Title: The Devil Wears Vengeance
Chapter 6 – A Deadly Game of Cat and Mouse
"Boss did I hear Donna mention Ida Logan? What's going on?" Ed asks in instant concern, his mind recoiling at even the faintest mention of her name.
Donna takes Greg's head set and quickly clips it to her ear. "It's me. I got a letter from the Detective who escorted Ida to Ireland. To close off the case they sent back her death certificate. She died last week."
"What was the cause?"
"Blood poisoning after an altercation with another inmate," Donna reads the brief medical report. "Signed by the jail's medical examiner and witnessed by her assistant and two guards."
"Not sorry to see that witch dead," Ed huffs, not caring about the harsh tone directed at the woman who had nearly succeeded in putting them apart for good. "You okay?"
"I think I'll sleep better tonight knowing she's gone for good. Says here she was cremated. Hope they just flushed her ashes," Donna states sarcastically, Greg and Tom trading bemused smirks. "I'll tell you more later."
As much as she wants to ask him about the call, she knows that can wait; he's alive so Greg's tension filled use of his name moments earlier wasn't as bad as it sounded to her somewhat paranoid mind.
"Eddie…talk to me," Greg instructs. "What did you and Spike find?"
"From what we can tell, it was suicide. Single gunshot wound to the head and…Spike what is that?"
"Boss we found what appears…yeah it's a suicide note," Spike looks at the bloodied piece of paper on the desk. "I've called in a forensic team to deal with this. I'm sure they'll find more stuff on his laptop."
"We'll look around but nothing else looks outta place," Ed tells him in truth.
"Okay, wait for the locals and then get back here."
"Ed and Spike found the man responsible for your accident. Carl Hernandez. He's dead. Looks like a suicide."
"Death news all around," Donna remarks dryly as she folds up the letter and then puts it back into the envelope. "This one I'm not sorry about," she refers to Ida's death message.
"Spike, let's go!" Ed calls out from the front entrance to the small house, uniformed officers outside taping off the house and the forensic team inside gathering what was needed in order to close the seemingly simple suicide call.
"Coming," Spike mutters as he rejoins Ed, the two of them heading for the SRU SUV.
"You find something else back there?"
"Just checking a few computer things…" Spike informs Ed.
"Something out of the ordinary though?"
"Nah…nothing," Spike answers in haste. It was just a small thing…a feeling really when he saw something when one of the forensic investigators moved a book on the desk. "I'm glad we found out who hit them."
"Yeah…me to. And Donna just got word that Ida Logan died in jail last week."
"Blood infection or something," Ed replies with a small frown. "I'm just glad she's gone. Gone for good. Was cremated."
They arrive back at SRU headquarters just as the rest of team one was gathering in the team one meeting room, Ed going in search of Donna for a few minutes.
"Team out on a call?"
"Patrolling," Donna informs her husband as he lingers in the doorway. "She's gone. You know…unless I had seen that she was cremated I mighta wondered…"
"Yeah…if it was a rouse," Ed nods in agreement as his face displays a small frown. "Did Greg tell you we found Carl Hernandez?"
"Did the suicide note say anything?"
"It was a note to his bookie. Said he owed a lot of money and couldn't pay it and this way, the suicide, was better than the death the bookie had planned," Ed tells her based on the information they found; not realizing that the one person they now believe dead, was the one pulling the strings – all the strings. "Gotta run."
"Okay, see you tonight."
Ed looks at her and despite the purple bruise atop her right eye and greenish marking rimming under the same eye, the news on both fronts had put a peaceful expression on her face; an expression he can't help but smile at. Donna watches Ed go and then pulls out the letter, rereading the part about Ida's cause of death once more and then looks at the date, not wanting to tell him at the moment but it was the same night as their anniversary party at Wordy's.
"Rot in hell you Irish bitch," Donna seethes as she refolds the letter, puts it back into the envelope and then pulls herself away from the desk, wanting to file the letter along with the rest of the Logan case notes remaining at the SRU; the rest with the Federal Court. The rest of her working day would progress with her wearing a contented smile.
However, on the other side of the city, not everyone was wearing a contented smile.
"Ed…do you have the solution?"
"I…" Ed starts and then quickly stops, his eyes rapidly blinking as a small red laser beam comes out of nowhere and catches him in the right eye, his sniper's eye.
"Ed?" Greg's anxious voice is heard.
"What's going on?" Wordy wonders.
"Eddie talk to me."
"Boss yeah I…" Ed grumbles as he rubs his eyes to get the small black circles to disappear so he can regroup. But they don't leave that easily and his task is hindered.
"Ed we need it now," Greg demands.
"I have the solution," Sam responds in haste.
"I don't have the solution," Ed states in firm anger.
Cursing himself as the red beam appears for the second time, Ed rubs his eye and then blinks several times, hoping to clear away the stinging dot but is unable, his ears picking up Greg's insistent command.
The death stroke is delivered and Ed rests back on his heels, quickly scanning the area around him for anything out of place, another human being with a laser pointer that caused him to fail at his job. But as he scans the area on the other side of the road, an open building that was darkened by walls and no daylight, he fails to see any kind of human movement.
"Where are you you bastard?" Ed growls as he looks a few more seconds.
"Eddie who you talking to?"
"I saw…at least I think…I'll be right down," Ed grumbles; finally packing up and the rejoining the team moment later.
"Ed…you wanna tell me what happened up there?" Greg asks as soon as Ed emerges from the rickety stairwell.
"Boss…I had the shot…I heard the call and then…out of nowhere someone shone a laser pointer right in my eyes and…boss I was temporarily blinded. I couldn't take the shot."
"Laser pointer?" Spike asks instantly.
"You saw someone else?" Wordy inquires as he too joins the discussion.
"I saw the laser pointer, that's it. Blinded me for a few seconds…I refocused…it happened again and then…then Sam took the shot. Damn bastard messing with us like that."
"You sure?" Greg asks in concern, his question mostly rhetorical. He knows that even if Ed is tired he wouldn't make up an excuse like that; if he couldn't or didn't want to take the shot, he would have said so. "Jules, Wordy check the alleyway," Greg directs.
"Copy," they nod before leaving.
"Boss I would have taken that shot if I could," Ed stammers in frustration.
"I know you would, trust me I know. I just find it more than a bit disconcerting that someone is up there messing with a situation like this; messing with my team."
"Some punk probably trying to get a rise from messing with cops."
"It's working," Ed huffs as Sam joins them, SIU en route.
"You okay?" Sam wonders.
"Yeah fine. Good shot."
"You find the laser pointer?"
"Boss I'm up on the balcony," Jules informs them. "Ed was the beam straight across or angled?"
"Straight across," Ed answers in truth as SIU pulls up and Sam leaves them.
"Mighta been a car here," Wordy's voice is heard next. "Depending on how much effort you want to put into this I guess we can get Spike to check the traffic camera's for anyone leaving this area immediately following the shot."
"Thanks Wordy. Jules?"
"Just some footprints in the dust. They look fresh but can't tell just from these what time today they were made. The building's empty so it could have even been a kid or a couple of people. Maybe hanging out…watching…goofing off and then fleeing the scene."
"We have nothing to charge them with since the call ended the way I figured, just with a different shooter. Come back you two," Greg instructs as he looks at Ed with a small frown. "You okay?"
"Just a bit unnerving to know I was distracted that easily."
"Sure it was a one time thing. Brush it off and call it a day," Greg tries to downplay; making a mental note to tell Spike to sweep the next area for any other heat signatures besides the ones in play, unless they were in a crowed area – then all bets would be off. His intent was to ensure this didn't happen again.
"You okay?" Wordy asks Ed as they head back to the barn.
"Which of course means you're not fine. What's up?"
"I missed the shot," Ed grumbles.
"Not on purpose."
"Might as well have been."
"Sam took it. That's what he was there for," Wordy reminds him, his tone a little tongue-in-cheek humour. "Look you couldn't have prepared yourself for that; none of us expected it. I'm just glad it wasn't while you were taking the shot."
"Yeah," Ed lightly grimaces as they near the SUV, his direction slightly shifting to the passenger seat, an outward sign that he was still slightly shaken but not wanting to admit it. "Maybe it was nerves…no I saw it…Wordy the guy was…guy…I didn't see a guy, just the beam…just as I was about to take the shot."
"No one here doubts that," Wordy assures him as they head back to the barn.
Donna watches some of team one enter, minus Sam and Greg; her eyes fixed on her husband as he breaks away from the team and heads for the locker room, Wordy hanging back and her brain instantly cluing in from his clenched jaw and audible curse that something wasn't right. Oh no…tough call? Mistake? Death? Where's Sam? If Sam took the kill shot why is the team giving Ed space? Ed, what is going on? With those questions swirling in her mind, she pulls away from her last bit of paperwork and heads for the men's locker room, slipping inside and heading toward the grumbled cursing.
She rounds the corner just as Ed's fist slams in the metal locker door, making her slightly jump and the door to rattle. He pulls his fist back the same time his senses pick up her presence and turns to her with a small scowl.
"Which of course means you're lying," she retorts lightly.
"Why the hell does everyone keep saying that?" Ed grumbles as he slams the locker door shut and then takes a step back; exhaling heavily. "Sorry."
"Say sorry to the door first, it was on the receiving end; I live with you remember?" She replies carefully.
"Right," Ed huffs as he rubs his face and then looks at her with a weary expression. "Tough call."
"But you didn't get the Scorpio shot."
"Was just about to when some…person…who we didn't see who pulled a damn laser pointer, shone right in my eye and…and just like that I was blinded and Sam took the shot. You know…so yeah…tough call."
"And I'm sure you searched the area and found nothing?"
"A few footprints but that was it. Probably some kids getting their kicks messing with us. Sam took the shot."
"But it was your shot," she correctly surmises.
"My shot. Just…yeah my shot."
"Wanna go shoot something right now?" She replies with a small smile, making him finally deescalate. "I don't mind waiting."
"I'm good…I'm good," he assures her as he slowly starts to unbutton his black police shirt; Donna never tiring of watching him slowly undress. He turns to her saying nothing only arching his brows and offering a somewhat strained smile.
"Enjoying the show," she winks and his face warms.
"Your turn next."
"At home," she offers as Wordy and Spike finally enter.
"Is it safe to enter?" Spike inquires.
"Well they're not having sex in here Spike," Wordy teases his friend, making Spike's face instantly blush. Donna takes her leave, allowing the men to change and slowly disperse for home.
"So did they find anything more on Carl Hernandez?" Ed asks as they head for home about twenty minutes later.
"A few things. His gambling history was well documented with the locals and a few of the game houses so his desperate death wasn't that surprising. Just wish…" Donna's voice trails off as she looks out the window.
"He'd just stayed home on Saturday," she sighs. "But he owed some pretty serious money. Upwards of one hundred grand to one bookie and then some to a few others, so I can see why he'd want a desperate solution. But I still wish he woulda stayed home."
"Me too. Anything more about Ida? Did the letter say when she died?"
"The night of our anniversary party."
"Really," Ed states more than questions. "I guess that's one less thing to worry about," he concludes fatefully as they near their apartment, completely unaware of the set of dark evil eyes watching them enter the underground parking lot and then whispering welcome home followed by a slight curse.
"And for that one less thing I am grateful."
"And the rest of your day?"
"Boring. It's almost as mind numbing as the time I was forced behind a desk by Immigration. I swear I went Scorpio on the poor stapler today."
"Stay away from the hot glue gun," Ed teases as they head for the elevator to go up. Donna's head rests on his shoulder as his arm wraps around her and pulls her close, kissing the top of her head. "I'm glad you rested today though."
"Me too. Still stiff and a bit sore but no cramps so that's a good day. I talked to Shelly and she rested all day also, aside from taking the girls to school. So we're both happy to be on the mend and talked about rescheduling our spa day."
"Good," Ed replies with a small tight lipped smile, prompting her to look up but say nothing. She knows inside that he's still upset over the missed shot, Ed taking his job at times more seriously than any other officer she's ever met or even worked with. A failure like that in his own mind wasn't something he could easily brush off.
And as the evening starts to draw to a close she can tell by his curt answers and strained smiles that it was something still weighing upon his mind.
"Donna where did I put…" Ed's voice calls out as he heads into the living room to turn off the light and close the blinds.
"Not sure…" her soft voice states as she enters the room wearing only his night shirt.
"That's not fair," Ed's tone drops to a husky growl as she nears. "You said you were still sore."
"I am," she replies as she eases her way into his grasp, his arms instantly encircling her and holding her close as a set of dark eyes narrows, teeth instantly gritting. "Not sure my ribs could take the pressure either top or bottom," she admits with a heavy sigh. "Come to bed and let me massage your shoulders."
"Okay," he resigns as he closes the blinds, sealing out their evil watcher and follows her into the bedroom.
"Enjoy it while it lasts because it won't last much longer!" Ida hisses in anger.
Donna fixes herself on the bed and waits for Ed to undress and pull on only a pair of sweatpants, his body then arranging itself to where she wants.
"Just close your eyes and relax okay," she instructs as her hands start to tenderly kneed his tight skin.
"Feels….good," he utters in truth.
"I'm happy to hear that," she replies as she kisses his cheek. "Sorry about the call."
"Sorry about the outburst."
"As long as you don't bring it home," she gently reminds him and he nods, her hands continuing to lovingly massage his tight shoulders. A few minutes later she pulls him back against her, his body automatically shifting so that his weight wasn't pressing down on the baby.
"When will I be able to feel it moving?"
"A few more weeks…at least that's what the book says….toward the end of this next month."
"Okay," Ed replies as his fingers make gentle swirly patterns on her warm, bare belly.
"But am sure it is getting to know your voice more and more each day," she responds, her fingers idly fondling his rough cheek.
Ed hears her utter a small mutter to herself and twists his head upright to look at her. "What?"
"Just thinking about Ida and…and I'm glad she's gone…just death almost doesn't seem enough."
"She's dead…it's enough," Ed states firmly as he shifts himself to a better position for sleeping; he two of them talking a bit longer before the lights are turned out. However, sleep wasn't easily coming to each of them as Ed's mind lingers with thoughts about his missed Scorpio call and Donna's mind ponders Ida's tumultuous role in their past.
Early the next morning, Ed goes in search of Spike, spying him at Winnie's desk and heading toward him. "Morning…Spike you got a minute?"
"Sure thing. What's up?"
"I know Greg didn't push the issue further with the laser point but um…"
"You were wondering who it could have been?"
"Well I wondered too."
"And?" Ed presses.
"And I checked a few nearby traffic cams because the building itself had none and only saw a guy come out wearing a dark hoodie, hands in pockets and then hopped onto the bus. I wasn't able to see his face. Followed the bus route a little but he either stayed on and rode around or changed on the bus and got out with a crowd. That's it."
"Okay thanks," Ed remarks as he turns to leave, heading for the team one meeting room, where Greg was already waiting. "Boss."
"Sore but relieved that Ida's gone. Any fallout from the call yesterday?"
"Sam took the shot as directed and that was it. You my friend need to stop worrying. But I know that's not you, right?" Greg counters, ending on a lighter note.
"Was my shot."
"Was my call so ultimately the buck stops here," Greg adds with a small smile. "It's done Eddie. It's good. We all have off days; you did yesterday but it was due to something beyond your means."
"And SIU believed what Sam told them?"
"I'm sure if you couldn't or didn't want to take the shot you would have come up with a better excuse than crippling yourself due to someone else's stupidity."
"Just glad they saw it that way."
"They did so you need to stop worrying."
"Right," Ed retorts with a tight lipped smile.
"Well something else you need to practice at."
"What else do I need to practice at?" Ed retorts, his mood lifting as Sam and Jules enter, quickly followed by Spike and Wordy.
Greg of course doesn't answer Ed's question, merely ushers the team to sit before a hot call comes through, which it does about fifteen minutes later, sending Team One rushing for their gear and down to the waiting SUV's; Donna giving Ed a small wave before she heads for Holleran's office, volunteering to help with a project for the day, one more day to rest up and then back in the field.
"Okay, Spike, so that we don't have any more surprises, scan the area for any additional heat signatures before I send anyone into position," Greg's voice comes over the headset as they near their destination.
"Copy that," Spike replies affirmatively.
"Any fallout from the call yesterday?" Wordy wonders, making Ed look over with some amusement. "What? I know you and I know you'd be thinking about it."
"I asked the boss the exact same question and he said no. Sam took the shot and that was it," Ed shrugs as they near the stopping point. "It was unnerving but as long as it doesn't happen again, we'll be okay."
"Let's hope it doesn't happen again," Wordy comments as Ed stops the SUV and the two of them quickly get out to join the team.
"Spike, in the truck. Scan the area and then get us a layout of the building."
"Copy," Spike nods as he climbs into the truck and gets to work.
"Jules, the active shooter is a young man who the caller says is an ex-patient. Get on the phone with the family and see what they can tell us to help us get through to him going in," Greg directs, sending Jules in search of the receptionist who had called in the threat.
"In case this doesn't work out, Ed, you're Sierra one. Take the left vantage point and wait on my go. Team, listen up, this young man is scared and confused and acting on pure emotion. A kill shot is our last resort. Sam…Wordy…" Greg finishes handing out the instructions just as Spike finishes his heat signature sweep.
"Okay so I talked with the security guard and he confirmed five people in the lunchroom, that's the small area behind where the shooter and his hostage are. There is no way out for them, only one door – through the shooter. Two employees, one floor up and security is heading there now to get them out the back fire escape. The rest of the wing appears to be contained," Spike tells them, looking at the blueprints on his computer screen.
"Okay I'm on…"
"Spike?" Greg asks in haste.
"Thought I had another signature moving. It's nothing. You guys are clear to go."
"Spike you sure?"
"Yes," Spike nods as he continues to look at the blueprint he had called up moments earlier. "Ed, best route for you to take is the south east stairwell. The area is clear and from this it should take you to a small waiting area in the open, opposite the shooter there is a large window you can use. By the time you get there I'll have the secure door unlocked."
"Copy that," Ed nods as he grabs his sniper rifle bag from the back of the SUV and heads toward the area Spike had last directed him. Thankful that Spike had already swept the area for surprises, he could now concentrate on the job, happy to be on top of his game once again.
"At the stairwell, going up," Ed tells the team as he pulls open the door and stars to climb the first set of metal stairs, his heart rate starting to increase as he nears the top; a common reaction as they near the choke point of their call. Ed reaches the top landing, pulls the door open and squints into the darkness before him.
"Spike, it's all black up here…any lights you can help with?"
"Should be a window to your right…are you out of the stairwell?"
"There was only one on the south side right?"
"According to this yes."
"Okay hold on," Ed lightly stammers as he pulls his small flashlight; Greg already starting to connect with their subject. He flashes the light around, taking note of the narrow, windowless hallway and another small door at the end. "No windows in here but am heading for another door."
Ed races for the door, reaching the handle and gently pulls it open; expecting to arrive at the location Spike had directed him and set up and wait.
Instead something else was waiting.
"What the hell?"
"Ed…what's going on?"
A/N: *eeks* okay so what do you think Ed found? Who else has Ida enlisted in her service? Adding a bit more suspense before Ida strikes and hope that's okay. So please do review before you go and thanks so much! :)