Red Bellied Brown

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Chapter 10: The morning call

No one ever wants to get a phone call at two in the morning. For members of the police that was doubly so. I was still in the hospital when my phone went off at two in the morning I felt the pang of anxiety only an officer of the law can feel. A fellow officer was on the other line. I waited for whatever grim news he was going to give me. I felt like I was back in primary school and the teacher had used my full name when addressing me. It was one of the officers stationed at West End.

‘I have a van on the move,’ he told me, ‘we didn’t see the driver.’

‘Are you following it?’ I asked, relieved that this time the two o’clock news was positive.

‘Of course, I wouldn’t be a good cop if I weren’t,’ replied the cop. His insulted tone reassured me that perhaps I had managed to get one of the competent ones.

‘Keep me informed,’ I said cursing that I was stuck in the hospital, ‘tell me everything about where it goes and try to get a visual ID.’

‘Relax detective, I’m on it,’ he replied and hung up.

There was no way in the world I’d be able to go back to sleep. I sat up, a police officer was stationed at the door although I didn’t think I was in any danger. Easing myself off the bed I went over to talk to the policeman.

The phone rang again before I could get to the door.

‘They’ve pulled over in a residential area in Indooroopilly not far from the shopping centre. Looks likes there’s several of them. I haven’t seen any faces, they’re all wearing hoods.’

‘Stay where you are,’ I said.

‘Mate, I know, I’ve done stakeouts before.’

‘Good,’ I replied, ‘get back up, they are aggressive.’

‘Ok,’ said the officer although I could tell it was an impatient response rather than a confirmation.

‘Be safe,’ I replied.

This time I got a message.

Screams, I’m going in.

I cursed and thought wildly of officer Petrov. There had been another infection. They were going in to collect the victim whether it was dead or mutated. I immediately phoned the emergency line getting them to dispatch back up. I regretted not knowing the street he was on. I gave them every bit of information I knew and hoped they’d be able to find him.

After a few moments of indecision pacing back and forth in the room I went to talk to the police officer outside. I could see him sitting there using his phone. It was somewhat surprising that he was still awake. That’s why I realised he wasn’t a police officer. I immediately grabbed the door and slammed it closed. There was no lock on it so I jammed a chair up against it. A hooded figure had been sitting there waiting. What did it want? It was just waiting. I shuddered to think what that meant. I phoned Takeshi. The fifth time I got through.

‘They’re hear,’ I said.

‘Who is?’

‘The rat people, they are here!’

‘Hold tight, I’ll come straight away.’

I said thanks and good bye feeling slightly less alarmed. A glance around the room indicated I didn’t have anything in way of weapons. I checked the closet for the clothes I was wearing when I arrived. A bloodied pile sat at the bottom of the closet. My holster with the gun still in it hung from a hook. With relieve I armed myself. I heard a scratching sound at the door. Swallowing my fear I went to the door and searched where the sound was coming from. I found the spot, put the gun against the door and pulled the trigger. I thanked whoever built the door of chipboard as the bullet easily passed through it. A squeal of pain came through the newly forged hole in the door. I fired again to be sure and opened the door. A rat person lay against the wall bleeding looking up at me in shock. I looked down both corridors.

They were striding towards me from both sides seemingly unswayed by my armament.

‘Stay back, I will shoot to kill,’ I shouted waving my gun first in one direction then the other, achieving nothing with my threat. I dashed back into the room and barricaded the door. I phoned the emergency line this time giving them my ID and telling them I was being assailed at the hospital. I was assured they were on their way.

I didn’t hear another sound from outside the door. They must have learnt from the previous rat who attempted to get in. Then again I had nowhere to go but that begged the question why were they here and what did they want? If it was to silence me they probably had the opportunity to but that rat had just been sitting at the open door while I slept. I’m not sure how long I had stood there aiming my gun at the door. A knock on the door.

‘It’s Takeshi,’ said a familiar voice.

Relieve flooded me. I immediately un-barricaded the door and let him in. I’d never been so glad to see his mug. There was no sign of the rat I had killed. Nor those that I had seen in the halls.

‘You ok?’ he asked.

‘They were here, I shot one, the body was right there.’ I said pointing at the wall the rat had been leaning against.’ I looked back at the door wondering if I had dreamt that part. Sure enough though the door had a hole in it where I had fired my bullet.

‘You need some sleep,’ he replied.

It hurt to see him not believe me.

‘There was a call,’ I said, ‘one of the vans was on the move last night.’

‘To here?’ he asked.

‘No, I think it was Indooroopilly,’ I said recalling my previous dilemma, ‘he heard screams and said he was going in.’

I checked my phone, there had been no new correspondence. I phoned the number. It rang for a minute. I feared the worst.

‘The situation is under control,’ came a voice through the phone. I let out a breath I hadn’t realised I’d been holding.

‘What happened?’ I asked.

‘False alarm, no need to concern yourself.’

‘What do you mean false alarm?’ I asked.

‘They were the residents of that home, there was no need to involve myself,’ said the voice.

‘What about the screams?’ I asked.

‘It was just a party.’

‘Oh,’ I replied thinking of nothing else to say, I finished the conversation there.

‘Nothing to it, just a party,’ I said to Takeshi.

‘Get some sleep mate, I’ll stick around if you want me to.’

‘I called the police too, they should be here soon.’ I replied.

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