Saturday, December 9, 2017

Untitled Zoe Grey Novella - Chapter 3

Untitled Zoe Grey Novella

In case you missed it, read Chapter 1 or Chapter 2.

Chapter 3

I relayed what I’d learned to Ellmann, though not much of it was new. Then he passed me a pad of graph paper.
“Will you sketch the floor plan and give it to Waller?”
I took the pad and began dialing another number from my notebook.
“Hey, what are you still doing here? This is a police operation.”
I looked up to see Officer Daniels marching up to me again.

“At the moment, I’m sketching a floor plan of the house.”
“I really don’t like your attitude. Or the fact you run around here like you’re one of us.”
I snorted. “Who wants to be a cop these days? Do your job perfectly, you still get crucified in the media. Never mind what happens if you actually make a mistake. Is that pressure starting to get to you, Officer Daniels?”
“I’ve been doing this a long time—”
I rolled my eyes. The guy looked twenty-five years old. He probably hadn’t been out of training much more than a year.
“Yeah, sure. And you used to walk to school up hill both ways. In the snow. Now, excuse me, I’ve got work to do.”
“Who the hell asked you to—”
“I did.” Ellmann stepped out of the Bearcat carrying an orange box. “Go find somewhere else to be. I need her working, not wiping the floor with you.” Ellmann looked at me. “Get that floor plan to Waller. I have a feeling my conversation with this guy’s gonna be short.”
I nodded and completely ignored Daniels as he skulked away.
Ellmann spotted Waller near the pickup and waved him over. The two began conferring, Waller relaying orders into his radio mic. A moment later, a short, compact guy named Cross rounded the end of the pickup and jogged toward the Bearcat, his movements light and easy. With his sniper rifle slung on one shoulder, he quickly climbed onto the roof of the Bearcat and disappeared.
I punched in the last digit and dialed, pinching the phone between my shoulder and ear as I quickly sketched out the main and upstairs levels of Selena’s house.
“Yes? Hello?”
The voice was old and warbled a bit, and the speaker was slightly out of breath.
“Mrs. Downes? Regina Downes?”
“Why, yes, dear. Can I help you?”
“My name is Zoe Grey. I’m a bond enforcement agent.”
Mrs. Downes sighed. “Oh, my. I know what this is about.”
“You do?”
“Yes. You’re calling about my boy, Bobby. He’s forgotten another court date, hasn’t he?”
“I’m afraid it’s more complicated than that.”
“Oh? Is everything okay? You know, my boy, he really is a good boy. He doesn’t ever mean to hurt anyone.”
“I don’t mean any offense, Mrs. Downes, but your son has a very long history of violent criminal charges.”
“Those were all misunderstandings. You see, Bobby, he’s never been good at expressing his emotions.”
“I see. Well, Bobby is currently barricaded inside a young woman’s house. He’s holding the woman and her son against their will.”
“Woman and her son? Would this be Selena? Well, for heaven’s sake, they have nothing to fear from Bobby. He loves them. That’s his son.”
“Mrs. Downes, Bobby raped Selena—on three separate occasions. He beat her so badly she spent three days in the hospital. That isn’t how a person expresses love.”
“Selena always misunderstood Bobby.” The woman clicked her tongue. “I tried to talk to her, tried to tell her, but she just wouldn’t listen.”
I pulled the phone away from my ear and blinked at it. Was the woman really that delusional?
“What has Bobby told you about Selena?”
“Oh, well, he’s been very excited to reconnect with them. See when Bobby went to jail last time, Selena moved and Bobby wasn’t sure of her new address. He’s been looking for her. He told me last week he’d found them, and that they’d all be together again as a family. That’s all he wants, just to be a family. He loves Selena. And he loves the baby.”
“Was Bobby angry with Selena for taking off like that?” I asked.
“I don’t think so. I told him, see, I explained about how he was hard to reach in jail, and that she would have tried to tell him where she was going. He probably just didn’t get the message because those guards always read all the mail, and then it all gets mixed up or lost. Happens all the time.”
“So it wasn’t her fault.”
“Of course not.”
“And it’s not Bobby’s fault, either.”
“No, certainly not.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Downes, you’ve been very helpful.”
“Well, you’re welcome, dear.”
And with that, the woman hung up. She clearly had no concept of the depth of trouble facing her precious son right now; she had not asked any questions at all about the current hostage and standoff situation. And she would never understand the threat he posed to others.
I tucked the phone into my pocket and tapped Waller on the arm. He stood inside the Bearcat making notes on one of the many whiteboards and relaying commands into his radio. I handed him the sketches of the main level of the house as well as the second story. He thanked me, took the pad, consulted it, then spoke into the radio.
Ellmann stood just outside the vehicle, a bright orange box held in one hand. He leaned around the side of the armored vehicle, surveyed the yard and the front of the house, then he spoke into his radio mic, and waited. A moment later, Rollins hopped out beside him carrying an armored shield. Two of the patrol guys with weapons trained on the front of the house shifted positions. Rollins got in front of Ellmann and the two moved together behind the shield across the front lawn to the house. Ellmann chucked the orange box through the front window, shattering the glass, and then they quickly retreated.
Ellmann jogged hunched over and rounded the back of the vehicle.
“Movement,” Waller confirmed for him.
“Deploy,” Ellmann answered immediately. “Tolliver, activate the line.”
“Already done,” Waller said, making additional notes on the whiteboard as he listened to radio traffic.
I could now hear the phone in the orange box ringing inside the house.
The ringing stopped.
“This is Detective Ellmann with Fort Collins Police. Is this Devil?”
All the rooms of the house had been listed to one side of the board. As the reports came in, Waller began making X’s next to most of the rooms. Next to master bed, he made a checkmark, then another. I took this to mean all of the rooms in the house were empty except the master, and that both Selena and her son were there.
“Disconnect on his end,” Tolliver reported, tapping at his keyboard. “Activate again?”
An instant later, the orange box sailed back through the living room window and landed in the front lawn.

Waller quickly made a new note: Blood. Bedroom. Knife spatter. Victim: female. Status: unknown.
Read Chapter 1
Read Chapter 2
Read the background on the story

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