The “Gabriel Writer” has printed the 6th installment of “Chapter Play.” You can catch up on the whole story here: Chapter Play
I hope you enjoy it
Chapter VI: In which the hero makes new friends.
“Drop the gun now, Mr. McGavin! I won’t tell you again.” Officer Vincent Burke’s hand is steady; his gun doesn’t shake, but sweat beads on his forehead. Nothing good will come of this standoff if he can’t end it quick.
“So you can off me for shooting your partner? Not gonna happen, son.” Carl’s voice is steady but the pain from his burned leg causes his gun-hand to shake. “Shoot or talk. Your choice, Vince old pal.” Carl knows if this goes down, he’s going to loose. Then, a shadow catches his eye and Margo Burke rushes in. She slides between the two men, in the line of fire. They both raise their guns rather than risk shooting her.
“We don’t have time for this, Vince! They’ll be here any minute. We…” Before Margo can finish, Carl collapses on the edge of the bed and she rushes to his side. “What’s wrong?”
“My leg, the pain’s getting worse.” Carl groans.
“Jesus, the bandage is a mess.” She says, lifting his pant leg. “Where’s the Hydrocodone?” Carl points to the bag of medicine and bandages he forced Margo to steal in their escape from the hospital.
“Why are you here?” Carl asks as Margo removes the old bandage.
“I told the cops what you asked me to, that you killed Jenny and then officer Richards when he tried to arrest you.”
“Her name was Jenny?” Carl asks. Margo looks at him for a moment before digging out some gauze from the bag.
“But what you said about Richards wanting to kill me instead of Jenny really scared me. Before I left your room he said he wanted me to…”
“Margo!” Vincent interrupts. “I’ve heard your side but I’m not taking another step until I get the truth from this guy.”
“Vince, I called Brenda. She was on duty all night and no one visited Carl’s room. He couldn’t have gotten a gun like Richards said. So where did it come from? Richards had to have brought it to frame Carl. If I had gone back to that room instead of Jenny, I’d be dead now.” The words catch in Margo’s throat.
“You want the truth, Vince buddy? Fine but you ain’t gonna like it.” Carl grunts as Margo cleans his wound.
“Try me.” Vincent keeps his gun at the ready.
“The body you found in my house, it was a woman named Martha Ellington. She represented an old client of mine named Katarina Sereda. Katarina’s daughter is missing but before I could find out more, the Ellington woman exploded in my office. Someone must have planted a bomb in her purse. I told your pal Richards all of this and that I was going to find out who was responsible. That’s when…Jenny walked in. Richards shot her with this gun.” Carl holds up the Walther PPK, it’s silencer still attached. “Then he tried to shoot me with his Revolver. He missed. You know the rest. I think your partner was sent to kill me by the same people who planted the bomb on Ellington.”
Vincent is quiet for a moment. Then holsters his gun and picks up Carl’s backpack. “We need to get moving. The cops will be here soon.” He starts packing Carl’s belongings.
“Aren’t you the cops? Why help me?”
“Margo’s right. It doesn’t add up.” Vincent nods to the Walther PPK. “And I recognize that gun. It’s Matt’s. He took it off a junkie we arrested two years ago. Called it his Bond gun.” Margo and Carl are both stunned. “I’ll meet you at the car, get a move on.” Vincent steps out.
“How did you find me?” Carl asks Margo.
“The hotel manager here saw your picture in the news. He tipped off the police. We got here first but they’re on their way.” Margo gives Carl two Hydrocodone “Can you walk?”
“I’ve done a lot worse on this leg lately, I’ll make it.” Carl stows his gun in the waistband of his pants and limps to the door. Margo helps him down the stairs and to Vincent’s beat up, green Dodge. Vincent tosses Carl’s backpack into the open trunk and then motions for Carl to climb in as well.
“In there?” Carl sighs.
“Just until we get through the roadblocks.” Vincent says.
“Where are you taking me, anyway?”
“North, out of Austin, after that you are on your own.”
“I still don’t understand why you’re doing this but thanks.”
“Just get in.” Carl climbs in with the old spare tire, a jack and crowbar, some bungee packing cords, and his backpack. Vincent slams the trunk shut as a police cruiser pulls into the hotel parking lot.
“Vince, what do we do?” Margo whispers frantically.
“Stay calm. Get in the car and wait.” Vincent recognizes the two officers stepping out of the cruiser, Charlie Day and Mac Johnson. “I’ll take care of this.”
“What’s officer Burke doin here? He’s supposed to be on mandatory bereavement?” Officer Day says to his partner loud enough for Vincent to hear. Officer Johnson doesn’t respond.
“I heard you guys had a lead on Matt’s killer. Thought I could help out.” Vincent tries to sound professional.
“Not your job, Vince. Bereavement leave means just that…you leave.” Officer Day smiles broadly.
“Matt was my partner, Charlie. What do you expect me to do? We’re too late anyway. He was here, room 26.” Vincent points to the second level room where Carl was. “But he’s long gone.” Officer Johnson runs up the stairs to room 26 without a word. Officer Day continues to smile but never takes his eyes off Vincent.
“That’s too bad. Say, is that little Margo?” Officer Day walks past Vincent toward the car. “Why would you bring her here after all she’s been through?”
“You try telling Margo no?” Vincent says half-heartedly.
“How you holdin up, sweetie?” Officer Day leans in and looks around the interior of the car.
“I’m fine, Charlie.” Margo’s tone is clipped.
“Good, good.” Officer Day says, looking back at Vincent. “You know I’m going to have to search the car?”
“For all I know you just killed yourself a cop killer, stuffed his body in the trunk, and now you plan to dump it outside of town. Not that I’d blame you but I’ve gotta check.”
“Don’t be ridiculous!”
“It is ridiculous isn’t it? But that’s the job.” Officer Day keeps smiling but Vincent is sweating. “Pop the trunk, Vince. Don’t make this hard.”