This story is by Miguel A Zamora and was part of our 2022 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Detective Morgan ducked low and used his car for cover. Gunfire peppered the building overhead. Eventually, the firing ceased. He took a deep breath and sighed as he surveyed the area. The shots were aimed high.
“Fall back. I said get back,” Morgan yelled.
Morgan stood tall, and like an orchestra conductor, he ordered his men into position.
“You men, get those people back now.”
Reporters and camera operators pushed the crowd to get to the front for a better view.
Morgan pointed towards the reporters. “Officer Lopez and Nuzes, get those cameras back and move the barricades back another 100 yards.”
The two officers ran toward the barricade.
“Miller, you and the paramedics get that body off the street. Take three SWAT officers with riot shields to give you cover. Move,” Morgan ordered.
The large man’s body was laid on the street after being executed by a masked man in a suicide vest.
The SWAT officers made their way toward the dead man’s body. Miller and two paramedics pushed a gurney with them. They placed the body on the gurney and slowly backed up from the Diamond Exchange.
Morgan’s phone rang, and it was the Chief. “Sir.”
“How could you let them film a public execution live on the air,” the Chief yelled through the phone.
“It was a news copter, Sir. They beat ours by ten minutes. There was nothing I could do, Sir.”
“What do you know?”
“Not much, Sir. The dead man called the gunman Ray.”
“Ray… Ray, what?”
“Don’t know, Chief.”
“Whatever you need to do. Just get it done.” The Chief hung up before he could answer.
“Damn.” Morgan looked at the SWAT Commander. “I want a hard line, and I want it done now.”
The SWAT Commander nodded.
Three SWAT officers with anti-riot shields made their way to the door of the Diamond Exchange. They threw a hard line phone at the door. Detective Morgan yelled through a bullhorn.
“Pick up the phone, Ray.”
The door to the diamond exchange opened. A redheaded pregnant woman walked out, picked up the box, and went back into the Exchange.
Twenty minutes earlier inside the Diamond Exchange.
Ray laid across a table set five feet from the door. He stared through the scope of his M4 carbine assault rifle.
He had Detective Morgan in his sights.
He adjusted his aim three feet above Morgan’s head and opened fire. He started to laugh as Morgan ducked behind his car. He emptied the first clip, loaded a second, and continued to unload.
Ray continued to laugh as he turned back toward the hostages. “Did you see that?”
“I guess not.”
Three men sat on the floor. They were restrained, blindfolded, and earmuffed—a redhead woman seated on a couch restrained as the men.
Ray shook his head as he heard Morgan barking orders. He looked at the TV mounted on the wall and turned up the volume.
“What a chaotic scene we witnessed… Here at channel three, we apologize for what just aired. We did not expect to air a public execution.”
The news coverage showed three SWAT officers with anti-riot shields headed to the door of the Diamond Exchange with a hard-line phone. Ray lowered the volume and smiled as he walked to the woman.
The woman was startled and screamed as Ray removed the earmuffs and blindfold.
“I need you, honey.” Ray pointed at the door as the phone hit that door.
“Pick up the phone, Ray,” Morgan yelled through a bullhorn.
Ray pointed his rifle at her. “Be a good girl and get me the phone.”
The redhead stood and retrieved the phone. He secured her hands with zip ties.
He looked at the TV and the news coverage and smiled as the phone rang.
Morgan yelled threw the bullhorn again. “Answer the phone now!”
Ray pushed the speaker button on the phone. “Detective.”
“You just killed a man in public. Are you crazy?”
“Justice was served.”
“Justice?” Morgan asked.
“That man was the right hand of Lexie Acosta. He was a murderer, a cop killer, and a rapist. That man raped my wife and caused her to lose our unborn child. So, justice was served.”
“You went too far. We’re coming in.”
Ray laughs. “I have five hostages that say different. As well as enough C4 to level this building.”
“What do you want?”
“You’ve been hunting me for the last six months. I thought it was obvious what I wanted.”
Ray took his shirt off and put on a dress shirt and tie.
“Acosta,” Morgan answered.
Ray shook his head. “That right .”
Ray slipped on some slacks and dress shoes.
“So, now what?” Detective Morgan asked.
“The woman doesn’t look so good, and I won’t be responsible if something happens to her child. So, I’m letting her go.”
He stood the woman up and removed the restraints. Ray leaned in and whispered in her ear.
“Stick to the plan, love, and I’ll see you soon.”
Ray and the redhead kissed. She ran out the door.
Ray looked at the TV. Two officers covered the woman and escorted her to Morgan. Morgan was asking her questions, and Ray saw her nod her head. Two EMTs took her to an ambulance.
“What happened next?” Morgan asked.
“I’m going to tell you a story.” Ray started to place shape charges around the front of the room.
“I worked a joint task force with the DEA and the ATF. That’s when I met Lexie Acosta. So, for six years, I was in deep cover. In the end, she fled the country.”
Ray placed the detonator into the C4 on the far wall.
Morgan’s asked, “You were law enforcement?”
“I was, and my cover was blown.”
Ray continued, “So, six months later, I find my wife beaten and violated. Our unborn child died. That piece of shit I executed. He put two in my chest and left me for dead.”
Ray wiped his face as he pushed the furniture toward the front of the building. “it took two years to recover fully and then another two in planning to get where we are now.”
“So, what’s your end game, Ray?”
“Well, detective, this is the end of the line for me.”
“What does that mean?” he asked.
“I’ve taken everything from her. I can’t get my son back, my wife can’t forgive me, so I’m done.”
Ray pulled a body bag from around the counter. He pulled out the body of a man that was his size and build. He placed the suicide vest on the body. Ray placed him on the table and set a timer on the C4.
“Deep down, I know I have to answer for what I’ve done. You’re a good man, Detective. I followed your career, and I’m going to do you a favor and end it.
“Every story needs a hero, Detective, and this story… that’s you.”
“The six o ‘clock news.”
Ray got the men to their feet, removed earmuffs, and lined them at the door.
“Any of you remove your blindfold. I’ll kill you. Nod, if you understand.” The men nodded.
“Ray… Ray, answer me, Ray,” Morgan yelled.
“We have movement SWAT has started to advance. We have four hostages coming out.”
The hostages and officers were knocked to the ground as the building exploded. Dust and rubble covered the street, and the news feed was lost. SWAT started to pat down two of the hostages that were on fire.
“It has been six hours since the gunman brought the building down on himself. Authorities have recovered the body of the gunman. So, the twelve hours of terror are over. For channel three news, this is Andi Garcia signing out.
Police Station two weeks later.
A large envelope was on Morgan’s desk. Morgan took a sip of his coffee as he walked up to his desk and noticed the envelope.
“What do we have here?”
His name was the only thing written on the envelope. He opened and poured out the content of the envelope.
A newspaper clipping fell out, a photo, a letter, and a diamond.
Morgan held up the diamond. “Son of a bitch.”
Morgan looked at the photo, the redhead from the Exchange kissing a man on their wedding day. The man’s face was blocked. On the back was written Ray and Ashely 1995.
He opened the newspaper clipping. The headline read, “The yacht carrying prominent businesswoman Lexie Acosta blew up. No survivors were found. Acosta is presumed dead.”
Morgan smiled as he opened the note. One word was written on the paper.”
Morgan grinned. “Well, I guess that’s the end of your story Ray.”