Agents and Angels Ch. 03

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This story is part of an ongoing series. The chronological order of my stories is now listed in WifeWatchman’s biography.

Feedback and constructive criticism is very much appreciated, and I encourage feedback for ideas.

This story contains graphic scenes, language and actions that might be extremely offensive to some people. These scenes, words and actions are used only for the literary purposes of this story. The author does not condone murder, racial language, violence, rape or violence against women, and any depictions of any of these in this story should not be construed as acceptance of the above.

Part 13 – Red Death

“Sheila!” shouted Muscone. “Sheila!”

“Goodbye, Mr. Muscone.” said Brooke. He then disconnected. He threw the phone to the floor, beside the lifeless body of Sheila Muscone, whom he’d murdered by firing one bullet into the back of her head.

He ascended the stairs. “Girls? Oh, girls! Come on out.” He turned left to go down the hall. Looking into the first room on the right, he saw that the window was open and he went in. Looking out, he saw the two girls running across the playground with a platinum blonde woman, weaving through the many children on the playground. They’d left by the fire escape.

“Damn.” he muttered, straightening up, and turning around—

*WHACK!*

The red crowbar flashed out, knocking the gun out of Brooke’s hand. He looked up to see that his path to the door was blocked… by me.

“Ahhhhh, Commander Troy, the Iron Crowbar.” Brooke said, attempting to sound jovial. “I knew we’d be meeting again.” He pulled the billystick attached to his belt out, arming himself.

We’d not been in time to stop Brooke from murdering Sheila, but while Brooke was busy with her, I hoisted Cindy up to the fire escape stairs, which she brought down. We went up to the window, where red and green crowbars jimmied it open. Then Cindy (a woman) showed her badge and got the girls to go with her, while I stayed in the room behind the door. Problem was, I didn’t have a gun. I either had to take Red’s from him… or the red crowbar would have to do.

“What, no gun yourself?” goaded Brooke, who I could see was again wearing clothing designed to stop TASERs from working properly. “Don’t believe in the Second Amendment?”

“I’d rather beat the shit out of you with this.” I growled, meaning the crowbar.

“We’ll see about that!” said Red, finally attacking me. I parried his first blow, also keeping him from moving towards the gun on the floor. He quickly realized that any attempt to pick it up would allow a red crowbar to smash his head like a ripe watermelon.

Brooke was fighting much more aggressively than our last encounter, and I was not helping myself much as I was being purely defensive, just trying to keep him at bay until help could arrive. He made left and right moves to maneuver around me, but my crowbar was more powerful than his billystick, so while I couldn’t get any blows on his body, I was able to hold him back and guard the door.

“How’s your back, Commander?” Brooke asked, his eyes flashing. “It has to be hurting, with all that twisting you’re doing.”

“It’s good enough to be whipping your ass… again.” I replied. Brooke barked a laugh; he recognized that, like him, I was no slouch in the use of verbal psychology to augment my physical defense.

“I must admit, it’s a welcome relief to engage a man in combat who isn’t a worthless piece of shit… like those Deputies you watched me kill in North Carolina. And like I’m going to do to your fellow Police Officers, and your Angels… and maybe your little dog, too!”

Don’t rise to the bait, I thought to myself. Don’t rise to the bait—-

*CLANG!*

“All you’re going to be doing is hard time in Supermax again.” I growled as I landed a hard blow on his forearm, protected by the billystick. “If you live long enough to get there.”

“Oh, it is true what they say.” said Brooke, his voice taunting. “You really don’t play by the rules, do you, Commander Troy?”

“Nor by yours.” I said as I switched tactics, and delivered a swift kick to Brooke’s side as he turned. He almost lost his balance… almost. But he recovered, and staved off another crowbar blow.

“Well, it looks like your friends are arriving.” said Brooke. “Time to go.” He was already reaching into his pocket and pulling out a hand grenade. He pulled the pin. But instead of throwing it at me, he dropped it on the floor.

“Ah, shit!” I yelled as I dove out the door into the hallway.

*BOOM!*

I was stunned by the blast, but fortunately I was not hit by any shrapnel. As I tried to get up, I felt strong arms helping me. I looked up to see the faces of Special Agents Nash and Jefferson.

“Where’d he go?” I yelled out.

“He went through the window.” said Jefferson. “We saw him running through the playground. We’ll never catch him now.”

I retrieved my red crowbar, and we all went downstairs. Jack Muscone was kneeling pendik escort on the floor with a medic, beside the body of his ex-wife.

“I’m sorry, Jack.” I said. Jack looked up at me.

“You did what you could.” he said. “What about the kids?”

“They’re safe.” said Martin Nash. “Cindy’s with them, outside.”

Just then, FBI Agents Peter Page and James Conrad came in. “We found the bodies of two Marshals.” said Conrad. “One was stuffed in the washing machine, and the other in the dryer…”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I called Jerome Davis on my cellphone, telling him to come on up to the house. A moment later he joined us in the living room, into which the Muscone girls had been brought.

“Why can’t we see our mom?” asked Tiffany, the older girl. Cindy looked up at me. I knelt in front of girl, willing the pain in my back to disappear. It would not.

“Tiffany,” I said, “tell me your favorite memory of your mom.”

Tiffany thought about it, then said “When she brushed my hair when we were getting ready to go out. And she’d tell me how pretty I am, even though I’m not pretty.”

“Yes you are.” said Cindy.

“Tiffany,” I said, looking her in the eye. “I want you to remember that. I want you to remember all the good times with your mom. And I don’t want your last memory of her to be what’s in the other room. That’s why I told Captain Ross to keep you in here, okay?”

“Okay.” said Tiffany. The tears began flowing, which was good in its own way; these girls needed to grieve. Cindy comforted the girls as they cried.

After a few minutes, I said to both girls “Y’all are going to come live with your dad in my home Town, and go to school there. We’ll protect you from the bad man. But there’s one thing I need your help with.”

“What’s that?” asked Jennifer, the younger daughter… who I could tell was the more astute of the sisters despite her younger age.

“Your dad is a very good man,” I said, “but he is going to have to learn how to be a dad again. So will you guys be patient with him, and help him be a good dad?”

“Yes sir.” the girls said.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“What are these local cops from way out of their jurisdiction doing here?” snarled the leader of the U.S. Marshals for South Florida, who’d come up from Miami.

It was 8:30pm local time, still Wednesday, February 28th. The body of Sheila Muscone was being processed by the Coroner so that we could fly her back home and to the City on the Ichimoku Industries plane, along with Jack, his team, and his daughters. The crime scene was just about finished being processed, and Cindy and I had given our interviews to the local LEOs and the Miami-based FBI teams.

“They’re consultants with us.” said Julius Jefferson.

“I don’t care.” said the Marshal. “They’re out of jurisdiction, especially this bastard that you call the Iron Crowbar. One more time, Troy… why are you here?”

“Captain Ross and I were saving the lives of the Muscone girls.” I said. “Good thing, too. They’d be dead like their mother is if we’d trusted your Marshals. Instead, your people totally failed.”

“You fucking bastard— AWK!” the Marshal started, only to find himself being shoved against the wall with my crowbar across his throat. I’d had enough of his shit.

“Let me say that again.” I growled. “The death of Mrs. Muscone is your fault. Her blood will forever stain the worthless hands of the U.S. Marshals. Your people have been less than incompetent, they’ve been criminally complicit in her murder!”

“Bullshit!” gasped the Marshal. His fellow Marshals were about to move to protect him (unlike their failure to protect the Muscone family), but they quickly found out that the FBI Agents were not exactly on their side. It was a standoff, and a tense room.

I took the crowbar off the man’s throat, replacing it with my left hand. “Jack,” I said, offering the crowbar, “would you like to borrow this?”

“I sure would.” said Jack, taking it. I then balled my fist and drove it as hard as I could into the Marshal leader’s belly. He doubled over in pain, and I stepped back as Muscone brought the crowbar down with all of his power and grief-fueled anger onto the man’s back.

*WHACK!*

The man collapsed to his hands and knees, and Jack swung the crowbar again, delivering another powerful blow to the Marshal leader’s back.

*THWACK!*

The man collapsed. I kicked him as hard as I could in the ribs… after all, I’d had to risk my life fighting Red Brooke, and I’d had to dive out of the way of a hand grenade… and then Cindy stepped in.

“Okay, guys, that’s enough.” Cindy said. “We’ve had three murders here today already.”

“Party pooper.” I muttered. “But you’re right.” I turned to the others. “Get this piece of dog shit out of here before I change my mind.” I ordered. The Marshals got their leader out of there.

We left shortly afterwards, leaving suadiye escort the crime scene in the hands of the local LEOs. Jack drove with us and his daughters in our car to the airport.

“So, Jack,” I said as we got ready to board the plane, “how did it feel to use the crowbar?”

“It felt good.” said Jack. “I understand now why you carry that thing around. So, what’s next?”

“You get to talk to your daughters, and get to know them again.” I said. “And I’ll be figuring out what Red Brooke is going to do.”

“And what are you going to figure out?” asked Jack.

“That he’s coming to my home turf… my Town & County.” I said. Then I added “And there and then, we will settle this once and for all…”

Part 14 – Vibes

“This is Bettina Wurtzburg, KXTC Fox Two News!” shouted the lovely redheaded reporterette at 7:00am, Thursday, March 1st, from in front of the State Office Building. “Women’s groups are protesting the Governor’s scheduled appearance at the Women’s Symposium in Nextdoor County this weekend!”

Bettina: “Several Social Justice groups, including the State Organization for Women, the SOWs, are calling for the invitation for the Governor to speak at the event be rescinded because the Governor is a misogynist. State Senator Katherine Woodburn, the hostess of the event, replied that the Governor should be allowed to speak, saying ‘anything he says can and will be used against him in the Court of Public Opinion’.”

Bettina: “The event is being held at the Lakeside Inn and Suites in Nextdoor County, and the Social Justice groups are planning protests at the site. But Nextdoor County Police Chief Molly Evans has said that she will tolerate no violence, no disruptions of the conference, and no threats to the Governor. Security is expected to be tight for the event.”

More Bettina: “And in national news, serial killer Red Brooke has struck again. Last night he murdered a woman and two U.S. Marshals in Florida. The Marshals would not confirm that the woman was in their protective custody. The FBI issued a statement that they are investigating the failure of the Marshals to protect the woman, whose name has not been released pending notification of the next of kin.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I had walked into Police Headquarters half an hour before the Bettina broadcast, having gotten a little sleep on the plane, which had arrived in the wee hours of the morning. I had made sure to send notes effusively thanking the CEO of Ichimoku Industries as well as Takaki Misaki for their generosity in allowing me to use the plane. Then I’d helped the Frank Freeman Funeral Home people take Sheila Muscone’s body to their facilities, while Cindy escorted Jack and his kids to Tanya’s house.

I showered and did my toilet in the Police gymnasium bathroom, and put on a fresh uniform in my office. I still felt tired. I’d pulled all-nighters before, many times, and had kept on driving on. But today, I was tired. I must be getting old, I thought to myself. I told myself to stop thinking those thoughts, and I went to MCD to join the coffee klatch.

“How is Mr. Muscone doing?” asked Joanne. How she knew of what had happened, I didn’t know, but she knew.

“He’s still in shock about it all.” I said. “He’s now a single father to two daughters he hasn’t hardly seen in years, and while he’s glad they’re still alive, he still is fearful of their safety.”

“How’s Jerome— er, Detective Davis?” asked Detective Teddy Parker. I’d sent Jerome home when we landed at County Airport, with instructions to get some sleep, and not be seen at Headquarters until noon.

“He did well, and he seems to be handling it all pretty well.” I said.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“The funeral and interment for Jack Muscone’s ex-wife will be in the City on Sunday.” I said. The meeting was in Classroom ‘J’, and present were Chief Moynahan, myself, Captain Ross, Captain Croyle, and all of the MCD and Vice Detectives. “After that, he and his girls will be staying with Tanya and little Pete at Todd and Teresa’s home. We are working with the Heritage Cloisters security people and BOW Enterprises security to ensure these families’ safety until we find and eliminate the Red Brooke threat.”

“So you think he’s coming here?” asked Chief Moynahan.

“Yes sir.” I said. “As Captain Croyle has already surmised.”

“He’s got to know we’re going to be on the lookout for him.” said Jerome Davis, speaking about Red Brooke. “Is he really that hell-bent on killing Agent Muscone’s kids?”

“I think it’s more than that, now.” I said. “He’s coming for Jack’s kids, but he’s also coming for Jack himself… and maybe for me, too.”

“I will add something else that I got from my own sources within the Federal Government, mostly the military.” said Chief Moynahan. “The FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Units believe that Red Brooke may be seeing things with a fatalistic viewpoint… in other worrrrds, he tuzla escort may believe that he is ultimately not going to survive this manhunt for him. To that end, he will likely stick at nothing, take great risks, and allow himself to be taken out only if he takes out his prey first.”

“Who’s that prey, sir?” asked Cindy Ross. “Don? Muscone?”

“The BAU has observed that Brooke attacks his prey by attacking the loved ones of that prey.” said Moynahan. “He didn’t go after Jack Muscone, he went after Muscone’s family. He will likely continue that, but if he’s after Mr. Crowbar, here, he may attack TCPD Officers, including yourselves in this room, as a means of attacking Commander Troy.”

“Just like Thomas Cook and John Hardwood did.” said Christopher Purvis.

“Whaaaa?…” I gasped.

“Sir?” asked Purvis, looking worried that he’d offended me. But I was off to reverie races. So deep into it did I go, that when I came out of it, the room was empty except for Cindy, Teresa, and the Chief.

“Don?” asked Cindy. “What is it?”

I looked around, trying to get my bearings, feeling as if I were in the Astral Zone or some temporal rift. “I… I just realized something. What Purvis said… about Cook and Hardwood getting at me through my child… and now Brooke… going after Muscone through his family…”

“What about it, sir?” asked Teresa.

“Anyone here see one too many coincidences, here?” I said. “And let me add… the whole Luskin rape case thing… trying to get me suspended by attacking my family… then the Dana Fox machine within the FBI, coming after me… going after my family, Cindy, and her family, Callie…” I was off in reverie land again, putting it together. This time Cindy pulled me out of it.

“Sir,” she asked, “are you saying all these cases are related in some way? How in the world can Brooke be related to Luskin, or Hardwood and Cook, or Dana Fox?”

“You guys will think I’m crazy—” I started.

“Too late. We already think you’re crazy.” said Teresa, flat deadpan. A red crowbar was waved in her general direction.

“Seriously…” I said, “it’s as the same entity or entities are behind all of these different cases… maybe giving the ideas to the various people… yes… and Russell and BigAgraFoods…”

“Sounds like you’re discussing a… Consultant of Crrrrrime.” said Chief Moynahan.

I actually felt my eyes light up upon hearing those words. “Yes, Chief! That’s it! That’s exactly what this is like…”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Saturday, March 3d. People, mostly female in gender, were trickling into the Lakeside Inn & Suites in Nextdoor County. They went through metal detectors, like those used at airports and at Augusta National Golf Club during The Masters. They had their bags checked, and were ‘wanded’. The only persons with weapons were those that also had the badges of a Law Enforcement entity, and that included a green crowbar.

“Security’s pretty tight.” said Nextdoor County Police Chief Molly Ross Evans to her sister, TCPD Captain Cindy Ross, wielder of said green crowbar. “Some of the women are complaining about overkill.”

“Yeah, ‘kill’ being the operative word if someone gets in here with a gun.” Cindy said. “I’ve still got a bad vibe about all this.”

“Think Red Brooke will try to hit us?” said Molly. When Cindy turned to peer at her, Molly said “Don briefed the NCPD by video conference yesterday. He also talked to me alone, and told me to make sure the boys were kept safe.”

“Where are they now?” Cindy asked.

“At the Cabin, with Don’s kids, Todd and Teresa’s kids, and little Pete Feeley. Jack has his daughters with him in the City.” said Molly. “Teresa and Joanne Warner are staying at the Cabin with the kids and Phyllis and our mom. Word is that Joanne and Bowser are having a lovefest, and Buddy is getting all the attention he wants from Teresa.” Cindy smiled at that.

“If Joanne could get away with it, she’d take Bowser into her own custody.” Cindy said.

“And risk the wrath of the Iron Crowbar?” Molly asked derisively.

“She’s not worried about him.” said Cindy. “She’s scared to death of what Carole would do to her. Carole beat up little Jack Burke when he threw Jim’s Legos at Bowser, and I do mean she beat his ass down.” Molly burst out laughing.

“Like I’m going to do to Red Brooke if he shows up in our County.” Cindy continued. Molly stopped laughing.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

2:00pm, Saturday, March 3d. The room that had been used for the Chef’s competition (Author’s note: ‘Chef’s Special’.) along with the next room, with the partition wall between them removed, was being used for the Symposium.

There had been classes in groups during the morning, then everyone assembled for lunch. The Governor had arrived just as lunch began at 1:00pm. He was sitting at the head table, with State Senator Katherine Woodburn to his left, Cindy Ross to his right. To Katherine’s left was Dr. Laura Fredricson, who was going to speak, as well. To Cindy’s right was State Rep. Peter Long Cox (R), Nextdoor County’s elected representative to the State House.

The applause for the Governor as he came in was polite but not particularly strong. Perhaps everyone was more interested in eating the lunch that was being brought in to them.

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