A slow, throbbing pain woke Father Michaels from his fitful sleep. His eyes opened, adjusting to the stinging light. Then, as he tried to rub the haziness from his eyes, he realized he was strapped to a bed. He looked around at his unfamiliar surroundings, thinking he was in a bad dream. It appeared to be a hospital room. Panic almost swept over him, but he retained his senses. Calling on his closeness to God, he found the strength to stay calm. “Hello,” he called out. “Is anyone there? Can anyone hear me?”
He sat in silence for many minutes, waiting for a response. About to give up, he heard the door open. A man walked in and pulled up a chair to sit beside the bed. “How are you doing,” Bishop Carlin asked.
“Other than the pain in the back of my head, I feel fine. But I’m confused. Where am I and why am I chained to a bed?”
“We received a phone call from the police that you had been assaulted. Naturally, I was worried about you, so I rushed to the station. When I got there, they told me that you were here, at Rosewood Hills Mental Hospital. I asked them why and they told me that because of the trauma you had gone into shock, threatening to kill someone.”
“I don’t remember any of that.”
“They said you probably wouldn’t.”
“If I don’t remember it, and I’m no longer in shock, then why am I still strapped to a bed in here?”
“We had to make a deal.”
“What kind of deal?”
“When you threatened to kill someone, it was overheard by news reporters. They were going to run a story about the incident. It would’ve caused a big scandal in a time where we can’t afford bad publicity. So we agreed to keep you here for six months and the DA agreed to keep the press from running the story.”
“So, basically, I’m being sacrificed for the greater good of the Catholic Church?”
“I wish it were otherwise, but, yes, you are.”
“Then I shall just have to make good use of my time here. It is an opportunity to think about what God has planned for me.”
“You want me to kill you,” DS asked, dumbfounded.
“Did I stutter, dolt?”
“Fuck you! I don’t do freelance. So if you want someone to play Kevorkian for you, go find someone else or do it your damn self.”
DS started to rise, but found himself back on the floor after Christian punched him across the face. “Look, smartass, if I could do it myself, I would. But since I can’t, I’m forced to seek outside assistance.”
“Tough luck, spanky. I’m not gonna do it.”
“I warn you, DS. Do not test me. If I can’t talk you into it, then I will force you into it. You don’t want that. I have the power to find out where your family lives. It would be a shame if they had to suffer for your mistake.”
“Go ahead and try. Any information about me and my family is classified. You’ll never find them. Take your best shot.”
“So, if I paid a visit to 1232 Staple St. in Washington D.C., I wouldn’t find anything?”
“That’s my home! How did you find that out?”
“It really is quite easy to get into the system when you’re the one who designed it.”
DS was about to respond, but was soon lost in darkness. Christian clocked him upside the head, knocking him out. With his work now done, he headed upstairs to his apartment.
Holcombe found the door to Christian’s apartment open. Walking in, he went to the window to look out for Whiting’s arrival. He only waited a few minutes before the reporter pulled up. When he turned around to find someplace to hide, he found an elbow to the back of his skull instead. Looking up, he saw Christian standing over him. Before he could explain himself, Christian rendered him unconscious by kicking him in the neck. Christian walked over to the window just in time to see Whiting enter the building. It’s raining morons, he thought to himself.
He picked up Holcombe and placed him on his bed, putting him under the covers. Grabbing some papers off his desk, he headed out the door. Making sure he didn’t run into the reporter, he took the stairs out of the building, got into his car and drove away.
Whiting entered the apartment cautiously. He tried to be as quiet as possible. When he looked into the bedroom, he saw someone under the covers breathing deeply. Thinking that his prey was asleep, he crept to the foot of the bed. He pulled a bomb out of the backpack and placed it on the floor. After setting the timer, he ran out of the room. Whiting didn’t want to be in the elevator if the bomb went off early, so he ran down the stairs. Peppers arrived just as Bradley went out of the door. The detective jumped out of his car and pulled his gun. At gunpoint, Whiting stopped in his tracks.
“Where’s Holcombe,” Peppers demanded.
“My partner, you jackass!”
“I don’t know,” Whiting honestly replied. “I didn’t see him in there.”
Peppers took his phone out and started to dial, all while keeping his gun on Whiting. Before he could finish the number, however, the building erupted into a giant fireball. The two men were thrown to the ground from the blast. Detective Peppers looked up at the flaming building and hoped his partner really wasn’t in there.