The old man is lying motionless in front of me. That's because...
[[...I'm investigating his murder.]]
[[...I was the one who attacked him.]]
(set: $typewriterText to "Hello, world!")
(set: $knowCauseOfDeath = false)
(set: $seeingStars = false)
(set: $cyclops = false)
(set: $fireEscape = false)
(set: $cushion = false)
(set: $delayed = false)
(set: $gotAway = false)
(set: $oldManLives = false)
(set: $oldManDies = false)
(set: $girlDies = false)
(set: $testimony = false)
(set: $axeThrow = false)
(set: $noShoeprint = false)
(set: $ashes = false)
(set: $noNeck = false)
(set: $daughterAtHome = false)
(set: $mispoke = false)
(set: $armed = false)
(set: $unarmed = false)
(set: $guilty = 0)
(set: $pissed = 0)
(set: $questions = 0)
}...Working the homocide desk, you see some pretty bad things, but this takes the cake.
Poor old man. Just some random janitor working in some trashy motel.
What did he do to deserve this? I guess that's what they pay me the big bucks to find out. I guess I should...
[[...check his pockets.]]
[[...look at his injuries.]]
[[...talk to the coroner.]]
[[...review the security footage]]
The old man's wallet and phone are still here. The perp wasn't after money, which I sort of suspected.
$knowCauseOfDeath[You don't practice your golf swing on a man's neck if you want some spare change. You do that either to send a message or because it gets your rocks off.]
(link-goto: "So unless gramps turns out to be a senator or something, I'm inclined to believe someone did this for kicks.", "...I'm investigating his murder.")
(set: $MO = true)
}The most striking thing about the old man was how his head was four feet from the rest of him and how it resembled a watermelon someone had dropped from two stories up.
The walls were like a Jackson Pollock painting. Messy, ugly, and I had no clue what led a person to do something so heinous.
....Oh, and the murder scene was pretty bad too.
(link-goto: "I'm not getting anything but a stomachache from this", "...I'm investigating his murder.")
The coroner tells me with grim proffesionalism that our victim was beheaded with some sort of axe, then chopped again and again. If you think the mental image is bad, try the real thing sometime.
*The silver lining was that this meant our murderer was currently soaking with blood.*
While I was thinking about that, I watched the coroner stick what seemed like a turkey baster into the body's liver, extract some goop that stunk to high heaven, then measured its temperature.
*That was somehow enough for him to narrow down time of death to a couple of hours. Don't ask me how he did it and if you know don't explain it to me.*
(link-goto: "I should investigate some more", "...I'm investigating his murder.")
(set: $knowCauseOfDeath = true)
The mouthy little rat calling itself the owner of this dirtball motel told me quite incessantly that there was no security footage. I guess I should...
[[...point out the clearly visible camera and growl that he's commiting a crime by impeding an investigation.]]
[[...shiv him in the gut twice with my elbow. Hard.]]
(link-goto: "...make sure I know enough to make sense of the tapes before forcing him to cough 'em up.", "...I'm investigating his murder.")I didn't mean to do it. Not really. I think. It just sort of happened. *I didn't even know him!* Everything just went black then I was standing over him.
Wait...Did he just twitch? *He's still alive!* That means...
[[...I can still walk away.]]
[[...I have to finish the job.]]
(set: $cleanGetaway = false)
(set: $redHanded = true)
(set: $timeToGo = 0)
}STUPID STUPID STUPID! Why the hell did I attack him!? I was just standing over him, then the next thing I know, he's on the ground. Sure, I didn't kill him, but now he'll hand the cops a perfect description of me.
*If he survives,* I thought to myself with a pang of guilt.
What do I do? Do I...
[[...turn myself in.]]
Welllll, he's not alive anymore! Y'know unless he can somehow live without his head attached to his body. I guess I'd better...
[[...cover my tracks.]]
[[...head for the hills before someone sees me.]]I don't have a lot of time to clean up a whole lot. *I should do the most important tasks first.*
(if: $timeToGo < 3)[[[...get cleaned up.]]]
(if: $timeToGo < 3)[[[...scuff away my footprints]]]
(if: $timeToGo is 3)[(link-goto: "When I came back out into the hallway, I saw a woman.", "When I came back out into the hallway, I saw a woman.")]
(if: $timeToGo < 3)[[[...get rid of these bloodied clothes]]]
(if: $timeToGo < 3)[[[...lose the murder weapon]]]
(if: $timeToGo is 2)[[[Was that a scream? Oh crap, time to go!]]]
Where should I go? I suppose that I could go...
(link-goto: "...home. Turning that codger's head into mush really took a lot out of me.", "...go home.")
[[...out on the town. See if I can get into any more trouble.]]
[[...out of the country. I'm not interested in seeing the inside of a jail cell.]][[The detective seemed shocked when taking my confession. I guess most folks who rough up the elderly don't wind up turning themselves in. Guess I'm just a thoughtful guy. ->When I'm done]]
When I'm done I'm led to a jail cell and as the cell door slams shut it suddenly becomes very real that my life is finished.
*...Damn.*Whhhhhoooooaaaahhhhhh, what a night! Those people never saw it coming. I painted the town so red, they'll be talking about me forever.
People will flock to this city just to see my stomping grounds. That crappy motel is going to get a lot of traffic in the coming years.
Speaking of, I hear sirens. Took them long enough after the trail I left. There's no way I'm getting out of this one.
I guess now all that's left is to...
[[...go down swinging.]]
[[...go peacefully.]]Rattigan scuttled away quick and I took the oppurtunity to light up a smoke right in front of the sign telling me not to.
[[Petty, I know but I deserved it after showing so much restraint]]
(set: $badCop = false)
(link-goto: "That's probably going to bite me later. Made my day though.", "Petty, I know but I deserved it after showing so much restraint")
(set: $badCop = true)
}Rat-Fink came back with the tapes in his arms.
$badCop[*And much to my amusement, he was still holding back tears.*]
I decided that I should review the tapes here and waited patiently for the rodent to bring me a VCR.
[[Didn't even have to threaten him this time.]]
(if: $knowCauseOfDeath)[(set: $everySecondCounts = true) Thanks to my charming little chat with the coroner I knew what timeframe I had to fast forward to. ]
(else:) [(set: $everySecondCounts = false)Since I had no idea what I needed to look for or when I wasted hours watching a parking lot while the killer got further away.
I tried to not think about how every second I wasted, that freak was running free in my city since I was wasting a lot of them.]
(link-goto: "...", "Thanks to my charming little chat with the coroner I knew what timeframe I had to fast forward to.")For a couple of eternities nothing happened, but then a guy wearing only a motel bathrobe came out rushing to his car. Now, that wasn't too out of the ordianary, he could've just been some John who was hoofin' it out of there because his wife showed up.
$everySecondCounts[*Maybe the nearly naked guy in a hurry who just happens to be leaving right after a murder has nothing to do with the case. Sure, I believe that.* ]
I paused to think.
[[Hmmmm. Now if I was a killer, would I head outside all bloody or would I shed the clothes somewhere and make do? That's rhetorical obviously]]I was all but certain that forensics would eventually turn up a pair of bloody clothes in one of the rooms. One that would be missing its robes.
While the prick had his back turned to the camera, so I couldn't ID him, I could roughly tell his height and hair color. Average on both accounts.
The real prize was that I could make out some of his liscense plate. Not all of it, but enough that I could narrow it down using his physical attributes to a workable suspect list.
It might take a while, but after I got all the addresses and start hitting the pavement, sooner or later I'd be knocking on his door.
[[I strode out of the motel and out into the parking lot.]]
(set: $DetectiveCh1 = true)
Damn, the streets are closed off by police checkpoints. Looks like I'll need to...
(link-goto: "...leave a differnt way. Stupid curly tailed mooks might not have everywhere closed off yet.", "...go home.")Well, we all know how this is going to end don't we?
*Might as well make it something to remember!*"Why." That's what the detective keep asking me like a broken record.
"Well," I stated "because I was bored. And this was interesting. *I had FUN.* Did you have fun?"
He reared back like he was about to hit me, then quietly murmured that he'd see I got the chair. Then he turned to stalk out of the room.
[[I called out to him.]]
"Oh, one more thing detective. When you're talking to all those nice reporters, make sure you call me The Woodsman. Y'know, on account of the axe and all."
"Why the hell would I do anything for you, you sick freak."
I flashed him my winning smile and [[told him why.]]*"Because if you don't you'll never find the other bodies."*
"What's the matter detective? You look pale. You didn't think I started doing this tonight, did you?"
"No, I'm afraid I've been at this for quite some time and wouldn't you like to give those poor families some closure?"
"Don't look so dour. Think about it this way. You'll be even more of a hero now that there's a bigger body count. [[Just make sure you don't scrimp on the details, if you want anything more from me."]]
*"I'm counting on you to do my legacy justice, detective. Don't let me down!"*I ran through the docks as fast as my legs would carry me and rounded a corner of shipping containers.
My adrenaline was pumping like crazy, making sure I was well aware that every second counted.
That was when I almost ran directly into someone else. He looked shocked for a second, but then his hand flew into his coat pocket grabbing at something.
I saw him draw his weapon and then I...
[[Blew that psycho away.]]
[[Chopped that pig's head clean off!]]A quick shower and I'm looking much less like a slaughterhouse. 'Out, out damn spot' and all that jazz.
I quickly pulled on one of those gross bathrobes and went (link-goto: "back to covering up what I could.", "...cover my tracks.")
(set: $cleanGetaway = true)
(set: $redHanded = false)
(set: $timeToGo = $timeToGo + 1)
}Hmmmm, not sure exactly what they could have gotten off of that, but the answers nothing now.
(link-goto: "Better hurry up. No telling when someone will find the body.", "...cover my tracks.")
(set: $timeToGo = $timeToGo + 1)
(set: $noShoeprint = false)
}No where to hide this thing. Guess I'll just whipe my prints off, then toss it out the window. Sloppy, but better than leaving it in my room for them to find.
(link-goto: "Hope nobody saw that.", "...cover my tracks.")
(set: $timeToGo = $timeToGo + 1)
(set: $axeThrow = true)
}He stood there for a second, with so many holes in his chest I could see the sunrise *through* him.
He looked like he couldn't believe what had happened before slumping down. Made perfect sense to me. You try to axe a cop with a .44, you get dropped.
I can't say I was happy this was how it shook down, but I won't be losing much sleep over shooting the guy.
I called it in, then lit a smoke to keep me company while I waited.
I offered one to Mr. Axe Maniac, but he was in a mood and didn't answer me.
*Typical.*Oh man, what a sight! I wish I had time to appreciate my handiwork, but I had a boat to catch.
You should've seen his head fly though!
Well, to be fair you might see something just like it, eventually.
After all, I *did* get away.
And maybe I wound up in your neck of the woods.
*And there's only so long I can wait before I want to have a little more fun. Just keep your eyes peeled for more news on the Huntsman's daring exploits. It's sure to be a bloody good time.*
...My heart was pumping so fast I thought it was going to burst out of my chest. I flew up the stairs of my building, barely believing that I'd really axed that old crone.
Speaking of, just as I reached my door my battle-axe of a landlord ambushed me, already chewing me out for being a day late on my payment. I decided to...
[[...shut her up]]I listened to the bird squawk incessantly at me and when I unlocked my door and went in, she had the nerve to follow me!
I walked into the kitchen and gripped the counter so hard my knuckles started turning white.
There was nothing I wanted more in that moment than some peace and quiet.
To calm myself down I...
[[...made us both some delightful tea]]
(link-goto: "...MAKE HER SHUT UP!", "...shut her up")Well...That happened.
I killed two geriatrics in one night. Maybe that didn't make me the most indimitating serial killer ever, but I decided the next ones would be younger to compensate.
Maybe a young couple on their honeymoon.
[[Or some kids. That'd really get the newspapers' attention.]]
I sipped some tea and thought about how easy it would be to wring her wrinkly old neck. Fun too.
Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse she started talking about her grandkids. I realized that I needed to make her...
(link-goto: "...SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!", "...shut her up")Finally, she was gone. Good thing too, I was getting all worked up and couldn't stop my hands from shaking.
I took another sip of tea hoping it would calm me down.
(if: $everySecondCounts)[(link-goto: "But it would have to do because someone was knocking at my door.", "But it would have to do because someone was knocking at my door.")]
(if: $everySecondCounts is false)[(link-goto: "I was way too close to losing it. I can't stay here any longer.", "I was way too close to losing it. I can't stay here any longer.")]
(if: $everySecondCounts)[(link-goto: "The thought made a shiver run through me", "The thought made a shiver run through me")]
(if: $everySecondCounts is false)[(link-goto: "Either way, I knew for sure I couldn't stay in this city anymore", "Either way, I knew for sure I couldn't stay in this city anymore")]
But I didn't have long to enjoy the thought, as I heard a loud cracking sound behind me.
I wheeled around just in time to see some gumshoe straight out of a 50's gangster film kick MY GODDAMNED DOOR IN! MINE!
I had to act quick, so I settled on...
[[...trying to talk it out.]]
[[...trying to cleave his stupid hat into his head.]]There's no WAY I could clean all this up!
I don't even know where'd I'd get a ladder at this time of night!
Ehhh, this city was starting to feel a little cramped anyways.
I'll head to the docks and take my boat out of here before they figure out my name.
(link-goto: "On to bigger and better things.", "...flee the city.")
"Wait! It isn't what it looks like!" I cried out.
"Oh yeah? Then what is it like?" He inquired while thumbing back the handle of a rather large revolver. Do cops even still carry those?
"I...uh...Yeah, I got nothing," I responsed while lunging for the nearest sharp object.
I honestly didn't even think I'd get *that* far into the conversation.
(link-goto: "Was worth a shot, I guess.", "...try to cleave his stupid hat into his head.")As I was moving I saw a flash of silver in my peripheral vision then a couple popping sounds.
Suddenly I felt very tired and my legs wouldn't move anymore.
My knife clattered to the ground. When did I drop it?
I looked down at my stomach. I didn't remember those holes being there.
*Think I'll just lie down and go to sleep. Wake me up when this pig isn't killing me anymore.*I opened the door and looming over me was the most cliche looking man you could imagine. Long hat, stubble, the stink of smoke hanging around him like cologne, and even a trench coat. The whole nine yards.
I didn't need to look at the badge in his hand to know he was a detective.
He asked if he could come in for a moment and didn't even have the decency to make it sound like a question. That was when...
(link-goto: "...he pulled out a notepad and pencil, letting me get a glance at the cannon he had strapped to his under arm and began speaking.", "He pulled out a notepad and pencil, letting me get a glance at the cannon he had strapped to his under arm and began speaking.")
[[...I swung the door back at him as he was walking in.]]
[[...I slashed at his eye.]]With nothing more than my wallet and the clothes on my back, I slipped away into the dark bypassing a police checkpoint on my way out. To protect and serve, what a joke.
Well, I suppose it helped that said clothes were my dad's old police uniform. And since I found out from the news that they didn't have any suspects I knew they wouldn't pay much attention to me. I just pulled my hat down tight and strolled right on by.
Right into a new city where no one knew my name or face. Well, they would soon. See, my hands are shaking again and I think I know what'll cure it.
*My first night in town I invited a nice young lady of the night back to my motel. Time to get to work!*"Sir, could you please tell me where you were last night between the hours of 11 and 2?"
I couldn't take too long to answer or I'd look suspicous so I just said...
[[...that I was here, asleep like a normal human being.]]
[[...that I was curious as to why he wanted to know.]]
[[...that I was drinking with a friend.]]I told him that I had just gone to sleep and was woken up by him knocking on the door.
Maybe not the most rock solid alibi, but it was mundane, believable, and hard to disprove. From the way the gumshoe was furrowing his brow I knew he was struggling to figure out a way to pull more out of me.
[[He failed.]]"There was a homocide last night down near Lockewood grove last night. Someone matching your description was caught on camera fleeing in a car. Same make and model as yours in fact," He said as his eyes narrowed into a glower.
The next sentence he spat out was practically a snarl.
(link-goto: "Now, if you'd please. Answer the question.", "He pulled out a notepad and pencil, letting me get a glance at the cannon he had strapped to his under arm and began speaking.")I told him that I was out drinking all night and had just gotten up.
"Could I get the name of the bar and your friend's as well."
I gave him the name of my favorite bar. It was crowded and smoky, a place where you could just fade into the background. As for my 'friend' I pointed him towards one of the place's drunks who I knew would be there every night and too bombed out of his mind to remember if I was there too.
(link-goto: "He glowered like he didn't believe me then asked a flurry of questions, telling me to repeat my story over and over. I knew he was trying to trip me up, so I kept it succint and simple.", "He failed.")I knew that he was running out of questions and that I had to make myself scarce as soon as he left.
So I told him that...
[[...for the last time, I was nowhere near that motel.]]
[[...I needed him out of my house so I could get ready to go to work.]]
The ends of his mouth twitched upwards. Wuh-was that a grin? Is he mocking me or something!
"What did you just say?"
"I said I wasn't at that motel last night. What part about that don't you understand!"
"Motel? Who said anything about a motel? I know I didn't. And don't say you heard it on the news because you just told me that you just woke up, remember?"
[[FUCK.]]The look on his face, well let's just say if looks could kill I wouldn't be the only murderer in the room. Still, he didn't have anything solid on me.
He got up to go and I knew, I just knew he was going to try and find a way to pin it on me. And well, to be honest he'd probably get there eventually if he was able to peg me as the perp so fast.
That's why the second he left I was going to head to the docks and take my boat out of town.
Right as he was passing through the door he turned back and said, "Oh yeah. I wouldn't leave town anytime soon if I were you."
(link-goto: "Well then I guess it's a good thing you aren't me. Jackass.", "...flee the city.")The next moment was a blur of motion as that dick slammed me off my feet, flipped me over, and jammed his knee square in my back. Then he pulled my arms back and put me in a pair of handcuffs.
Didn't even give me time to pull out the knife I had in my pocket, but of course it rattled out when he knocked me over.
"Well what do we have here?" He asked, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "What do you think the odds are that your prints will be found at the motel? Or that the guy at the counter will remember you? Before you answer, remember anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law."
"I should've put that knife through your eye when I opened the door!" I hissed, since I figured the jig was already up.
He actually started to chuckle then.
"Yeah probably. Now you're screwed pal. Take a good hard look out the window on the way to the station. *It'll be the last time you ever see the outside world.*"I made my way into the suspects apartment building groggily. Now, I'm not what you'd call a morning person in the first place, but when you also add that I hadn't slept in two days because I'd been investigating some psycho I was really not in the mood.
(if: $cleanGetaway)[(link-goto: "The fact that the killer had been smart, just made it worse. I hate clever criminals.", "The fact that the killer had been smart, just made it worse. I hate clever criminals.")
(if: $cleanGetaway is false )[(link-goto: "Good thing our man was sloppy. I'd managed to already clear most of the suspects on my list and the killer couldn't have gone far.", "Good thing our man was sloppy. I'd managed to already clear most of the suspects on my list and the killer couldn't have gone far.")]I found the door and knocked hard enough to wake the dead andddddd nothing.
I knocked again. Harder this time. Still zippo.
I guess I could either...
[[...walk away, play it safe legally, and risk letting him slip away.]]
[[...excersise exigent circumstantances and kick the door down.]]I found the door and was about to knock when I heard something like a scraping of furniture. Then what could be a...voice?
I guess I could either...
[[...knock on the door.]]
[[...kick the door down.]]I walked away that day.
I played it safe.
I kept my job.
I lost the killer.
He was right in front of me, but I didn't catch him.
He's still out there, traveling from city to city.
I heard he started carving out his victims hearts.
The news calls him the Woodsman.
*I just call him the reason I can't sleep at night.*
A young lady was walking past so I waved her over to me and flashed my badge.
"Excuse me Miss, but could you tell me you think you heard a scream from this apartment?"
She did despite being obviously confused. I grinned to myself. Sometimes I'm damn good.
With a witness testimony that someone's life was in danger, I didn't need a warrant to get in anymore, just the steel toe of my boot.
[[As I burst through the door the unmistakable stench of blood hit my sinuses like a runaway train.]]Nothing. No sound at all from inside. Had I just imagined the noises?
[[Jesus, I need to go home and get some sleep.]]
(link-goto: "No way in hell. That door has a date with my boot.", "...kick the door down.")
Despite my back's groans of protest I managed to splinter the shoddy door in just a couple of kicks and burst through. I saw my suspect standing over a terrified old lady with a knife.
He looked between the two of us with wild eyes like he was deciding which one to gut first. That was when the old lady swung a fallen lamp into his leg, the tough old biddy.
The man stumbled forward cursing.
Now, I'm not exactly a spring chicken myself, but I'm pretty damn tall so when I grabbed him, swung him up above me, and slammed him back down onto an end table's corner I was pretty sure that'd knock the wind out of his sails for a while.
As he lay there gasping for air and twitching in pain I gingerly kicked his knife away and [[I slapped cuffs around that freak's wrists none too gentle.]] Before I left, I assigned a patrolman outside the building to let me know if our suspect walked out.
Then I drove home and fell asleep in my driveway. I only got maybe an hour or two of sleep before I was woken by the buzz of my radio. Our man was out and on the move, heading out of town like what all innocent people do.
I tried to shake the cobwebs out of my head when I heard the next part. They found another body in his apartment.
*Someone I could've saved but didn't.*
I stopped listening after that. All I heard was this ringing sound in my ears and this little choking noise in my throat anyway.
Well... I'll make sure that whoever they ar-were, I'll at least get their killer.
I flipped on the siren to keep me awake as much as to get people out of my way and tore down the street.
There'd be checkpoints being set up on all the highways, so there'd only be one place he could go.
(link-goto: "It was time for me to go to the docks. If I hurried, I could still catch him.", "...flee the city.")We got him. He gave my city some trouble, but we got him. And while it wouldn't undo anything he did, I'll get a warm fuzzy feeling seeing him fitted for a orange jumpsuit.
The old lady'll make it too from the looks of it. She still had enough gumption to give some lip to the EMT who was placing her into the back of an ambulance, so I doubt she's too hurt.
I wish I could say I was going to celebrate after my collar, but I'll be up to my neck in paperwork for the next week at least.
*No rest for the wicked. Not while I'm on the case anyways.*Dear God, I thought the scene at the motel was bad. If I had anything but irish coffee in my stomach it would have come right back up. No question who the killer was now.
The only question was where the hell he is. I grabbed my walkie-talkie and barked out orders to put out an APB on him.
This wasn't the kind of mess you can clean up, so he must be running, but I'll be damned if I let him do this in MY city and just hightail it outta here.
I got back in my car and drove around the city scouring everywhere. That was when my radio suddenly came alive, reporting that someone matching the perp's description was heading for the docks.
That was close by! I spun my car around and floored it, blaring the sirens as I took off.
(link-goto: "No time for backup. If I waited, he'd get away. I could handle one loony by myself...Right?", "...flee the city.")(link-goto: "...", "It might take a while, but after I get all the addresses and start hitting the pavement, sooner or later I'll be knocking on his door!")(link-goto: "...That sounds nice...", "Or some kids. That'd really get the newspapers' attention!")The door caught him by the head with a delightful thunk and knocked him backwards while he let out a pained grunt. I had to move quickly and...
[[...run out the front door past him]]
[[...use the fire escape]]
(set: $seeingStars = true)
Right as I swung at him he jerked his head back, angling away from the knife. My knife missed completely taking his eye by a milimeter, but he wouldn't be seeing anything out of it for a while.
Odysseus eat your heart out.
He reeled backwards into the hallway wall, cursing in a manner I found quite unprofessional while I took the oppurtunity to...
(link-goto: "...head out the window onto the fire escape.", "...use the fire escape")
(link-goto: "...run past him while he's still in shock.", "...run out the front door past him")
(set: $cyclops = true)
(set: $fireEscape = false)
(set: $fireEscape = true)
I pulled myself together and charged after him. He had a couple seconds head start on me, but I've got long legs and was also insanely pissed off.
He only got a couple stories up the fire escape before I closed the distance and pulled him back by his collar. He clanged against the railing and I grabbed him by the shoulders, then slugged him in the gut.
$badCop[*Next, I promptly kneed him in the testicles to make sure he was comfortable.*]
$cyclops[*Then I jammed my thumb right into his eye and pressed down. He howled in pain. Payback's a bitch ain't it buddy?*]
He slammed backwards and started to fall over the railing so I...
[[...pulled him back to his feet.]]
[[...helped him on his way.]]I raced after him and almost caught up to him on the stairs, but he slammed the door shut and broke the handle off with a fire extinguisher.
I had to spend some time kicking the jammed door open and by the time I did, he had quite the lead.
By the time I had two flights of stairs to go, he was reaching the end so I...
[[...swore under my breath and picked up the pace.]]
[[...took the fast way down.]]$seeingStars[*My head was hammering from where the door clipped it and my vision was swimming with stars.*]
$cyclops[*I instinctively clutched at my eye after that psycho slashed at it. Big mistake. The pain flared up and I had to bite down on my lip to keep from screaming.*]
(if: $fireEscape is true )[(link-goto: "I managed to blink away the tears that were threatening to come out just in time to see that freak show go out the window.", "I managed to blink away the tears that were threatening to come out just in time to see that freak show go out the window.")]
(if: $fireEscape is false )[(link-goto: "I shook my head to try and clear the pain away, then looked up to see that cocky little weasel running right past me.", "I shook my head to try and clear the pain away, then looked up to see that cocky little weasel running right past me.")]
God damn it, he may have been a murderous SOB, but I wasn't willing to let him fall to his death just yet.
The second I pulled him back onto his feet, the ungrateful shit sank his teeth into my ear and tore off a chunk of it.
I fell to one knee screaming and cursing like a sailor and desperately wishing I'd just let him drop.
[[The clanging sound of his footsteps climbing up the the fire escape pulled me back to reality and I raced after him once again.]]
I gave him a hard shove and his eyes widened in shock as he tumbled over the edge.
He fell ten stories and then landed with a crashing splatter.
Right on my car.
[[Uggghhhhhh...God damn it.]]I thought I'd feel remorseful or happy or something seeing him tumble, but I didn't. I just thought about how big a pain this was going to be.
Well, it was a messy end. Both to the case and for him, but at least it was over. That was something I could drink to at least.
When it came to writing the police report, I may have fudged the details a tad about how he fell, but who could blame me?
$cyclops[*I was just seeing red, you know?*]
$seeingStars[*My doc tells me I suffered a concussion when that door hit me. It's perfectly natural that I couldn't quite remember what happened. You can't possibly hold that against me.*]I reached the roof in time to see him hop to another one. I shouted for him to freeze and he didn't even react.
They never, ever freeze!
In a second he'd be out of my view so I...
[[...pulled out my gun and aimed for his shoulder.]]
[[...kept chasing after him.]]I leveled the gun with my target and breathed in slowly. Then I pulled the trigger three times in quick succession on the exhale.
(if: $cyclops is false )[(link-goto: "One of the shots found its mark and sent him spinning.", "One of the shots found its mark and sent him spinning.")]
(if: $cyclops is true )[(link-goto: "All the shots ran wild and didn't hit him. Must've been the lack of depth perception I was currently suffering from. I started off after him, hoping I could still catch him.", "I took a moment to psych myself up, then leapt across to the nearest roof, barely clearing it.")]
I legged it after him as fast as I could and saw that he must've headed onto a neighboring roof.
[[I took a moment to psych myself up, then leapt across to the nearest roof, barely clearing it.]]He landed hard and shoulder-first onto the concrete roof.
*My that must hurt*, I thought while gently holding the throbbing remains of my ear.
As I walked over to him he managed to roll onto his back and stare at me, his eyes ablaze with vitriol.
I just smiled and tilted my head back so I could sneer condescendingly at him from a better angle.
[[Then without a word he began crawling toward the edge of the roof.]]I looked around, but didn't see anybody. I *did* see some knocked over decorations so someone came crashing through here.
The roof had lots of sheds, structures, and places to hide.
I pulled out my revolver and decided to...
[[...proceed with caution.]]
[[...hurry ahead.]]"Oh no you don't! You aren't getting off that easy!" I said as I grabbed him by the ankles and pulled him back to the center of the roof.
I planted my knee on his spine to keep him from squirming and started putting him in cuffs.
It wasn't easy and probably hurt a lot because of his shoulder, but what are you going to do?
I started reading him his rights.
"You have the right to remain silent, but off the record it doesn't really matter now. In my proffesional opinion, you're already boned pal!"
He stared daggers at me silently, but I was feeling good all things considered.
Sure, more bodily sacrifice was involved than I would like, but I put away another killer.
*It's the little things, y'know?*From what I remember from the academy, they don't exactly tell you to go rushing headfirst into danger.
Not like he has anywhere to go anyways. The stairway had a big padlock on it and nowhere else to jump to.
So, I slowly swept through the roof checking all the corners.
Good thing too, because as I rounded one corner of a pigeon coop he came swinging at me with a 2x4.
[[I jumped back and leveled the gun against him.]]I raced through the roof and bounded around a corner when he jumped out at me, swinging a 2x4.
(if: $seeingStars is false )[(link-goto: "It caught me across the jaw and I tumbled to the ground as my gun skittered away.", "It caught me across the jaw and I tumbled to the ground as my gun skittered away.")]
(if: $seeingStars is true )[(link-goto: "It smashed right into my already aching head and I dropped like a sack of bricks.", "It smashed right into my already aching head and I dropped like a sack of bricks.")]
"Nice try pal," I spat at him.
He smirked irritatingly and dropped the 2x4. He started to move his hands. I assume he was going to signal that he was surrending so when he opened his mouth I...
[[...shot him in the leg.]]
[[...started to put cuffs on him.]]"Oops," I drawled as I shot his leg out from under him.
He tumbled to the ground, screaming and rolling around in agony.
I took my time cuffing him. He wasn't much of a threat anymore and his screams subsided into whimpers.
"Jesus, you big baby. It went straight through, didn't even tumble or anything. You'll be fine, walk it off."
[[He didn't respond to that.]]
I pressed him up against the wall and started to place the cuffs on him, when he slammed his head back into the bridge of my nose. It didn't break my nose, but blood rushed out.
[[I think I've been more than patient with this guy.]]
(link-goto: "I'm gonna see how he likes getting his skull cracked.", "I think I've been more than patient with this guy.")
(link-goto: "I decided it was time to beat his ass.", "I think I've been more than patient with this guy.")
(link-goto: "That made me a teensy bit miffed.", "I think I've been more than patient with this guy.")
(link-goto: "Two can play that game.", "I think I've been more than patient with this guy.")
I literally snarled then gripped the back of his head by the hair and slammed his head into the chicken coop again and again until he stopped struggling.
Then once more.
Then I kicked him. I felt something give.
[[When the ambulance came to pick us up, the kindly young man in the back proposed that perhaps I went a bit far.]]
I shook the cobwebs out of my head and pushed myself onto my back.
I took stock of my surroundings.
My gun seemed so far away and I didn't feel like I could move much.
He was starting to advance on me, rapping his fingers on the board, clearly amused.
In a second he was almost on top of me and I knew I had to...
[[...try for my gun.]]
[[...try to trick him.]]
My vision got all cloudy as I slammed my chin onto the roof.
I think someone was talking, but it sounded miles away and underwater.
What was I doing here again?
Something hot and wet was running down my forhead.
My vision got worse and worse.
Somewhere across the world there was a noise like footsteps.
*Then everything went black.*I showed him my favorite finger, said some distasteful remarks about his family lineage, specifically his mother, and politely inquired about the whereabouts of my morphine.
He hooked me in while I thought about how I probably wouldn't be especially handsome the next time I looked in the mirror.
At the very least, I can always say "You should see the other guy. You'll need to visit the supermax first."
*That made me chuckle to myself as I drifted away into dreamland.*Neither did the EMTs when I told it to them later. They just kept telling me to lie down and stop talking.
Then I told them I couldn't hear them and pointed to my ear. Nothing.
*People these days. They've got no respect for situational based comedy.*I scrambled for my gun and his shoe came slamming down on my reaching fingers, breaking them.
I screamed while he nonchalantly kicked my gun off the roof.
He turned to face me, baring his teeth in a wolfish grin.
"Good try, but not good ENOUGH!" He punctuated the last word with a kick to my ribs, breaking them.
I couldn't even scream anymore, but that didn't stop my body from trying.
[[He grabbed me by the throat as I reached into my jacket and hauled me to my feet.]]I showed him my teeth and exhaled a sigh of relief.
"Took you long enough," I exclaimed haughtily as I stared past him.
He grunted in surprise and reactively looked over his shoulder for just a second.
[[It was enough.]]He dragged me over to the edge and forced me to my feet, both hands on my neck.
He dangled me over it, clearly gloating in his victory.
"Well," he began. "Any last words before we see if pigs can fly?"
"Yeah," I managed to choke out. "I hate traveling. If I have to take a trip, I always like to fly with a buddy."
[[I smiled faintly.]]*CLICK*
The handcuffs I had dug out of my pocket audibly snapped shut on his wrist.
I saw his eyes expand in sudden realization as he looked up the chain hooked to his wrist and found the other cuff wrapped around mine.
Then I did the only thing I still had the strength to do.
[[I fell backwards.]]
We both lurched over the edge and hurtled to the ground.
Time seemed to slow down as visions of my past blurred before my eyes. The coroner once told me that happens because the brain has a hard time processing its death, but it seemed clear to me this was the end.
I saw my choices laid out before me and everything that had taken me to this moment.
Sure, I had regrets. Could've done some things better, but my smile never faded.
*Wasn't such a bad way to go, I thought as the ground came rushing up to meet me.*I kicked as hard as I possibly could, angling the heel of my boot at his ankle.
It connected with a satisfying crunch and his leg exploded out from underneath him.
He reached out for his 2x4, but I got there faster and slammed it on his fingers.
That must've hurt, but probably not as much as the steel toe of my boot smashing into his teeth a second later. He stopped moving then.
I limped over to retreive my gun and all but collapsed from exhaustion as I took out my radio to signal for an ambulance.
Mondays, am I right? Ok, that was pretty lame, but cut me some slack here.
*I've had one hell of a day.*
I saw the door slam shut behind him as I made it onto the landing, breathing heavily.
(link-goto: "*Man, I have got to quit smoking,* I thought to myself.", "I got up just in time to see him lurch to the door, nursing his side.")
Normally, jumping from that high up would've shattered my ankles and maybe some other bones too, but luckily enough I landed on a cushion.
"OOOgggff," My cushion groaned out as I hit him.
Still, the landing was far from smooth and I fell off him in a clutter.
[[I got up just in time to see him lurch to the door, nursing his side.]]
(set: $cushion = true)
}I burst out through the door and saw him get into a car before peeling away.
Well, he wasn't the only one with a pair of wheels.
I got in my cruiser, flipped on the ol' red and blue lights and blasted off after him.
[[......]]Damn, damn, damn. No matter how fast I drove or how tight I took the corners, that stinking pig stayed right on my tail.
He was really ticking me off.
$cushion[*Plus, my side was killing me from where he landed on me.*]
Suddenly it hit me, like a bolt from on high.
I got the crazy idea to...
[[...suddenly slam on the brakes.]]
[[...drive through the pedestrians.]]I smirked. If he wanted to tailgate so damned bad, he better be ready for a brake check.
Afterwards, I'd go to my trunk and grab my baseball bat, then go to town on him.
This was a pretty huge gamble, I was making. The first person to wake up and get to the other person first would win.
$seeingStars[*But considering how hard the door hit him before, I felt confident that betting on myself was the smart money.*]
I slammed my foot on the brake and let luck take over.
[[...ZZ...]]I swerved onto the sidewalk and drove through a path to an outside mall.
*Kersplat, Ka-thunk, Shriek, etcetera*
Sure enough, he wasn't willing to follow me through that. I watched him in the rearview mirror swerve around to find another path.
Ha! Although, now my car was covered with blood and entrails.
[[Just a bit conspicious.]]After driving for a couple more minutes, I came across a police blockade.
No way around it. My car would get stuck on the walls of all the nearby alleyways.
The way I saw it, that just left me with a couple options.
[[...stop my car and run for an alley.]]
[[...ram the blockade.]]I turned sharply and braked with a squeal, putting the car between me and the blockade.
Then I leapt out of the drivers seat and ran across the length of the car.
I only made it a couple steps before a [[cruiser slammed into me and pinned me to my car trunk.]]I pressed down harder on the gas and burst forward, grinning ear to ear as I saw the cops scurry to get out of my way.
I slammed into the side of a cruiser on my way through and my car spun into a light pole.
[[My head slammed down onto the steering wheel and I took a little nap after that.]]I looked down. I was pretty sure that all those pieces weren't supposed to be on the outside.
Also pretty sure that the amount of blood coming out of my mouth wasn't normal.
It took everything I had to tilt my head up to meet the furious stare of that overgrown detective.
It hit me that he'd killed me. It was over. The rest of my life was just a formality.
[[Didn't think he had it in him.]]*Huh.*[[..zzz...]]I found him first. Everyone else was either scattered or shellstruck or, in the case of one poor young officer, dead.
In all the confusion, I was the first person to make it to the car where that psycho was unconscious but alive.
Still breathing. After everything he'd done. Why was he still alive?
It would be a couple seconds before anyone else ran up to check the car.
It would be so easy. I...
[[...did my duty as an officer of the law.]]
[[...made it look like an accident.]]Every fiber in my body wanted to kill the man sitting helplessly in front of me.
But that's not who I am.
$badCop[*Sometimes, I do things I'm not supposed to. Sometimes I hurt people but...*]
As long as I have that badge in my pocket, I won't be a killer.
*I put him in handcuffs and took him downtown. Then I went home and drank until I wasn't awake anymore.*I placed my hands around his neck.
Y'know it doesn't take as much force as you'd think to snap a neck. All that really holds us back, is our empathy. Our reluctance to take another's life. Least that's what the coroner told me once.
Was worth a shot.
I thought of my daughter...imagined how I'd feel if she had been one of those people in the street. Thought of the family of that young officer, his kids probably waiting for daddy to come home and tightened my grip.
[[Then it was over.]]They never found out what I did.
I didn't feel good about that. Didn't really feel bad about it either.
Mostly, I just felt tired.
I don't know if what I did was right.
*All I know is that after that day, the badge in my pocket sure felt a lot heavier.* (if: $seeingStars is false )[(link-goto: "Oh my aching head.", "Oh my aching head.")]
(if: $seeingStars is true )[(link-goto: "Blurgghhh?", "Blurgghhh?")]My felt like the worst hangover ever times a million. Did that nutbar really just stop his car?
I glanced around blearily. Looks like he hadn't gotten out of his car yet. That means I could just stroll over and...wait.
Where the hell did my gun go? Don't tell me it went flying somewhere.
Panic's icy digits slowly wrapped tight around my heart as I realized I was out in the open and defenseless.
I knew I had to fix one of those so I...
[[...frantically looked for my gun.]]
[[...hid underneath the car.]]My mind reeled in pain and it took significant effort to even think. I could vaguely hear commotion going on in the background.
I drunkenly realized I had fallen out of my vehicle somehow. Oh and also that someone was probably trying to kill me.
I tried to get to my feet, but failed.
*The best I could manage was to crawl out under my car and pass out. When I woke up I was in an ambulance and there was no sign anywhere of the killer.*I looked on the dash and under the pedals. Then I checked the seat next to me.
I heard someone groan outside. He must've been coming to.
And was that...gasoline I smelled? Great. Just great. My car must've been leaking fuel on top of everything else.
I really needed to...
[[...find that gun.]]
(link-goto: "...hide before he found me.", "...hid underneath the car.")
I waited under there, for a couple millenia before I heard footsteps getting closer.
I watched his feet appear right in front of me and I...
[[...yanked them out from under the bastard.]]I hopped in the back and checked the seats back there.
Nada. Zippo. Nothing. Nada.
This car wasn't even that big! Where was it!?
I heard the click of a trunk opening. I really *really* needed to...
(if: $cushion is false )[(link-goto: "...find it quick", "car door opened")]
(if: $cushion is true )[(link-goto: "...get my hands on that gun!", "limping footsteps")]
(link-goto: "...hide before he found me.", "...hid underneath the car.")Suddenly, the car door opened and fingers wrapped around my ankles, pulling me outside unceremoniously.
I landed with a thud in a pool of gasoline, the freak show a couple of steps away clearly soaking in his victory.
As he started coming towards me, I couldn't help but think on the choices I'd made in life. Like maybe if I'd quit smoking I could've caught him back at the apartment... and... and...Huh.
[[I reached into my coat pocket and took out my lighter.]]I heard slow, heavy footsteps coming towards my car.
[[No going back now.]]He hadn't gotten to me yet. Must've been limping because of how hard I landed on him earlier.
That made me smile despite my panic. I checked around the seat belt area and suddenly my fingers closed around something heavy and metal.
My heart leapt, as I pulled my revolver free. Missed you, gorgeous!
In that second, the door behind me slammed open and I spun around [[pulling the trigger.]]The bullet slammed into him right between the eyes, just as he was gearing up to grab me.
He dropped instantly, no ceremony, no dying monologue. Just fell down, like someone had flipped a switch. Never even let go of the bat he was going to brain me with.
I fell back against the seat cushion, realized how close I'd just come to dying, and began laughing nervously to myself.
*I'm no traffic cop, but that's one hell of a ticket I just gave him!*That shook that smug look off his face right quick.
"You wouldn't...You can't!"
Right then and there I resolved to...
[[...bluff my way through this mess.]]
[[...go out with a bang.]]I flicked open the lighter and gave him my hardest stare. I pushed myself up to my feet slowly, keeping my eyes trained on him the whole time.
He licked his lips nervously, like some kind of animal. He looked like he was deciding whether or not to just try running away. Then his eyes narrowed, like he realized if I survived I'd just keep coming for him.
He had nowhere to run. And besides, he couldn't just let me win, could he?
I prayed that the fumes wouldn't be set off by the flame as I flicked on the lighter.
*Phew.* Still good there.
[[Then I hoped my luck would hold out a little longer and tossed him the lighter.]]I flicked open the lighter with as much dramatic flourish I could muster and flashed him a big toothy smile.
The look on his face when he tried to dive at me was priceless.
I lit it and let it slip through my fingers.
[[It was almost funny y'know?]]
*After all the drinking on the job I'd done, it had taken this long for me to get fired.*He looked astonished, but he dropped his bat and dove for it.
For a second it looked like he was going to fumble it right into the puddle of gas, but then his hands steadied as he caught it and shut it gingerly.
The next thing he caught was my boot slamming his head down into the asphalt.
Then I had the cuffs on him, before he could shake it off. Y'know presuming that he would. I did hit him really hard. Maybe too hard.
Ahhh, he deserves whatever he gets. Which, by the way, will be life in prison.
*As for me, I'd say I deserve a stiff drink and a smoke after that.*I was terrified out of my mind, but I kept so still I could give the Statue of Liberty some pointers.
For a second I thought he might check under the car, but some sirens blared in the distance, getting closer so he took off.
I counted to ten mississippi, took a deep breath, and pulled myself out from under the car.
[[He was nowhere to be seen.]]He hit the ground hard and his bat slid away from from. I rolled out from underneath the car and...
[[...made sure the bastard wouldn't be getting back up.]]
[[...went for his bat.]]I was alive. That should've made me feel good, right?
I just kept imagining him taking a hostage or hurting someone else.
That'd be on me, right? For hiding when I could've fought him.
Fuck me for wanting to live, right?
Calm down. Calm down. I knew his name and I'll never forget his face as long as I live.
I-We'll get him. Even if he finds some rat hole to hide in tonight this city will get locked down tight, once I explain how dangerous he is.
And when the manhunt starts looking for him, I'll be leading the charge.
*Maybe not today, but I'll get him no matter what.*I walked and walked with no real destination in mind.
On the way, I saw a payphone, felt a twinge in my heart, and figured that...
[[...maybe there was something I could do.]]
[[...I didn't need to make a call.]]
I don't how long I sat there, but it must've been a long time. I realized absent mindedly that the axe was still clutched in my hand.
I'd forgotten to leave it in all the confusion. I mean, it's not like leaving a little bit more evidence would've hurt me.
What a sight I must've been, sitting by the edge of the road in my bloodied shirt, clutching an axe and sobbing like a baby.
[[Anyway, that's what I was thinking about when the flashlight blasted me in the eyes.]]"Freeze!" A voice barked out. I couldn't make out the figure approaching me due to the light, but they must've been a cop of some kind. It's not like I'd been hiding or anything.
I flinched for a moment, then I...
[[...jumped off the bridge.]]
[[...ran away.]]I took a deep breath, then jumped.
As I crashed through the water, my whole body stung like a giant hand had slapped me everywhere at once.
The icy cold water washed over and made my mind go blank. I wasn't thinking about anything, but getting out of the cold.
I resurfaced and began swimming away when I heard a second splash behind me after a couple seconds.
[[Crazy sonofa...]]I scrambled to my feet and lurched down the street haphazardly. I heard the sound of him barking for me to freeze again, followed by the thumbing back of a gun.
(if: $oldManLives is false )[(link-goto: "...a shot rang out.", "...a shot rang out.")]
(if: $oldManLives is true )[(link-goto: "...nothing.", "...nothing.")]He'd jumped in after me and unlike me, the cold didn't seem to be slowing him down as he swam right toward me.
In fact, if I had to guess he seemed more pissed off than anything judging by his sailor talk everytime he came up for air.
I flopped onto a dock a moment before he hauled himself up over and onto his feet, while I laid on the wood gasping for air like a fish.
[[He began reaching into his pocket.]]I walked up to the pay phone and rummaged around in my pockets for some loose change. I managed to come up with enough and put them in.
The machine was all banged up and scratched, but it seemed to work nonetheless.
My fingers shook with the cold or something as I pressed the numbers slowly.
[[9...1...1]]I turned away and just kept walking.
[[I made my way to a bridge overlooking a river and thought about jumping off.]]
(set: $oldManDies = true)
It probably wasn't far enough anyways.
[[Instead I just sat there and cried.]]"9-1-1, what is the nature of your emergency?"
The phone shook so hard in my hand I almost dropped it.
I exhaled slowly and...
[[...hung up the phone.]]
[[...told them about the old man.]]I turned away from the phone, choked down a sob, and went on my way.
Like nothing ever happened.
I'm sure the old man was already being cared for right?
[[I made my way to a bridge overlooking a river and thought about jumping off.]]
(set: $oldManDies = true)
Everything that happened flooded out of my mouth along with a stream of tears.
The responder somehow parsed through my sob story and asked me to remain where I was.
I wasn't sure how it happened, but a second later I realized I'd been walking for about twenty minutes. So much for waiting.
[[I made my way to a bridge overlooking a river and thought about jumping off.]]
(set: $oldManLives = true)
}My shoulder exploded with agony and also literally. Chunks splashed off into the wet ground in front of me and I fell forward onto the sidewalk.
My mind went white, filled only with a white-hot pain.
Words couldn't possibly do it justice, so I'll just stick with ouch.
I felt myself fading away with some of the pain and I realized I was either losing consciousness or dying.
*The only question was which is worse.*Well...not exactly nothing. I heard him curse and start racing after me, but I had no idea why he didn't shoot.
I chanced a glance over my shoulder and saw that he was gaining on me pretty quickly.
If I didn't change something up he'd catch me, so I...
[[...raced across traffic.]]
[[...ducked into an alleyway.]]"Alright, this time actually fre--Oh for chrissakes!" He yelled once he apparently realized his weapon wasn't in his holster and was probably at the bottom of the bay.
I saw an opening and...
[[...pushed him back into the water.]]
[[...began to crawl away.]]I just gave him a little shove and the slippery dock did the rest.
"So-sorry!" I blurted out as I pushed him.
He reeled back in surprise and started calling me a mother-something before he was swallowed up by the ocean water.
[[I resolved to not be in plain view when he re-surfaced.]]
(set: $gotAway = false)
}I guess he decided he didn't his gun after all.
$oldManLives[*His came down on my shoulder stopping me firmly, but not painfuly.*]
$oldManDies[*His knee came down forcefully on my back, pinning me in place*]
(if: $oldManLives is true )[(link-goto: "He didn't say anything, but his eyes told me not to try anything.", "He didn't say anything, but his eyes told me not to try anything.")]
(if: $oldManDies is true )[(link-goto: ""This is for that poor old man you killed," he growled into my ear.", ""This is for that poor old man you killed," he growled into my ear.")]
I couldn't get too far away, so I decided to hide in one of the nearby warehouses. Damn it was cold.
My wet clothes clutched tightly to my shivering body and the winter breeze leaking through the thin metal walls wasn't doing me any favors.
I realize I couldn't feel my fingers and when I glanced towards my hand, I noticed it was turning blue. Not good.
[[Then I heard footsteps outside.]]Then his eyes and filled with something that was, well not exactly near pity, but at least in the same county.
"It's over," he spoke calmly and quietly, but with complete authority. I sure believed him.
[[After a moment, placed me in handcuffs and he spoke again.]]
I tried to lift my head and he pushed it down with one hand as he put me in handcuffs with the other.
"Y'know nothing pisses me off as much as selfish little thugs like you, who think they can do whatever they want."
"And nothing'll feel as good as seeing you tossed in with the rest of the animals just like you deserve."
*I thought about responding, but I found I couldn't really disagree, so I just kept quiet as he marched me away."You...didn't have to call in like that. I won't pretend I understand why you did it in the first place, but I'll speak with the judge.
"There's some room for forgiveness, since the old man survived. Probably wouldn't have if you hadn't call. It's going to be a rough road, but you can still come back."
"If..if you need help," he spoke while unsubtly pointing at his head, "I'll make sure you get that too. Are you alright?"
*I nodded, trying to not show that I'd started crying again and he kindly turned around to pretend he didn't see.*
I figured that since I didn't care too much if the car hit me or not that it was worth the risk if it meant not going to prison. Now *that* scared me.
...I never said I was particulary brave.
I leapt through the passing cars and the drivers honked to make sure I knew how much they enjoyed my presence.
Once I made it across, I cast a quick glance back to see that, yes I wasn't being followed then I ran into a back alleyway.
[[Time passed.]]I wasn't sure if he'd seen me duck in or not, so I...
[[...hid around the corner.]]
[[...ran through and pulled down debris...]]*How did he find me so fast?* my frost addled brain wondered. I turned behind me and looked at the water trail I'd been leaving with every footstep.
My teeth chattered from the cold and my nerves. I couldn't take much more of either, but I forced my body to move and...
[[...walk outside to meet the detective.]]
[[...hide deeper inside the warehouse.]][[.......]][[........]]After tracking the perp to the warehouse he was holed up in, I played by the rules for once and waited for backup.
Mostly, well, entirely because they brought me a change of clothes and coffee.
The officers and I were just about to enter when our perp came stumbling out half-frozen to death, holding his shaking hands in the air.
(if: $oldManLives is false )[(link-goto: "Couldn't say he didn't deserve it.", "Couldn't say he didn't deserve it.")]
(if: $oldManLives is true )[(link-goto: "Seeing him like that, too cold to even speak properly. I don't know.", "Seeing him like that, too cold to even speak properly. I don't know.")]
It was hard to muster up any sympathy for someone who'd done what he'd done, but this kid almost did it.
I never quite got there, not even when I slapped those cold, metal, cuffs around his wrists and watched him get hauled away.
*Still...part of me wished he wasn't so pathetic. Wished he was someone I could just hate rather than just some kid with issues.*I felt sorry for him. How could you not? He was just a damn kid and he was so scared he was fighting back tears.
I winced when I put the cuffs on him. I almost told him I was sorry. Instead I just told him... that I'd speak with the judge and see what I could do.
The boys in blue started putting him in the back of the wagon.
[["Wait."]]They stopped for a second and I whipped my coat off.
I wrapped it 'round the kid like a big old blanket around him and told him softly that it'd be ok.
Simple words, cheap words. But the best I could manage. It was enough though to start the damn waterworks.
*I turned around so the kid wouldn't see it. Damn, sometimes I hate this job.*After tracking the perp to the warehouse he was holed up in, I played by the rules for once and waited for backup.
Mostly, well, entirely because they brought me a change of clothes and coffee.
Then me and the boys in blue went into the building. We split off and it wasn't too long before I heard an officer cry out.
[["I found him!" He called.]]I followed the sound of the voice, quickly. There'd been no urgency in his voice and when I got there I found out why.
He was huddled up in the corner, already dead. Frozen solid.
(if: $oldManLives is false )[(link-goto: "Good.", "Good.")]
(if: $oldManLives is true )[(link-goto: "It hurt a bit to see.", "It hurt a bit to see.")]
Now he was out of my hair and would be off my city's streets as soon as they pried him off with a spatula.
I wondered if he understood the old man, unable to protect himself from something sudden and overpowering. Probably didn't get as much of a kick out of the irony as I did.
Although one thing did bug me. After all, I hate seeing a case go cold.
*What?! You think that joke was in poor taste? I'm sure you'll warm up to it eventually.*I was no stranger to gore and old folks always turn up like this during the winter, but seeing him hiding there like the little match girl was something else.
I turned away in disgust and dissatisfaction.
Maybe this was what he deserved, maybe not.
I thought that maybe his body he had a hint of a smile on his face, but maybe it was my imagination.
*I stormed out into the night angry and very, very cold. Nothing much more to say than that.*I don't know how much. Months at least. I think winter was going to be coming to a close soon.
I'd been spending the time laying low, living as just another homeless man amongst too many. I think the cops had sort of given up looking for me.
[[Still, I'd all but gotten away.]]Turns out he did see me. He also rounded the corner and saw me again. If it wasn't so serious I would've laughed at the embaressment at how easily I got caught.
But it was serious. And you could add resisting arrest to my rap sheet.
*It was almost a relief that he'd caught me. Whatever punishment came next was at least out of my hands.*I grabbed onto a trash can and sent it bounding out behind me as I rounded the corner. Turns out the man was right on my heels and he went flying like a three stooges sketch.
Although I didn't remember Moe using the F-word so much. For a second I almost laughed hysterically before remembering how innapropriate that'd be.
Instead I ran and ran until I couldn't hear him after me anymore. Then...
That should've made me... I dunno. Not happy. Maybe secure? But I just felt guilty and worried. It gnawed on my mind all the time.
I'd wake up from time to time in places I'd never been.
I just keep wondering if I'd hurt someone again without even realising it.
I never slept well with that though bouncing around in my head.
[[Today I was out on the street, shaking my can for quarters like normal.]]It was a street I hadn't been to in a while and I'd barely pieced together a dollar all day.
It was then I glanced across the street and spotted an all too familiar pay phone.
Next thing I knew I was next to it, putting in all my quarters and chuckling to myself.
[[I had just enough.]]I flipped through the tattered, urine scented yellow pages (ha ha) and found the police station's number.
I carefully dialed the number and when a lady answered
[[...asked to speak with a certain detective.]]I walked back to my street corner and eyed my empty can forlornly.
I'd just wasted my last chanc--change. My last change.
*What a waste.*I didn't know his name, so I just described him. He had a very...unique look that was hard to forget and I'm sure she knew who I meant.
I spent a minute listening to dead air before his gruff voice filled it.
[["What do you want? He asked incredously.]]I told him everything. Not just what happened, but how I felt and why I didn't know why I did that.
I didn't care that they were probably tracking my location, I just had to get it off my chest whatever happened.
Finally I got to the end, but I still had something I had to say. Something that was catching in my throat.
[["I-I think I need some help," I admitted. "Please."]]There was silence for an endless moment and anxiety threatened to overcome me, but then he spoke cutting through the silence.
"Ok. I'll be right there. You'll get the help you need."
I sighed in relief and hung up. I trusted him.
True to his word he was there soon and he took me to a doctor, not a cell.
I'm still not better, but I think I'm making progress and I'm really trying. I...want to make amends however I can once I get out.
*For now, that's enough to let me sleep at night. Not much, but enough.*I stripped my bloody clothes quick as I could and tossed them into the fireplace before torching them.
I'd like to see them get any evidence from that.
(link-goto: "Probably shouldn't stick around to see if they can.", "...cover my tracks.")
(set: $timeToGo = $timeToGo + 1)
(set: $ashes = true)
}$redHanded[The woman took one look at me and fell back horrified. Too terrified to even scream again. Good.]
$cleanGetaway[She couldn't know it was me, right?]
I could just...
[[...go crush her pretty little head in.]]
(if: $cleanGetaway is true )[(link-goto: "...pretend to be shocked at the body.", "...pretend to be shocked at the body.")]I strode over to her quickly intending to put my foot through her skull.
At the last minute, I realized that I couldn't do that.
$cleanGetaway[After all, I'd just get all bloody again. Couldn't have that, could I?]
[[Instead I wrapped my fingers around her helpless neck and crushed.]]
I put on my best shocked expression and shouted in surprise, "Wh-what the hell happened!?"
The girl seemed to think that I was being genuine, bless her poor naive soul.
"I-I don't know. I just came out here and -oh God. He was just lying here."
[[She looked at me like a scared little deer.]] In a minute, her lifeless body dropped to the ground. I couldn't sit around enjoying the moment though. The cops had probably already been called.
And my prints were all around her worthless throat. Damn it all.
I started chewing at my nails nervously, until they started to bleed.
[[That gave me an idea actually.]]
(set: $girlDies = true)
}That look was very...enticing. But I held myself back.
I couldn't let myself lose control now or I'd probably get caught.
I thought for a moment then decided that...
[[...I could use her to clear my name.]]
[[...that I could use this woman to get out of here.]]It made perfect sense. She didn't know what I'd done, I'd cleared away most of the evidence, and she could serve as my alibi if she told the cops she saw me afterwards.
I just needed to hold down the fort and answer the cops' questions, then I'd be home free.
[["Did you already call the cops? I asked.]]"We shouldn't be here!" I said, forcing fear into my voice. She flinched back and asked what I meant.
"There's a killer running around here," I explained fighting back my laughter, "if we stick around we'll be next. We need to leave now!"
Her eyes widened in horror and I could tell she hadn't been thinking about that.
[[Got her.]]She looked dazed, then nodded slowly. "Good, good. Then all we have to do is stay here and not touch anything. They'll take care of everything else, ok? Don't worry, we'll be ok if we're together."
She nodded again, looking relieved.
Damn, I should've been an actor. Then I could get away with even more murder.
[[So, the lady and I waited patiently until the cops arrived.]]After they arrived, the police rounded up everyone they could and took them down to the station to answer questions. I waited patiently, trying my hardest to look upset.
Finally, some looming detective who looked half in the bag took me to an interrogation room and sat me down.
(set: $testimony = true)
}[[...........]]After that, it was easy to get into her car, promising to make sure she got home safe. Then on the drive there, I had the "realization" that she couldn't go back there.
What if the killer had seen her? What if he was just waiting looking for a moment to shut her up?
[[What if indeed.]]I heard the wail of sirens, getting closer to me by the second. I moved over towards where I had broken through some glass to get to the axe in the first place and scooped up a sharp shard.
I knew that I needed it to...
[[...make my testimony convincing.]]
[[...pretend I was another victim.]]I slammed my head against the wall until it bled.
No pain no gain right?
Then I held the shard primed beneath my ribcage and hoped it wasn't angled at anything vital.
[[Then I plunged down and everything went a bit fuzzy.]][[..........]]God, what a mess. Two dead and another in the hospital, right before my shift was supposed to end.
Well, I suppose I volunteered to be kicked around by life the minute I picked up my badge.
[[I flicked out a cig out the window of my cruiser, got out into the pouring rain, and started my investigation proper.]]After hours and hours, I turned up two things. Jack and shit.
$axeThrow[*We found the murder weapon outside a room, but the front desk had been given a fake name unless George Washington had come back to life to kill an old man and a lady. There wasn't anything else in the room either. *]
$ashes[*Not unless you count some ashes in the fireplace as something.*]
[[I didn't even get anything from reviewing the securtity footage.]]I couldn't find any hints to our perp's identity, not even any sign of him leaving. Strange that.
I sighed to myself in resignation.
I figured there was one guy who knew who our killer looked like.
[[And as soon as he woke up, I'd be paying him a visit in the hospital.]]A day later, our John Doe woke up and declared he didn't remember anything. I decided to jog his memory. I came the next day, ready to ask him about his experience.
"Detective, you do know its customary to bring people flowers when you visit them correct?"
I felt my jaw clench.
[[Awfully cavalier attitude for someone who was almost gutted.]]Something that'd been itching at me for the past couple days began to surface. How is it that the killer was perfectly capable of mercing two people, suddenly fumbles the ball with the third one.
"I just need to ask you a few questions. Sir."
[[He yawned, then said "Alright, but be quick about it. Visiting hours close in a couple minutes.]]I took out my notebook and opened my mouth to ask him a question when I'd realized he'd fallen asleep.
My gut was screaming at me that he had to be the killer. It was the only way he would have survived and the only reason he'd be acting like this.
[[But you can't arrest people based on your gut.]]After making sure that my prints weren't on the glass, I plunged it into the woman's neck again and again until it was torn fully asunder. No way to see the imprints on her neck.
[[Then I screamed for help and waited for the police to come save me.]]
(set: $noNeck = true)
}[[...........]]$testimony[*I'd had a long night interrogating junkies, prostitutes, and other similarily upstanding citizens, but finally I was at the last one. *]
$noNeck[*So here he was. Our star witness. Something about him rubbed me the wrong way. Why wasn't he killed too? *]
(if: $testimony is true )[(link-goto: "Even though that young lady I'd chatted with swore he was an upstanding gent, no one else had struck me as our man.", "Even though that young lady I'd chatted with swore he was an upstanding gent, no one else had struck me as our man.")]
(if: $noNeck is true )[(link-goto: "I wasn't about to tip my hand, but I strongly suspected he was exactly who I was looking for.", "I wasn't about to tip my hand, but I strongly suspected he was exactly who I was looking for.")]
According to her testimony, it couldn't have been him, but witnesses can get flustered and make mistakes.
Although her feelings should be considered, there was nothing she said that actually proved him innocent beyond a shadow of a doubt.
[[I asked him question after question.]]
(set: $guilty = -1)
}There was just something about his narrowed eyes that made my skin crawl. Despite his face and jittery movement, he didn't look worried or scared. His eyes looked focused.
That's fine. I'll just have to *listen carefully and choose when to call him out on his lies.*
*I'll need to be cautious about how I press him though. I can only push so much before he gets fed up.*
[[That's how I'll nail the killer.]]Tearfully, I convinced her to completely abandon her old life and start up somewhere new.
I grasped her hand meaningfully. It was the only choice... *for both of us.*
I told her I'd be with her every step of the way.
[[She nodded and tried her best to give me a fierce smile then drove us onto the highway.]]
I don't think she was used to people showing her much compassion in her life.
She tightened her grip around my hand, eyes shimmering with tears and told me "Thank you."
I could tell she meant it from the bottom of her heart.
[[We drove on for miles in comfortable silence together.]]I dumped her body out in the middle of the woods. Didn't require much ceremony and I didn't bother trying to hide her much.
Like the world was going to stop turning just because one more dead hooker showed up on the side of the road.
I twirled the keys to my new ride around my fingers and started driving off towards my new life when a thought occured to me.
*I'd never even learned the girl's name. That made me chuckle for a moment before I flicked on the radio and drove off into the night, towards a fresh start.*(if: $questions < 3)[I asked him to go over his account of the story.
"Certainly, officer. Whatever helps you apprehend this monster. I was just [[walking down the hallway]] when suddenly I heard a woman scream for help. I rushed towards the commotion to see what was wrong. But by the time I got there [[it was too late]]. I tried to help the poor girl as best as I could, but she stopped breathing quickly which is when you arrived and [[picked me up.]] I'm afraid I never saw the killer."]
(if: $questions is 3)[(link-goto: "Well, officer I hope you got what you needed because I really must be going.", "Well, officer I hope you got what you needed because I really must be going.")]
Is there something wrong with this statement? Should I ask him about...
[[...why he was at the motel.]]
[[...if he saw anyone else.]]
(link-goto: "...nothing. I should re-examine his statement.", "That's how I'll nail the killer.")Hmmm, I could probably get him to expand on this point without him getting too defensive.
Should I ask about...
[[...cause of death.]]
[[...what he tried to do to help.]]The only thing that stood out to me was he was covered in blood and shirtless when we picked him up. Was that worth pursuing?
[[Of course. He'd need a damn good explanation to waive that away.]]
[[No, he had one I knew of.]]"Now detective, I fail to see the relevancy of this question. My personal reasons for being there have no bearing on the events. Should you really be wasting time like this?"
(link-goto: "Uh oh. That question didn't get me anywhere. If I keep guessing carelessly like that, I'll let him slip away.", "That's how I'll nail the killer.")
(set: $questions = $questions + 1)
}"No, no one went past me. Otherwise I would have mentioned that.
*Hmmm. Something about that seems strange.*
[[...push this point harder.]]
(link-goto: "...back off.", "That's how I'll nail the killer.")He managed to give me answers without actually saying a whole lot. He just kept saying the same thing as the woman, that he never went near the body. He wouldn't even tell me why he was at the motel.
Maybe he was just trying to skip around the fact he came there to meet a prostitute.
[[And maybe I'll start reading War & Peace tomorrow.]]"Oh?" I began, "That's quite odd. You see we searched every corner of that motel and we didn't find much evidence outside of that hallway. No bloodied footprints and certainly no killer. And the cameras pointing at the exits didn't show one either. So if you didn't see them go past, where *are* they?"
I think I saw his eye twitch for a second. Good, I'm getting somewhere.
(link-goto: "Well, if you don't know how on earth am I supposed to know?", "That's how I'll nail the killer.")
(set: $guilty = $guilty + 2)
(set: $questions = $questions + 1)
}"Why, she bled out. I should think that rather obvious, detective. Are you feeling alright?"
I tuned him out and tapped my head thoughtfully. What he was saying made sense, but could I prove that wasn't the case?
[[...look over the preliminary autopsy report again.]]
[[...bring up the victims eyes.]]
[[...bring up her neck wounds.]]
(link-goto: "...ask about something else.", "That's how I'll nail the killer.")
Well, since she was still breathing I tried to wrap my shirt around her neck to see if I could help her.
That's when I said...
(link-goto: "That made sense and backed down.", "That's how I'll nail the killer.")
(if: $mispoke is true )[(link-goto: "...I thought you misspoke earlier.", "...I thought you mispoke earlier.")]
"Y'know there was something odd about the body."
"Yeah. You see there was a strange redness surrounding her eyes. You normally only see that in cases of *strangulation*.
He seemed to hesitate before responding, "Oh, well perhaps she had some trouble breathing on account of the hole in her neck."
[[...press him hard.]]
(link-goto: "...back off.", "That's how I'll nail the killer.")
(set: $questions = $questions + 1)
}"Yeah, what about them?"
"Oh. Uh, I was wondering if you could go into more detail."
He narrowed his eyes and looked angry.
"Like what? There's not a whole lot to say!"
[[I decided to push farther, despite his protests.]]
(link-goto: "I conceded that and backed off.", "That's how I'll nail the killer.")
- The victim is a female in her mid twenties. Cause of death appears to be numerous puncture wounds to the throat with a sharp object.
- There was a noticable discoloration of red splotches around the victim's eyes. This could potentially be caused by crying, although this could also indicate hemorrhaging caused by forced trauma. However this point seems unlikely, due to her apparent obvious cause of death.
- There were also traces of mucus lining her throat, indicating a sudden loss of oxygen.
(link-goto: "That's all it says.", "...cause of death.")I shook my head. "No that's not it. This is caused by quick deprivation of oxygen. This theory is further supported by the mucus found in her throat. That results from the lungs being unable to draw in oxygen, but that massive hole in her throat would've killed her long before that happened. Yet you say she was still breathing when you got there?"
(link-goto: "Oh, I-I must've misspoke. Yeah.", "That's how I'll nail the killer.")
(set: $guilty = $guilty + 2)
(set: $mispoke = true)
(if: $guilty is 3)[(link-goto: "Actually, it's *detective* not officer and also no you don't. The only place your going is right back in that chair.", "Actually, it's detective not officer and also no you don't. The only place your going is right back in that chair.")]
(if: $guilty < 3)[(link-goto: "I ground my teeth and sat their helplessly as he left the room.", "I ground my teeth and sat their helplessly as he left the room.")]
(if: $guilty > 3)[(link-goto: "Actually, it's *detective* not officer and also no you don't. The only place your going is right back in that chair.", "Actually, it's detective not officer and also no you don't. The only place your going is right back in that chair.")]
He stammered and made some half-assed excuse that went in one ear and out the other.
(link-goto: "I had him on the ropes now. Just a little more... ", "That's how I'll nail the killer.")
(set: $guilty = $guilty + 1)
}He explained to me the process and purpose of applying a tourniquet as if I were a particularly stupid child. I quietly seethed, but couldn't speak up against what he was saying.
(link-goto: "I ground my teeth and went back over his statement. ", "That's how I'll nail the killer.")
(set: $questions = $questions + 1)
}Instead I though about why he was so rational during the whole process. Sure, people react to stress in different ways, but this felt... planned.
It was pretty flimsy evidence, but I got a little bit more suspicious.
(link-goto: "I tilted my head and asked him to start again from the top.", "That's how I'll nail the killer.")
(set: $guilty = $guilty + 1)
}"I know my rights," he protested. "You can't detain me here unless you arrest me and charge me with a crime."
"Congratulations, you're under arrest." I quickly sped through the miranda rights so I wouldn't get snared on a technicality then continued.
[["Oh and you're being charged with two cases of first degree murder."]]I watched him go as my stomach sank into a deep pit of failure. I didn't have enough to keep him here and he was just going to stroll away. If he was the killer, I'd all but lost him.
But hey maybe that wasn't our man.
*Yeah, and maybe I'm not a raging alcholic.*"See, I think you killed that old man, that woman saw you, and you decided to shut her up."
"Buuuut, you aren't as clever as you think you are and now I'm holding you here."
"Now I'm not a gambling man, but I'd bet my whole career that if we'll find DNA under that poor woman's fingernails. Your DNA in fact."
[["Very common in strangulation cases in fact."]]"You had motive, means, and oppurtunity. And considering all those lies I just caught you telling me, how hard do you think it will be for me to get a warrant for a small DNA test?"
I smirked to myself and left him sitting there impotently as I went to have what I was sure would be a very helpful conversation with the coroner.
The results of that conversation turned out to be breathtaking. Alright, that was in poor taste, but the important thing was I'd built a case against the sicko.
*It wouldn't bring the victims back, but from where I was sitting it was the next best thing.*"Really? I don't see what you're after. What. More. Can. I. Say?"
(link-goto: "I realized he wasn't going to give me anything on this point and just tried to move forward.", "That's how I'll nail the killer.")
(set: $questions = $questions + 1)
}Something about him just didn't sit right with him. Why wouldn't he give me straight answers.
I was getting properly fed up, so I...
[[...took a deep breath and offered him a glass of water.]]
[[...blew up at him.]]He accepted it, with a little bit of smugness, so I went and fetched it for him.
He picked up the cup then drank from it. Y'know that little break had really given me the chance to think.
The corners of my mouth broke into the start of a grin as I...
(if: $noShoeprint is false )[(link-goto: "...asked him what size shoes he had.", "...asked him what size shoes he had.")]
(if: $axeThrow is false )[(link-goto: "...took the glass of water from his hands.", "...took the glass of water from his hands.")]
(if: $ashes is false )[(link-goto: "...asked him why he was in a room with bloodied clothes.", "...asked him why he was in a room with bloodied clothes.")]
That got me nowhere. I should've known better. He just got all huffy and strolled right on out. I didn't have anything that I could use to hold him there.
I just sank down into my chair defeated and pulled my flask out of my jacket.
I unscrewed it and took a big gulp, praying that he wasn't our man after all.
*But I had a feeling the Big Man upstairs didn't exactly owe me one.*For a second he looked like I'd just stabbed him in the guts, then regained his composure.
"Why do you ask?" He stammered out.
"You know what? Forget I asked, just hand them over to me."
[[He stood up like he thought he was going somewhere.]]I thought that mocking him would be umbecoming of a representative of the law...but what the hell. Sometimes I love my theatrics.
"You know, I'd be sweating if I was the killer right now."
"Why is that?"
"Oh, I got everyone in the whole motel's fingerprints. Got yours right now on this glass. And we found the murder weapon, prints and all.
[["Damn, I wish all my cases were this easy! I mean what special brand of moron doesn't ditch the murder weapon?]]He attempted to walk past me and you see, my nervous leg gets a bit twitchy sometimes. It just so happened to spasm out in front of him and trip him over.
As he sprawled on the floor I glanced at his feet.
"My my. How odd, is that dried blood on your shoes? I thought you never went near the body?"
[[Nailed him.]]With that I had no issue in keeping him there and getting a warrant for his shoes. The blood matched the old man exactly and with this new info I leaned a little on the young lady who recanted her statement that it couldn't have been him.
Poor girl seemed absolutely traumatized, but at least she was finally free to go.
*Which made one of us. I needed to start doing paperwork and preparing to take that psycho in court. And, well, he wasn't going anywhere for a good, oh, I don't know about a lifetime.*His face went completely chalk white at that and I found myself smirking.
"You just sit tight sir. Once we get the results back, everyone will be free to go."
I let my inner ham out and leaned down into his face to say the last part in a deep baritone.
*"Well...almost everyone." Then I pulled back, straightened my tie and walked out, leaving him there alone with his thoughts while I went to go bring down a murderer.*My eyes trailed from his arm to the morphine bag he was hooked up to. Something dark flashed through my mind. An idea.
I wasn't sure it was him, but...
[[...I could just give that bag a tight squeeze.]]
[[...I could unplug him. At least make him uncomfortable.]]I grabbed a nearby surgical glove, placed it over my hand, and squeezed like I was trying to pop that bastard's heart. It was fast, painless, and he went in his sleep.
It was a better way to go than most. After it was down, doubt swept over me like a tidal wave.
I'd been so sure a second ago, but I didn't have any real evidence. I just couldn't stop thinking that if I let him go, let him leave the hospital, he'd hurt someone else.
*I left the hospital determined to prove him guilty posthumously. It was the only I could get this weight off my chest.* Petty. Useless in the long run. Wouldn't bring anyone back. But I did it anyway. It made me feel like I had at least a little control.
Like I could get this tiny bit of payback for my city. He groaned in discomfort in his sleep and I smiled a little.
I resolved that I'd watch this man like a hawk. While he was still in the hospital, I'd keep digging and after that I'd keep watching him even if it took my whole life.
*But part of me wouldn't stop telling me, that sometimes the good guys just don't win.*He froze as still as a statue mid sip.
"You see that young woman remembered what room you came out of and...welll lets just say you'd better have an excellent excuse for why there was bloodied clothes that I'm willing to bet will match our victim exactly."
I knew I had him and he evidently knew it too because he started choking on his water as a response.
*It wasn't quite a spit take, but then again this wasn't a comedy sketch. Still, I couldn't stop myself from grinning at a job well done.*By the time I got out side some vulture necked newscaster was already turning the damned place into a media circus.
He quickly rushed over to jam a camera in my face, I mean to ask how the investigation was going and did we have any supsects and was the case already solved and could the people of our fine city rest easy, etc.
I responded by...
[[...grabbing the mic from him.]]
(link-goto: "...telling him, no comment. I had enough on my mind already.", "It might take a while, but after I get all the addresses and start hitting the pavement, sooner or later I'll be knocking on his door.")I turned to the camera and confidently told everybody sitting at home that I knew exactly who did it and that I would personally apprehend them ASAP.
It might've been a little, ok a giant lie, but it would comfort the public and rattle the killer. Plus, I just wanted to stick it to the news a little.
[[With that, I dropped the mic to the floor and walked to my car to drive back to the station.]]After hours of creating a comprehensive list of suspects I sleep-drove back to my house and managed to get my keys into the lock and inside the house.
I briefly wondered where my little girl was before coming to the obvious conclusion that...
[[...she was asleep.]]
[[...she was at her mom's this weekend.]]It was way past curfew after all, not like I was here to enforce it.
Still she's a good kid, although I suspose she's almost an adult now.
God that made me feel old. Felt like I was having a heart attack as well. I shook it off.
[[I needed to get at least a few hours of sleep since I'd be knocking on doors by six.]]
(set: $daughterAtHome = true)
}Sometimes I wonder if I wonder if I could've held the marriage together if I tried more.
Other times I drink.
[[I needed to get at least a few hours of sleep since I'd be knocking on doors by six.]]Before I collapsed on the couch I needed to...
[[...sling my gun and holster onto the coat rack.]]
[[...head to the kitchen and get myself a drink to help me sleep.]]I put my gun up on the rack, then walked over to turn off the lights so that I could catch a few winks.
[[Anyway, that's when the living room wall exploded.]]
(set: $unarmed = true)
}I shuffled into the kitchen and got myself a nice warm (cold) glass of jack daniels.
This didn't mean I had a problem, right?
[[Anyway, that's when the living room wall exploded.]]
(set: $armed = true)
(set: $unarmed = false)
}Well, not exactly literally. A car, the make and model I was looking for had rammed through it.
That sure woke me up, like a shot of boiling hot coffee in the neck.
I heard a voice call out, "You want me you god DAMNED *PIG!?* I'm right here!"
Didn't exactly take a super-sleuth like myself to figure out who this guy was.
[[I winced. Maybe that interview I gave was a little too effective.]]Luckily, I was out of sight at that moment. Then something that made the blood in my veins turn to ice.
(if: $daughterAtHome is true )[(link-goto: "My daughter called out to ask if I was ok.", "My daughter called out to ask I was ok.")]
(if: $daughterAtHome is false )[(link-goto: "That maniac told me I had a cute kid.",""That maniac told me I had a cute kid.)]
Working entirely on instict, my mouth shot open and I...
[[...called back to tell her to hide.]]
[[...forcefully clamped it shut.]]He must've seen our photo on the dresser. It was just two words, but it was dripping with implication and I had never been more terrified than I was that moment.
I clenched my teeth and...
[[...ran right out there.]]
[[...bided my time.]]I screamed at her not to come out.
The next thing I know my houseguest is swinging a bat into my arm.
[[I felt it splinter and I howled in pain.]]I've never done something harder in my life, but I couldn't afford to let him know where I was. I could hear him dragging something heavy behind him, like a bat.
$unarmed[*I didn't even have a weapon on me. If he came at me like this I was fucked.*]
She was a smart kid. She wouldn't come out with a maniac in the house...would she?
Damn it! I had to...
[[...just sit still for a couple seconds.]]
[[...go out there.]]I swore silently and begged her to not come out. I heard his footsteps walk around the living room slowly.
"What's the matter, Detective? You were talking all that good shit on TV, but you won't arrest me now?"
*Just a couple more seconds, honey. Don't come out,* I thought again and again to myself.
[[Then I heard the steps start to creak.]]I rushed out, but it turns out the freak was waiting for me to do that. He swung the bat in his hands quickly and it connected with my forearm.
[[I felt it splinter and I howled in pain.]]"Weeeelllll, since your such a chicken shit, guess I'll go have fun with your daughter first."
That did it. That did it.
[[Something inside me snapped and I ran out from hiding to see him halfway up the stairs.]](if: $unarmed is true )[(link-goto: "I snarled at him and got him to turn around.", "I snarled at him and got him to turn around.")]
(if: $armed is true )[(link-goto: "I pulled out my revolver and fired.", "I pulled out my revolver and fired.")]
"Hey asshole! I'm over here!"
"There you are detective!" He wheeled around, holding a rather intimidating baseball bat in his hands.
He rested it behind his neck as he strode down the staircase theatrically.
[[Then something unexpected happened.]]I didn't hesitate. Not even for a second.
I'd never shot a man in the back before, but hell, no one had ever threatened my little girl before.
The bullet punched through his back in a moment and he crumpled down the stairs like a ragdoll. He was dead before he could even turn around.
[[I leapt up the stairs quickly, calling for her.]]"Sweetheart? It's dad! It's ok. There was an intruder in the house, but I killed him, so it's all ok now."
I never was the best at comforting her.
"D-dad?" Came an unsteady voice from her closet.
[[She burst out and tackled me in a big wide hug.]]She started crying and I ain't ashamed of saying that I did too.
Now maybe I wasn't the best dad in the world. Maybe I'd missed a couple soccer games and a couple school plays.
Maybe I didn't spend nearly as much time with her as I should've.
*But in that moment, none of that mattered. All that mattered is that she was safe and in my arms.*A scrawny teenage girl, my daughter, appeared out of seemingly thin air and shoved a murderer down a flight of stairs.
I was so proud it brought a tear to my eye. So proud she'd only get a mini-lecture later for coming out instead of hiding or running away.
But in the meantime, there was the matter of the very rude guest who had tumbled down by my feet.
[[I raised one boot up high in the air and brought it down very hard.]]
I'd be surprised he if he had any teeth left after that, let alone fight.
The cops showed up pretty soon after that, probably alerted by one of the neighbors and I sat on the porch next to my daughter to watch them take away the killer.
She'd grabbed a rootbeer out of the fridge and a regular one for me which she promptly handed me.
[[I smiled and twisted the cap off.]]"You know this won't stop you from being grounded, right?"
"Yeah, I know... but that was pretty badass don't you think?"
"My bad. I meant to say that that was pretty fucking badass."
*Against my better judgement I laughed at that. I reached out my bottle and she clinked it against hers and for one simple moment everything felt right in the world. Then I remembered the hole in the living room wall.*I fell to one knee, cradling my broken arm. Then came the blow to my head. He must've not been too serious yet because I was still conscious and alive.
He wanted this to take a while. He hauled me to my feet and kept me semi-steady. I looked past him and saw it.
(if: $unarmed is true )[(link-goto: "My daughter, holding my revolver.", "My daughter, holding my revolver.")]
(if: $armed is true )[(link-goto: "My daughter, swinging a dislodged plank.", "My daughter, swinging a dislodged plank.")]
"Freeze," she snarled. She reminded me of someone handsome, brave, and intelligent, but I couldn't place my finger on his name at the moment.
The jerk didn't freeze, as they very rarely do and instead opted towards putting me in a choke hold with the bat.
"Now what, girly?" He asked nastily while holding me in the line of fire.
[[I just winked at her.]]It caught the psycho across the head and we both went down. He reached for his bat, but I was laying on top of him and he could hardly move.
My fingers, however, closed around a loose brick and I brought it down on his head.
[[After the first blow he raised his hand to defend himself.]]So I brought down the brick on that too. Then again and again, until he wasn't breathing anymore. His 'face' was a mess of bloody impact craters.
I turned to my daughter, sitting there traumatized.
I got up to go over to her, despite my aching arm, making sure I was in the way of her line of sight and the body.
*Then I hugged her as best as I could while she sat there in shock.*See, when other dads were explaining boring stuff to their daughter, I was teaching mine how to deal with this and many other hostage scenarios.
I know, I know, I'm an awesome and wise father.
Anyways, winking was the signal we'd worked out and she bobbed her head ever so slightly to tell me she got it.
[[We'd practiced this with the positions reversed, but the principal still applied.]]Instead of trying to fight, I did what my body was screaming at me to do and just went limp.
It's very hard to hold someone who does not want to be held, especially when that person is half a foot taller than you. The killer's grip slipped as he lost his sense of balance.
I fell down to the floor and he fell forward.
[[Then my baby girl shot him in the shoulder.]]She hit dead on, a real crack shot. Then she went over to me, made sure I was ok, and got my handcuffs from me all while never taking her eyes off of the psycho rolling on the ground screaming.
When she got the cuffs on him using proper form my eyes started misting up.
It was because my arm was broken. Shut up.
Then we waited together for the police to take him away and for the ambulance to get me to a hospital.
[[After they took me away I passed out.]]She was the first thing I saw when I woke up.
"You shouldn't be out this late. It's a school night," I drawled with a sly grin. It probably didn't sound as cool as I thought it did on account of the morphine.
"Ah, shut up you old fart," she replied with a similar smile.
*I did what she said and let her hold my hand. I mean, I wasn't going to cross her after what she did tonight. Then I drifted happily back off to sleep.*That was a mistake. His bat careened into my forehead and swept me off my feet. Then it came down again and again.
Everything went blurry and I began to slip into unconsciousness. I realized that this was it for me.
*With my last breath I just prayed to God that he'd get caught after doing this; that he wouldn't go after my daughter.*It was the smart move. The killer moved near me, slowly, but untrained.
Otherwise he would never gotten that close to a corner like that.
I snapped out of cover and grabbed him by the collar.
(if: $unarmed is true )[(link-goto: "Then I gave him a nose-shattering headbutt.", "Then I gave him a nose-shattering headbutt.")]
(if: $armed is true )[(link-goto: "Then I jammed my revolver inbetween his ribs and squeezed the trigger.", "Then I jammed my revolver inbetween his ribs and squeezed the trigger.")]
He dropped with no sound, just a shocked expression on his face.
I spat on the body out of spite for mentioning my daughter and sat down across from sourly while I waited for the cops to inevitably show up.
*My ex's lawyers were going to have a field day with this one.*He fell like a stack of cards and like the honorable pugilist I am I gave him a couple swift kicks to the ribs/balls.
Then I put the cuffs on him and sat on him despite his protests.
*Then I lit a cig, took a big puff, blew it in the SOB's face, and waited for the cops to get off their donut eating asses and give me a hand. A bit hypocritical of me to say, but they were sure taking their sweet time.*I kicked him in the sternum before he could recover again and again until I felt something give. I figured that was probably more than enough.
Then I kicked him once more.
I slapped cuffs around his wrists quickly, found my gun, and radioed in.
*While I waited for the beat cops to come pick us up I flicked open my lighter to spark one up, paused cigarette in my mouth, then realized I was still by a car leaking gas and what a stupid way that would be to go. Glad nobody else saw that.*As I tried to pass him, he grabbed my leg and I got a taste of my medicine. It tasted like asphalt, pennies, and gasoline.
He stood over me and planted one boot on my stomach triumphantly like he was going to claim this land for freakin' england.
I had an idea though. A really bad one, but still an idea.
[[I reached into my coat pocket and took out my lighter.]]