Teflon had started to become a recurring thing around me. I had no idea who fired the shot but they were playing hardball and I knew it was going to get worse from then on. Someone called in my number and I had a few ideas as to who did it too. I knew where I had to go but I had to deal with a few things first that was going to make themselves apparent...even if I wanted them or not.
I woke up in the storage complex. It made sense, I couldn't go straight home even if I avoided them. What made it odd was that someone stitched me up and bandaged me like Ramses. Blood was on the floor and on the needle that rested on a stool beside me. I pushed myself up and ran through everything the best I could.
I had broken into a mental institute and attacked someone who at one time was my partner. The police arrived after I had made too much noise and apparently they had me on the shoot to kill list. Shot several times and only one made it through with the one bullet type that kept following me no matter where I went. Then I escaped, somehow made it back to the storage locker where my costume was stored and gotten stitched up by someone.
My ribs hurt and someone decided to speak, “You shouldn't move around much.” I looked up and I saw the old man who ran the locker facility. I looked at him and he just left the locker. I used the left over clothes I had kept in the locker and tried to leave, without falling on my ass in the process.
“Thank you.” I said to him before I left,
“Sometimes a guy just has to do things that make him sleep in a locker.” he said, “Just pay me back for the door and we'll be even.” I noticed the blood on his hands, he hadn't washed them since he worked on me, I hoped he would after I left. I don't like my blood on someone else's hands.
I didn't have the car with me and I was in no shape to drive the bike back home, so I hailed a cab and dozed off during the drive. The driver tried to speak to me but I didn't hear anything. I paid, got out and made my way to my apartment. I avoided the stairs for the first time in months. I didn't need to pass out on the stairs and have the tenants of the building find me like that. I walked up to my door but didn't take out my keys. I looked the door up and down and pushed it open. Someone had been there.
I entered slowly and cautiously. I wondered if I could handle a robbery right then but a part of me laughed when I asked that. No one came out to attack me which meant whoever was there was long gone. The apartment was disheveled at best and I could tell that nothing seemed to have been taken which made that all the more odd. I went to each room and looked at it, everything was moved, but nothing was taken. I went back to living room and stood there quietly as I absorbed the scene until something on the mantle caught my eye, 'Well...that's interesting.'
My gaze shifted to the ground as I turned to see something that I was surprised on a paper that hit my floor.
Nightmare Attempts to Release Former Partner in Brazen Escape From Institution
The front page and a picture of me as I held Steven by his collar. I looked up and saw Jack and Mike in front of my door. “Guys?”
“We tried calling.” Jack said, “You didn't answer so we thought we should stop by.”
“Got scooped huh Chase?” Mike asked, I shrugged,
“It happens to the best of us don't it?” I asked with a smirk, “I've been busy.” I told them,
“Usually, most people are busy with their jobs or something like that right Mike?” Jack asked turning to look at Mike who looked at him, nodded and then back at me,
“Usually,” He said, “but then again Chase isn't most people right man?”
“Guy's what's this ab-?”
“We're leaving Chase,” Jack said, “You're coming with.”
“What are you guy's talking about?”
“Dad sent us.” Mike said, “You're coming and that's that.”
“We know Chase.” Jack said,
“Know wh-?” Jack held up his hand,
“Uh-uh Chase, we ain't doing that.” He told me, “We know everything, the mask the costume the whole crazy crap you've been doing.”
There was a silence between the three of us and could anyone have blamed us? I had tried so hard to keep my being Nightmare away from my family and it had worked for a time. How things have changed was new to me, “Dad sent you?” I asked,
“Who else would Chase?” Mike asked,
The drive was quiet save for the music that played. Jack and Mike said nothing and I honestly didn't imagine that they'd want to at all. Once we got to Dad's, the both of them led me to Dad's study. “Boys.” Dad said as he stood at the window of his study before he turned to look at each of us. His gaze on me was longer than Jack's and Mike's “You all look well...almost all of you anyway.” He then walked to his chair and sat with a sigh. “You two leave, I need to speak with your brother.”
“Dad are you-.” Jack was silenced by dad's gaze. It didn't take much for our dad to get his point across. Jack and Mike left and left me with dad.
“Go on and take a seat mijo.” Dad said to me, I didn't have the strength to argue with him. “How's the leg?” He asked,,
“What makes you-?” I stopped when he tapped his cane lightly, I hated to admit it but it made me chuckle. “I'm bruised everywhere but shot in the leg. Someone had good aim.”
“Must've if they got you while running.” He said.
There was a moment of silence before I broke it with the question that had begun to rack my brain. “How long?” My dad laughed lightly,
“Did you honestly believe that your sparring excuses would work every time?” He asked me,
“No.” I said, “I had hoped it would though.”
“Now believe me, I didn't want it to be true at first.” He told me, “But as time went on the evidence kept piling up. Grades, the injuries you kept coming home with and even the few times you smelt like a shootout. What drove it home was how white you would get whenever Terry would call you Batman.” I didn't think I was that obvious.
“If you knew, why didn't you stop me?” I asked,
“You're going to sit there and tell me that you would've stopped if I had told you to Chase?” I was silent, “Of course not. Just like your brothers, all of you can't be stopped once you started something. I couldn't stop you.” He said before he took a sip of his drink. “Hell, a part of me didn't even want to.”
“Why not?” I asked him,
“You started something with that mask of yours Chase.” He told me, “When you stopped I thought that was it and was happy to have my son back...but that's apparently not the case.” I was silent again, “Why were you at the asylum Chase?”
“You will tell me everything Chase.” He said, “That's an order.”
So I told him the whole story starting from Brandon's shooting to the robbery and ending with my visit to Grisham. Dad was silent as he listened to my story, I didn't repeat anything and went all the way to then. “So you believe the person who shot Brandon is back after you?” He asked after I had finished my story.
“The bullet that hit my leg was the same make as the one that killed him.”
“And I don't think it's one person Dad.” I told him, “I think it's a group, a group of dirty cops.”
“That narrows down the list then.” He said, I knew he was being snarky because the number of dirty cops wasn't large but big enough to cause problems. “But I thought so as well.” He said,
“You already had a feeling that it was cops?” I asked, “When?”
“Close to a year before Brandon was shot there was a raid against a meth lab down in little Saigon.” He said, “There was no confirmation but rumors arose that Nightmare was on the scene.”
“I remember.” I told him, “The shipment started in little Saigon and was going to make rounds before finally delivered to Chinatown.”
“The case had shown that several officers from the 2-16 were in on the plan as well.”
“People thought I was part of IAD after that case.” I said,
“Throughout the case a name kept coming up that could never be confirmed.”
“He was labeled as a person of interest and put on limited duty.”
“So in revenge of making his life hell he killed the girl and Brandon?” I asked, “But then why call me?”
“Call?” Dad asked with a quirked eyebrow,
“Yeah, the day Brandon was shot I got a call from someone who claimed that they gave me a chance to “play ball” or something.” I explained.
Dad let out a sigh, “You weren't supposed to get that call.”
“Chase...I had gotten a call from someone wanting you dealt with.” He told me, “I tried to save you, they called me at the office and kept calling, telling me to get you in line.”
“You didn't try to confirm that they could ID me as Nightmare?”
“I couldn't risk it Chase.” He told me, “If they knew enough to call me they might have had enough to actually prove it.” I didn't believe my father right there, “I told them I would reign you in but I tried to cover you where I could.” It made sense when I thought about it.
They didn't want to tip their hand on the off chance that I would have found out who they were so they went to dad. Dad, being the upright citizen and Chief of D's wouldn't have been that hard to coerce and that was probably their thinking about the subject. When dad did nothing and I kept working it caused them to go the extra mile and no doubt they went to Steven for my number, probably garnering another favor in the process. Which led back to the events at the mall and led us all to where I was at that moment.
“They...they told you dad.” I said,
“You knew that if you didn't stop me something would happen.” I began to shake, “Why didn't you stop me!?”
“And what Chase?” He said standing up from his chair looking down at me, “Destroy everything you had accomplished behind that mask?” He asked me,
“At least Brandon would still be here.” Dad sighed,
“Maybe so Chase, maybe so...” I began to tear up, then felt a hand land on my shoulder, “Listen mijo-.”
“Why couldn't you have just stopped me dad?”
“Because...You started something you began change for something good.” He said, “But you're not done Mijo.” He added,
“Brandon's waiting mijo.” He told me with a smile, “Don't keep your brother waiting. Go change things.”