I heard Tom say through the earpiece, “I have eyes on the target. Heading South, towards Paul.”
As the high pitched sound of his whistle grew louder, I watched the only way ahead of us until he turned the corner.
His hands tucked into the pockets of his black suit, his hair back to the black color I remembered and a smug, satisfied look on his face.
As soon as his eyes landed on Lilly, he stopped whistling and smiled.
“Well would you look at that. You know, Paul. I honestly expected to walk in here and find you alone, with a gun pointed at me. But you really did bring her back to me.”
“Where is Gail?
Toni sighed, “She is alive,” he checked his watch, “For now. She has about forty five minutes of air left though, so let’s make this quick. Give me Lilly, and once we are out of the city, I will tell you where Gail is.”
I shook my head, “Not a chance. Tell me where she is and once I know she is safe I will give you Lilly.”
Lilly squeezed my hand and I gave her a nod.
“The moment you find her, your daddy will turn my head into swiss cheese. No… You give me Lilly, and once she is in my arms, and we get to my car, I will tell you where to find Gail. Then you can chase me, or go find her, up to you.”
I swallowed, trying to come up with anything else to get him to tell me where Gail is. Lilly wasn’t leaving my side.
“Tick tock, Paul. Gail is counting on you to find her.” Toni said and stuck his hands into his pockets.
“There is no way out of this for you now Toni. You walked in here, and you knew that none of these cops would let you walk back out again. Just tell me where she is, and maybe I can get you a nice comfy cell, somewhere sunny and warm.”
“You would let Gail die? Let her bleed out and suffocate to death, never to be seen again? She trusts you Paul. She needs you to save her. It’s a question of whose life is more important to you. A child, that is not yours, or a woman who you could love. Maybe marry again and have kids of your own. A vital part of the Portland Police Department.”
I heard Tom in my ear telling everyone with a finger on a trigger to stay calm and wait.
“You don’t have to do this. Its over! Just tell me where she is and we can all walk away from this. No one else needs to die.”
Toni smiled at me and began walking towards us slowly, “Only one more person needs to die. Lilly.”
Lilly hid behind my leg, her arms gripped tightly around my leg.
“Why? She is just a child. An innocent child who already lost her mother, father, brother and Aunt to you. Haven’t you hurt her enough?”
Toni continued to take one small step after another towards us, and I reached down to turn Lilly’s hearing aid off, “You know me, Paul. I’m a perfectionist. Once I begin something, I feel compelled to finish it. Lilly here, hid away from me, and therefore the job was not finished. Just like you got away. But I can let you live. We have too much fun together.”
“She didn’t hide from you, Toni. She was born deaf, and when you butchered my sister and her family, she didn’t hear them scream. She was asleep.”
“I know. But she is still part of a set. What good is a set if it’s incomplete?”
I shook my head as I glanced at my watch.
Gail has half an hour left. I need to do something.
“Why? Why did you kill all those people? My sister? My wife?”
Toni inched closer, “I wanted to… No, I needed to.”
“But why? They were innocent people, who did nothing wrong to you.”
“You’re right. They were innocent. And that is what made killing them so. . . euphoric. The fear in their eyes when they realised who I was. The heartbreak when I began killing and they watched. I saw the same pain in your eyes when I killed Addison. It’s addictive.”
Toni stopped a few feet from us, Lilly tucked safely behind my leg and Toni’s hands still in his pocket.
“Tell you what Paul,” He said after trying to catch a glimpse of Lilly, “You let me give her a hug, and I will spare her. Then, once I leave I will call with where you can find Gail, and we will pick this up again in a few years.”
“You’re not going to touch her,” I said and took a step back, holding Lilly to me with my good arm.
“I only want one hug,” he said taking his hands out of his pockets and raising them at his side, “I wont hurt her, I swear,” He said with a grin.
I thought about Gail for a moment. She was hurt, bleeding out somewhere in a hole as her air ran out.
What if this is the only way to save her?
What if this is what ends it all.
One hug, right here in front of me, with ten barrels aimed at his head.
“How do I know you wont hurt her?” I asked, meeting Toni’s eyes.
“You can search me for weapons. And if it makes you feel better, you can point your gun at my head while I do it. Then, once I leave I will tell you where to find Gail.”
I bit my lip thinking about it. I looked down at Lilly, her wide eyes looking up at me with confusion and fear.
I nodded slowly, and pulled my gun from its holster. I slid back the hammer, loading a round into the chamber and looked back at Toni, “Fine. Put your arms up, so an officer can search you.”
Toni smiled wide, “Fantastic,” he said, raising his arms above his head.
An officer in full gear came out from around the corner and patted him down. He nodded to me and stepped back, raising his gun to Toni’s back.
Toni dropped his arms and raised an eyebrow to me, “Well? Do you believe me now?”
I fought with the decision in my own head, his words making it hard to think.
Gail needs me.
She is counting on me to save her.
I raised my gun to him nodding, “Get on your knees.”
He did so without hesitation, and opened his arms to Lilly.
I looked down at her and met her questioning eyes. I pulled her out from behind me and signed for her to watch me.
Baby girl, I need you to be very brave for me now, can you do that?
She nodded, her eyes glancing at Toni.
I continued, If you give this man a very quick hug, he will tell me where to find my friend. She is hurt and needs to go to the hospital.
I don’t like this man. He’s scary.
I know sweetheart. But I am right here, by your side. It will only take a moment, I swear.
She looked back at Toni then at me and nodded.
I took her hand and led her the three steps towards him. I raised my gun and placed the barrel to his head before nodding to Lilly.
She took a slow step closer to him.
Toni smiled, “Come on my dear little Lilly. Come give your uncle Toni a nice big-”
A whizzing sound, followed by a dark splatter of blood on Toni’s forehead made her jerk back.