Chapter 60: The Chase
“October!” I yelled in panicked dismay as Jimson proceeded to maneuver the small bass boat away from the dock, roughly pushing her to the floor where she looked back at me in complete fear. My heart seared with pain as I realized he was really going to keep her hostage.
Barrett had offered this piece-of-shit criminal a chance to bargain if he surrendered now and testified in court against Michael Lopez, the man who’d engineered the crimes that ultimately lead to my wife’s murder. This was the only reason I hadn’t shot Jimson already, yet he was signing his life away with every second he continued to disregard the warning to stop.
“You’re a dead man, Jimson!” I shouted as I rushed forward in an attempt to make it to the dock in time.
He had literally laughed at the idea of making that deal with Barrett, though deep down I knew he was right. Lopez had so many connections; if he found out Jimson was going to testify against him, he’d have a hitman on his tail within the hour.
But now Lopez was the least of Jimson’s worries. By the time I was done with him, he was never going to see the light of day. Whether that meant I was going to put him six feet under or in a cell for the rest of his days, I wasn’t quite sure just yet.
As I reached the dock with Barrett on my heels and Flores further behind, Jimson was already too far out for me to make a jump for his boat. Now would have been a good time to let Onyx take form; he could have overtaken the small motorboat easily, but with the detectives here, that was out of the question.
“Dammit!” Barrett huffed, as I paused on the dock, taking a moment to access the situation.
Further down the shoreline, three houses over from October’s, I spotted a figure busying himself on the bow of a still-docked cruiser. It was slightly larger than the boat Jimson had just stolen, but if anything should be a bit faster. Finally, I had my first lucky break.
“Flores, call back to the station and have them send out a couple boats now! Jimson’s heading east towards the caves,” I ordered. “Barrett, you’re with me!”
And with that, the two of us ran towards the only means I had of saving October. Finally, the sirens from the backup I’d called for earlier blared across the neighborhood, as a couple of squad cars pulled up to October’s house a little too late to be helpful now. Ignoring them, I continued sprinting towards the other boat, calling out to the boatsman who looked up in surprise, confusion covering the apparent retiree’s features as I barked, “Police! We need your boat!”
“Oh! Sure…,” he glanced at my uniform, then at Barrett in his suit and tie before quickly hopping off the boat and stepping aside on the wooden dock, then gawking at us as I boarded equally as fast.
“Come on!” I yelled at the slightly slower detective as he stumbled onto the boat deck, trying to catch his breath while I simultaneously leaned on the throttle, pushing the already running boat into sudden motion and causing him to fall forward onto the passenger bench.
It was apparent Barrett was a landlubber as he held onto both the seat and the gunwale - the side of the boat - with a pale expression and white knuckles, while I pushed the sleek cruiser to full speed in pursuit of October. Jimson had already outdistanced us by at least a nautical mile.
Not for long, you son-of-a-bitch, I mentally threatened from afar as we picked up speed, jumping across the slightly choppy water and gaining ever so much on the white speck of a boat ahead. The wind whipped at our faces and I grimaced a little, noting the darkening clouds in the sky above. The last thing we needed was rain. The weather reports had all said the foul weather wasn’t supposed to hit until later tonight, but it seemed a bit too close for comfort now that I was staring those clouds in the eye.
With any luck, it wouldn’t matter if the rain started a little earlier than expected, for we’d have October safe and sound soon enough, I tried to tell myself as we began closing in on our target. My anger seemed to only add to the burst of speed the relatively new cruiser found all of a sudden, and now I could vaguely make out October’s nearing-medium length blonde hair blowing out behind her. We were fast approaching and I needed a plan.
Turning to the more relaxed detective, I yelled over the wind and roaring engine, “You think you could drive this thing?”
Barrett nodded with a look that begged to know my exact plan of action.
“I’m gonna turn this over to you, then you’re gonna get me close enough to Jimson so I can jump over.”
Sucking up his apparent disdain for boating, Barrett shifted towards me, his tie billowing out behind him. He took the steering wheel, allowing me to take his spot on the starboard side.
From across the shortening expanse of water, Jimson glanced behind him for the first time since we’d gotten so close. Panic emanated from his features, propelling my courage to do what I was knew I had to.
I got you now, I glared back at him before allowing my eyes to land on October, huddled in the middle of the boat with nothing but pleading hope spilling from her warm eyes as she peered back at me helplessly. As if I had to be spurred on any more than I already was.
“Get closer,” I urged Barrett, steering pretty well for someone who didn’t sit well with the water.
He guided us further starboard, and maxing out the speed, we soon found ourselves fifteen, ten, five feet away from the bass boat. I stood on the bench seat, steadying myself on the backrest, waiting for the right moment.
Just a little closer…
But Jimson, realizing my intentions, swung his boat away and towards the coastline, making my jump impossible.
“Follow him!” I yelled, despite Barrett having already anticipated my order, and suddenly jerking the boat in pursuit, nearly making me lose my balance, as I hovered on the seat, still ready to jump. The wake from both boats drenched my face with a cold, stinging spray. Barrett, used to maneuvering the horrendous traffic of Miami had no problem changing direction and catching up again, this time getting the boat even closer than before, and hope surged inside of me. We were nearing the coast and suddenly the large rocky outcroppings which housed the caves Navarro Beach was known for loomed on the opposite side of Jimson’s boat. We had him sandwiched between us and the rocks and he knew his options were dwindling.
Now was my chance. Steadying one foot on the semi-soft vinyl bench cushion and bracing my other on the rail, I balanced my weight, leaning slightly towards the water, while October watched on in hopeful horror. My heart pounded as I focused my gaze on Jimson’s back instead. He was turned away from me as he struggled to push the boat faster to no avail. There was no way I was going to let him take her from me.
His gun sat in his hand, atop the steering wheel, while October eyed both he and I with apprehension, and I prayed that she knew to stay put so she wouldn’t be in the way once I got onboard. As though he felt my eyes on him, Jimson suddenly twisted in his seat, scowling back at me with vengeance. That was my sign, it was time, and I leapt into the air, propelled by not only adrenaline, but both my hatred for him and my feelings for October.
As soon as my feet left the boat, Jimson suddenly jerked the vessel in my direction, and a horrible screech of metal hitting metal emanated beneath me as Jimson’s smaller boat managed to wrench Barrett’s control of our boat from him. By the grace of God, I landed hard on the stern of Jimson’s boat, clearing the cruiser just in time. But relief was short lived, as I proceeded to roll off the rear of the boat, towards the water and fear crept into my mind as I felt my opportunity to end this slipping. I eyed the large engine as it grew near, knowing that I didn’t want my appendages anywhere near the attached propeller. Sliding with speed past the outboard motor, my legs soon extended over the water, and my hip easily slid off the flat surface. Crap! I had to stay on the boat!
My body hit the air, now soaked with water from the furiously rotating propeller, and I desperately clawed at the air, sure that I would be joining Barrett, stranded and unable to rescue October. By some miracle, my fingers managed to find a handhold, and my body swung hard against the backside of the large motor as the momentum of my fall was cut short. My other hand also found the cold, wet metal bar and I hauled myself up, my muscles quaking as I hung on.
Thoroughly drenched in the spray from the blades thankfully too far below me, I watched helplessly as the cruiser bounced in the opposite direction. Barrett, attempting to correct the sudden misdirection, only managed to severely overcompensate, and to my horror, the narrow boat proceeded to flip over at full speed. As we left it in our wake, my stomach knotting, I prayed that he would come out of this alive. Where in the hell was my patrol unit Flores was supposed to have called for?
Swallowing my doubts away, I returned my attention to the madman at the wheel, but not before locking eyes with October. Terrified and gapping with surprise and horror, she watched as I precariously pulled my way back onto the stern. She’d thought I had gone overboard just as much as Jimson had, and the relief in her expression spoke volumes. The soul mate connection between us told me that not only was she concerned about her own rescue, but that if something happened to me, she would be heartbroken. As she glanced fearfully up at Jimson, I knew she desperately wanted to help me, but was smart enough to know that doing so would alert her captor to my presence.
Jimson, in turn, briefly glanced down at her, at which she snapped her eyes forward, her entire body settling down on the floor again, emanating disdain for him and his actions. She was effectively pretending that he had lost Barrett and I in the crash, and believing her bluff, he smirked with rancid smugness before refocusing his attention back to his driving, putting the wreck of a boat behind us and out of his mind.
That was my queue. Hauling myself all the way back onto the flat deck, I was thankful the loud engine and whipping wind masked my heavy breathing. Middle age was wearing on me more than I realized, as I was struggling more than I would have been ten years ago pulling this same stunt. Hunched over in a squatting position, I grasped the backrest of the pedestal seat, steadying myself as Jimson jarred the boat with every wave. The son-of-a-bitch needed to adjust his engine trim and even out the boat, otherwise we were all going to be jostled to death.
Estimating the uptake of the next wave, I used the seat to push myself off, lunging at his back, while October, who had been watching from the corner of her eye, slid as close to the side of the boat as possible, instinctually covering her head in the event Jimson’s gun went off.
Jimson was stronger than I had anticipated, or perhaps I had used up more of my strength than I had thought trying to climb back onto the boat. Either way, as I wrapped my arms around his neck in an attempted chokehold, he managed to rise up from his seat, spinning around and smashing my side into the cockpit’s dash. Shit, this wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought!
I clung on, squeezing my bicep around his throat, while reaching for his gun. He grunted in defiance, determined not to let me take control and trying to throw me off. October yelped as we bounced off the steering wheel, nearly hitting her before she sprung from her crouched position, moving to the stern, just as I managed to wrap my leg around Jimson’s shin. He tripped with the jolt of the next wave the boat hit, splaying momentarily on his back. I lunged for the gun, only to find his burly hand pushing at my throat from above him, while he precariously aimed the weapon at my chest for the briefest of seconds. Twisting, I managed to wrangle the gun so that it was pointed elsewhere, and time seemed to slow as we grappled tirelessly, trying to overpower one another.
“Torin!” October yelled, as Jimson finally managed to roll out from under me with a grunt, his gun still locked firmly in his grasp, while the boat, now without a driver to steer it, veered dangerously closer to the rocks.
The boat needed to be throttled down, but Jimson was dead set on ensuring I was incapacitated and that October had no way of getting past us to do anything herself. His face, ablaze with fury and vengeance, made it apparent that he also had complete disregard for his own survival should the boat crash.
Still on the deck, I once again tackled my opponent, and this time, as Jimson hit the floor, the gun sprang from his fingers, skidding to the port side of the boat’s cockpit, out of reach for either of us. He kicked back, planting his heavy foot in my stomach, and I groaned in response, maintaining my hold on him nonetheless.
I could see October’s feet as she tried to get closer, most likely hoping to slow down the boat. I wished she’d went for the gun, but we were blocking her path to either. Finally, I crawled atop Jimson and pulled my fist back, balling my hand in preparation to give him a blow to the face that would leave a lasting mark. But before I could do any further damage to the bastard, October screamed and suddenly the boat hit something hard. Dammit, we finally hit the rocks and everything went weightless.