Chase, part eleven: Jack

(Start with Part One)

There was a coma patient coming with us to the bust.

We were on our way up to UCSD, hoping to find Ms. Hernandez. She wasn’t in her apartment, but a couple of photos were: two young boys, both just now reported missing.

I was almost glad Blake had taken over the case. It kept getting stranger, and the woman in the back of the ambulance following us meant it would probably only get worse from here.

It was bad enough when it was just groggy kids. Now it felt like some cult was stirring up shit.

We pulled up to the building Hernandez worked in. The ambulance stopped behind us. Two guys in dark suits just like Agent Blake’s hopped out, then hustled to the back, where they pulled out a stretcher.

“She’s not going in with us, is she?” I asked Blake.

“Of course she is.” He replied, climbing out of the car. “That’s why we brought her.”

The two other suits helped Blake lift the coma patient out of the ambulance bay and onto the gurney. They strapped her down, checked her IVs, and nodded at each other.

“Let’s move,” Blake commanded.

Lacey got out of her own squad car and joined me as we followed Blake and the gurney into the building.

“Any idea what’s going on?” I whispered.

She shook her head. “I can’t believe they wouldn’t let us bring more backup.”

“Yeah, I don’t think the vegetable here counts.”

We split up once we got inside. The suits and the gurney took the elevator up to the fourth floor. Lacey, Blake and I started up the stairs.

“She should be in one of the labs up here,” Blake whispered to us. “Room 408. Let me go in first, then the patient, then you come in, ok?”

“How about we leave the patient outside? You’re just giving her a hostage.”

Blake shook his head. “She goes in. Can you follow directions or not?”

I felt like punching him. “Yeah, sure. It’s your freak show.”

We rejoined the suits and gurney at the elevator. It was quiet on the fourth floor. We’d called ahead to the other labs to try to get everyone out of the building.

The door to 408 was open just a crack, enough for us to hear someone weeping inside the room. I thought of the kids, probably scared out of their wits, and pulled out my gun.

Blake swung the door fully open and stepped in, no gun, just a grin on his face.

“Lieutenant Angela Burns,” he beamed, “it’s good to see you again.”

Hernandez had one of the boys cradled on her lap, her face buried in his hair. When she looked up at Blake, I could see black streaks on her face where tears had run through her makeup.

“David?” she said, disbelieving. “What are you doing here?”

“It’s time to go home, Lieutenant,” he said, stepping toward her. The suits pushed the gurney further in, turned it so the patient’s left side was right behind Agent Blake, then started pulling on what looked like thick leather gloves.

I glanced at Lacey. She raised her eyebrow, then shrugged and moved to her right. I moved left, keeping my gun up and aimed at Hernandez.

“I found him, David,” Hernandez whispered. “I found Jacob. I found our boy.”

I glanced at the kid in her lap. I recognized him from the photos back at the station. That boy’s name was Marcus, not Jacob, and his mother was most certainly not a pre-med college kid. Hernandez was raving.

Blake just nodded his head, like everything she was saying made sense, and took another step toward her. “That’s great, Angela. Now, let’s take him home.”

She pulled back at that. “Home. No. I’m not going back. You took him from me. Why did you take him from me?”

Blake stopped. Hernandez stood up, clutching the little boy, and started looking for a way out.

“Don’t move, Hernandez!” Lacey barked. “Let the kid go, and step away!”

Blake pointed at Lacey but kept his eyes fixed on Hernandez. “Stand down, Detective.”

Hernandez looked from one to the other, hesitating. “You’re going to do it again, aren’t you?” she asked Blake. “You’re going to take him away again?”

Blake lunged for Hernandez. Her eyes widened and she turned to run, still holding on to the boy.

She couldn’t move fast enough with the child. Blake slammed into her. All three of them tumbled to the ground in a tangle of arms and legs.

I moved closer, preparing to take a shot if one came, if it was necessary. From the corner of my eye I saw Lacey doing the same on my right.

The two suits by the gurney ran toward Hernandez as soon as they saw their boss jump. A few seconds after Blake, Hernandez, and Marcus tumbled to the ground, they moved in, efficiently extracting Hernandez from the pile.

“No!” she screamed. “Don’t take him away again! David!”

Lacey put her gun away and ran in to help Marcus to his feet. I lowered my weapon but stayed back, ready in case Hernandez should break free and try to run for it.

Blake stood up. “Hold her still,” he ordered the two suits.

He pulled a small case from inside his jacket, opened it, and withdrew a syringe. He strode over behind Hernandez and stabbed it into her backside, then pressed the plunger down, injecting whatever it was into her system.

She struggled and screamed for a few more seconds. Then she shivered, and her body slumped between the two suits.

“Get her to the gurney,” Blake ordered.

His men lifted Hernandez off the ground and carried her next to the coma patient. Blake walked over to stand behind the patient’s head. He put one hand on her forehead, touching it with just his fingertips, and placed his other hand against Hernandez’ temple.

He whispered something I couldn’t make out. Then the coma patient blinked and opened her eyes. Her eyes focused on Blake. I heard her whisper, “David?”

Then she looked down at her own body, and screamed.

I’ll never forget that scream. It held such unbridled horror, and so much despair. Just thinking about it makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

Blake only nodded and grinned. He pulled another syringe from the case, and injected its contents into the coma patient’s IV.

She stopped screaming. I holstered my gun, realized I was shaking. I took some deep breaths to try to stop.

When I felt like I had it under control, I walked over to where the suits were still holding Hernandez in the air.

“Can I cuff her now, Agent Blake?” I asked, reaching for my handcuffs.

He shook his head. “That won’t be necessary, Detective. Take that young woman home.”

“What the fuck do you mean?” I whispered, trying not to be heard by Marcus just a few feet away. “She just kidnapped two kids!”

Blake stared down at the coma patient. “No, she didn’t. Go easy on her.” He waved his suits to lower Hernandez to the ground. “If she’s lucky, she won’t remember any of this.”

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