Tabula Rasa

Chapter 6

Tabula Rasa

Chapter Six

As soon as they arrived back at the college campus, Wes and Travis found a number of squad cars parked both in front of the dorm where Jeremy lives, as well as in front of a shopping center across the street from the dorm. Wes and Travis ran forward to find out from the officers that had all moved outside of the shopping center what was going on, but before they could, they found that there was someone on top of the roof, dangerously close to the ledge. They didn't need someone to tell them that it was Jeremy and whoever he had taken hostage.

Wes took off running into the shopping center and raced as quickly as he could up the several flights of stairs that it took to reach the roof, as the building was at least ten stories tall. Travis quickly shouted out orders to the other officers around them, telling them that he and his partner were in charge, not anyone else, including Goodin and Scott, whom he figured out was already up on the roof, and then quickly followed after Wes.

As Wes finally made it up, he swiftly moved along the roof and shouted out, "Brady, Nora, get back! You're invading in our case and if you keep moving forward with your guns in your hand, you're going to get both the suspect and his hostage killed. I'll take it from here."

Nora Scott looked over at Wes as he pushed his way through her and her partner and called back, "No way, Mitchell! This is our case and this kid is the suspect in killing a waitress downtown."

"I didn't kill anybody!" Jeremy cried as he moved closer to the edge that was secured by a weak banister that someone could easily fall over or crawl over, under, and in between in order to jump, while still keeping his own gun trained on the detectives and held the young woman Wes and Travis now saw was Connie, who was whimpering in fear, tightly against his body. "Not some waitress and I didn't kill Ryan either! He was my friend! I was set up!"

"I believe you, Jeremy," Wes answered calmly as he slowly continued to move forward with one hand up in the air and the other one holding his gun, ignoring both Scott and Goodin as they tried to protest until Travis came up from behind them to pull them back. "I believe that you didn't hurt your roommate, but by holding Connie hostage and keeping your gun trained on four detectives, you're not doing anything to convince us that you're innocent. This is wrong and you know it."

Jeremy shook his head and responded angrily, "You're only saying what I want to hear to get me to let her go so that you can shoot me. I can see that you all believe I'm guilty."

Travis slowly moved forward up behind his partner as he replied, "You're wrong, Kid. My partner here actually does believe you. I want to, but like Wes said, you're not doing a good job at convincing me."

"I'm putting my gun down on the ground now," Wes continued as he slowly lowered his gun and let it go as it lay on top of the roof, slowly opened both sides of his suit coat and spun around to show that he was completely disarmed, then finally raised his hands back up in the air. "I promise, I'm not going to hurt you. My partner and I just want to talk to you. Please, let Connie go and we'll talk, just me and you; no games. Travis, get Brady and Nora out of here."

"We're not going anywhere," Brady answered as Travis suddenly pulled their guns from their hands and quickly aimed them at them in order to get them to listen. "You won't shoot us, Travis."

Travis glared at them as he responded firmly, "You really don't want to test me. Now, get moving back down the stairs and wait on the ground for us to bring the suspect down, like everyone else."

The two detectives did as Travis said, but Nora quickly spoke up before disappearing, "You and your partner are going to pay for this, Travis."

"We've heard that line a dozen times, but we're both still here," Travis called back as he moved away from the stairwell and walked slowly back toward his partner in order to keep an eye on him and the others, but stayed back so that he wouldn't spook Jeremy any more than he already was.

"The others are gone now, Jeremy," Wes spoke up again after he and Jeremy remained silent while their suspect contemplated his options. "Please just let her go and talk to me. You want a hostage, take me."

Jeremy looked closely at Wes' face in order to see if he was showing any signs of deception and when he saw that the detective seemed sincere, he finally released his hold on Connie, who ran forward past Wes and Travis and down the stairs to get away. However, as soon as he let her go, Jeremy raised his gun and pointed it at Wes, as he backed up closer toward the railing.

He replied, "I didn't want to take Connie hostage, but I had no choice. The other two detectives broke down my door as Connie and I were arguing about Ryan's death. They wanted to arrest me for killing some waitress, I've never even heard of. I had to grab her. I wasn't about to let them take me to prison. I'd rather die than go back."

"Jeremy, stop!" Wes shouted as the kid bumped up against the railing and then suddenly stepped over to stand on the ledge as he faced outward, while using one hand to hold onto the railing and the other to keep his gun raised at Wes to prevent him from trying to stop him. "You don't really want to die. I can help you if you let me."

"Don't come any closer," Jeremy said angrily as he looked over his shoulder to see Wes as he slowly continued to move toward him. "I will jump. Even if you do believe that I didn't kill Ryan and that girl, I still have to go to prison now for taking a hostage and pointing my gun at you and your partners. You can't fix that."

Wes shook his head as he answered, "You're right. I can't change that, but I won't press charges for you holding your gun on me and I have a feeling that my partner won't either. You just have to trust me. Take my hand and I will help you come back over. Let me help you, please."

As Jeremy saw that Wes was almost within reach, he finally nodded as he dropped his gun to the ground and moved to turn around in order to take the detective's hand, but as soon as he did so, one of the stones that made up the ledge broke off from the building and Jeremy began to fall. However, Wes suddenly reached out to grab him, but the force of Jeremy's fall was too much for Wes to be able to hold onto both Jeremy and the banister himself, causing him to fall over the railing. Luckily, Jeremy was able to grab onto Wes' legs and hung on, as Wes managed to grab a hold of the ledge and one of the banister's poles when Travis suddenly appeared and grabbed onto his partner's arms to prevent him completely losing his grip.

As soon as Jeremy slipped and he saw Wes reach out to grab a hold of him, as Travis knew that the weight would be too strong for his partner to keep himself from falling over as well, Travis raced to the edge in order to fight to save his partner and to help him pull both Jeremy and himself back up.

As soon as Wes felt Travis' hands grab onto him, they both locked eyes and then Wes looked down toward Jeremy and called out, "Jeremy, I need you to pull yourself up and allow my partner to grab onto you. He won't let you go, will you Travis?"

"I won't, but you're going to have to hurry up," Travis responded through gritted teeth as holding them both up, despite Wes' own hold on the railing and ledge, was becoming more difficult. "We can't hold on forever."

Jeremy began to climb up and managed to make it up to Wes' lower back until he suddenly lost his grip on Wes' jacket and slipped. Wes quickly let go of his right hand's hold on Travis in order to reach out to try to catch him, but he was too late as Jeremy fell to his death as his body hit the ground below.

"No!" Wes cried out devastatingly.

Travis used both of his hands to grab a hold of Wes' left arm as soon as he let go of him with his other hand. He watched fearfully as the kid fell and then looked down fearfully at his partner, who was only staring at the ground in shock. However, he suddenly snapped out of his own shock and tightened his grip on his partner and called out to him to get his attention.

"Wes, hey, I need you to give me your other hand or you're going to fall too," he said forcefully. "Come on, Man. We may fight like cats and dogs, but you're still my partner until Captain Sutton orders us to split up. I wouldn't have it any other way. Now, grab my hand and help me pull you up!"

Wes finally heard him and locked eyes with him once again as he reached up and began to climb, while Travis grabbed onto his jacket and the back of his pants and belt when he was sure Wes had a grip on the railing. After a long struggle to get up and over the railing, Wes was finally laying down on the rooftop with his eyes closed tightly, fighting to get air back into his lungs as it took a lot of effort for him to breathe properly again.

Travis slowly sat up and looked down sadly at his partner, but he remained silent while he waited for Wes to make the first move to get up off the ground or to talk. He could see that Wes was shaking as he moved his hand up to his head in order to cover up his eyes. Travis knew exactly what was going through Wes' mind right then. He was blaming himself for what he believed was another innocent person dying.

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