Hart of Darkness
I parked two blocks from a sea of red and blue flashing lights. I grabbed my bag, hopped out of my car, and ran up to the crowd that had gathered around.
I sidled up to an older lady. “What’s going on?”
She didn’t even look my way. Instead, she lifted up on her tiptoes to see over others’ heads. “Word is the cops are in a standoff with some gang.”
My internal radar was firing on all cylinders. “What gang?”
She clutched the robe she was wearing. “Not sure.”
I plowed through the throng to get a better view. Some protested as I wiggled my way up to a man in blue, whose name read Miladin on his uniform shirt. I knew some cops but not him.
Police cruisers and unmarked cars littered the street on the other side of the police barricade.
I flashed my reporter credentials. “I’m here to see Detective Ted Hughes.” I scanned the men in blue and some in plain clothes. Ted was tall, lanky, and sometimes hard to miss with his thick mustache that was similar to the actor Tom Selleck’s. I did another once-over and spotted Rick. He wasn’t as tall as Ted, but he was husky, compliments of the gym he lived at during his off-duty hours.
Officer Miladin narrowed his dark eyes. “Civilians are not allowed past this barrier.”
“I work for the paper, so let me through.” I knew working as a reporter held no clout to get me into an active police scene, but most cops knew I was close to Ted.
Officer Miladin stabbed a finger at another police barrier along the sidewalk in front of the brick homes that lined the street. “The media is over there.”
I didn’t budge from my spot. “You’re new. Aren’t you?”
Miladin’s voice dropped an octave. “I said over there.”
I huffed and decided it wasn’t worth arguing. Ted would only kick me out anyway.
I spotted Deidre, a news reporter for CBNT, a local station in the city. If anyone had a lead, it would be Deidre. She was relentless in her hunt to get the big story. I was about to make my way over to her, when a shot rang out through the humid night.
People screamed and scattered.
The cops took cover behind their vehicles.
I managed to duck behind one of many cars parked along the curb. The lady in the robe joined me, breathing heavily, while the crowd scattered to take cover.
Then silence ensued.
I slowly peeked through the car window, when the lady in the robe nudged me.
She pointed a red-painted nail toward the driveway of the house across from us. “Look.”
A girl with bold red hair darted from the back of the house, setting off the motion sensor.
Miladin, who had abandoned his position, edged along the base of the house and down the driveway. He said something into his radio, when the redhead climbed the chain-link fence.
Considering the girl was running, I suspected the cops didn’t have the house completely surrounded. Or if they did, then their attention wasn’t on the girl.
The crowd seemed to be holding its breath.