’t come out. It’s really freaky.”

“He probably just wants to tell you how much he loves you.”

“Yes, you’re probably right. I still can’t believe that he’s gone. How was your visit to the station?”

“All done, gave the Captain my statement. That guy who killed Mike is going away for a very long time. I just wish we still had the death penalty!”

“It’s not going to bring Mike back.”

“Yes, I know but I still want justice for him. How would you feel about going away with me? Leaving this place for a while?”

“I….don’t know. What about Mike’s funeral?”

“I meant after his funeral. I haven’t had a good break for years and this seems as good a time as any. Give ourselves a chance to heal.”

“Well now that you put it that way I suppose so. Where are you thinking of going?”

“Maybe the Bahamas or somewhere in the Caribbean. Someplace quiet.”

“Okay, count me in.”

Jack smiled to himself, finally some good news after the last few days.

Mike’s funeral was a somber affair. Half of the city’s police force was there, in full dress uniform. The ceremony was touching and the Captain made a nice speech, a special tribute to Mike and his years of service. His spoke of his uncanny ability to read a crime scene, his courage and bravery and about his compassion and empathy. He made a special mention of Jack and how the two of them had grown up together, friends to the end as he had put it.

When the funeral was over Jack and Milly went away to the Bahamas, to a quiet resort. They spent endless days relaxing around the pool, taking long walks on the desolate beaches, leaving nothing but a trail of footprints. As the days went by, their grief grew weaker and love for each other grew strong.

After six long weeks they hardly spoke about Mike at all and started talking about regular, every day events. The weather, politics, favourite foods, anything that crossed their minds. When their eight-week holiday came to an end they had grown close. Boarding a plane for their flight home was a sad affair. They had grown fond of the island and enjoyed spending time together on it.

“Well, back to reality” said Jack as they sat down in their seats, preparing for take-off.

“I really had a good time Jack. Thanks so much for bringing me along.”

Jack smiled at Milly and squeezed her hand.

“I think I am the one that should be thanking you.”

“You know I was thinking Jack. Maybe when we get back to Chicago we should move in together.”

Jack was taken by surprise. Although this was exactly what he was hoping for, the timing caught him completely off guard.

“Wow……I don’t know what to say.”

“If you are not ready then it’s fine.”

“No, no, I’m ready! I just wasn’t expecting us…. You know….”

“Don’t worry. I don’t bite.”

Jack picked up her hand and kissed the back of it before holding it tightly. He sat back in his chair, beaming from ear to ear.

The flight lasted just over three and a half hours before the Captain announced that they were preparing their descent. Jack had held onto Milly’s hand for the entire flight and gave it a little squeeze as they felt the plane begin its descent. The landing was silky smooth with the wheels touching down at almost exactly the same time. The pilot had to hit the brakes quite hard to make sure they didn’t overshoot the slipway that led the plane to its parking bay.

As the plane was signaled in by the marshal, Milly looked outside the window and noticed that there were two police cars parked next to the plane, lights flashing.

Probably some VIP being picked up on the runway. Can’t wait like the rest of us. Milly stood up and removed her bag from the overhead storage before placing it on the seat. She noticed that Jack, who hated standing around waiting, was getting fidgety. After a few minutes the doors opened and the passengers began to disembark.

Being a true gentleman Jack let Milly go first. As she walked down the aisle towards the door, Jack got caught up by an old lady who needed help getting her suitcase down.

“Go on ahead, I’ll catch up” Jack told Milly as he stopped to assist the old lady.

Milly smiled back at him and carried on her way. She reached the door and noticed there was a flight of stairs down to the tarmac, not the usual walkway straight into the terminal. Must be doing renovations. Milly made her way down the stairs, noticing a gentleman and two police officers waiting at the bottom. The gentleman looked familiar, she had seen him somewhere before. She wracked her brain. Where did she know him from? Where had she seen him before?

As she remembered, a voice erupted from the top of the stairs.

“Captain? What a surprise. What are you doing here?”

“Jack. We have to talk.” The captain’s hand moved slowly behind his back, the back of his jacket lifting slightly.

Milly turned around and looked at Jack. He was standing on top of the stairs, staring down at his Captain.

“About what?”

“You know what about Jack. I always thought something didn’t smell right. Then we got some video footage from a CCTV camera across the road. I know the truth Jack.”

“Jack, what’s he talking about?”

“Nothing Milly. There’s been a misunderstanding.”

“Oh no Jack there’s been no misunderstanding. You killed Mike. You shot him in the side of the head. It’s all on the camera footage. What I want to know is why?”

“What, No. It can’t be! Is that right Jack? Is he telling the truth?”

The expression on Jack’s face changed, he became annoyed.

“You want to know why! Well I played second fiddle to Mike for nearly thirty years. I had Milly first and then he took her away from me! He got to go home to her every day and who did I have? Nobody!” His eyes moved to Millicent. “Milly I loved you from the first day I met you. I couldn’t face another day without you. I knew that Mike would never leave you. It was the only way we could be together.”

“You bastard!” Her face started turning red, tears of rage building in her eyes.

‘Come on down Jack. Let’s go to the station and talk about this.”

Looking around, Jack saw that he was trapped with nowhere to go. Then he noticed the luggage car. It was making its way towards their plane. If he timed it well he could land on one of the trailers it was towing, slide off and make his getaway. It was worth a chance.

Jack edged himself closer to the rail.

“Talk about what Captain? You locking me away for twenty years. You know I won’t last a month in jail. Not with all the people I’ve put there!”

“I’ll personally make sure you get looked after Jack. Call it professional courtesy.”

“Thanks Captain but I think I’ll have to take a rain check.”

The words had hardly left Jack’s mouth as he sprang from the rail. He timed his jump to perfection as he sailed through the air and landed squarely in the middle of one of the luggage cart’s trailers. The tarpaulin cushioned his fall and he slid down the side, hitting the ground with both feet. He glanced over the Captain and gave a smug grin before sprinting towards the terminal.

Jack didn’t see the refueling truck that was motoring down the runway. He ran straight into its path. He was tossed high into the air, the force of the blow breaking multiple bones in his body. He landed in a crumpled heap on the ground, unable to move. His legs were lying at ninety degrees to the rest of his body, a bone protruding through the skin of his left arm. At first he felt nothing and then as he began to come to his senses the wave of pain hit him all at once. He lay on the floor, groaning, blood starting to trickle from his mouth.

Millicent had made her way around the stairs and walked slowly up to Jack, watching as the life was slowly leaving his body. As Milly stared into his eyes, Jack could see the hatred.

“Go and burn in hell you bastard!”

Through the pain, Jack managed to clench his teeth. “Milly, I’m sorry. It was all because I loved you.”

“You know Jack I was wrong before. I do want the death penalty for Mike and today I am going to get it.”

She turned around and walked away. “Please Milly, don’t leave me, don’t go!”

Jack watched as she disappeared around the stairs, the permanent darkness slowly descending over him as he exhaled his last breath.



THE END



About The Author



Anthony Ivins

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