Longest Nightmare

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Chapter 9

I should have been furious. They killed a girl...my brother on top of that and set up some kid to take the fall. The killer is still out there. I had to get to the bottom of it. I had to find the killer. I knew where to start and I just had to answer one question: Who's first?

“Yes, I understand sir.” I said, “If you could just tell him I called and that I would...right...much appreciated.” I hung up my phone and set it on my desk in my office in the Review. I was talking to the secretary of the Commissioner of the town,who was one Roland Tomassi. He was actually the lead on the on the arrest of Jones. There were others but his was the name that stuck out most through the papers about the case. Apparently the collar actually set him up for a promotion and he had just been climbing the latter ever since.

I let out an exasperated sigh and laid back in my chair. It was the third time I called the guy and it just got harder to even get the guy on the phone. “Marquez.” A voice said at my door. I looked up and in the door was a middle-aged man with peppered gray hair and beard. Oliver Greenburg, the editor and chief of the Stonehurst Review.

“Oh, hey chief.” I said,

“Don't call me Chief.” He said, “Whatever you got going on I need you to shelf. There's a conference going on downtown.”

“Don't we have some guy or something for that?”

“Leroy is out today. Besides the commissioner is there, making it close enough to send you there.” He said. Normally I would've argued, but as soon as he spoke about the commissioner I was up and out of the office and made my way to my car.

I had gotten to the conference ten minutes or so after it had already began. It was an ego stunt at least. Something about the police partnering with local groups to help keep today's youth out of the streets, the mayor was there of course to soak up all the light he could. Really all the stuff that they had been spoken had been said of since I was a kid, my dad used to take us to these types of conferences by order of the mayor just to show that cops are people too, it was a weird logic that didn't really make that sense when you actually thought about it. I didn't pay much attention to the questions that were asked, I did however pay attention to the man in formal police blues and sporting a stache so thick the eighties might have thought about suing him for infringement.

That was Roland Tomassi. The head man behind the arrest and from what I remembered dad talking about as a kid someone IAD really wanted their hands on. 'How'd a guy like Tomassi get to Commissioner?'

The conference came and went, I got audio and already thought of how to write the story that wouldn't have made it as dull as it actually was. It was explained as some urban outreach program to give at-risk young adults a shot at making a new life for themselves through attaining certain jobs within public office, small things and in the long run it sounded like a failing idea . I took pictures from a camera I rented out from The Review, ones that I figured Oliver would like to see. The Commissioner was preparing to leave with the mayor and I took that as an opportunity to try and catch the man. “Commissioner Tomassi.” I called, “Comissioner, can I have a minute of your time?” Tomassi turned to face me and nudged his head towards me while looking at one of the Mayor's bodyguards.

Two came up to me, one shorter than the other and one who looked like he had a scowl painted onto his face. “Sorry, sir.” The taller one said calmly, “The Mayor isn't taking anymore questions at this time.”

“That's fine, if you heard me I was calling for the Commissioner.” I said moving the hand off my shoulder. “I had been trying to contact him for a bit but he's been harder to catch than Roadrunner if you catch my drift.”

“Sorry pal, if we could help but we can't.” The shorter one said, “Now get lost.”

“You know, guys you could just let me through.” I said, “Not like the mayor will fire you when you tell him the city's best reporter got past ya will he?” One of them laughed but the other just tensed up and grabbed me by my button-up.

“We told you to get lost, now do you want me to make my point any clearer?” He growled. The other one took this time to step in,

“Tate, let the man go already, he's part of the press okay?”

'Tate?' I thought, “Robert Tate?”

“How'd you know my name?” Tate asked clenching harder on my shirt,

“Just a guess, now let go of the shirt or you're going to owe me a new one.” I locked eyes with the man before the other bodyguard took his hand and practically yanked it off my shirt and forced Tate to walk off with him back to the Mayor.

'Looks like I found the first step.'

Robert Tate was the rookie from the arrest and from the record I was able to find the guy was a time bomb. Went off on a number of fellow officers and a psych eval put the guy as a ticking time bomb waiting to go off; my words not the report's. Dad's name still held some weight behind it with the right people, so after that I only had to worry about pops if he ever found out I had used his name.

A few hours passed before Oliver called me, “Chase, the hell are you doing man? The conference was over hours ago.”

“Hey chief.” I said, “Yeah, I was able to get in touch with some people at the conference and actually scored an interview with some of the people helping this project they got going on.”

“Project?” Oliver said, “This was just a puff piece Chase we don't need anything else.”

“Well, I'm already here sir.” I said, I began to get another call, “Whoops, sorry chief, gotta go.” I hung up before he could argue and answered the other call, “Hello?”

“Hey love.” It was Charlie and I had forgotten her, “Where are you? You were supposed to be back an hour ago.”

“I was?” I asked, “Damn I'm sorry baby.” I told her, “I got caught up at an event the mayor and the commissioner were holding and actually met with some contacts for a further interview.”

“Oh, the mayor?” She asked, “Isn't Leroy the one who usually does the political stuff?”

“Well the commissioner is there as well, which kind of close enough to send me. Besides, Leroy is still out on vacation I think.” I explained, “Some luck huh?”

“Mhmm.” She said, I knew enough to know that when a woman made that sound it ended very badly. I looked out and saw Tate driving by.

“Baby,” I said to her, “I need to go I'll be back later, okay?”

“Alright,” She said, “love you.”

“You too baby.” I said before hanging up and driving off after Tate.

Tate drove off heading to some place just outside of town. Following him was simple enough, he still looked steamed which made it easier to go undetected by him. The area he drove to was a bar. One I had never been to but heard enough about; The Rabbit Hole. I parked my car away but saw Tate's car park right in front of it and walked right in. “You have got to be kidding me.”

Some hours passed well into the night when Tate finally came out of the Rabbit Hole. He wasn't alone however. A man with blonde hair and a thin frame was holding him up as the two walked out. His hands glided all over Tate and even to some places that didn't really need support. 'Good god.' I thought to myself as I watched the scene unfold, I pulled out the camera and began to channel my inner paparazzo. 'Looks like I can mark one off the list now.' I thought to myself before I drove off.

It was late when I got home and I tried to be as quiet as I could to avoid causing any problems with Charlene. I closed the door behind me and instantly the lights shot on. And right at the dining room table sat Charlene. The table was set up for a dinner and from the way it looked, it was a good one. “You're late.” She said sharply.

“Yeah baby, I know. It was a late interview and I tried to get out of there as soon as I could.” She wasn't having any of my excuses.

“Uh-huh,” She said, “Sure Chase.” She stood up and walked away from the table.

“Charlene,” I said going after her, “wait. I was working, I'm sorry.”

“That's not it Chase.”

“Then what is it then?” I asked, “You've been hiding something haven't you?”

“What are you talking about Chase?” She looked at me confused,

“That guy who tried to rob us, you looked surprised when I defended us. When the cops came you never once came over to me.”

“You were talking to the police Chase, I wanted to let you handle it.”

“There's something more to it isn't there?” I asked looking at her hard. She started to shake,

“I'm not doing this tonight Chase.” She said turning away from me again.

“Why not?”

“Because I said so, good night Chase.” She let out before closing the bedroom door behind her. I stood there in silence before the cat walked up to me and looked up.

“What? You gonna close the cat door behind you on me too?” I asked. The cat just looked at me before turning away. “Of course.”

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