During his drive home he tried to call Alicia a number of times, but much to his growing despair, each call went to voice mail. His stomach churned. He felt helpless.
While most cars travelling in the same direction as Matt were obeying the speed limits, Matt’s speeding vehicle frantically weaved in and out of traffic like he was driving a slalom course, leaving them in his wake as he rocketed by.
It was only while he had the time to contemplate the possible consequences during his high speed drive home that he realized he still loved his wife and he didn’t want to think about living without her. He had to get home to save her from this person to whom she had the utmost trust.
His dangerous driving speeds had reduced the drive time from Pacific Beach to his home in La Jolla Shores from fifteen minutes to about seven minutes.
Matt’s vehicle’s front end suspension bounced violently when he entered his driveway under speed. He accelerated along their long, arrow straight drive way towards the house. His heart sank when he noticed Jason’s car parked outside the front door.
His vehicle had hardly stopped moving before he was out and running for the front door. He was now in FBI mode. He was now the hunter.
At the front door he cautiously tried the handle. It was unlocked. Alicia never left the front door unlocked, the net result of years of him nagging and whining about her safety, even with visitors in the house.
He turned the handle and slowly pushed opened the door. Without moving he drew his service revolver from the back of his jeans and chambered a round. Matt placed his hand on the door and slowly pushed the door all the way open, to ensure there was no-one behind it.
Matt slowly peered inside. He scanned the immediate vicinity before slowly stepping his way inside his house, holding his pistol in front of him with both hands. His senses were honed to any sound, any movement. But there was nothing - total silence.
He cleared the rooms at the front of the house before returning to the hall. He started edging his way towards the rear of the house. This was not good. If Alicia had a visitor, especially someone she knew like Jason, it would be natural to expect to hear conversation, laughter, anything at all – but there was nothing; deafening silence. His instincts told him something was wrong.
As Matt arrived at the foot of the staircase he swung his Glock upwards towards the 1st floor. All clear. He lowered his weapon back to the front.
Matt slowly edged his way down the long hall with his firearm held in front of himself. He did his best to prevent the polished timber floorboards from creaking under his massive frame.
As he neared the back of the house he decided to call out.
He listened but there was no response. His heart pounded in his chest. The blood pumping in his ears was deafening. He tried again.
‘Alicia…It’s Matt…You about…?’ he called, but still no response. He continued to edge towards the rear kitchen and family room area of the house. His eyes darted like radars detecting movement or sound.
Matt continually checked over his shoulder, in case of a rear ambush as he slowly edged his way to the end of the hall.
When he arrived at the opening into the kitchen and family room, Matt paused. He quickly poked his head around the corner, looking his left, then withdrew his head back, in case Jason was waiting.
As he pulled back he frowned. He saw something on the floor to the left. He moved his head forward into the room again where he noticed Alicia lying on the family room floor to his left. She appeared to be unconscious.
‘Leece,’ he yelled. He ran towards her. His heart raced.
Please don’t be dead.
At that moment when he saw his wife on the floor, everything he learned, everything he knew about clearing a room before entering it had gone out the window. All his training was completely forgotten as he quickly rushed towards his Alicia. His sole focus was on the welfare of his wife. He just hoped he wasn’t too late.
If Matt had taken the time to follow FBI standard operating procedure and cleared the room before he entered it, he would have discovered Jason standing against the wall to Matt’s right. The baseball he held would’ve been no match for Matt’s Glock. Instead, when Matt stopped to bend down and check his wife, he was suddenly blinded by a bright white flash of light. Then nothing.
By the time Matt awoke and gathered his senses he found himself lying face down on the floor. Blood flowed from a large split on the back of his head. Matt checked the source of the throbbing pain. He winced when he touched the sizable lump on the back of his head. He checked his hand. There was blood and lots of it.
The pressure behind his eyes felt like they were about to pop right out of his head. He had no idea where he was or how he got to be face down on the floor.
His eyes drifted across to Alicia lying unconscious beside him. He dragged himself over to check she was alive. As he did so he noticed someone standing nearby. He rolled over onto his back and shielded his throbbing eyes as his failing vision looked up at the standing person. Who the fuck is that…? He frowned.
As his blurred vision cleared he recognized Jason standing over him holding a baseball bat. Matt could see Jason’s mouth moving but the relentless ringing in Matt’s ears drowned out any discernible words.
Jason smiled down at Matt as he raised the baseball bat over his head. Fortunately Matt still had enough cognitive awareness to realize he was about to be struck with that bat- again.
Matt forcefully drove his foot up into Jason’s groin. Jason grunted and reeled back, dropping the bat as he folded over, collapsing to his knees. His hands were shoved deep into his groin.
Matt tried to scramble to his feet as quickly as he could, but the severe concussion had him moving with the dexterity of a feeble ninety year old man.
By the time he eventually made it to his feet and staggered and stumbled his way onto the rear balcony, Jason caught up with him. He tackled Matt to the ground.
Matt fell forwards onto his hands. When Jason climbed to his feet, Matt rolled onto his back. He crab crawled on all fours as fast as he could away from Jason. But Jason slowly walked towards him, smiling at him with the baseball bat resting on his shoulder.
Exhaustion got the better of Matt. He collapsed flat onto his back. He was no longer able to support his own weight. He looked up at Jason, who smiled back down at him. He heard Jason say something about killing Alicia and killing him too. Something about a package deal, but to Matt the words were garbled.
Matt remained unmoved. He wasn’t able to fully comprehend Jason’s imminent threat. He was dizzy and momentarily lapsing in and out of consciousness.
Jason forcefully kicked Matt in the head, like he was kicking a soccer ball. Matt slumped to his side - unconscious.
When he opened his eyes everything was blurred. He had no idea how long he was out. The relentless ringing in his ears was deafening. He lifted his eyes trying to focus on Jason who now stood beside him.
He noticed Jason lift the baseball bat over his head, where it was poised ready strike down on Matt. But Matt couldn’t move. His mind screamed at him to flee, but he couldn’t move his limbs.
Matt was unable to invoke his fight or flight instincts, so he simply conceded. He shut his eyes and lay back. He wasn’t about to watch what would certainly be the fatal blow being delivered on him.
For the first time ever, the fighter in him lost the will to fight. That initial blow to his head with the bat when he entered the family room had him beaten. His cognitive reaction and reflexes were similar to a punch-drunk fighter knocked out in the 15th round of a bout.
He wasn’t sure if he wanted to resist any more, not if his wife was already dead. So with his eyes closed, he simply waited. Jason had won.
Matt startled. His eyes sprung open at the gunshot that rung out. A warm sensation sprayed across his face. Through his limited focus he saw Jason slump to his knees, landing beside him.
When Jason landed Matt saw Alicia standing behind Jason. Her eyes were glazed in a vague stare. Her cheeks were streaked with mascara. She pointed Matt’s pistol at Jason.
Matt’s eyes flicked to Jason. Jason’s eyes were blank and staring straight ahead. His hand was against his blood soaked chest.
Matt’s eyes flicked back to Alicia. She was in a trance-like state as she walked up behind the wounded Jason. Her eyes remained fixed in an emotionless stare. She leveled the pistol, took aim and fired again.
This time it was a clean head shot to the back of Jason’s head. Matt’s eyes instinctively closed when his face was sprayed with blood and brain matter. The shot catapulted Jason’s body forward onto his stomach.
Alicia froze. She stared at the pistol in her hand. Her frowning expression was as though she wondered why she was holding it. She dropped the weapon like it burnt her hand. The heavy pistol thudded onto the deck.
Her eyes flicked to her fallen husband on the ground beside Jason. She rushed to Matt and slid in beside him. She lifted his large head and cradled it lovingly against her body.
Matt sat on their family room sofa with a comforting arm around Alicia who had nestled in beside him. He had a tight bandage around his head. Alicia tightly hugged a blanket that had been wrapped around her to help comfort her. Their expressionless faces stared blankly forward.
The shock from the traumatic experience had not fully sunk in. The body of Jason remained on the rear balcony while members from the Homicide Task Force and Crime Scene Officers photographed and examined the scene.
Both Matt and Alicia were examined in their home by attending Paramedics and cleared of any life threatening injuries.
The Paramedic who examined Matt however was of the opinion Matt would not only require stitches to his head, but he had suffered severe concussion and should be hospitalized for observations. Typically, Matt refused to go to. He did not want to leave his wife.
‘I’ll worry about the cut on my head tomorrow,’ Matt insisted.
Although it was not her preferred option, Alicia informed the Paramedic she was a trained nurse and reassured him that she would tend to the wound and monitor her husband’s vitals throughout the night.