The sirens that had echoed in the distance only a minute or two earlier arrived under the Aurora. Blue and red lights illuminated the area like a laser light show. Dozens of police cars filled every available space to park.
A cruiser pulled alongside the wreckage. Red and white light bounced off Danny’s face. The word “Supervisor”, painted along the side of the vehicle moved to within Kumi’s eye-level. She kneeled beside her ailing partner with her arm slung around his shoulders to support him the best she could.
The door opened and the long, lean legs of Captain Nichols stepped out. Kumi reached for her gun, but Danny froze her with his eyes. He had his 9mm hidden under his shirt, trained at Nichols’ gut.
“Jesus,” Nichols said, looking at Danny, then Kumi, then Cliff. “What the hell happened here?”
Kumi took a second to register Nichols’ voice and then pounced.
“Where’s Amaya and her family?”
“They’re safe,” he said. “You can trust me…”
“Anything happens to the Naito’s, I’ll kill you,” Kumi shouted in the Captain’s face.
“Where’s Hutch?” he changed the subject.
The far door to the Supervisor car opened and another figure emerged like a shadow against the backlight of the police cars.
“He’s a dirty fuck,” Kumi pointed her tiny finger a few inches from Nichols’ nose.
“I know,” he shouted back.
“And you are too, asshole,” Kumi lunged at him.
Nichols grabbed her by the shoulders and neutralized her. Danny rose to his knees with his weapon drawn.
“Stop it,” shouted Hector Gonsalves as he rounded the front of his car. “Nichols helped us track Garlag. He flagged Hutch when he accessed the 911 record. He tailed Barnes. And he engaged me to get to the Naito’s before they did. Now, where the hell did Hutch go?”
Kumi and Danny looked at each other blankly. Cliff pointed to the top of the stairway leading away from the underpass to the four lane Aurora Boulevard overhead.
“There,” he said.
Nichols and Gonsalves both grabbed their radios and signaled for the closest officers to give chase. Kumi grabbed her gun from the pavement and dashed like a world-class sprinter up the hill toward the cement staircase.
“Oshiro,” Hector called to her in an attempt to reel back her rage.
Both Captains gave chase. Danny willed himself off the ground and hobbled after them. Cliff moved as quickly as he could, just behind Danny in heading toward the crowd of law enforcement personnel that scrambled up the stairs. Kumi doubled their pace and reached the stairs first.
Even Elmer, who had wriggled out of the back of the car wandered aimlessly toward the same direction as everyone else.
Danny lost his footing and stumbled to his knees. Cliff stopped to check on him. He heard arguing, yelling and screaming overhead at the top of the bridge. In the distance, he saw the first police officers reach the base of the stairs and barrel up them. Kumi took two steps at a time outpacing the other officers by a wide margin.
It happened so quickly. Cliff didn’t understand what had occurred even after Hutch’s body flashed across the space above his head and crashed to the ground, making a horrible splatting sound. He looked up and caught a dark-haired figure looking down at Hutch’s shattered body before disappearing beyond the railing.
They could hear a loud commotion grow in intensity and urgency.
“Hands up,” they heard. “Face down. Don’t move…”
Cliff heard Winona’s distinctive sarcasm telling the officers to put their dicks back in their pants and relax.
In his mind, Cliff replayed what he had just seen. Hutch’s spectacular fifty-foot fall took place only a dozen feet from where he and Danny kneeled along Fremont Ave., underneath the Aurora bridge.
“Did he just jump?” Cliff asked, squinting at the gruesome sight of the mangled and twisted body that lay still beside them.
“Maybe,” Danny said, adding; “Let’s assume he jumped.”
Medical personnel rushed to assist Danny. Others used crowbars and a jaw-like apparatus to pry Tom Barnes from the driver’s seat of the BMW. Cliff looked away and covered his eyes at the blood and exposed bone. Two paramedics executed CPR on Tom’s limp body, while two others tried to stabilize his awkwardly displaced legs.
In the distance, Cliff watched other medical staff hoist Peters’ body onto a stretcher. One doctor pumped his chest with his hands while another squeezed an airbag to force oxygen into his lungs. Doctor Kushnick stood by the two paramedics giving them orders and overseeing the delivery of care. He glanced down the street, making eye-contact with Cliff, but continued to focus his attention on Peters’ critical condition.
“Is Peters alive?” Danny asked.
“I don’t know,” Cliff replied. “They’re all over him.”
“What about Barnes?”
“Looks like trying to save them both,” Cliff answered.