Authors: Laura Marie Henion
Copyright ©2008 by Laura Marie Henion
All rights reserved. The use of any part of this publication reproduced, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written consent of the publisher, Lachesis Publishing, is an infringement of the copyright law.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any person or persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
I dedicate this book to my father and ‘technical advisor’ Vernon J. Geberth.
Thank you for your continued support and, most importantly, your love.
To my husband, Tim, and my three children: I thank you for your encouragement and support as I continue to pursue my dream.
While Diana held onto the dresser, trying to maintain her balance, she caught sight of her reflection in the mirror. She wasn't drunk, just a little ‘buzzed.'
I have control of this. I only had three glasses of wine.
In her mind, she attempted to convince herself she needed it in order to sleep. A few glasses of wine were nothing compared to taking prescription sleeping aids. Drugs could be addictive.
She stared at herself a moment, realizing for the umpteenth time the wine only coated the bad thoughts—the visions of dead bodies, murdered victims of cases both solved and unsolved. The visions came only at night, when her apartment was quiet, when she was left alone with her thoughts and her insecurities.
Sometimes people in her line of work became desensitized. The blood, the gore of horrific acts of violence, could never escape her thoughts. Solving murders, bringing justice to victim's families, was her vocation.
Leaning in closer, she saw the fatigue appearing like half moons under her eyes.
I'm only human, damn it! Every detective has these feelings, so why shouldn't I?
She wasn't some sort of ‘super cop,’ as she'd been referred to many times. It'd been said more so in sarcasm, than in an attempt to rattle her and get under her skin. She was a woman, after all—weak, emotional, unable to last as long working homicide as any male counterpart.
"Bullshit!” She grabbed the wine glass off the dresser, devouring the burgundy liquid in one quick gulp.
She was a great detective, taking every challenge head on and without complaint. That's not to say without worry, fear, or concern. She wasn't exactly conceited or confrontational, but she demanded respect, allowed others to perceive her as having an attitude because it was easier that way.
Keep a distance, keep it all work and professional, and no one gets hurt.
She glanced at the mirror again, and the white cotton tank top that clung against the muscles of her abs. She worked out hard to keep in such great physical condition. She had to. Every cop had to, to be prepared for the likely possibility of a physical confrontation. She grabbed the dresser to steady her balance, and examined the definition in her forearms, her upper body, and shoulders. She was strong, or at least she felt strong.
Juliet and her daughter Mirella were not strong enough.
She closed her eyes, envisioning the crime scene. It was a crime scene to Diana and Jerry, but to Juliet and Mirella it was once their home. There was so much blood, such a horrible mess. Diana pushed herself away from the dresser, trying to escape the thoughts.
She thought about walking to the kitchen and opening another bottle of wine. Maybe a couple more sips would do the trick tonight? She didn't drink like this all the time, just occasionally, when cases were rough and her thoughts consumed her. When the scenes re-entered her mind.
Feeling dizzy, she sat down on the edge of the bed. Slowly, she lay down, her head nowhere near the pillow.
Placing her arms above her head, she sighed, closing her eyes. In an instant of predictability, more memories of the recent crime scene flooded her thoughts. Two innocent lives. One of them a small helpless child robbed of a future, and a full life, because of a heartless individual.
Then the haziness covered the victims’ faces, their flesh, and circumstances of their deaths. Diana felt the numbness. No more visions appeared, just darkness and finally sleep.
Diana and Jerry carefully entered the apartment complex. The early morning phone call revealing the whereabouts of their suspect was enough to send her migraine to a higher level. She and Jerry met right away and prepared to catch their suspect by surprise.
They climbed the staircase. She saw the door, but could barely make out the words ‘4th Floor’ painted in black lettering. There was no time to wait for backup. Montoya was on the run and fully aware his hideout's location was blown.
Slowly, Jerry opened the metal door. Diana followed as he entered the hallway.
Jerry went still.
"Stop. Police!” He pulled his revolver from its holster and pointed down the hallway.
She was at his side, pointing her gun in the same direction. Montoya stopped a moment, then jumped inside the elevator.
There was only one way to follow him. Diana shoved open the metal door they just emerged from.
"Oh, shit!” she heard Jerry say, but didn't look back. She sprinted down the narrow staircase, jumping over every third step to make up time.
Her partner was a step behind her.
Just as they made it through the metal doorway to the main lobby, Diana heard screams. Then she saw the crowd of people assisting an elderly couple up off the floor. A second glance toward the doorway exposed their assailant, and his blue shirt blowing in the wind behind him, as he continued to flee on foot.
They hurried through the entrance and onto the sidewalk. Montoya rounded the corner, heading toward a vacant lot and a set of rundown apartment complexes. He could easily hide from them if they didn't move faster.
Diana was determined, as the foot chase intensified.
She heard Jerry behind her, panting in between calling the station house for back up.
Her muscles burned, and the pressure in her chest deepened, as she ran around the building. Jumping through the air, she just missed colliding with a metal pipe. That would've cost her. She clenched her teeth, her weapon drawn even though she pumped her arms, hoping to increase her speed. She lived for moments like this, loved them when she was a street cop. She would finally catch the bastard and her sleepless nights would end, at least in regards to this case.
They sped past the little bodega, a hair salon, and another set of buildings before the vacant parking lot.
She heard a
and then her partner, Jerry, hollered out in pain. She glanced back before refocusing on her objective. Montoya wouldn't evade capture. Not today. Jerry had tripped over the metal bar she'd just leaped over and barely missed. She didn't want to stop, but he was her partner.
"Go. Get him, Pellino! I'm coming.” Jerry tried to stand.
She didn't stay to watch. Instead, she sped around the corner of the adjacent building.
Montoya came out of nowhere, slamming her in the arm with a piece of metal piping, causing her gun to fall to the ground. She ignored the stinging pain and focused on retrieving her gun.
He jumped for the weapon, and she dove on top of him. The police radio dislodged from her belt, sliding across the pavement. She had to stop him from getting her gun. She pounded away, punch after punch into his body. Her adrenaline pumped in her veins. The sound of sirens came in the distance, and the radio chatter echoed from her police radio. He was a big guy, and she needed to move fast. She used her leanness and her agility to maneuver out of his grasp.
He almost got her arm locked behind her, but she continued to fight. He grabbed her hair. Diana gave him a forearm to the face and neck, once, twice. He started to choke. She grabbed the barrel of her gun, just as Montoya came at her again.
She swung hard, hitting him in the temple, then again in the nose with the handle. The blood splattered as she scrambled to her feet. He grabbed for her leg. The blood covered his eyes. She kicked him hard, knocking him backward onto his back.
She could tell he was exhausted. He gasped for air in between profanity and promises of death for her.
The blood continued to ooze from his head wound as he rolled over, trying to stand. Hunched up, practically foaming from the mouth, he swung at her once more. The massive fists made contact with her ribs. He wasn't going to get away.
Diana swung back, delivering a right hook, then a forearm to his face and neck. Instant pain radiated through her arm to her elbow. He went down hard. As he fell, she grabbed his hands and cuffed him. Jerry arrived, limping from the vacant building.
"Holy shit! You got him? You did that to him?” He gasped for air as their backup arrived. They rounded the corner with their weapons drawn.
Diana was out of breath, as well. The adrenaline left her body at record speed and exhaustion kicked in.
"We got him, Jerry. We got him."
More officers and paramedics arrived at the scene.
Diana sat on the ground, trying to get some air and calm her breathing. The adrenaline rush long gone, the pain from the blows to her ribs was now enormous. She gazed at the gash across her forearm. Her bones ached, every single, damn one of them, but she wouldn't reveal the pain. She knew she couldn't. After all, she'd conditioned herself to be strong, unbreakable.
"Detective Pellino, you get checked over by the paramedics yet?” Lieutenant Paul Fontella asked.
"She hasn't, Lieu. She's being stubborn, as usual.” Detective Jerry Montoff held an ice pack on his ankle.
The lieutenant looked back toward the ambulance where Luis Montoya sat handcuffed and in need of medical attention. He already heard the story, and knew Diana was responsible for the capture and arrest.