I stayed out of the room that night. I wanted to go into the room but I knew that going in there would've ended badly for me. The couch was comfortable enough for the night. It was a long one and I knew it was going to get longer, especially after the dream that night. The room was even darker then. The noise was almost nonexistent. I saw a white silhouette that was moving towards me. I don't know why but it kept moving closer and a part of me wanted to run to it but another part was telling me, “This isn't the life you wanted Chase...This isn't the life you chose.” I knew that voice all to well. I thought it had disappeared along with the other vestiges of my life...I guess I was wrong.
I woke up for the first time with no cat at my feet watching me. But I did hear my phone going off. I pushed myself off the couch and already felt like something was off. “Charlene?” I called out. Nothing.
It was odd to say the least and I looked around the apartment trying to find if there was anything she could've left. The phone kept ringing and I picked it up to hear the sound of Oliver, “Marquez, the hell are you?” He sounded pissed,
“Well if I answered my phone I think it's safe to assume at my house.” I told him.
“Listen Marquez I don't have time for your little jokes today.” He said, “I need that story from yesterday.”
“I already sent it, didn't you check your email today chief?” I asked,
“Yes I checked my-Oh, well there it is.”
“Yeah we rounded off early last night and I got around to starting the interview but as it got late we decided to go at it again today.” I told him looking at the camera I had brought in from the car.
“You've been acting weird lately Chase,” Oliver said, “everything alright?” Almost by some divine joke I saw something on the table next to the couch I slept on. A folded piece of paper with my name on it.
“You could say that chief.” I said, “Hey Chief, I have another call coming I'll keep you posted okay?”
I picked up the paper and unfolded the paper to show a message.
When you had told me what might happen I thought you were just being paranoid. It pains me to no end to see that you were telling the truth. I am doing what you told me to and leaving. I won't tell you but I promise I'll be safe. I'll pray for this to pass and to come back home
I love you Chase.
There were tears on the paper. She was sincere on that front. It shouldn't have been anything new. People left me before I've left them but a part of me just felt odd...almost empty. My phone rang again and I immediately thought it was Oliver, “I told you I'd give you the update Chief.”
“I haven't been called Chief in a long time. Thanks for that mijo.” The voice on the phone said with a light chuckle,
“Dad?” I asked,
“Last I checked yes.” He replied,
“Funny, what's up pops?
“Nothing much, just home thought I'd call my son and see how everything is going.”
“Everything is fine...I guess.” I said,
“Do you have work today?”
“Uh, not till later why?”
“Oh, I'm just a little bored. Want to come over and keep your old man company for a while?” I looked to my clock and saw that it was late in the morning,
“I think I could pencil you in pops.” I said, “I'll be over in a little bit.”
“About time.” My dad said once he saw me approach the house. He had been waiting out on the porch for me from the way he looked.
“Traffic you know?” I told him.
“Yeah, yeah,” He said motioning for me to follow him, “It's freezing out here c'mon let's get inside.” I followed in and Dad stopped in the foyer. I looked confused, before he looked down and I followed his look down to my feet, I still had my shoes on.
“Oh, right.” I said, “Sorry pops.” He chuckled and carried on into the living room and sat in his chair. It was my turn to chuckle as I watched him get into the chair. “It feels like it's been a while.” I said after I sat on the couch.
“Too long.” he said as he rested the drink he had with him outside on the coffee table. I looked around and was confused.
“Pops, where's Lori and Liz?”
“They took off a couple of days ago to visit Cam.” He replied,
“That must've cost a bit.” I said, Pops looked at me like I had said something blasphemous.
“He was her son mijo.” He told me, 'Was?' I thought. “I would've done the same if it were any of you boys.”
“...That damn idiot.” I said. Dad nodded.
“It was nice of Cam to stay with us for a while when Brandon died. He tried to help where he could...though some of us weren't as receptive as we should have been.” I got the feeling that there was some blood loss when pops said that. “After one bad night...Cam went to go visit that girlfriend of his.”
“The jailbait, yeah.” I said,
“Well the girl was beginning to have some problems with Cam. He was moving too fast.” He turned his gaze outwards away from me. “She said she wanted space and he didn't want to listen, even went as far to try and get her to agree to marry him. She said no of course.”
“The girl had more sense than we gave her credit for.”
“Cam didn't take the no well and went as far to break into her house.”
'Damnit...' I thought,
“Some neighbors called the police and he tried to run...he ran off to the park.” Dad trailed off. He didn't need to fill the rest. In Stonehurst should a suspect flee to an area crowded with possible victims they are then authorized to use force. I took it the force was extreme in Cam's case. We sat in silence for a moment before Dad broke it with a new topic.
“How's Charlene?” He asked,
“Gone.” I said simply, he went bug-eyed for a moment.
“Gone?” He asked and I nodded, “What happened?” I shrugged, not knowing what to say.
“I guess I did something...Couldn't tell you what though.”
“I see,” He said, “Are you going to be okay mijo?”
“Of course.” I said, “Not the first time I've been through a rough patch right?”
“You may be right Chase but...”
“She did something for you mijo.” He said, “Something very few people are able to do.”
“She made you happy mijo.” He told me reaching for his drink, “Something that is by no means a small feat.”
“I'm a happy person pops.”
“Chase,” He started, “You smiled a lot yes but remember, I raised each and everyone of you I know when one of you is faking.” He told me, “but that girl...she brought it out of you. For real.” Dad smirked when he said that, he always relished the moments when he could call one of us out on something.
I shook off dads words and looked outside. The yard had light snow covering it. It was around these times my brothers and I would be doing yard work. Dad never let up on it. I was reminded of the times Brandon and I would do the work then find ways to duck it after we got bored. Trouble didn't scare us back then.
“Chase.” Dad said, he snapped me from my reverie.
“Huh?” I asked,
“I asked if you had visited Brandon at his grave.”
“Oh, yeah...Still doesn't feel real.” I said, “After all this time of course.”
“Oh, I know son.” He told me, “We all know, but I'm sure he misses you.”
“Could only guess huh?” He shook his head,
“I know son.”
I spent the better part of the day with pops. Catching up was made easy enough by pops bringing up things that were easy to fill in the blanks. I left in the afternoon telling him there was some work I had to do and that much was true. I had some bones to pick with some people and for that I needed to get out of the city for a minute.
I stood in an old phone booth that was kind of used as a landmark in Stonehurst. Lord knows why, but it helped for what I was going to do. The phone rang after I dialed the number I got from the records Stonehurst had about him. The phone rang for a bit then went to voice mail. “Hello Mr. Tate.” I said, “I was hoping to talk to you about some important stuff and was hoping you'd be in. Then again, you and your friend last night looked ready to see how deep the rabbit hole went hu-?”
“Who the hell is this?” He growled into the phone,
“Calm down Mr. Tate.” I said smirking, he was easy to poke, good. “Like I said I wanted to talk to you.”
“If I find out who you are-.”
“You won't do a damn thing unless you want what I got of you and your friend doing last night to be seen by your superiors. Tell me, did you guys at least have a nice nightcap?” He was silent for as moment and took the opportunity to keep going, “I have your number, I want to meet at midnight and you'll get my call with the meeting place at eleven. Got it?” He was silent but I could only imagine what his phone looked like at the moment. “See you tonight Tate.”
I hung up and got to my car with a smile. I hadn't lost any steps with this part of the job. I went home and prepared for the meeting that night.
Tate arrived on the dot. It was rare to find someone who appreciated punctuality. I chose an abandoned factory building that I had found a little ways away from town. After I scoped it out and worked out a number of possibilities I could think of before I called Tate for the meet. “Alright I'm here.” He called out standing in the only light it had which came from the broken window.
“On time as well. Good job.” I said from the shadows, I didn't want him to know it was me right off the bat. I doubt he recognized my voice.
“I'm glad I make your good graces.” He told me, “Now, mind telling me what the hell you want?”
“In good time Tate,” I said, “but if you won't mind. Your guns please.” I heard him growl before pulling out a 9 and laying it on the ground. “Don't insult me Tate, reserve gun in your leg holster.” I could feel his eyes go hot from where I was. He knelt down and began taking out his gun when I ran up from the side and kicked him to the ground, knocking the gun out of his hand.
“GAHH! YOU SONUVA-!” I kicked him in the face again and cut him off before he finished and stood one foot on his throat.
“Such language from a former officer.” I said, “Now that we're in the proper positions you're going to tell me what happened.”
“The hell are you talking a-AACK!” I stepped own on his neck,
“The Stonehurst shootings, you were on the arresting team and each one of you who took the perp got some pretty good rewards didn't you?”
“So what?” He looked up at me with venom in his gaze.
“Tomassi was under investigation but when the arrest was made everything disappeared.” I loosened my grip, “I want to know why.” I told him,
“Why that kid was taken down, why the make of the bullets was never made public and why Tomassi is commissioner now?”
“The bullets weren't made public for fear of copycats,” He stated, “Tomassi is commissioner because he was appointed after the last one left and finally the kid was taken in for a very simple reason.” I felt something pressing my back, “He did it.”
'Damn!' I was struck in the back of my head and lurched forward only for another person to hit me in the face with a left and after I was lurched over a knee flew up to my face, knocking me down. 'How the hell did they get the drop on me?' I asked myself.
I got hit again while on the ground and it didn't take much to know this is coming to the worst possible outcome. Tate got up and the man was pissed. He started savagely beating me on the ground. I stayed conscious to at least figure there were three people attacking me at that point. “You thought you could hustle me you piece of-wait...I know this asshole.” Tate said grabbing me by my collar. “He's a reporter.”
“What's it matter?” The second person said, the voice sounded familiar. “Take care of him and let's get out of here.” Tate didn't argue he left and went to go pick up one of his guns. The other person kept a watch on me and just laughed at my beaten body. “Don't get too close.” The third person said, this person used a voice modder, the voice that came out wasn't human, anyone could've easily told that.
“What are you talking about?” The second person asked with a chuckle. I took the smile off his face with a kick to his knee cap. The sound of his screaming made me laugh, that stopped once I got kicked in the face.
After the kick I was beginning to black out. They spoke, arguing that they should kill me, but for some reason I don't remember a shot being fired. That's probably the point of dying but a part of me just laughed before the world went dark around me.