TnT Ch. 07byslyc_willie©
(Author's note: this story deals with some very gritty and harsh subject matter. This is not for those looking for a straightforward sex story. There are many themes that some people might find objectionable, but to reveal them might give away parts of the story prematurely. If you continue reading, please keep this warning in mind.)
(This is the seventh of an eight-part series.)
June was still smiling, lingering memories of the previous evening eliciting all manner of libidinous thoughts, as she drove to the precinct house. She had walked languidly to the car, in no particular rush to get the day started, but as she braved the highways and streets of downtown, her mind became more focused on the job at hand.
She was surprised to find her partner and mentor smiling when she entered the forensics lab, and figured, naturally, that his evening had in some general way mirrored her own. But his words changed that assumption.
"We've got them," he declared with a grin that was akin to the snarl of a tiger gloating over a kill.
"The twins?" she asked.
Tim the forensics tech spoke up, smiling smugly as always, leaning back in his chair with fingers laced behind his head. "Thanks to me," he announced.
"Go on, tell her," Riaz prompted.
Tim chuckled proudly. "Okay, so, we went over all the court-ordered documents we got from your two boys, including their credit card receipts from the last two weeks."
June waited a moment, anxiously. "And?" she asked at last.
"And . . ." Tim sat upright and rolled his chair forward, tapping on the keyboard before him. The computer screen flashed and lit up. "Voila! The night of Kaylee Mills' murder, they rented a room at a pretty posh hotel downtown."
June's brow furrowed. "Okay . . . ."
Riaz chuckled. "Short version," he said. "Tim decided to jump the gun and request a crime scene warrant early this morning. CSI went over the room and pulled some fibers from the carpet. See where this is going?"
Realization dawned in June's mind. "Holy shit, you got a match," she said, beaming.
Tim nodded, still smug. "We got a match," he confirmed.
Riaz straightened. "I've already called the Captain," he said. "We should be getting a warrant any second now. The DA wants us to tie these two little bastards to a crime scene? Now we can."
"So what the hell are we waiting for?" June asked.
* * * *
He knocked three times and waited, then knocked again. Weapon drawn and senses alert, Riaz listened at the door. He looked back to the armored uniforms behind him. "Break it down," he ordered as he stepped aside.
The two officers carrying the "big key" battering ram stepped forward and swung the massive, barrel-shaped weight into the door. Wood splintered, plaster exploded, and pieces of metal from the lock rang across the tiled entryway. The door itself flew solidly into the hallway of the apartment, landing flat upon the floor with a rush of air. As soon as the officers retreated, Riaz and June entered quickly, weapons drawn and ready to fire if necessary.
But the apartment was still. Quiet.
A couple of quick gestures, and Riaz sent the SWAT team members into the apartment to check the rooms. One by one, the teams reported back.
Riaz relaxed with a scowl and holstered his pistol. "Not good," he muttered.
"Maybe they just went out for breakfast," June suggested, but her tone belied the doubt in her own words.
Riaz headed for the bedroom, noting the unmade bed, the open drawers. He glanced to the bathroom and saw the misty film on the shower's glass walls.
"They're gone," he said. "Apparently, they didn't have much faith in their lawyer." He took up the phone from his pocket and stepped back toward the living room.
June's eyes wandered around the disheveled bedroom. The Tolomeo twins were not much for tidiness, although she had seen worse. The presence of the single large bed, with its sheets dragged down and the curls and curves in the sheets from two different bodies made her queasy, however. She could not shake the mental image of the twins entwined, naked, kissing, touching--
She caught her breath as she snapped back to reality, and looked to the doorway where her partner waited.
"We got an APB out on them," he said. His brow furrowed with concern. "You okay?"
She managed a sheepish smile. "Just . . . thinking," she said, gesturing vaguely toward the bed. "These guys creep me out."
For a brief moment, Riaz softened. "I know. Me, too."
Like I'm gonna believe that, June thought. "So, what now?"
"Now, we protect our witnesses," said Riaz. "I'll send a couple of units to pick up Leticia Covens and the motel owner. They won't be happy, but I'm not taking any chances with a couple of sociopathic twins on the loose."
"What about Patty Richards?" June asked.
Riaz frowned. "Good point. They know we've talked to her, and the DA could really use her as a character witness. We'll need to contact the county sheriff and have them send out a unit."
"Or, I could go out there," June offered. "It'd be quicker."
Riaz started to rebuke his partner, then hesitated, but just for a moment. "Maybe I should go," he said finally.
June fixed him a look. "Don't go getting macho on me," she said firmly. "You're the lead on this. You need to be here in case the APB brings them in. I'll go get Mrs. Richards."
Riaz grimaced, but time was a factor he couldn't ignore. "All right," he agreed at last. "But have dispatch get in touch with the sheriff up there anyway. Just in case."
June smirked. "Whatever you say, Dad," she snapped as she headed for the door.
* * * *
She didn't know why the sudden feeling of dread drifted through her mind like a ghost as she approached the Richards Farm gate. The appearance of the cross against overcast, threatening skies was ominous, and for a moment, June's mind played a trick on her perceptions, making her think the cross was upside-down. But a blink of her eyes corrected the image, though it did nothing for the dark pit that was forming in her stomach.
She pulled the car through the gate and stopped, staring at the distant house. In addition to the two trucks and the sports car, there was a fourth vehicle parked before the sprawling, DIY-style mansion.
A black Toyota Rav-4.
June's heart palpitated. She clenched the steering wheel. Son of a bitch.
She grabbed her phone from the console between the seats, but there was no reception. Tossing it aside, she took up the police band communicator.
"Calling Morris County dispatch. Morris County dispatch, this is Detective Barret."
Static was the only response.
Fucking hick law enforcement, she thought angrily. "Morris County, this is Detective Barret. I'm at the Richards Farm. Suspects are on site. Repeat: suspects are on site. Requesting immediate backup. Please respond."
Again, there was no answer other than the crackle of static.
"Fuck!" June sat back in a huff. She considered her options for a handful of heartbeats before realizing she really had none. Shifting in the seat, she slipped her pistol from its holster and racked the slide to chamber a round. Placing the pistol on her lap, she rolled the car forward.
With the windows down and radio off, all she heard was the crunch of gravel beneath the sedan's tires and the thrumming of the engine. Her sense were on high alert, hoping to catch some glimpse of movement, perhaps a flutter of a drape in a window. But everything was still.
Stopping the sedan about a dozen yards from the house, she switched off the engine. On impulse, she took up her phone and called up the notepad application.
"TnT at Richards house," she typed quickly. "No Backup. Going in."
She slipped the phone beneath the seat, then took up her weapon and pushed open the door of the car.
She could feel the change in air pressure as soon as she left the car. The breeze was crisp and carried a hint of ozone, the signal of an imminent shower. Distantly, birds chirped, but it seemed reserved.
Careful steps carried June toward the two trucks parked side-by-side. Quick glances through the windows revealed nothing. She went to the black Toyota next, spying a crumpled bag from a fast-food restaurant in the back seat, along with a pair of black leather suitcases and a few other bags. Bottles of soda sat in the cup holders up front.
She touched the hood. It was slightly warm.
Making her way to the sportscar, she noticed the mechanics' drapes across the front fenders, pinched by the closed hood. A large toolbox lay on the ground, the lid open.
Upon the gravel near the toolbox was a dark red stain. June stooped quickly and touched it, then sniffed her fingers. Blood, slightly congealed; maybe an hour old.
God damn it, she cursed silently, then headed for the steps of the house. The front door, she noticed, was not entirely closed.
She ascended the steps gingerly, testing the wood before placing her weight upon it so as not to make any noise. But the last step betrayed her, creaking briefly. For a moment, she froze in place, straining to hear anything that might alert her. But there was nothing.
Her foot pushed open the door, which groaned loudly, making June grimace. She ducked inside quickly, finding a corner into which she settled, eyes and weapon focused out.
"hrm . . . ."
The moan was faint, but discernible. It came from the direction of the broad living room, around the corner of the makeshift foyer. With careful, deliberate steps, June made her way closer. Pistol leading the way, she leaned against the dividing wall between the foyer and living room, and peered around.
A man's body, clad in dusty coveralls and a stained shirt, lay face-down on the floor mere feet from where June stood. A dark red puddle had formed beneath his head, soaking into the wood floor; nearby lay a bloodied tire iron, with clumps of hair stuck to one end.
Beyond that, in the midst of the sunken living room, just on the other side of the same table upon which Patty Richards had once offered finger sandwiches and homemade lemonade, was the sight that June dreaded the most.
The grey-haired woman sat upon the chair, the lower half of her face bound with duct tape. More of the silvery-grey material secured her wrists together in her lap. And standing above and beside her was one of the slender, pale-skinned, dark-haired men June sought. He held a sawed-off shotgun with the barrel pressed against Patty Richard's temple. A smugly flamboyant smile decorated his face.
"Detective Barret. Imagine meeting you here."
June snapped the pistol up, training it upon the young man -- which one was he? -- even as she looked around with quick, darting movements of her eyes. The living room was immense, with large furniture and several exits. The other could be anywhere, she knew.
"Where's your brother?" she demanded.
"Oh . . . here's around here. Somewhere. I think maybe he went to get a sandwich."
The tenor of the young man's voice, his manner of speech . . . "You're not gonna get away with this, Talon," she said, narrowing her eyes over the barrel of her pistol. "You and your brother screwed this up. Should've listened to your lawyer."
Talon chuckled malevolently. "And taken a plea bargain," he said in a patronizing tone. "Spend twenty years in prison, then get out and make a life for ourselves as fry cooks at Burger King. No thanks, detective. We like our life the way it is."
She sneered. "You two don't have a life," she declared. "You're fucking parasites, looking for the next body to suck blood from."
Talon sputtered with laughter, but it vanished after a moment. "Oh, so now we're vampires? Wow, I'm flattered. So, since Thorne and I are going all Twilight and shit, I guess that makes you the bad guy. Or girl. What, exactly, do they call dyke lesbians like you?"
June's eyes flickered to those of Patty Richards', reading the abject fear the woman felt. "I don't care what you call me," June said. "And I don't give a shit why you and your brother do what you do. But if you pull that trigger, I am going to kill you. It's as simple as that. You let her go now . . . and maybe you won't be looking at a needle in your near future."
Talon's dark eyes burned into June's. "Do you really think I believe that?" he asked with a surprisingly calm voice. "Admit it: you and your partner want to see me and my brother dead. That's what's going to make you feel like you've done a good fucking job. Me and Thorne, in the ground, rotting away, while you go about the rest of your lives, happy and laughing and dancing on our graves."
The young man's face darkened suddenly as he leaned over the woman before him, keeping his infernal eyes locked on June. "Well, that's not going to happen," he growled.
June caught both the sound and flash of movement just before Thorne leapt upon her from just outside her field of vision. She cried out as she was tackled and hurled to the floor, grunting beneath the weight of the beefier twin. Her pistol skittered across the floor, vanishing beneath the couch.
She reacted quickly, however, years of training coming in to play before she could even think. She kicked, elbowed, then rolled away and came up in a crouch, facing her attacker.
Thorne sneered, wiping blood from his lip. He took a practiced stance, which June recognized immediately. "Come on, you fucking cunt," he snarled.
"Take her, Thorne," Talon encouraged. "And make it hurt."
Thorne emitted a dark chuckle, his attention focused upon June. "Come on, bitch," he cajoled. "Bring it."
She glared at first, but then her lips curled in a mirthless smile. "You first," she goaded him. "Or are you afraid to get your ass kicked by a girl?"
As June had hoped, Thorne took the bait. "Like you could fucking do anything to me," he growled, and lunged.
He moved with practiced ease, revealing a knowledge of martial arts. But his movements were overshadowed by arrogance and assumption, giving June an opening. As he swung, she ducked and responded with a trio of hammering strikes, the first two to Thorne's abdomen, the third across his jaw. The young man staggered back, looking both angry and surprised, but not particularly pained.
"Whoa!" cried Talon with a lilt of laughter. "Round one to the dyke!"
Thorne fumed, watching his opponent. He wiped blood from his jaw with the back of his hand, assessing his next move. "Fuck that," he rumbled. "I'm just getting started."
June said nothing, waiting for Thorne's next move. She watched the way his shoulders and hips moved, ignoring the expression on the young man's face and his dark, evil eyes. When it came down to it, Thorne Tolomeo was just another punk whose moves could be predicted.
Except . . . .
He lunged again, throwing his weight into a hook that could have dislocated June's jaw. She saw it coming and brought up her left hand to deflect it, even as she swung her right leg in a vicious kick intended to crack the man's ribs.
But the punch had been a feint. He caught her leg, clasping it quickly and tightly to his side, and pivoted, lifting June off the floor for a moment before throwing her face-down to the floor. She barely managed to brace her hands before her, keeping her face from becoming mashed into the floor. But the respite was brief.
Thorne pounced, straddling the detective's lower legs and hammering a pair of blows into her kidneys. June bellowed in pain and tried to push back, but the weight atop her, combined with the flood of agony through her lower back, kept her pinned.
Grabbing a fistful of short blonde hair, Thorne jerked the detective's head back, making her cry out again. He lowered his face beside hers as June futilely clawed the air.
"You're gonna pay, you fucking cunt," he hissed in her ear. "And I'm gonna laugh every fucking time you scream when I'm fucking you."
He looked up at his brother's call.
"Make her look," Talon said, the fingers of his left hand smoothing away strands of hair from Patty Richards' face. The woman whimpered fearfully, eyes still wide and anxious.
Thorne grinned and hauled June to a kneeling position, lacing an arm through hers and holding them behind her back. "You gonna do it?" he asked his brother.
Talon responded with an evil smile, noting the way June watched him with an expression that mixed both vicarious fear and rage. He settled his face beside Patty's and whispered in her ear.
"I wonder," he said in a voice as smooth as rattlesnake poison. "Did you ever question why Thorne and I never called you 'mom?' Did you want us to? All those years . . . every birthday, every Mother's Day, we never gave you anything. But, I think, there was a part of you that wanted us to. Maybe, if we saw you as our mother, we wouldn't scare you as much. Hmm?"
Tears leaked from Patty's eyes, shimmering against the reflective grey tape covering her mouth and jaw. She squeezed her eyes shut and whimpered.
"But see, we always knew you weren't our mother," Talon continued. "Just like that useless mass of flesh over there was never our father." He paused a moment, glancing to the corpse of Patty's husband. "You know, I wish I knew what was going through your head while you watched Thorne beat your husband to death. How awful that must have been, watching him die that way. All those years together, looking forward to a shared twilight of existence, free of all the hardships of life . . . and then, bam! It's all gone."
Patty flinched, shuddering.
Talon laughed. He straightened suddenly and jerked Patty's head back. The barrel of the shotgun ground against her temple. "Well, obviously, there'll be no twilight years with hubby, now," he said casually. "And you're not gonna be saved by this pathetic little lesbo detective, either. In fact, to tell you the truth, you're about to die. And it's gonna be really . . . fucking . . . messy."
Patty screamed against her gag, eyes penetrating into June's, desperately begging for one last miracle to save her life.
But all June could do was to stare back, helpless.
"So long, Patty, and thanks for all the shit," Talon quipped, then pulled the trigger.
* * * *
Riaz couldn't stop pacing. For over an hour the police dispatch had been trying to reach the sheriff's office near Patty Richards' home. It was a small office, Riaz knew, staffed by the self-same deputies who took turns patrolling the lightly-inhabited county. Their take on law enforcement was a bit more relaxed than that of a major US city, and that disparity was annoying. More annoying, however, was the fact that there was no cellular tower close enough to get a signal from June's phone.
Finally, however, the call had come. Sheriff's deputies arrived at the Richards home to a grisly scene: Patty and her husband dead, one shot at point-blank range, the other beaten by a hammer. And to confound matters further, Detective Barret' car was at the scene . . . but she was not. Neither was there a black Toyota SUV at the home.
They took her, Riaz realized, grinding his teeth in barely-constrained anger. June showed up, and they took her. God knows what they're doing to her now.
"We've got APBs out for them," the Captain assured him. "All across the state, and three states over. Hell, even if they try for Mexico, we're gonna catch them."
Riaz glared at the seasoned lawman. "I sure as hell hope so."
* * * *
By the time the noon hour had come and gone, Riaz' anxiety had nearly reached the tipping point. He forced himself to display the usual stoicism he was known for, but within, his soul was a torrential downpour of anger, fear, and guilt. In an effort to distract himself, he poured through the information gleaned from accessing the Tolomeo twins' accounts and the items taken from their home.