No Angel by Garon Whited

“This is Adam-Charlie-Three requesting backup at—”

“Don’t do it, kid.  This sort—”

“—Sixteen-Eighteen Willow Street, Longbranch Apartments.  Suspect—”

“—of thing isn’t—”

“—armed, with hostages!”

“—going to end well for him.”

“Sarge!” declared the officer.  “The guy has two kids in there!  We’re not gonna ignore him!?”

“Son, you need to calm down.”  The sergeant shook his head.  “Never get excited.  Second rule of police work:  Keep calm.  Listen to your old Sergeant, boy.  You go off half-cocked and people get hurt.  Now shut up and…?”

“Calm down,” the rookie repeated.  “All right.  All right.  I’m calm.”

“The hell you are, but good try.  Putting on the brave face helps, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah, I guess it does.  What do we do?”

“Are we being shot at?”

“Uh… no.”

“Is anyone else being shot at?”

“No.”

“Then we can review the situation.”

“We’re just gonna sit in the car?”

“Thinking is always a good idea, until you have to act.  Third rule of police work.  Now, what do we know?”

“There’s a guy with a gun holding two kids hostage!”

“I said to be calm.  Now back it up.  How did we get to this point?  Where did it start?  Tell me like it’s a report.”

“Uh… the… the suspect robbed a liquor store.”

“Good.  Go on.”

“An off-duty officer attempted to stop him.  The suspect wounded the officer and stole a car.  The owner of the car was getting out when the suspect hit her with his weapon and drove off.  Her kids were still in the car.”

“Correct.  Then what?”

“The store alarm had us—I mean, a unit responded to the alarm and was en route to the scene of the robbery.  We—they were informed via radio call about the grand theft auto and kidnapping.  The unit spotted the fleeing vehicle and pursued until it was involved in a collision.  The suspect grabbed both kids and threatened to harm them while fleeing into the apartment building next to the accident scene.  We called for an ambulance and backup.”

“Very good.  We’re here, on the scene.  What do we do?”

“We’re going to get SWAT in here, evacuate the building, and a hostage negotiator will get the kids out.”

“Is that what’s going to happen?  All right.  You’ve called it in.  So, what do we do?”

“We… we monitor the building in the event the suspect attempts to flee the scene and wait for backup.”

“You’ve got the last part right, at least.”

“But, Sarge!  It’s after midnight and half the streetlights in this neighborhood are out.  How are we going to keep him from running?”

“We’re going to do a slow cruise around the block with all our lights on.”

“How’s that going to help?”

“It won’t, but we could be lucky.  We might get to see a show.  ”

“Show?  What show?”

“Listen, kid—you ever heard of the Angel of Night?”

“Sure.  It’s an urban legend about some freak in a black outfit doing vigilante stuff.”

“You know, I’m kinda glad you think that.”

“What?  Why?”

“Because it means it’s hushed up pretty good.  You keep looking around while I drive.”

“No siren?”

“The flashers will attract all the attention we need.”

“I don’t get it, Sarge.”

“Keep looking.  –no, not at the street.  Point those peepers up.

“Hey!”

“What?”

“Up on the side of the apartment block!”

“Big shadow?  Kind of like a winged shape?”

“Yeah!  It’s at the third floor, spread crosswise over half the building.  How’d you know?”

“I’ve been on the beat twenty years.  Doesn’t happen often, but this’ll make the third time I’ve seen it.”

“What the hell is it?”

“Lemme park.  You eyeball it.”

“There’s some sort of movement.  It’s… it’s too dark to see.  Can I use the spotlight?”

“Sure, if you think it’ll help.”

“Got it! –wait.  I’ve got the light right on it…”

“Yeah?  And?”

“It’s still dark.”

“Yep.  See the bulge?  Sort of under the right wing?”

“Yeah.”

“Wait for it.”

“Sarge!  There’s a body!

“Don’t worry.  The fall can’t do him any harm.”

“Three floors to concrete?  He looks dead.”

“Oh, he is, but it wasn’t the fall.”

“The black thing!  It’s coming down.  It’s coming down!

“Relax.  I said relax!  We haven’t got a thing to worry about as long as you keep your cool.  We got this.  Get out.”

“I don’t… It’s not…”

“Holster that weapon, boy!”

“But, Sarge!  Whatever it is just killed a man!”

“I said holster it!  The best you can hope is he ignores it.  The worst you can do is annoy him.  Holster it before he lands.”

“I don’t like it, Sarge.”

“You don’t have to.  I know I don’t.  We don’t have any say in the matter, so go with it.”  The sergeant tipped his hat politely to the indistinct figure of darkness.  “Evening, mister shadowy person.”  The darkness parted and a pair of children, probably three and five years old, stood revealed.  For all their recent terrors, they seemed strangely calm, clinging to the inky darkness of the figure’s legs.

Take these children, please.  Go to him, little ones.  He’s a police officer.  He will make sure you get home safely.  Go on.

“Rookie, help him peel them ankle-biters off.”

“They don’t wanna come, Sarge.”

“Go on.  You must go home to your mother.”

“Thanks, mister, for the help.”

“I don’t do it for you.”

“Of course not.  Thanks all the same.”

“I got him, Sarge!  I got—aargh!”

“Dumbass.  Sorry about that, mister.”

“He’s young and inexperienced.  I like his idealism, though.  He’ll recover.  I think there’s hope for him.  He’ll be a fine officer.”

“I was worried for a second.”

“Never worry about that.  I see your backup is arriving.  You have this?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Goodnight.”

“S-sarge?”

“Feeling better, nosebleed?”

“What happened?”

“You did something stupid.  Did I say to grab him?”

Him?  You mean it!  That’s a thing, not an angel!”

“Never said he was.  It’s just what people call him.”

“He’s a murderer!”

“Doesn’t mean we’re gonna arrest him!  And the two of us ain’t gonna collar a gang leader in front of his gang all on our own, neither.  We don’t go into a bank robbery and order a dumbass to put down his chopper.  We leave that shit to the teams trained for it.”

“But he killed a man, we saw it!”

“We saw a dead guy fall three stories.  Trust me, rookie.  When someone hits the pavement like that, if they have any blood in them, it leaks out.  The perp was dead before he hit.  Before that?  We didn’t actually see anything because it was too dark.  The ADA on this has been up and down the trail every damn time the angel shows.”

“But Sarge!

“Shut up and listen, kid.  Anyone does what that guy does, you have to remember the first rule of police work, the one rule all the others help you follow.”

“What’s that, Sarge?”

“At the end of your shift, go home alive.

“You mean he’s killed a cop?”

“No, but he’s racked up a half-dozen charges of assaulting an officer.  You don’t need to add to ’em, dumbass!  Now, help me with these kids.”

“What do we tell the backup?”

“It was too dark to see, what do you think?  Unless you want to explain how you tried to tackle the guy and got your nose out of joint?”

“How about I let you do the talking, Sarge?”

“Hmm.  Maybe he was right.”

“Huh?”

“About there being hope for you.”

 

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