Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Journey - Set up

I apologize for the cliff-hanger. I'm trying to keep the posts readable and it's not always easy to decide where to break the chapter.

VERY beginning just in case you need it...

And now back to our programming...

    When angry Italian words filled the air, Meg knew her brother was on the scene before she saw him. Michael had decided a very long time ago that it was easier to swear in another language. Fewer people would know what he was saying. His favorite had been Italian. His ploy had worked for some months until their mother figured out what he was saying. He'd had to paint the garage. For Michael, it had been well worth the pain.

    He murmured behind her and peered over her shoulder

    Rummaging through the van of the attacking gang, Meg looked up and lifted her chin in greeting. "Even I know what 'stupid' sounds like in Italian. What was the other word?"

    "Gawkers, essentially. It's a freakin' Thursday! Don't they have work?"

    Amused but not going to show it for the many cell phone cameras on the perimeter of the crime scene, "Who needs a pay check when there are dead people on the street? I wondered if Mulholland was going to call the Gang Task Force in on this."

    “Yeah, at least two of us. I got here first." He eyed her while she rummaged around the passenger seat, "What are you doing? You here for Narc or Robbery?"

    "I guess it depends on what I find." Meg pulled the metal lock box out from under the passenger seat, "Near as I can make out, those guys coming out of the convenience store are the Yellow Dead. This van, stolen by the way, was driven by a group called the Brazilian Kings. The coroner just pulled the driver out of the van a few minutes ago."

    "You've done your homework." Michael grinned down at her and propping his hands over his chest.

    "Not really, considering how much you know. I've run in to some members of both gangs in other cases." She turned the lock box over in her hand before opening it. Packets of white powder gleamed in the sun. "Well. Looks like the Kings were making deliveries."

    "The Dead don't deal in drugs, which you probably DO know. They buy, certainly, but as far as we can tell, they don't do the selling."

    Meg narrowed her eyes at him, seeing herself in his sunglasses. Hers were sitting on the coffee table in her apartment. "Third party involvement. Who would want to take out both groups?"

    "Several territory disputes." Michael hedged and Meg knew it.

    "Well, then I guess that's what you'll bring to Mulholland's task force. I need to log this." Michael clapped her on the shoulder and Meg carried the lock box over to the officer in charge of evidence. She recorded it in the log, took another picture of it and secured it in the trunk of the squad car they were using as an impromptu evidence locker.

    "What do you know?"

    Without looking up from her notes, Meg responded to her partner's question, "There was a third party involved. Their shots disabled the van and the van's driver." She tapped her finger against the side of her head, "Bullet to the side of the head pretty much stops any one. Having the van stalled out in the middle of the intersection made it easier for the guys on the sidewalk to get their shots off. It looks like a nice, normal argument between gangs until you find the bullet holes on the other side of the van. So the question is, why? Did we have vigilante justice? Or is there a third gang on-site helping to clear out the competition?"
   
    "I agree with you. Does your brother have any idea 'bout who?"

    "Territory is territory. If that's the case, then," Meg continued thinking out loud, "Whoever was behind this essentially just managed a buy-one-get-one free. The Yellow Dead are small. The Kings are fractured."

    Pleased with his former trainee now partner, Neil grinned slightly, "You make me look good, you know that?" Ignoring the subtle gesture that expressed what she thought about that, his eyes roved over the crowd that watched from the four sides of the barricade, "This is what a goldfish feels like."

    "Without all the tapping on the tank." Meg pulled her cell phone from her pocket, "I'm calling to have the van towed to the garage for a search."

    "See if they can retrieve any shells from the van and confirm trajectory."

    "I know how to do my job, Spiro. Quit nagging me and make sure forensics checks bullet types between guns. It wouldn't surprise me if some of the Yellow Dead were killed by guns not held by Kings. I'll know more after the van is swept for prints but there are only two shooters in the van. No way two can kill all six of the guys on the sidewalk. Especially shooting from a moving van."

    Neil grunted, "Now who's nagging? I know how to do my job, too. I knew how to do my job first. Brat kids these days."

    Listening to him grumble as he moved to the sidewalk, Meg swallowed her grin. She'd gotten used to his gruff pretenses. Mostly, he was a teddy bear and they both knew it. Looking around the intersection, she knew things weren't as it seemed at first glance. They both agreed on that, as well. Hopefully, the debriefing meeting would have food of some sort. She was hungry.

    Meg placed the call for the tow truck on her cell phone, moving out of the way of the coroner whose team was moving another body. Idly her eyes scanned the crowd as she listened to the towing service the city used. When she was convinced someone was on the way to get the van, Meg disconnected and called the forensic team lead to give him advance notice on the van and the required dismantling.

    A scream ripped from the crowd and Meg turned to look. It wouldn't be unexpected for a pick-pocket or purse-snatcher to take the opportunity to make some quick money. Still talking to the forensic lead, Meg didn't see the gun until the officer manning the barricade went down. As shots seemed rose around her, Meg had only a split second for the realization to cross her mind that she was standing exactly in the middle when the first bullet struck.

    The intersection rang with shots fired and for a moment the police were helpless. They could not return fire for fear of hitting an innocent bystander. The crowd, quick to realize they were in trouble did what they knew to do. Some immediately dropped to the ground in an effort to make smaller targets. Even more turned and ran,  seeking shelter elsewhere.

    Six officers were on the ground and just as many were wounded before the first responding shots could be fired. Whatever T99 hoped to gain was far from their minds the moment the officers returned fire.
   
   

    Dizzy, Meg's vision filled with the blue of the sky. She should feel pain, Meg thought.  She knew from past experience that it hurt to get shot. Her ears rang with the sound from shots fired while she'd fallen. For a long moment, she heard nothing but the muffled sound of shouts. Urgency could be heard, even if the words couldn't be discerned. The moment was over and the world around her was screaming. Voices called for ambulances. Shouts were tossed back and forth as those who could tended those who couldn't.

    With the awareness of the rest of the world, came the pain. It was so very difficult to breath. The more the pain grew, the more difficult it became to breathe. She didn't know her fingers tried to find something to hold on to. A hand slid into hers and held on. Flesh-to-flesh contact eased the unidentified fear.

    Neil Spiro's face filled her vision, "Help is on the way, Meg. Stay with me."

    There was a moment of screaming. No. Sirens, Meg realized. Her partner's face loomed over her and she blinked at him. She couldn't breathe deep enough. This must be what a goldfish felt like outside of the bowl. Wanting to tell Neil, she opened her mouth but couldn't find the air to talk.

    Another voice filled her ears but she couldn't understand him, just that Neil snapped at him. The corner market was raided for anything that could be used to stave off bleeding. Neil caught a bundle and pressed it against Meg's side. Another pair of hands covered an upper body wound, applying determined pressure.   

    Over her body, Neil met her brother's eyes. It wasn't good and both of them knew it. Meg tried to focus on Neil Spiro's face. Her partner lifted a bushy eyebrow and swore at her. "You die on me, kid, I'm gonna be pissed."

    His face turned gray in her vision and the clouds turned to shadows. Neil swore and snapped at the man who was trying to bandage Michael's arm, "Begin mouth to mouth, Sullivan. She's stopped breathing."

    "I've got to ... you're both hurt.."

    "Breathe for her!" Neil barked.

    Sullivan bent to the task and Neil glanced around, never letting up the pressure. "Mulholland went down, too." Seniority took charge and he motioned with his chin at a uniform, "I want a status on the dead and wounded. Especially Mulholland." 

    Taking a quick study of the chaos around him, Neil was able to see the good in people. Even for just a moment. Citizens were helping tend wounded cops. Mulholland was moving his arms, that was a good thing. The blood on his shirt was not. He had no idea how many of the shooters had been taken down and how many had gone away.
   
    The sirens heralded the coming of help. Neil kept his hands and pressure on the wounds and prayed they wouldn't be too late. Sullivan checked her pulse and started chest compressions. Neil saw the boots and the black cargo pants and knew his partner's other brother was on the scene. SWAT moved quickly. Silently moving through those fallen and those among T99 that had been taken down by angry citizens.

    Matthew stood sentry over his sister. The rest of his team stood watch over the scene while uniforms worked to re-secure the barricade and move the wounded. Michael glanced up when Sullivan swore and fitted his hands between theirs to begin chest compressions. Matthew inhaled deeply and met his brother’s gaze. One of them was going to have to call home.

© 2011, Amelia Antwiler/Comfy Denim

3 comments:

Mother Mayhem said...

ACK!

Christa said...

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

ComfyDenim said...

Sorry.
Glad you guys like it though. I'll keep writing just for you.