From the Author
I was reading earlier, on someone else's hub that they struggle with the idea of a story 'cutting off' leaving you wondering what's going to happen to the main protagonist, they feel cheated.
Sorry, but I can't help it, the story just flows that way, and I feel it's the right way to write this story.
Last week we ended with 'Billie' being given a piece of information that could make or break her case, if it checks out that is!
The team have 'lost' their assailants, or so it seems, so where do we go from here? Can they even go forward?
Well, let's see what happens this week.
From the Previous
One thing was obvious, she was being watched, and they knew more about her than she was comfortable with, hell they'd got her private mobile number, only three people had that, two were family, and the other, well the boss never called, he texted, and my boss, not the idiot who’d given her the case, he was just a link in the chain, she meant the man who’d recruited her for the ‘Met’ Townsend’s boss.
Slowly moving forward, left elbow on the table, she made look as if she was fighting a losing battle with the dreaded sleep, meanwhile the right hand went under, searching for the package that was meant to be there, she found it, actually it felt like two, the first one felt to be just as thick as her finger, and about as long as going to her middle knuckle, but it was stuck on top of something larger, but a lot thinner, and flatter.
It was about the length of her hand, as wide as the width of her hand, but about as wide as a woman’s nail file, she had an idea what they were, but this was no place to stop and look.
As soon as the items were free, she guessed it was bluetacked to the table, she dropped them into her pocket, she had a handbag, but never trusted the really important stuff to it, too easy for a thief to make off with the thing while she wasn’t looking, or worse, while she was bowled over in the street as they came hurtling past on a skateboard or something, they went into a pocket.
The hand came back up as she reached for the drink, a hot chocolate, downed the drink and got up to leave.
Who's on which side?
The couple were totally engrossed in talking to each other, they weren’t watching her; she was sure of that, but the guy in the corner, she wasn’t sure about him, he was still texting, and laughing when replies came, ‘could be a girlfriend’ Billie thought to herself, “Oh for a normal life” she said quietly to herself, sort of envious of the mediocrity that was around her, going about their daily lives without the stress of tracking down the worst scum London had to offer, just accepting safety and security with a few inconveniences, and very little thought of those who worked night and day to make sure it stayed that way.
As soon as she left the coffee shop the guy in the corner stood up, he ambled to door, opened it and seemed to go the opposite way, as he left he hit the send button on the phone, his message read, “She’s on her way, taking an Uber”
The reply was seconds in coming, it simply said, “follow to make sure”.
Someone's always watching
Watching the watcher
She was being watched, that was true, but so was the watcher.
Chambers wasn’t in the coffee shop, he’d been in a car nearby, he saw the copper get into the cab, and the guy leave the shop, he saw him go the opposite way, but something told him things weren’t right, seconds later he saw the guy ride past him on a Vespa, not the fastest thing on the block, but there’s no way a Taxi can dodge a scooter, they’re perfect for following through the streets.
And he was in a bloody car, only one thing for it, forget tailing the scooter, go straight to her apartment and pray they don’t make a move before then.
Chambers hit the speed dial on his phone, a voice came on asking, “Number to call?” he spoke one word and the phone dialled the number.
“How are we with tracking those arseholes” Joey almost shouted as they entered Smithy’s lair.
“Nice to see you too!” Smith shot back, “Got sweet nothing from Mildred, they reckon the car went into some carpark and the clowns went to ground”
The ‘lair’ wasn’t much, just a small room, a table, couple of chairs, a couch for sleeping on and a laptop with a power lead, Sandy headed straight for the laptop, “Want me to run the facials?” she asked Smithy.
“Yer can” he replied, “If you want to, I already did Interpol, not much there, got a name though, Igor Gromentsky” he went on, “Russian Mob turns out, not much on him though, just a couple of bloody arrest warrants out in Kiev of all places, evidently the Ukrainians would love a friendly chat with him for some bodies they found floating in the Dnieper river a couple of years ago, and I bet they won’t be too gentle either!”
“That might be summat we can use” Joey’s northern accent came out, as it did when he was getting frustrated, he was starting to, “If we ever catch up with him that is”
Sandy stepped forward and sat down, the laptop was open and running, “Photos are where?” she asked.
“Here” Smithy leaned over and clicked the mouse, the screen changed and the photos on the hard drive came up, she selected the one she wanted and minimized the screen, next she took out a flash drive and plugged it in, the screen changed, fifteen seconds later they saw the screen change as the insignia of Her Majesty’s government came up, the lion on the left and the unicorn on the right, holding up the shield with the four emblems of the United Kingdom came up, “We’re in” she said as the screen changed, “Might take me a while to get the information through”
Just at that moment, their phones pinged a message, it simply read, “Code BLUE, London. Tower Bridge, ASAP”
Haul ass, GO!
“Shit” Smithy looked at Joey, “we’re supposed to wait for Jacko and Mac, What ya reckon?”
“Code blue’s a code for a kidnapping” Sandy replied, “Who?” they sent the reply.
“Don’t piss me around” the reply came back, “How soon can you get here," they recognised the number, it was Chamber’s number, did that mean?
“Sir Michael safe” the next message came back alleviating their fears, “will explain when you arrive, assistance required urgent, How soon?”
Confused was an understatement, then a message came from another number, it was Jacko, simply said: “Haul ass, GO!!”
“How far is London?” Joey asked, they were in Reading, a large town outside the M25 motorway ring road, about two junctions along the M4 motorway heading towards Wales and the West Country, “about an hour” Sandy was the one that replied, “at this time, you can do it in forty-five minutes, maybe a bit less, get moving you two, I’ll stay here and sort through the information we’ve got!”
Joey and Smithy ran for the car like to kids let loose in their favourite playground as Sandy texted “Scorpion three and four on the way, ETA 45”
Billie still felt uncomfortable, she’d taken the Uber knowing they’d be next to impossible to follow, but she still felt that something wasn’t right, she wasn’t sure if it was the stuff she’d been given or the fact that she just felt like she was being watched.
Investigations follow the evidence, a copper follows the evidence wherever it leads, but there are times when there’s none, and the cops have a choice, either wait and see what ‘breaks’ or take a chance and see if they can force their enemy’s hand, knowing when to do that took what every copper called ‘going with their gut’, but something just wasn't right. Ask her and she wouldn't be able to tell you anything, ‘just doesn't feel right’.
She checked the street, nothing out of the ordinary, everything seemed quiet, almost too quiet. Just a scooter in the street, she opened the car door and headed for the front door of her apartment building, what brits affectionately call ‘flats’
The lights were out in the passageway, not really a problem as they were out when she went to work that morning, ‘wish he’d get a damn move on and fix the bloody things’ she thought, ‘ it's only a sodding fluorescent light after all!
Reaching for her keys she let herself in, she stepped through the door relieved to be home, but something wasn't right, the wrong light was on. Before she could back away a hand reached out and yanked her inside.
“Come here bitch” a harsh voice rasped as she hit the wall, another shove sent her flying into the lounge, ‘Gang?’ her brain started to try and guess what was going on, she still had hold of her bag, swinging it she caught one of them square in the face, he didn't even flinch, “got some fight have we bitch?” the voice had a cockney accent, “gonna be fun this”.
She landed on the coffee table, it was Teac, a hardwood on a bone usually means broken bones, the pain was almost unbearable, but she wasn't going down without a fight, another swing but the assailants easily dodged even in the confined space.
Billie had a pepper spray canister on her belt, on her left-hand side, she went for it, the pepper spray would blind them if she could just get to it.
“No you don’t” one of them grabbed her arm, he smashed it down into the hardwood table, she screamed in pain but didn't let go of the bag.
“Where’s hard drive?” He shouted at her as he punched her in the mouth
“Piss off” she screamed back struggling to kick him between the legs, it was a feeble attempt, she was fast losing the fight, but that didn't mean she was giving up, she’d go down fighting.
Still trying to reach the canister, she reached out, but another fist caught her square in the temple almost knocking her unconscious, but that when her world started to do strange things.
"And just how do you think I did that?"
Later, when the police took her statement, she described it as “the bloody door just flew open, some guy in a ski mask stepped in and beat the crap out of the first two!”
“Did you get a good look at the assailant?” it was a dumb question, but they knew it had to be asked. The cop interviewing her looked pretty sheepish asking the questions, he was a ‘plain clothes copper, from the local ‘nick’ as police stations in the UK are known, Billie vaguely knew the guy, she was pretty sure they’d been on the same courses a couple of times, but couldn't for the life if her remember his name.
“Which one?” She replied holding the ice pack she’d been given against one side of her face, she knew it was going to be an absolute ‘shiner’ of a black eye on that side. “they all wore ski masks!”
“Were they carrying weapons?”
“The first two, those that attacked me” she screwed her face up as if trying hard to remember, “they had knuckle dusters, and I think they might have had other stuff, but they only used the dusters”
“What about the other one?” from the question it sounded as if he wasn’t totally buying the idea that some dude in a ski mask had come to her help.
“Didn’t see any” she replied truthfully, “he was so fast, then again” she paused, reached over wincing with pain, but finally reached the glass of water that was on the small hospital table that fitted on the bed, she took a sip before continuing, “I was pretty out of it by then you know Frank” she wasn’t sure what his damned name was, but at least trying to remember might change things a bit.
“Actually it’s Peter” the cop began, sounding almost apologetic, he’d really fancied her on the course, and it kind of deflated the ego to think she’d forgotten him, “it’s just there are a few things that don’t make much sense, we didn’t find any evidence of anyone else in the flat!”
“You think I clocked ‘em one?” she was incredulous, the words were hard to piece together, and she wasn’t shouting, but the whole idea sounded ridiculous, “How the hell am I going to do that with what, a broken wrist, dislocated shoulder, and God know what else.
“We found three of ‘em in your flat” the cop replied cutting her off, “and you were the only other one there, we figured maybe you used the coffee table or something” he shrugged, he clearly had no answers, “do you have any idea what they were after?”
"One down, rest are yours buddy"
Joey and Smithy had tossed a coin to decide who went in, Smithy had won, “You deal with the prick on lookout” he nudged Joey as he got out of their car, they were a couple of streets away, but knew exactly what was going down, Sandy had managed to activate Billie’s phone remotely, they had sound of the beating she was getting, and the protector in them wanted to jump in an kill the swine slowly, they needed some things to happen for the plan to work, granted the cop getting beaten hadn’t been part of that plan, but they needed to cut all lines of communication before taking them out, and that meant Joey was ‘up first’
The scooter was on the street under a streetlight, thinking that he was safe, the street wasn’t busy, but only an idiot would try and approach when he had three hundred and sixty degrees vision, but he didn’t count on the shadows, and Joey knew all about them.
It took Joey about two minutes along the street using shadows, he was about ten feet behind the guy when he saw the phone he’d been using, he was texting, no idea what was coming next.
Crash helmets are great for protecting you against accidents on a bike, but they’re useless when the assailant is coming for you from behind, and even worse than that, they give your attacker a dangerous advantage, they hinder your sight as well as hearing.
There was an empty beer bottle in the gutter, it was perfect, the visor on the helmet was up, slowly Joey reached down and took hold of the bottle, he was in the crouch nine feet away, fingers wrapping around the bottle he sprung forward launching himself at the lookout, swinging the bottle for back of the neck as the other hand reached out for the base of the helmet and ripped it up over the guy’s head, the bottle came crashing down on the collarbone, splintering it in one fell swoop.
The guy went down fast, dropping the phone and screaming in agony, one fist to the mouth soon shut him up, and removed a couple of teeth in the process, “Wanna live?” Joey hissed, “Then shut the hell up and I’ll think about it!” taking something out of his pocket he simply spoke into the device, “One down, rest are all yours buddy”
And that's all for this week.
Not really a 'cliffhanger' as such, but still leaves you wondering what's coming next (I hope) but it makes you think if you came across a situation like that, what would you do?
A few weeks ago a friend of mine got assaulted on our job, the whole thing happened so fast that everyone there said there was no time to react, I don't know, I wasn't there, what I do know is that when I was robbed this week (yes, in my bus) they didn't get away as easy as they thought and I ended up chasing one down the street! but it leaves me asking "What would I do?"
Anyway, hope you enjoyed this week's episode.
Robert Sacchi on April 07, 2019:
Thank you, I appreciate the explanation.
Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on April 06, 2019:
At the moment you can own an Automatic weapon in NZ provided the magazine doesn't take more than seven rounds. The change in the law is that ALL weapons that have an external magazine and are capable of automatic reloading (without the need to 'cock' the weapon) will be banned.
It means that things like the Shotgun with a five cartridge internal magazine won't be banned, but Weapons like the AR15 and M16 would be, the only exception is for the Military and the Police in the course of their duties.
The good thing is the whole country agrees with the ban, and it's come out since that 28 years ago (after the last mass shooting in NZ) the government of the day tried to ban them then, but the gun lobby prevented it, this time they won't be able to.
Robert Sacchi on March 24, 2019:
Yes, atrocities such as what happened at the mosques put people on edge for a long time.
How extenside is the list of weapons banned?
Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on March 24, 2019:
A number of the people I work with originally worked in Christchurch before the earthquake, and some of the others are Muslim, so we all pretty much felt it was personal for us.
The response has been amazing and I think the country has really 'come together' as the PM said, "They are us". It took only six days to change the gun laws here to ban the Military style Assault rifles and the like, but everyone is still 'on edge'
Robert Sacchi on March 17, 2019:
The culprit apparently got around. He said he was in Paris when Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel killed 84 people and wounded 202 in an attack with a box truck and gunfire.
Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on March 17, 2019:
Thank you for your concern. The company I work for runs the Bus services in Christchurch and many of the people I work with come from there. (They transferred up after the earthquakes).
Our Media know this is the worst thing that's happened to NZ in a long time, if ever but they know we don't want them to give the creep the Oxygen of publicity (by the way, the culprit isn't a Kiwi, he's an Aussie, which has us bewildered)
Have a read of my latest hub, and listen to our 'Anthem' at the end and you'll hear why NZ is such a tolerant place, it's bred into us fromthe very beginning.
Robert Sacchi on March 17, 2019:
You mentioned a few weeks ago your friend got assaulted and you got robbed last week. The crimes seemed pretty brazen. It seemed out of my character with my perception of New Zealand.
Was anyone you know a victim in the mass shooting?
Over here the media has gone full blown stupid over the incident.
Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on March 16, 2019:
Not sure what the comment was about, but in light of the week's events we're all pretty stunned and saddened, but will not descend to that level. Over here we're looking at the men and women who were heroes in the tragic events
Robert Sacchi on March 11, 2019:
Sorry about your friend. I didn't realize New Zealand was such a rough place.
Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on September 30, 2018:
Glad I could oblige you. I enjoy them too!
Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on September 30, 2018:
Glad you enjoyed it. Joey and Smithy have quite strong accents (in my imagination) that only really show when they're excited or under stress, so it felt right to let it come through a bit more.
This chapter is a bit of a 'foretaste' of things to come as the team begin their 'hunt' for the bad guys.
Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on September 30, 2018:
I didn't mean it as a complaint (sorry if it came over that way). More that some stories are going to be written with the cliffhanger in them.
Having said that, I love them, and enjoy 'going back for more'
Glad you're enjoying this one.
William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on September 30, 2018:
I have to agree with the others, Lawrence. I feel cheated if I'm given all the answers. I need something to keep me reading - so another typical good job, my friend!
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 30, 2018:
Another great episode. I think you did more in the realm of English dialects on this one and I like it.
Hey a good enough cliffhanger for me.
Good for you going after the bad guys.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 30, 2018:
They feel cheated? I don't understand that. It's called "a cliffhanger," and that technique has been used in television, in the movies, and in literature for decades. I, for one, love it!