AN:A big thank you to all my readers who read, reviewed or added my story to their favorites/alerts. I appreciate the support you've all given me. Apologies for the irregular updates - RL has been chewing away at my free time and I'd like to thank you for your patience :-)
Special thanks goes to my lovely beta for taking the time out of her busy RL to proof-read this.
ACT 1 – Part 2
Residence of Lieutenant Mike Stone, October 31st, 1973
It was well after midnight by the time the forensics crew left Mike's home, leaving the Lieutenant and his partner to themselves.
"You look beat. Why don't you get some shut eye and I'll swing by first thing in the morning. There's nothing more we can do here, Mike. Very little was disturbed which confirms the fact that whoever forced their way in didn't get a chance to do more damage. We'll have to wait until at least mid-morning for the results to come through. " Steve said thoughtfully.
"Maybe I should stay at the hospital, just in case." Mike's hollow reply and a faraway look in his eyes worried his partner.
"I already made the arrangements. There'll be a police guard by her door all night and tomorrow too. Get some rest. She's in safe hands."
Sighing in defeat, Mike relented to Steve's suggestion and bade him goodnight.
SFPD, Bureau of Inspectors, 850 Bryant Street, November 1st, 1973
The ride into the office early the next morning was one filled with silence and despondency. While Steve maintained a hopeful outlook, Mike's agitation from a restless night mingled with his concern for his daughter created a tension filled atmosphere between them.
Upon entering the bureau, Olson's voice called out to Mike. He left Steve's side and headed straight for the chief's office.
Mike took a seat in front of Olsen's desk. The door closed behind him.
"How are you doing, Mike?" Olsen asked in a neutral tone as he sat behind his desk with his hands clasped in front of him.
"I'll feel a lot better once I get those punks off the street." Mike instantly wished he had replied differently but the words tumbled out before he could stop them. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat under Olsen's scrutinizing gaze.
"Maybe you should take the rest of the day off. You look like hell," Olsen replied gently.
Mike shook his head. "I'm fine, really. I'll leave a little early and see Jeannie before I go home, if that's alright?"
"Sure, you just do what you need to do and spend some time with your daughter. I imagine she's pretty shaken up by the ordeal but I'm just glad she wasn't seriously hurt."
"Thanks." Mike started to rise from his seat when Olsen's voice held him in place.
"One other thing Mike: I'd rather you didn't get involved in this case. We've got some great guys in the department who are more than capable of handling it." Olsen hoped he had softened the blow by engaging in small talk first but the determined look in Mike's eyes told him the seasoned detective wasn't going to be fooled into backing away from case.
"Come on, Rudy, don't do this. Please don't ask me to stand aside. Not from this case. I'm telling you that I am fine."
With a heavy sigh, Olsen gave Mike's words a moment's thought, weighing his options, before relenting, "Okay, okay. But I don't want you to work yourself to breaking point on this. I know Jeannie's your daughter and you can't get any closer than that, which is why I feel like I'm going against my better judgement by allowing you to pursue this. Besides, looking at this from a professional standard, you have other cases that are listed as priority one sitting on your desk so I want you to prioritise accordingly. Don't let your personal feelings…"
"Get in the way. Yeah, I know, Rudy. I wrote the book on that a long time ago," Mike finished Olsen's sentence for him and smiled wanly.
"Alright. Give my regards to Jeannie when you see her later," Olsen dismissed the seasoned detective and hoped he made the right decision by allowing Mike to work on a case he didn't feel he should be working on.
The morning gave way to the afternoon by the time Mike and Steve returned to the bureau from an interview with a witness to a gang-related homicide case. The phone on Steve's desk rang as Mike headed to his office.
Several minutes passed before Steve got off the phone and hurried to his partner's office. "Lab guys just called. They've confirmed the paint samples from under Jeannie's finger nails was a particular type and brand of cosmetic paint. I'll look up all the stores that stock the product"
"What about those prints on the door and the walls?"
Steve slowly shook his head in disappointment. "Some belonged to Jeannie, you or myself while others were inconclusive."
"Okay. Work on the list of stores that carry that particular paint and see if perhaps we can get some names of customers who purchased it. I'll start going through the books for previous offenders who may be potential suspects," Mike instructed.
"Got it." Steve wasted no time and went back to his desk to make a start on his list.
When the phone rang on Mike's desk, the Lieutenant snatched up the receiver and greeted the caller curtly.
"Mike? It's me, Jeannie. If this is a bad time, I can call you back later…" Jeannie's uncertain tone filtered through from the other line.
Mike's voice caught in his throat but he quickly recovered, "No, Sweetheart, it's not a bad time. In fact I've been thinking about you. How are you feeling?"
"Better. Dr. Moore said I could go home as soon as tomorrow."
"That's great, Sweetheart. I hope you weren't giving the good doctor any grief, now," Mike playfully admonished.
"No, really, he said he'll think about it. Listen, I think my memory's coming back to me. I wanted to tell you there was something else I remembered about the guy that was holding on to me; the one with the Frankenstein outfit. He had a tattoo of a black bird of some kind on his arm. I've been trying to put together as much detail as I could in my mind but some of it's still fuzzy."
"It's okay, Jeannie, you're doing great. Just don't push yourself. I know you went through quite an ordeal. If I send a police sketch artist over to the hospital can you give him enough details for him to draw an image of this tattoo you saw?"
"I think so. I'll try."
"Alright, I'll send him along shortly. Steve and I will drop by later on to see how you're doing."
"That sounds great. I just can't wait to get out of here."
"I know, Sweetheart, but you just listen to what the doctor says. I'll see you later." Mike ended the conversation but waited until he heard the dial tone on the other end first before he hung up. Rising from his chair, he strode over to his office door then called out, "Haseejian. Get me a sketch artist to go over to the hospital. Jeannie remembers a tattoo one of the guys had on his arm."
"On it," Norm Haseejian replied.
Perusing the third book of mug-shots, Mike almost spat coffee all over the desk as his eyes came to rest on a photo of a young man with a tattoo of a black eagle on his forearm. Placing his mug of coffee down on the desk harder than intended, Mike's bespectacled eyes read through the string of offenses the man had committed including the most recent being a home invasion and rape. Aged in his mid-twenties, he read that the felon, Harvey Milton Decklan, had only just been released on parole a couple of weeks ago and resided in the district, within walking distance of where Mike lived. Got to be him! Lifting the book from his desk, he walked out of his office and called out, "Steve, I think we got him!"
Residence of Harvey Decklan
The door to Harvey Decklan's run-down apartment opened slowly and was stopped by the sliding chain lock from opening any further.
"Who the hell are you? What do you want?" the young man behind the door demanded icily.
"Lieutenant Stone, SFPD and Inspector Keller. We're from homicide. Open up, Decklan!" Mike ordered.
"Hold on, let me unlock this will you?" Decklan's low response was followed by the door shutting then footsteps hurrying away from the front entrance.
"Steve! Fire-escape out back!" Mike's urgent outburst was unnecessary as Steve was already sprinting down the stairs. The Lieutenant kicked the door in, breaking the chain lock. With his hand resting on his holster, ready to draw his pistol if needs be, Mike rushed into the apartment and headed toward the opened window leading to a metal staircase. "Hold it!" He shouted at the retreating figure who looked up briefly then continued his flight.
The young Inspector reached the bottom of the metal steps where he caught sight of the ex-convict trying to make a quick getaway.
Decklan cursed out loud as another plain clothes detective came into view below him, cutting off his escape route. In a last ditch attempt to get away from the law, Decklan clambered over the rail and jumped the last few steps, landing several feet away from where the detective stood.
Nimble on his feet, Steve Keller dashed after the suspect. "Hold it!" Steve yelled as he ran through the alleyway after Decklan. A dead end up ahead stopped the parolee in his tracks momentarily until the young man tried to climb the rubbish disposal unit to get over the brick wall behind it. Steve lunged after the man, making a grab for his ankle to pull him back down but a boot connected sharply with his jaw and he fell back in a daze.
With his balance disrupted by the detective, Decklan slipped off the waste disposal lid and toppled onto the ground in a heap. Rough hands grabbed him by the shoulders and pinned him to the ground. Much to his chagrin he felt a knee dig into the small of his back as he tried to wriggle free then he felt himself being frisked.
"You're under arrest, Decklan! You have the right to remain silent…" the breathless Lieutenant read out the Miranda rights to the struggling figure beneath him and secured a pair of hand cuffs around the man's wrists. Dragging the arrested man to his feet, Mike slammed him against the disposal unit.
"Hey man, take it easy!" Decklan whined. "What are you after me for, huh? I ain't done nothin' since I got out of the joint!"
"And what about last night? You forced your way into a house and attacked a young girl!" Mike snapped, breathing heavily.
"Hey, that wasn't me! I didn't attack no girl! I was home all night! You can ask my parole officer," Decklan argued.
From out of the corner of his eye, Mike saw Steve slowly climb to his feet. "Are you alright, Steve?"
"Yeah, I'll live," Steve replied, rubbing his aching jaw. He moved to stand beside his partner, eyeing the panting young man cuffed in front of him.
"You guys are crazy! I ain't done nothin'!"
"Oh yeah? Then why are you running?" Steve questioned.
"Because you're a cop! Guys like me who did their time are always the first ones who gets picked on for every crime in this God forsaken city, because you're all too damned lazy to find yourselves real suspects!" Decklan retorted.
Steve shook his head, scoffing under his breath, "Yeah I wonder why that is."
"Alright, let's go!" Mike took hold of Decklan by the upper arm and together with Steve, the three men headed out of the alleyway toward the tan LTD parked nearby.