By now, I couldfeel the psychic storm of confusion and fear washing through the entire building, as the inhabitants reacted to the sound of Eli Waters’s gunshots. For some reason, fear is the one emotion that I’m able to read the best. I don’t pretend to know why. Maybe it’s because nothing focuses the mind as completely as fear.
I reached out with my mind, sorting through the emotions drifting through the air, looking for any signs of danger. A few seconds later, I found what I was looking for. The distinct mental stench of dishonesty.
Chief Waters had ten allies in this department, out of less than thirty cops. All of them were running towards the interrogation room, ready to play their part. One of them was acutely aware of the bag of cocaine clapping against his thigh—to him, it felt like a lead weight. He intended to plant the cocaine on my dead body, while making it look like he was searching for a weapon. If it was found out that I was still alive, both me and the woman were as good as dead.
So there were ten crooked cops in the building, and they would slaughter all three of us on sight. I didn’t have time to explain the truth to the honest cops, especially when the bullets started flying. And the only person I could trust was James.
Oh, and to make things even better, I had to take care of the woman, who now had a big red bullseye painted on her forehead.
Leaving the woman quivering under the fluorescent lights, I stepped out into the hallway. James was standing watch over Chief Waters, who was slumped against the wall with blood coursing out of his mouth and nose.
I stabbed into James’s mind and sifted through his emotions. He was an emotional wreck.
It would be easier for me to use him. I pondered how to convince him to help me, and just decided to tell the truth.
“James, look at me,” I said.
His head snapped up.
“In about 30 seconds, the shit’s gonna hit the fan. We’ve got a building full of crooked cops, all of whom are going to kill us on site.”
James’s baby-blue eyes opened wide.
“That woman,” I said, pointing into the interrogation room, “needs to survive.”
He nodded once.
“And you,“ I said, shoving a finger into his chest, “need to help, if you want to live.”
And then James surprised me. He shoved his fear into a deep dark corner of his mind. For the first time, the mousey, wimpy James was gone.
With a brand new, calm attitude, James nodded his head once.
And then, something warm splattered into my face, blinding me. I stumbled backwards, rubbing my eyes.
I realized it was blood.
James’s head had exploded.
My ears ringing from the gunshot, I looked down.
Chief Waters was awake, his bright eyes gleaming angrily out of his shattered face.
His smoldering revolver was now pointed at my face.
His arm trembling, he pulled the trigger again.
He was empty.
I pulled out my own gun, calmly clicked off the safeties and chambered a round, and blew his head off.
Why the hell does everything always go wrong for me?