Montag, 8. Oktober 2018

Chapter seven.

Oops. Guess who´s back...
Rude language warning, as always.

For a Moment that seems to last forever, the silence in the room is so thick that the City itself should hold it´s breath
Of course, it does not. The muffled sounds of cars and people making their way through the night are ever so present

"Wait, what? You don´t know?"

Dan seems taken aback, but Al is clearly very close to loosing his temper

"No. But hell, got a feeling you better tell me everything now, son"

"... but not in here. It´s not safe- for me. I guess you know that they think I kidnapped that little girl?"

"God knows I do. Right. Let´s go, I know a place"

Wiping the tears from his face, Dan grabs his old army coat from a hook on the wall and sticks his head out on the corridor. As he can see that it is deserted, he gestures the older man to follow him outside, and the both sneak out through the back door

In complete silence, they cross the backyard to another, very clearly still unused building 

Dan unlocks the door. Ah yes, he really is the janitor here, apparently. They both take a last look around... all clear... and enter

The room is very small and the only window is broken, but you can tell that someone took an effort in making the place a little liveable, some time ago. Al stares at the makeshift curtain and sighs. Cozy

"I used to sleep here, some time ago. You can use it if you want to" 

Dan swallows hard 

"If you trust me with that, that is"

No response. Nervously, he starts to fiddle with his sleeves. He must be freezing, as he wears only a Tshirt underneath, and no gloves, and it is so very cold tonight

"You wanted to tell me a story, kid"

Dan winces. Wanting is something entirely different... but yes. He said he would. And he really needs to, too

"Alright then. A few weeks ago, just days before we first met... before you took me into Eddy´s that one night... I had a visitor"

I do have a place, yanno? Where I can... lock the door behind me. Leave it all behind. Anyways, I must have passed out, again, cause I remember that I lay on the floor

I had no idea what was going on. I had no idea what the time was, or who might be knocking. I was pretty damn sure that I had paid the rent, so who the hell?

The fierce knocking and calling did not stop, though. So I finally dragged myself up. And Hell, I was to far gone to even be scared

But whe I saw the guy, trust me, it sobered me up significantly. Significantly... that´s one of his favorite words, yanno

"You?! What ..."

He shoved past me effortlessly and walked in

It was Kris. The piano player. The guy who bangs my cousin Rachel, the waitress. The snotty asshole hates my guts, what on Earth?

"Oh, lovely... Danny Boy, your place is really everything that I ever imagined, and more. Impressive!"

I felt my body stiffen

"What do you want, Kris? Since when do you do house calls when you feel like kicking my ass"

That very moment, I felt a tiny warm hand slipping into mine. I looked down, and could hardly believe my eyes man! He had brought Rachel´s little girl! She glanced up at me, shyly

"Hi there..?"

I went down on my knees to hug the hell out of her. God I had missed the little monster so badly, I had looked after her often before Mr. I will make you a Star one Day had found out that Rachel used to pay me for that. With food. Yeah man she used to feed me because she knew all to well that I was not to be trusted with cash. She even helped me to get that rotten room to live in. And then Kris cut all ties, I lost what little family I still had
Holding the little one now trashed me completely. And what was the only thing I could say, in that brief Moment of Joy?

"... you have grown so much..."

She giggled.
And then, it was over

"What did I tell you?"

".. to wait downstairs. But it´s cold outside?"
"Exactly. Off you go. Wait in the hallway, for chrissake! We adults need to talk"

It was a relieve to see her just roll her eyes at that when she turned around to go, can tell you that. But still, it made my heart burn with anger to witness him talking to her like that

She only just managed to pass the frame of the door before Kris slammed it shut behind her

"Alright then, where were we.. ah yes. Let´s get straight to the point. Out ouf shear goodness of my heart, I grant you a few days with with your beloved niece... cousin... eh, whatever. Bethany. She will stay with you for a bit"

My heart sank

"You must be joking man. Here? This is no place for a kid"

Wrinkling his nose, he took a clearly disgusted yet indifferent look around

" Yeah, well...

"You might want to clean that up, right? Don´t look at me like that. You always wanted to spend time with her, now you can. And I will even pay you in cash. 500§ now, 500§ after, how does that sound to you, hm?"

That very second, I knew things were going pear-shaped. But what could I do?

"... Cash? Kris what are you up to"

"Kris. Look at me. I can hardly take care of myself. I can´t look after a little girl. You can´t drop her off with me like a bundle of rags"

I´ll never forget his reaction. He laughed. Out loud

"Danny Boy, you really don´t get it, do you? I just did. And there is not a thing in Hell you can do about it, because IF you do, I will tell the cops that little old junkie you kidnapped our little girlie- girl"

And that was it. He told me to "look after her" for a few days, during the snow holidays. Not to let her out, and not to ask questions. Then he pushed some Simoleon bills into my hand and went downstairs to get Betty, her and a small duffle bag with some stuff of hers

I took the money, and I took her in. I went shopping for food within the hour, cause I knew damn well I´d better stay in with her during those days... or I would do something stupid, for sure. She is a very bright kid. She understood

He looks up, but he is still talking to Al´s back

"It went well for a day or two. Days were ok. Betty and I cleaned up the mess, that kept us busy, that was ok, really.. nights, not so much... and one night, the craving got really bad. When she was asleep, I sneaked out on the streets, but at the same time I knew I couldn´t do it, than Betty depended on me. 
In the end, I fell asleep in that back alley behind Eddy´s Bar. Where you found me..."

Without warning, Al turns around to face him, deadly calm

"Let me get this straight. You are telling me, the parents dropped Bethany off at your place, and you never knew she was reported missing?!"

"No! I have no TV, Radio, not even a phone! I read no newspapers, I did not even leave my place! And when I saw it on the news, I first thought they had put the blame on me, like Kris had threatened!"

His shoulders sag. He sighs

"When I realized what they really did, that they faked a kidnapping and ran off with the ransom money, I knew I had to get my shit together after all. Had to look after Betty. It´s just the two of us now..."

Oh-oh, the Rising of the Eybrow...

"And did you? Get your shit together, I mean? You look like hell"

"Yes, I did. I work two jobs, that´s why. Janitor at night, deliveryman in the mornings. Not much sleep... I try to save up to move to another city, with Betty. She needs to be back in school man. She knows what´s up, we will say she is my girl, and that her mother left her with me. Close enough to the truth, maybe we can get away with that"

Al is thinking hard, and you can tell it. This feeble plan might even work out, but still... he used to be a cop, he knows that the police will very likely not stop looking for the missing child, never, not really

"That´s not enough, son. We need to pick up the loose ends... and I might have an idea or two about that. The question is, how much more are your willing to do for our little girl? How far will you go?"

Dan clenches his fists and grits his teeth

"I´d do anything"

Freitag, 27. Februar 2015

Chapter six.

Thanks for your patience, everyone...

No content warning needed this time around, no worries
... ok. You know me. Rude language is very likely.

Sometimes, it feels as if Winter will never end. Legions of snowflakes keep falling from the grey skies as if they were tiny alien invaders, slowly but surely taking control of the world

Some say, though, that everything looks so much nicer when covered with pure white, but...
Well, I am I the only one who is thinking "shroud" here? Anyways. Let's see how Al is doing

And there he is, seemingly oblivious of his surroundings and the cold, staring rather blankly at the building on the opposite side of the road from a gap between two more old and rundown brick buildings

As he hangs his head, a tossed away newspaper catches his eye. Mechanically, he reaches for the soaked paper and picks it up

Only to freeze as, promptly, the first article he sees on opening the paper is about Betty.
"Local girl still missing after failed attempt to hand over ransom money"
"Grieved parents blame SCPD, will move South"

The building on the other side is where Betty used to live
The paper is several weeks old
Silent tears of despair trickle down his face
The White Knight has failed his Princess

Silent tears, and silent rage. Al recalls all to well how, some time ago, he came back "home" from his daily search for food

No, he still had no idea that Basecap set him up. But the sight of a woman in a suit on an abandoned factory ground was suspicious enough in itself to make him stop dead in his tracks and quietly retreat behind the next corner to take a better look
... Feds, eventually? But why?

Another suit, apparently searching the premises? Hm.

"Sir, with all due respect- we are wasting time here- that little druggie was obviously just trying to save his own ass! We have literally turned every piece of trash in this building, there was absolutely no sign that the girl has ever been here!"

The senior officer looks just as tired and worn out as you would expect of someone on a job like this, knowing all to well about the 48 hour rule when it comes to missing children
"Helen, we both know that we have no other lead. So would you please just carry on and, eventually, pray that we find something, anything at all?"

While those two still muse about the use of the operation, the pale blonde guy hesitates, then goes down on his knee to inspect a dent in the snow a little more closeley

"Sir I know, but still, I believe that we should press matters with the stepfather some more. He has something about him that makes my skin crawl!"
"Sir? Excuse me..."
Have you found something interesting, Pale Guy?

"I think I found..."

"... that pink bunny toy the mother kept talking about, Sir"

"Hell. See that? The suit found that rabbit thing. I can't believe it. I can't believe he really did this. Kidnap a child? Fuck it. Fucking unbelievable"

Tomasz watches his partner for a bit. As the other cop falls silent after that omnious remark, he hesitantly reaches out and touches Harry's arm lightly before speaking up
"Huh? What?"
"So I was right. You know that homeless guy, don't you? How? Who is he?"

Can he trust his new partner with this? Hell why not...
Taking a deep breath of the cold Winter air, Harry mans up

"Alan used to be a street cop, one of us. Same precinct, even. One of the best...  then he was called to a bar brawl. Killed a Guy. Couldn't get over it.
Even internal affairs said it was self defense, but still... he kind of lost it after that. Got on the wrong side of the uppers all the time, ended up loosing his job, his family, everything, and plain dissapeared from the screen. 
Saw him last summer, digging through a trash can in a back alley... don't think anyone but me knew he was still around at all. Jeezas. I just can't believe he has fallen so far. A kid? A little GIRL? That's low, man... that's so low. Don't even want to think about what he has done to her. Guess you just never know a guy inside out"

And that was how Al learned that he was the main suspect in Betty's case. As you can tell, he did not take it lightly, but what should he do- but run?
So run he did

Running, and hiding he has been eversince. Kept on moving. Never slept in the same place twice so far, but he knows he is running out of options and will have to start to use the same hideouts in turns now
Taking one last look up at the now lightless windows of Betty's former home, he wipes the already frozen tears from his face and starts to walk away

As a former cop, he knows literally everything about man hunting, so he keeps a low profile at all times, and he keeps on moving. Needless to say, he doesn't get much sleep anymore

Lack of sleep, lack of food, lack of any kind of rest for both body and mind are taking their toll on him, and he can feel it... he won't last much longer

Al knows that his priority is sleep, and in a frost free place. People's houses or garages are not safe... public buildings are better...

Like this old slaughterhouse, converted into a grungy nightclub by some shady investor

Public toilets are best, as long as you keep an eye on the opening hours of the facility you are using, you will very likely go completely unnoticed

What now... should he return later, or can he take the risk of entering a stall now to take a much needed nap?

"Al?! Oh my God"

Yes, I guess he is just as perplexed as you are...

 "Oh God, man, I- I- I am so sorry!! I had no idea... when I heard they suspected you... I just couldn't.."

"Jeezas ... they framed me, I swear..."
And without warning..

... he breaks down. Physically. On his knees, on the still slightly damp floor he wiped just a moment ago. Sobbing, shaking
"Please don´t kill me, I am so sorry"

After a moment of stunned silence, broken only by frantic sobs the older man reluctantly reaches for the younger one´s shoulder and pokes him ever so lightly

"Son. Shut up, get up, start over - what the hell are you talking about?!"

So, fire away. Guess. What on earth could Dan of all people have done that would be reason enough for Al to finish him off?