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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
An old friend of an unusually gregarious SF Police Sargent shows up on a list of frightening citizens wanted for questioning by the authorities.
The chase is on.

Submitted: October 13, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 13, 2016




A Short Story

Nicholas Cochran

Chapter Two

“What is it? what’s wrong; I gave you all the information—all the info is correct; what the hell’s the matter?” and he swiveled the screen  and leaned toward Darlene to read the slowly scrolling answer to all the input of Hammy’s friend.

Almost five minutes went by while Hammy and Darlene sat in silence. What they had seen terrified Darlene and shocked her partner.

“Let’s go get him,” Hammy gave Marlene’s hand a squeeze and exhaled, “before we have to kill him.”

The squad car screeched away from the curb with siren and lights activated.  

Hammy drove like the graduate of the Bob Bondurant School of Driving that he was, and calmly maneuvered the car from one side of the road to the other, around busy corners and down one-way streets. The building was now visible about three blocks over.

Darlene sat holding the door handle as she tightened her seat belt. Her knuckles poked out of her otherwise delicate hands.

Hammy swung the car in a perfect drift right up beside the security shack.

The attendant had already started the door-opening device. The car arrowed through and burned rubber as it approached the front steps of the building.

Darlene jumped out and began to run before Hammy had the ignition off and his door opened.

Darlene was not skinny but her body was a powerhouse and she drove her quads up the main stairs beside the elevators.

Hammy followed close behind Darlene when she turned right on the third floor and ran full speed toward the far side of the building.

Employees stopped and noticed; some stared; others gaped. Those who picked up the vibes gushing forth from the two running officers, displayed looks in various stages of terror.

Hammy and Darlene reached Longleat’s office door together. Neither bothered to knock. They both hit the flimsy, cut-rate door at the same moment. As the door splintered and fell, the two officers smashed into the room in their defensive upright position.

Other than a desk, three chairs, four black filing cabinets and an old leather swivel chair, the room was significantly empty. They sprang toward the door at the back of the room and flipped the handle. They instantly assumed the police-procedure position for a two-person search and apprehend situation.

They held their correct positions for seconds. Hammy could not erase the after-images of the detailed information about his friend that had scrolled past his eyes for over three minutes.

With labored breathing,“I think we beat him here Hammy—sir. Look, there’re at least two more rooms off his one—this is a really weird set-up.”

“Yeah,” gasped Hammy, “just what I’d expect from Rupert. The entire floor is probably set in a honeycomb fashion—we used to talk about things like this as kids. It means you can have several separate rooms but only one entrance. But I think Rupert has an escape door; maybe even a trap door; we also talked about those a lot as kids too.

“The honeycomb is an early alarm system that gives the person in the last room minutes of warning. They can grab briefcases, folders—even objects, and be gone by the time we get to the final room. That particular part of our report tells me the last door is wired to blow the whole building a few seconds after the door opens.”

Darlene rifled through file cabinet and then looked under the desk for explosives—or a trip wire to alert whoever was in that final room.

They cautiously entered the room behind the entrance area. This room was completely empty; no furniture or other office equipment. It was a large room where only the sound of their ragged breathing ruffled the stillness.

“It’s a trap, Marlene; there’s a video camera in the left corner. Let’s go back and down the hall and look for the last door of the honeycomb,” turning, sprinting, over his shoulder, “I don’t think he’s here yet.”

Marlene nodded and sprinted behind him out into the hall and to their left.

They passed six doors on their left but Hammy flew by them toward the red exit sign and the emergency door at the end of the corridor. The second they reached the door, Hammy pushed down the lever and opened the door. No alarm sounded which convinced Hammy that they had beaten Rupert to the building.

The emergency door swung out onto a steel grating grid. Steel grating steps switchbacked to the ground.

Hammy paused for a moment while Marlene tried to guess which of the six doors they just went flying by was the end of the honeycomb.

“Which one is it, sir?”

“None. He’s a smart son of a bitch, is our Ruppee. Look down there, just before the next landing for the second floor.”

Marlene went down a couple of steps and saw the vague outline of something on the wall.

“Is that some sort of a door or a window, sir?”

“My guess is it’s a crawl space. You saw Longleat. He’s very short and could go through that opening very easily. That’s his hiding spot. That’s where the detonators will be. All those six doors are only extra honeycombs. In effect, he has a seven-door alarm system. “Even if someone went directly to the seventh door, they would naturally explore from there and be in the heart of the honeycomb maze while Longleat was in his crawl room hiding or detonating.”

“Where shall we go now, sir?”

“Please Marlene, cut the sir. Please.

“Okay, Hammy, what now?”

“Let’s see if we can open that crawl space. There has to be a key—no, probably a button. "Ruppee was always one for speed. He wouldn’t want to wait for a key, even if he already had it out.”
Johns was already five steps down with Marlene right behind him.

At the eighth step, Hammy, stopped, bent over and felt for a button, a pressure point or anything that stood out form the wall of the building.

Marlene was still trying to absorb the fact that her partner had seen an outline. Even now, behind Hammy on the ninth step she could not see anything that even suggested a door or an opening.

Suddenly, a car flashed around the southwest corner of the building and came to a rubber-smoking drifting stop twenty yards from the foot of the steel stairs. Longleat immediately sprang out, leaving the door open and the engine running.  He didn’t look up while he ran the twenty yards between parked cars to the bottom step of the stairs.

Hammy and Marlene both drew their service revolvers and waited.

Longleat was taking the steps two at a time. He hit the second floor landing and was turning to jump up the remaining stairs to his secret crawl space.

“Hold it right there, Ruppee,” Hamilton’s tone was completely devoid of either friendship or compassion, “or I’ll drill you right between the eyes.”

Longleat looked up and stopped. His face produced a wide grin.

“Hey, Hammy; what’s with the gats?” Longleat reveled in the language of Mike Hammer novels.

“You tell me, Rupert. Why are my partner and I just about to kill you . . .  and will if you come another step closer?”

Longleat laughed, “Ah, c’mon Hammy,” He sat on the second step and stared into the barrels of the two revolvers, “there’s no need for guns and all. Let’s talk.”

“Let’s not Rupee; lets you answer some questions while I cock this and wait for the right answer. Wrong answer, and you were trying to escape . . . or maybe I’ll let my partner kill you because you were threatening me.”

Marlene stiffened her neck while she inched down beside Johns and cocked her revolver.

“She’s the best shot on the force; five kills already; and all were guys with guns or refusing to stop after the commission of a felony; or, as in this case, in the attempt to commit a felony.”

Longleat’s expression changed from cunning to a face full of eyes and laughter.

“Aw, Hammy, you can do better than that. I’m sitting on a step of the back stairs to a building where I have been working for over a year.

“You shoot me and then explain. And I’ll be sure to turn my back; so that this would become another shot-in-the-back of an unarmed law-abiding citizen. End of your career Hammy. And that of your lovely partner” pausing, “and her with two kids and a tough mortgage.”

Longleat then rattled off everything anyone could possibly know about both Marlene and virtually all of her relatives and friends. He even knew her bank balance as of this morning. And, of course, all the payments due within three days, one day after she got paid.

“So you see, Hammy, yours is really not a good idea. I know everything bout the two of you and exactly the reasons why you’ll let me up these steps to my office.”

Hammy had heard this tone during the years of their friendship. It was Rupee’s way of gaining respect from those both bigger and smarter than him.

He made a point of finding out every detail of every person that he had ever encountered after the age of three. He relied on his adoptive parents to fill in those first three years for him.

Hammy recalled the first time he had been shown the files that Ruppee kept on all his friends, enemies, and everyone he knew—or intended to know—who could help him along his twisted life path.

“So you see, old sport, I not only know everything about you two; I also know everything about all your fellow officers, your superiors . . . every person who is in a position to either help you or can you.

"And, as you can imagine from the old days, Hammy, I have more than enough on every one of them to turn them my way.”

Hamilton Johns was silent.

End of Chapter Two

© Copyright 2018 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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