If you haven’t read part 1 yet, this will make next to no sense.
When we left our story last time:
As I got to the entrance to the alleyway and ducked the yellow crime scene tape, the scents of feces and urine joined the smoke. Rotting garbage made its appearance, further assaulting my nose as I entered. The sun was high over head, if filtered by high clouds, and it was easy to see the stained concrete and the graffiti on the walls; as well as the door to the warehouse, jimmied open. It was on my right about thirty yards ahead of me.
And now to today’s installment:
I started towards the door, hearing only the sounds of traffic and my shoe leather scraping on the worn concrete. As I passed the dumpster something stirred loudly. I instinctively spun, my .38 finding its way into my hand as I crouched and aimed at the sound.
It was only a cat. It went running away from me down the alley. I breathed as deeply as I dared in the fetid air and stood, keeping the .38 low but in my hand. I did not want any more surprises.
I reached the door without further incident and peered into the gloom through the partially open door. I could see nothing. I backed against the wall next to the door, held my .38 at the ready and pushed it open.
Following a rush of smoke scented air, nothing moved. I turned and entered the building slowly, leading with my pistol, ready for any movement or confrontation. As I walked further into the building the gloom increased until I could hardly see.
I took out my lighter and spun the wheel, igniting the familiar yellow glow. The flame’s light barely pierced the gloom, but it was enough to keep me from walking into fallen roof beams and from stepping into piles of burned refuse.
The smell of humans, unwashed and uncaring was everywhere. Sweat and the reek of stale urine were nearly overpowering, if tempered by the sooty smell of smoke. There was no one here now that I could see, but the night must have seen the place filled. It was still dry under the partial roof. I walked further into the building looking for some clue relating to the late Nelson Moran.
My lighter was getting hot and I extinguished it, wishing I had brought the flashlight from my car. As my eyes adjusted to the gloom I began to make out shapes, neatly arranged on the floor. These must have been where people slept. There were piles of cardboard and newspaper, orderly and arranged in precise rectangles, each to his own space. This looked to be pretty well organized.
I walked over to a window that was covered by a piece of dirty canvas and peered out a small tear. I only saw the empty street.
“What the hell are you doin’ here?” A voice said from behind me. “You don’t belong here.” I spun around, my .38 still at the ready, and looked for the source of the voice. I said to the darkness, “I’m looking for Nelson Moran.”
“He ain’t here. He’s dead across the street. And you gonna be the same.” I heard the tell-tale snap of a semiautomatic pistol being cocked and dove to the floor as the first shot exploded into the darkness.
I rolled and tried to gauge the direction of the shooter. Another shot rang out. This time the muzzle flash ruined my night vision, but gave away his position. He fired again. I rolled to my left, steadied, and squeezed the trigger on my .38. A scream followed by a thump answered the bark of my pistol. I stood and struck my lighter again.
Feeble light filled the space around me as I picked my way towards the fallen man. I thought he must be dead, but I held my gun ready knowing that he could just be playing possum. As I neared him, I knew he wasn’t playing. Sirens started and were getting louder as I rolled the body over with the toe of my shoe.
I had hit him cleanly in the chest. He was dead. Shell casings all around him and a statement from me would establish self-defense. I wasn’t however, on the best terms with the police chief right now. I didn’t need another incident like the one that took my badge.
The memory came back unbidden and nothing else mattered at the moment. There I was, dazed, waking up from being knocked out. I looked around trying to get my bearings. My gun and nightstick were gone. Probably taken by the guys who assaulted me. I stood, controlling a wave of nausea and turned to find a body at my feet.
I would have thought him asleep if not for the pool of blood he was lying in. I turned him over and saw the ragged holes in his chest. Placed just the way they had taught us to shoot at the Academy. I vaguely remembered someone rushing me with a knife. Had I shot him? I may have.
I smelled my fingers. Cordite. The smell of burnt gunpowder was in the air. I had recently fired my gun that was now missing. I looked down at my clothes. My uniform was unrecognizable. It was torn to shreds and all emblems had been ripped off. No one could ever know me as a cop.
Tune in next week for part 3 of Jackson Malone!