tagMatureHell Hath No Fury Ch. 18

Hell Hath No Fury Ch. 18

byD.C. Roi©

"Jackman, you're in X-ray thirty-one tonight," Sergeant Dawson said at roll call. "We're short-handed again, so you'll have to do guard duty in front of the Tate place on Johnson by yourself. Dumont, you'll be alone in Lincoln twenty-five. Think you can handle the sector by yourself, Lex?"

"I'm not sure I'll be able to stay awake if I'm riding alone, Sarge," Tim's partner said. "Isn't there someone else you can assign to partner with me? I'd even take another rookie."

"You mean somebody who knows how to use the computer, don't you Lex?" Mackey asked. He and his partner laughed.

"I'm assigning Loomis and his K-9 to East sector, too. I want him available quick if you or Jackman need backup, Lex," the sergeant continued.

"Maybe Loomis will let the dog ride with you, Lex," Mackey said. "You could let the mutt run the computer for you, he's smarter than you anyhow, old-timer."

While the rest of the officers in the roll call room roared with laughter, Lex flashed his middle finger at his tormenter.

"You think that asshole who's after that lady really has balls enough to try something with a cop sitting out front?" Jones asked.

"There were three cops sitting out front last night and he did," the sergeant snapped. "There was a unit outside the school today, too, and the asshole still did his thing there, too."

"Maybe you ought to assign me to that guard duty," Deke Burke, another patrolman, said. "You could let Jackman spend the night on the shooting range to improve his aim."

Tim felt his ears getting hot.

"Don't let him get to you, kid," Lex whispered.

"I wonder how good your aim would be if someone was shooting at you, Burke," Sergeant Dawson asked. "How many times you been shot at since you been on the job, Deke?"

Burke's face turned red and he looked down at the desk in front of him. "I get your point, sarge," he mumbled. "Sorry, Jackman, I was out of line."

"Apology accepted, Deke," Tim said.

"All of you, I want you sharp," Sergeant Dawson continued. "Anything at all comes in from the Heights, anything, I want you all to drop whatever you're doing and start drifting in that direction. You got that?"

Everyone said they did.

"OK," the sergeant said. "Let's go out and protect and serve the citizens of Jamestown."

An hour later, Tim was sitting in his cruiser in front of Heidi's house, trying hard to stay alert. Every once in a while, he drove around to check the alley and, once an hour, he got out of the car and checked the house and yard. He didn't see Heidi, but he didn't expect to. Sergeant Dawson said she'd been advised to stay inside, keep out of sight, and make sure her doors were locked.

About three a.m., Sergeant Dawson's cruiser pulled up next to Tim. "I'll keep an eye on things here," the sergeant said. "You go get yourself something to eat."

"Thanks, sarge," Tim said. "I'll be right back."

"Take your time," the sergeant told him. "Union contract says you get a half-hour break for dinner."

Heidi was in her house, feeling terribly frightened and lonely. She glanced out the window occasionally, and felt comforted by sight of the police car sitting next to the curb. There was only one officer in the car tonight, not two like there had been the night before, but she figured the police knew what they were doing.

Tim drove down to the convenience store, got himself a sandwich and bottle of iced tea, then he quickly ate the food he purchased. When his food was gone, he headed back toward Heidi's house. He decided to slide through into the alley before he returned to his post in front of the house.

He cruised slowly down the alley. Nothing looked any different than it had the last few times he'd been through. Then he jammed on the brakes. The car parked in front of a garage a few doors from Heidi's house wasn't there the last time he drove through here. It looked familiar. He backed up and turned on the cruiser's spotlight to illuminate the car's license plate. He punched the license number into the computer and waited for it to tell him who the car belonged to.

When the information appeared on the display, Tim's eyebrows raised. "Milton Bingham?" he thought. "Isn't that the guy we stopped out front a few weeks ago? Yeah, it is. He told us he was a friend of Heidi's and said he was sitting out in front of her house to protect her. But..." He picked up the radio mike. "X-ray thirty-one to Sam five," he said.

"Sam five," Sergeant Dawson replied.

"I'm in the alley behind the Tate house," Tim said. "There's a car here that wasn't here last time I cruised the alley. I ran the plate. It's the guy we stopped out front a couple of weeks ago."

"He around anywhere?" the sergeant asked.

"Negative," Tim replied. "Car looks empty."

"Check it out," the sergeant said. "But be careful, Tim, be damn careful!"

"Copy that, sarge," Tim said.

"Sam five to dispatch," Tim heard the sergeant say as he got out of his cruiser. "We may have something here. Get backup rolling code 2. As much as you got."

"Copy that, Sam five," the dispatcher said.

Tim slipped his pistol out of his holster and, holding the gun down by his leg and his flashlight in his hand, he checked Bingham's car. Nobody was in it. He felt the hood. It was warm. That meant the car hadn't been setting long. He started down the alley, toward Heidi's house. He was halfway across her back yard when he heard Sergeant Dawson yell.

"Freeze, asshole! This is the police!" the sergeant roared. "You move one muscle and you're dead meat!"

Tim had switched off his flashlight when he entered Heidi's yard. He knew the yard intimately and, if the intruder was in the yard, he didn't want the man to know he was coming. He peered at the back of the house, trying to see where the suspect was. There he was, near the back door, dressed all in black, just as he'd been the night before.

Sergeant Dawson had come around the corner of the house and was moving toward the man, holding his riot gun in his hands. "Interlace your hands behind your head and get down on your knees, asshole!" the sergeant ordered. "Get on the ground! Do it now!"

Tim moved closer. He didn't think the intruder had seen him. That gave them an edge.

"Get on the ground! Do it now, asshole!" Sergeant Dawson yelled again.

Tim saw the man's hands move and, instantly, he realized what the intruder was going to do. "Sarge! Gun!" Tim yelled. At the same time he turned on his flashlight and brought his gun to bear on the intruder.

When Tim yelled, Sergeant Dawson took a step backward and, at exactly the same time, the intruder fired. The sergeant went down. Tim was stunned when he saw the sergeant fall and made the mistake of looking to see if Sergeant Dawson was hurt. Even though his glance only took a fraction of a second, when he again turned his attention to the intruder, the man was facing him.

Tim felt the blow to his chest, saw the orange flash, and heard the roar of the intruder's gun all at the same time. He was lifted off his feet and slammed to the ground on his back. Although his chest hurt terribly, he immediately rolled onto his side, brought his gun up, and pointed it at the intruder. The man was advancing toward him and had his gun pointed at the fallen officer.

"I'm going to die!" Tim thought. "Jesus Christ! I'm going to die!" The next thing he knew, his gun was roaring and bucking against his fist, again and again. Then another gun sounded, louder. A riot gun. The intruder rose up on his toes, did a weird, boneless dance and collapsed in a heap on the lawn. Tim laid there, barely able to breathe, holding his gun on the fallen man.

"Jackman, you OK?" Sergeant Dawson yelled. "You hit?"

"I...I'm hurt, sarge," Tim said. "He...he hit me." He felt his chest. There wasn't any blood, but it hurt like crazy. He could barely breathe.

"Sam five to dispatch!" Sergeant Dawson yelled into his radio. "Officer needs help, shots fired! Officer down! Get me Rescue and get them now!"

"Copy, Sam five," the dispatcher said. "You'll have backup on the scene in a second. I'll get Rescue rolling right away!"

Laying on the damp grass in Heidi's back yard, Tim watched Sergeant Dawson approach the suspect. The sergeant bent down, kicked the gun out of the fallen man's hand, then he checked the man for a pulse. "He's deader than shit," he said, but he followed department policy and handcuffed the man just the same. Then he moved over to Tim, laid his shotgun on the grass, and knelt next to the fallen patrolman. "You sure you're OK, kid?" he asked, his voice showing concern.

"Think he busted a rib," Tim said. "It's a good thing I had my vest on." He looked up at the sergeant and forced a weak smile. "I thought he got you, sarge." He took a shallow breath and winced. "I saw you fall and..."

"I stepped in a fucking hole and tripped," the sergeant said. "Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. It's a goddamn good thing you yelled, though, I didn't see the bastard's gun. You saved my ass, kid! Don't move. Rescue's gonna be here in a minute. We'll get you to the hospital and let them check you out."

"No problem," Tim said, "I'm not going anywhere."

A few minutes later, the yard was crawling with police officers. The fire department rescue crew checked Tim out, then lifted him onto a stretcher, strapped him down, and started wheeling him toward the front of the house where the ambulance waited.

When Heidi heard the shots she was as frightened as she'd ever been in her life. After the shots stopped, it seemed like an eternity until a police officer came to the door. "It's OK, ma'am," he said. "We got him. You're safe now."

Heidi saw the ambulance sitting in the street in front of her house. "The shots..." she said fearfully. "Was anybody...was anybody hurt?"

The officer looked as if he weren't sure what to say. "Ah...the bad guy...he...he's dead," he told her. "And one of our guys got hit."

"Is...is the officer all right?" Heidi asked.

"I think so," the patrolman told her. "It's department policy that we all wear vests. They're going to take him to the hospital and have him checked out, but I don't think it's anything serious."

Heidi saw the medics pushing the stretcher out from beside the house. "Is...is that the officer who was shot?" she asked.

The policeman she'd been talking to nodded. "Yup," he said.

"I...I want to thank him," Heidi said, starting toward the stretcher.

The ground was bumpy and the ride on the stretcher wasn't the ride Tim ever had, given the sore condition his chest was in. Then things looked better, much better. Heidi's concerned face was looming over his. "Hi, Heidi," he said.

"Tim!" Heidi said. "Tim Jackman!" Tears began to gush from her eyes. "Tim, is...is that really you?"

"Yeah, it's me," Tim replied.

Heidi was shaken. She had no idea Tim was a police officer, or that he was anywhere near her. He'd saved her life! "Tim...I...thank you," she sobbed. "Are...are you really all right?"

Tim forced a wan smile. "I probably won't be doing any deep-breathing exercises for a few days," he replied. "Other than that I guess I'm OK."

"I...I didn't know you..." Heidi began.

"Ma'am, we've got to get him to the hospital," one of the medics said.

"Yes, of course," Heidi said. She watched the medics roll the stretcher with Tim on it to the ambulance, then lift him into the boxy orange and white truck with flashing red and whitelights all over it. A few seconds later, the ambulance began rolling.

Detective Tyler walked over to where Heidi was standing. "Excuse me, Mrs. Tate," she said, "Given what's happened, I hate to have to ask you this, but we'd like it if you could look at the body. Maybe you can tell us who it is. Do you think you're up to it?"

"B...body?" Heidi asked.

Detective Tyler nodded. "The man who was terrorizing you," she said.

"Don't...don't you know who he is?" Heidi asked.

"We're pretty sure we know who he is," Sergeant Tyler said, "but we need positive I.D. It would be a big help to us if you could identify him. But if you don't feel up to it, that's OK, we'll find someone else to do it."

"Ah...OK," Heidi said. After all, it wouldn't be the first dead body she'd seen in her nursing career. And she did want to know who her tormentor had been. She and Sergeant Tyler walked across the lawn to where the body lay, covered by a yellow plastic sheet. A big officer with sergeant's stripes on the sleeves of his uniform, stood next to it.

"Could you uncover him for us, Pete?" Sergeant Tyler said. "Let's see if the lady knows him."

Sergeant Dawson bent over and pulled the plastic sheet back, baring the corpse's ashen face, then he straightened up, flipped on his flashlight, and played the beam on the body.

"Oh, God!" Heidi exclaimed. "Oh, God! Oh, no! No!" Her legs went wobbly and she felt as if she were going to pass out. She felt both officers grabbing hold of her arms.

"Do you know him, Mrs. Tate?" Sergeant Tyler asked.

"It...it's Milt...Milt Bingham," Heidi stammered. "He...he...he's the assistant principal at the high school! I...I thought he...he was...he was my...my friend."

"I guess you were wrong, huh?" Sergeant Tyler said. "Do you have any idea why he was doing this?"

Heidi shook her head. "Can...can I go back inside?" she asked. She had to sit down.

"How you doing, partner?" Lex asked Tim as the ambulance rolled toward the hospital. He had insisted on going along in to the hospital with his young partner.

"I'll be fine, Lex," Tim said. "The vest did its job. I got a helluva bruise, though. These guys think I may have some broken ribs, but nothing life-threatening."

"You know," Lex said, "I hated it when the department ordered us to wear those damn vests." He smiled and shook his head. "I don't like admitting it, but for once the brass was right."

The ambulance turned a corner, went up a hill, then it stopped and began backing up. The medics got out, opened the doors, unlocked the stretcher, and took it out.

"Well, Officer Tim," Lucy Dreher said. "Nice to see you again. What have you been up to?"

"Getting myself shot," Tim replied.

"Well," Lucy said, "let's get you onto one of these gurneys so we can see how much damage was done."

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