CHAPTER FORTY TWO
"Do you remember your most fearful moment, Brian?"
Brian felt his chest compressing with sheer exhaustion. He dropped to his knees, his eyes firmly fixed on the gun aimed at him. He felt the pistol in his own hands. It was slippery. His hands were so clammy.
Billy was staring intently at his young victim now, wondering how he could be so strong. He never expected this. He was scared, but he'd held it together. In some ways, he was envious of him. When Ned had been there, he'd been a quivering wreck, spouting jibberish and praying. He didn't even believe in God.
"Do you remember the first time in your life when you actually felt that ugly head appearing inside of your soul?"
Brian nodded. "Y-yes."
He remembered it well. The first time he'd ever felt scared. He had realised at that moment that the dark wasn't going to hurt him, and the monsters under his bed had left him alone ever since he'd realised they were there..
"When was it?" Billy was genuinely interested and, despite the intimidating way he held the weapon against Brian, he looked it. Brian merely shivered, from cold, from sickness and from fear. Billy was unpredictable. If he wanted to survive this, he'd have to be obedient. Tell him what he wants to hear; show him what he wants to see.
"I, um, I was five.and I died."
The memory was so fluent in his mind. He recalled it almost perfectly.
"I felt..intense pain, and then nothing. It scared me to Hell that I felt nothing, but I could hear them screaming and pounding my chest and trying to bring me back, but I felt nothing."
His eyes closed as he remembered the feeling, or lack of it, which had sent the most intense terror through his body and through his mind. It was complete and utter peace, and even at five years old, he had known that he was dead.
"You were dead?"
Brian nodded. Billy smiled sadly. He wished he were.
"You wanna hear mine?" Brian nodded his head.
"I'd been inside for three weeks. No major events, just kept myself to myself, until I got a room-mate. Ned. He smelt so foul, never washed. He was in for attempted murder, and here was me, in for assaulting you. He didn't waste any time in pinning me down and taking whatever he wanted from me."
Brian felt tears pricking again, but he fought them.
"I never felt so fucking helpless in all of my life, because I was locked in there with him 23 hours a day. I had nowhere to run."
The gun wasn't so steady, now, as he recalled his nightmare. It was shaking with his hands, and he had to use all of his fragmented concentration to keep from ruining this before it had even started.
"But you know what? For all the feelings I've had about the moment I fucked you up, it isn't what it cracked up to be. I'm not rich, because the Dutch bastards fucked up, and you're not suffering."
"W-what do you mean? If you don't get me out of this, I'm gone. Isn't that what you want?"
Billy shook his head. "Not enough. You know what I want."
Brian lifted the gun up, high up.
"Is this what you want? Is this the only thing that will put you out of your misery? To have me go down for your murder?"
"Now you're getting it!"
He raised his hands into the air, showing his willingness to take the bullet which was going to end his life.
Brian listened intently. He could hear something.
"Well what are you waiting for?", the crazy Billy yelled.
"Shh, I hear something", Brian whispered.
The cop car came through the dark wood almost without warning.
"Jesus Christ, what the Hell is this?"
Chico swerved to the right, parking next to the scene; what looked like the hospital kid about to execute the other suspect in an unmarked grave. Fernandez, if it was him, had his hands raised to the Heavens.
"Put the gun down, Kid", the older cop, Anderson, yelled through his microphone. Brian slowly turned around.
How must this look?
"Help Me!", Billy yelled to the cops. "He's crazy. He's trying to kill me."
Brian's mind clouded in utter confusion. What the Hell was going on?
"Slowly, Kid. Put the gun down."
Brian placed the gun on the floor slowly, and one of the cops picked it up, gun aimed at him.
He felt trapped. What was he going to do?
"Now kneel down, hands on your head", he continued. Brian complied.
Billy laughed silently at his 'friend's' predicament, and whilst the cops saw to Brian, he aimed the gun back at him.
"Hey cops, I'd suggest stepping away from the kid. I've got this gun set to blow his brains out."
They looked at him, confused. Only moments before, he'd been pleading for his life.
"Drop it", Chico yelled. "Drop it now."
"Guys, in the time it takes for you to get yourself straight, he'd be shedding brains. Be sensible."
Brian trembled. "Please help me", he whispered under his breath, although loudly enough to be heard. The bearded cop squeezed his shoulder.
"Son, there's nowhere you can go. We got squad cars all over the area looking for you. Billy Fernandez, right?"
Billy smiled. He knew they'd find him. This wasn't how it was meant to be. He wasn't dead, and Brian wasn't responsible, but there was nothing he could do about that now.
"I'd have been dead if you'd been any longer."
"Oh don't be so confidant. That might still happen, unless you co-operate."
Billy lowered the gun, firing a shot which cut straight through Brian's shoulder, and laughed.
"That's what I want."
CHAPTER FORTY THREE
“I don’t think he’s going to be ok”, Jackie cried. She rested her head against her husband’s shoulder, and he did his best to soothe her. Sitting on the bed of the hotel room, with nowhere to go and nothing to do, all they could do was think.
“Jackie, honey, he’s stronger than you think.”
“He’s my child. A mother knows when her son is in danger.”
Harold sighed and kissed his wife’s head. They had a tradition. Whenever she had bad thoughts, he would kiss the left side of her head; the imaginative side to the brain, and try to wash those thoughts away. It had became like their ‘little thing’. At one time, this silly little ritual had worked, but now? Well, nothing could take these thoughts from her mind.
“Look, the boys are in the next room. Maybe if we go spend some time with them, it’ll give us some optimism. They’re always filled with that…”
Jackie nodded. “Kevin needs his family.”
But she needed her baby.
Brian lay on the floor, feeling the throbbing sensation in his right shoulder. It didn’t hurt, but he guessed he was in shock. He didn’t know how well his already weakened body would be able to take this, but he knew if he lay still, maybe Billy would think he’d knocked him out. He’d get no satisfaction then, just as he hadn’t when he’d broken into his kitchen.
“Son, I’m warning you now, you’re diggin’ yourself further into this.”
Billy laughed at the irony of the words. “I’m already deep enough. See?”
He outstretched his arm, showing the vastness of the hole that little Brian had dug for him. He must have been working on some adrenaline, because it was perfect.
“He aint as weak as he looks, fellas.”
God help me.
The gun in his hands was still firmly fixed on Brian,lying bleeding on the ground. The cops knew that all they needed to do was shoot him in the arm; make him drop the gun so he was unarmed, but in the time they took to do that, he could shoot his target time and time again. It only took a split second. They had to work carefully.
“Mr Fernandez, you are only making things worse for yourself. You’ve shot this kid, but he’s not dead. You kill him, and you’ll be up for murder.”
“Oh but I already will be. What difference does it make? You found me…it’s only a matter of time before you find her.”
Chico looked him straight in the eye. “Her? Does she have something to do with the blood on your bedsheets?”
“Can’t put anything past you, can I clever ass?”
Please don’t provoke him…
The bearded cop spoke carefully, showing no emotion. That’s what he’d been taught. Don’t let them see that they’ve got you.
“Can I at least try to stop his bleeding, otherwise he’s gonna die right here.”
Please please please…
Billy grinned. “Well, I am a fair man. Don’t you forget that. Patch him up the best you can, but I’m warning you, no funny business.”
The cop nodded his head. “I’ll place my gun where you can see it.”
He crouched down next to Brian whilst his young partner remained in the view of Fernandez. He hoped he’d learned enough to keep him talking.
“So Billy, what are you hoping to gain from this?”
“Well, I was looking for a couple of million and the knowledge that this sorry ass bastard was rotting in jail, but it doesn’t look like I’m going to get either, because you guys came too early.”
Young Chico frowned. “You were hoping he’d kill you before we arrived.”
Billy clicked his fingers. “Good. Good. You’re on my wavelength.”
Brian’s breathing was forced, the pain arriving later rather than never. He guessed that he wasn’t in shock any more. There was only so much protection the body could offer.
“Son, I want you to lay real still”, the cop whispered gently. “No sudden movements. I’m sure back up is on it’s way. They just need to find us…”
Brian didn’t answer. He couldn’t trust his voice…he couldn’t trust himself not to scream.
“We just need to keep him talking until they get here; make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid.”
He placed his hand over Brian’s shoulder, careful not to disturb the stricken man too much.
“You’ve been through a lot, huh kid? Don’t you worry, we’ll have you out of this as soon as we can.”
I hope so…I don’t want to die here.
“How old are you, pig? 26? 27?”
Chico didn’t answer. He wasn’t obliged to.
“You don’t look old enough to be a cop. Baby faced…who in God’s name would be intimidated by you?”
Chico snorted. He wasn’t taking this. “With all due respect, I’m the one with the baton and the gun, not to mention the handcuffs and the taser if I need it.”
The cop had a point. “Fair enough, kid. Fair enough, but I’m the one calling the shots here. Can you tell?”
He lowered the gun a little, it’s line of fire now Brian’s mid-back.
“He had heart problems, you know? You think he’d be able to take a bullet?”
Chico reached for his gun. He was getting pissed off, now.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you…could be dangerous for the little Backstreet Boy, and I dread to THINK the little fifteen year olds who’d have your ass if he died because of you.”
Where the fuck were the other cars? They’d put a call out as soon as they’d got here.
Brian was close to convulsing, now. He was finding it difficult to breathe, and the pain? It was immeasurable. He’d been talking about the moment he was most scared only minutes ago. That moment had changed, now…
If he got out of this alive, he wouldn’t be a suspected criminal any more. If he didn’t, he’d be a dead pop star. He wished he’d stuck with the suspected criminal. At least there was a way out of that one.
The car had been circling the same spot since they’d got the call. By the time they got there, it could be all over…
“Jesus Christ, Jimmy, we turned left five minutes ago. I’d say to carry on straight ahead. It can’t be that big…”
The ginger haired cop, Jimmy, always had to be right. If they didn’t hurry up, they’d never get there. Their guys needed back-up, and they were fucking lost.
It was starting to look like the Blair Witch Project.
“Chico? Can you hear me? Chico?”
Their young friend wasn’t replying. That wasn’t a good sign.
“Hold on a minute, Jimmy, I can see lights up ahead.”
Red and blue flashes could be made out in the distance, between some trees. They were probably about two minutes away from them.
“That’s got to be them.”
“I’d say park up, Ken. It could be a delicate situation. If we go in there, engines blazing, we might frighten the kid into doing something stupid.
“The fucking justice system stinks. All of you assholes deserve to be fucking left walking the streets.”
This rant had been building up inside of him for weeks. Months, even. Ever since it had happened.
“You throw guys in jail and forget about ‘em. You don’t care what goes on inside. You figure that they deserve everything they get. Well I’m telling you, there aint no reform going on inside…”
Chico stared at the guy straight in the eyes. “You got a beef with the system?”
“No. I got a beef with him!” He pointed at Brian and fired, missing him by inches. Brian flinched as he lay on the ground.
“Relax, B-fucking-Rok. I’d have aimed for your head if I actually wanted to shoot you again.”
This was getting out of control, now. They needed a negotiator, but he was too worked up to let them call for one. Where was Jimmy? He had experience in this kind of thing. Chico was only a rookie.
“If a lady was caught shoplifting, would you throw her in a cell with a convicted rapist? No, you wouldn’t. So why the fuck is it any different for a guy?”
“Mr Fernandez, with all due respect, what has that got to do with anything?”
Brian shivered on the floor. “H-he was raped”, he said, voice shaking. He was getting sick of the conversating pussyfooting around the obvious.
“I can speak for myself”, Billy yelled at him, angered.
“He was supposed to put me out of my misery, but you showed up. I wanted to make a man out of him.”
All he’d made was a terrified little boy lying bleeding on the floor.