This is a short one-shot based in my Unwanted stories.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. © 2011 by me. All rights reserved.
* * *
The vein in Gylam’s temple throbbed and he lifted two fingers to rub at it. He stared through the one way mirror at the cause of his current headache — no his current run of headaches. He wished he could wash his hands of the man, but he couldn’t. Not yet, at least.
He still had one more piece of information to get out of the bastard before he could walk away.
The room beyond the one way mirror he was standing at was typical of every police station in the country. It was sparsely furnished with nothing but a table, three chairs, a microphone and recording device, peeling sixties-turquoise paint and loose grey linoleum tile.
The man sitting at the bolted-down table had the smug look of someone who knew he still held all the cards. The look of someone who knew he was going to get caught and didn’t really care because he’d done what he wanted to do, accomplished what he’d wanted to get done.
The body count stood at seven, so far. That was seven too many in Gylam’s opinion but he couldn’t do anything about them. What he could do something about was number eight. Which still hadn’t been found, dead or alive.
The bastard at the table sitting in a bright orange jumpsuit and sky-blue rubber sandals knew where number eight was. He knew whether number eight was really still alive or not and how long that the victim had. He swore, so far, that she was still alive. And murderer that he was, he’d been honest about everything else up until now.
Including where to find the last two victims. Which Gylam hadn’t been in time for. They’d been dead before the man had finally given in and told him. He’d been smug then, too, because he’d waited deliberately until they were dead and it had taken every bit of the police officer in Gylam to keep from pulling his SIG Sauer from its holster in the small of his back and filling the son of a bitch full of lead.
He still wanted to.
But there was one more out there, one more victim that may still be alive - that the bastard in there said was, in fact, alive. And he was determined to find her.
He turned when he heard the heavy footfalls behind him. Jones, well over six feet with skin as black as midnight, approached. “So that’s the fucker?” He asked and Gylam nodded, turning back to look through the mirror again. “Hmm,” Jones mused, “Do I have to be the good cop?” He asked and Gylam couldn’t resist the minor chuckle that escaped at the whine in Jones’s voice.
“Yes, you have to be the good cop. I don’t know how to be,” Gylam grumbled, then took a deep breath. “Let’s get this over with. I can’t wait to see him fry.”
Jones made a sound somewhere between censure and agreement as Gylam opened the door and stepped through. The bastard behind the table looked them over. “Oh how quaint. Good cop, bad cop? Should I be offended or honored?”
Gylam’s eyes narrowed and the vein in his temple pulsed. He held onto his patience carefully, intending to actually try to get things out of the asshole in a reasonable way before putting on a show. Even so, the muscles in his jaw jumped and the straw between his teeth got more mangled as he carefully held onto his patience.
He hit the button on the recorder with a bit more force than necessary and took a deep breath before speaking. “This interview will be recorded for your protection. And mine,” he added at the look on the bastard’s face. “This is Connelly, Detective Gylam. Badge number 1263.”
“And Jones, Detective Herbert. Badge number 1198,” Jones spoke up, then went back to his silent spot by the door.
“Interviewing suspect Doe, John who has, thus far, refused to give a name. He has been unidentifiable in all police databases, has no fingerprints and no registered DNA. Mr. … Doe, you have the right to have an attorney present for this interview and you waive this right. Is this correct?” Gylam asked, carefully.
“That is correct,” John answered.
“Very well,” Gylam said, then pulled out a chair, turned it around and straddled it, considering the man across from him. He was built like a football player or lumberjack, solid, muscular and definitely not fat. His hair was military short and a sort of dishwater blonde color made more unidentifiable by the pink scalp showing through. But the dark eyes were dead, cold, and undoubtedly inspired fear in most. All Gylam felt toward them, and the man, was anger.
He suppressed the urge to reach out and ring the man’s neck. Barely.
“Where is she?” He started, figuring it was worth a try.
The bastard actually laughed. “Oh come on, Detective Connelly. You don’t really expect me to make it that easy on you, do you?”
Gylam resisted the need to rub at his temple again and shrugged, instead. “It’s always worth a try.” He sighed, and tilted his head. “Jones, do I have to be nice?” He asked.
Jones stepped forward and shrugged. “I don’t much care, but the paperwork would suck if you’re not.”
“I’ll do it,” Gylam offered, standing and leaning over the table. He reached out and fisted his hand in the jumpsuit. “I’ve about had it with you. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t bother with a judge or jury. I’d be perfectly happy to feed you a dinner of lead.” He paused to work to get a hold of himself again. Putting on a show for the asshole was one thing, allowing the man to actually get under his skin was another.
Jones stepped forward. “How about this: are you at least going to tell us before she’s dead this time?”
“Oh yeah. You’ll have just enough time to get to her,” he grinned and his tobacco stained teeth and foul breath made Gylam’s stomach turn. Jones laid a hand on his shoulder and he let go of the jumpsuit with great effort and sat back down.
“Why the games? Just give us the fucking place and be done with. If you’re going to let us get there in time anyway…” Gylam started, his headache growing as he worked to hold onto his patience.
The bastard shrugged. “Because it’s fun.”
Gylam blinked and couldn’t hold back the growl completely. “Playing with people’s lives is fun?” His hand curled into a fist where it sat on the cold metal and he fought hard against the urge to plant it in the man’s face.
“If you throw that,” Doe said, “I won’t tell you until there’s no way to make it in time. Instead, you’ll get there in just enough time to watch her die.” The voice had gone quiet, dangerous and Gylam had no doubt whatsoever that the bastard meant every word.
He forcibly relaxed his fist. “How long?”
“What time is it?” Doe countered, crossing his legs and playing with the crease in his jumpsuit, running his fingers down it.
Jones looked at his wrist. “Two-thirty.”
“You have…” he paused and Gylam resisted the urge to roll his eyes at the dramatics. “Twenty-nine minutes. Since it is somewhere in the downtown area, you’ll have to wait another…” he paused again, pretending to think. “Fifteen minutes or so before I tell you. We could sit here and have a pleasant conversation. The weather was quite lovely when I turned myself in this morning, though it’s been a bit humid for September, hasn’t it?”
The headache spread to the other side and it took Gylam a moment to shove it aside and see the hidden hint. What could possibly take fifteen minutes to get to from the station and still be downtown at two forty-five in the afternoon? Traffic didn’t start in earnest until three thirty or later. He let it turn over in his head, glancing at Jones. Jones had caught it too, and he looked up at the mirror. They both knew that Charlotte was watching and would also have picked up on it.
He wanted to find her, wanted to be in on the search, but he also needed to be here just in case the asshole gave in. “Are you really expecting me to sit here and discuss the weather with you?”
Doe shrugged a shoulder. “You don’t have to. I thought it might be more pleasant than Thirteen more minutes of silence.”
Thirteen minutes. So the man was counting in his head.
Gylam wracked his brains to figure out where it might take fifteen minutes to get to and the only places he could come up with were the taller buildings in downtown. Fifteen minutes from the station to the top of the office building. Even with traffic and trouble getting elevators - which the bastard would know they wouldn’t have - there were only two buildings in town that he could possibly have used.
Gylam glanced over at Jones and saw that he got it at the same time. “Fuck you, asshole,” He threw at the man and stood up. “You’re not quite as clever as you think you are.”
He was gratified to see the bastard’s smug smile slip. “You can’t have figured it out.”
Gylam shook his head. “You should have studied your opponent more,” was all he’d give the man before turning on his heels. He resisted the urge - barely - to swing around and plant his fist in the other man’s face, anyway. Instead, he yanked at the door and started across the room at a dead run.
He vaguely heard Charlotte call after him and he threw up a hand in response, pulling his cell phone out. It rang not three seconds later. “I know where she is,” he said by way of answer. “Just in case I’m wrong, send a team to the thirty-third floor of the AT&T building.”
“Where are you going?” She asked and he could hear her breathing was short as she hurried after him.
“Why not the AT&T building?” She asked and he heard her grumble as she stopped.
“Because he would think I would assume the tallest. Then we’d waste our time and not make it.” With that, he snapped his phone closed and tore out of the building.
It never took so long to go what amounted to a handful of blocks in his life. He’d almost simply run, but he knew better. The siren screamed around the interior of the Crown Vic as he drove like a madman, ignoring every safety procedure in the book as he made his way to the building. It still took him nearly ten minutes. Outside, he jumped out, not even bothering to close the car door and took off through the handicap entrance.
His badge was slapped down on the counter before the guard could so much as say hello. “I need the thirty first floor now.”
Something in his voice must have been enough to get the emergency across because the rent-a-cop scrambled out from behind the desk and hurried over to the service elevator, keys in hand. “There’s nothing on the thirty first floor, sir. I’m not sure what you think you’ll find.”
Gylam didn’t answer, he simply stared at the numbers above the door. It felt like they took an eon to change, then numbers clicking over much too slowly.
Thirty floors took way too much time to climb, in Gylam’s estimation. Even the service elevator, which was faster than the others, was just too slow. By the time the doors opened, Gylam was ready to break them down. But he also knew better than to fly through them. The flash of a scarred wooden door, a grinning face and shaggy dark hair flew through his mind and he forcibly shoved it into a box. “Stay here,” he told the guard and his weapon was in his hand a few seconds later.
The thirty-first level was empty except for cement floors, steel beams and wide plate glass walls. There was cabling and wiring hanging loose, carpet remnants rolled up, large buckets of paint and other construction supplies piled. But no people. He eased out of the elevator and moved to the right, around the center portion of the floor that made up the elevator shaft, mechanical rooms and restrooms.
The first corner showed that that end of the level was as empty as the one opposite the elevator. Gylam clenched his jaw and listened carefully, but there was enough mechanical noise from the elevators and HVAC systems to mask any sounds the victim might make. He slipped around the second corner and moved slowly along the wall, weapon still braced in front of him.
This side of the building was facing away from the sun. The few florescent lights hanging bare from the open rafters reflected in the glass and Gylam had an unobstructed view of that section.
She was naked, hanging, bound by rough rope that had caused deep cuts and abrasions in her skin everywhere it touched. The whole thing was suspended from the steel rafters. Below her was a mat of wicked-looking sharp spikes, some six feet by eight feet in size, the whole thing attached to a steel plate and bolted into the cement. He had no idea how the man got them up there, hidden from view or if he managed to assemble it, piece by piece. Right then, it didn’t matter. After checking the single recessed section of wall and making sure there were no doors on that side, he holstered his weapon and hurried over to her.
She was, gratefully, unconscious. He inspected the rig and saw how Doe had done it. Acid dripped slowly from a vial onto the rope. The vast majority of the strands had already been burned through. There were only a few solid strands left.
There was no way to stand on the spikes, they were way too sharp. But Doe had overestimated himself again, assuming that Gylam would simply not make it in time, much less have enough left to retrieve two of the paint buckets and some of the carpet to distribute his weight, pull his pocket knife out and cut her down, all before the acid ran out.
He gave himself just three seconds to be grateful he’d made it this time, then he pulled his phone out of his pocket again and hit the green button twice. “I’ve got her,” he said as soon as the line connected. “The fucker’s going to fry.”