Here we have a horror story. It was fun doing something different. Don’t think it’ll be a regular thing though. Not the sort of thing that comes into my head very often. Sci-Fi horror maybe, but just horror not so much. Anyway, this is a shorter one again at about 9,000 words. Hope you enjoy Paramin!

“What we being deployed into this time?” Bart asks while his hands are cupped over the end of the barrel of his weapon as it stands vertically, butt against the floor of the truck. He perches his chin atop his hands a brief moment later. His amber eyes flick right and then left. There are only two other people in the back of the truck with him. Both are members of the elite tactical squad he belongs too.

“Do you have to sit like that?” Margaret says from off to Bart’s left. One of her pencil thin eyebrows is raised. Her green eyes locked on him like a hawk. That stare of hers always makes Bart feel uncomfortable but he isn’t about to tell her to stop it. He made that mistake once and she still hasn’t let him hear the end of it.

“Yeah I do; what of it?” Bart fires back with a beaming smile meant to irritate the woman.

In response Margaret rolls her eyes but says nothing. She insists on being called Margaret. No one is allowed to shorten her name. If they do she’ll smack them around until any nicknames are out of their heads. She’s very insistent like that and it helps that she’s a tall muscular woman. Her braided hair pulled back into a ponytail to keep it out of her way. Bart doesn’t think he has ever seen her hair down, loose. He wonders if she’s ever tried it. Something tells him she might have but would never admit it.

“Cut your shit Bart.” Damian orders without taking his eyes off his weapon. As leader of the trio Damian takes his job very seriously. In fact, Bart thinks Dae takes it too seriously. He’s always doing everything to the letter or cleaning one of his weapons. He’s even doing it right now.

“Trying to scrub the plating off it Dae?” Bart utters with a smirk across his narrow face.

Damian looks up. It’s more a glance than a full look but the intent of it is clear, a silent warning that Bart zip his lip. Damian is a master of looks. But Margaret might have him beat, Bart thinks. Her’s have more attitude than his. Still Bart chuckles. He says nothing else. He doesn’t need to. He’s had his fun. But if he pushes any further he will get a whooping. Of that he is well aware.

“ETA in three.” A deep male voice calls through the grate that separates the trio of heavily armed souls from the driver up front.

Damian finishes cleaning his weapon a few seconds after. Checks over his workmanship, decides he’s satisfied and then stows his weapon. Right after he clears his throat and turns to face the space between Margaret and Bart. As the lead of the squad it is Damian’s job to make sure they are ready for whatever they might be about to walk into. He hasn’t a clue. The details have thus far not been forthcoming. He isn’t worried by that. Intel is rarely given until on-site these days.

“Be on your best behaviour. That means you especially Bart. The mayor is going to be there when we arrive, so no show-boating or any of the other bullshit you like to do. Is that clear?” Damian has his all business and no play face on. Bart knows now would not be the time to test him and so he replies, “Yes sir.”

Damian never likes hearing Bart call him sir. It sounds sarcastic. It isn’t but with Bart’s tone of voice everything tends to. Damian lets it slide. He nods and then casts his brown eyes toward Margaret. She does little more than issue a nod in reply. Damian can never tell if she means it or is just complying to placate him. Not to say that Margaret is a trouble maker, she isn’t, for the most part. The only time she can be problematic is when someone challenges, seriously and not in a Bart way, her presence on this squad. Or, even worse, calls into question her femininity. The last time someone at the precinct did that they had to go to hospital because of a broken nose and jaw. No charges were filed against her and that was in her first week as part of this trio of dysfunction.

“Do we know what it is we’re being called to?” Margaret asks genuinely curious.

“We do not. You know how things go these days. Cards kept close to the chest. Deets are given upon arrival only. Ask questions prior they go ignored, as if not heard.” Damian informs with a casual shrug of his shoulders.

At one time the lack of information would have frustrated him. It doesn’t anymore and to be honest it’ll probably be a false alarm. The cause for him reaching such a conclusion is the presence of the mayor. Yet, he doesn’t think they’re heading towards the mayor’s private residence, but he could be wrong. It’s difficult to tell when you’re in the back of a windowless van that is crammed full with weapons, ammunition and three burly frames.

“How come when I asked that I got nothing but Margaret gets…” Bart begins to protest only for Damian to cut in and remind, “You know full well why Bart. You weren’t curious. You were digging. The question might have been the same but the way you said it was not. You know that so cut your mock hurt and…” This time it is Damian’s turn to be cut off. “We’re here.” The same deep male voice exclaims from the cab.

Damian raises an eyebrow in response to that declaration for he can feel the van they’re stuffed into is still moving. Then, as if on cue, the van comes to a tyre screeching halt. If there were more space in the back the three of them would have been thrown forward. Damian counts them lucky there isn’t and then nods to Margaret. She’s closest to the rear doors and so it is she who pops the lock and shoves the twin doors open. Immediately, the trio are hit by a wall of noise. They dismount from the van only to be greeted by some beat cops. The uniforms look them over twice and then step aside. Damian smirks. He does enjoy the power reputation can bring on some occasions. Usually, all it affords him, his squad and all the others is a spewing monologue of hatred and lots of bullets aimed their way. Not, a likely issue when you’re in the presence of other police, but you never know. A few times Damian and his people have had to take down their own. Well, corrupt versions of their own to be exact. The scummiest of the scum as Bart would label them. Damian has never been sure that he agrees with such an approximation but Bart is entitled to his opinions, as long as he keeps them out of his ability to get the job done. For all his mouthing off Bart is a decent guy. He does what needs to be done. He just enjoys a little verbal joust every now and again.

Now that he is out of the van, Damian scans about to see the area is cordoned off. There aren’t as many civilians along the perimeter line as he’d been expecting. That’s a good thing. It’ll make the beat officers jobs easier. Not that such a thing should be a problem because there are a lot of uniforms floating about. And while it may be night time you wouldn’t know it with all the light in the vicinity. Damian isn’t just referring to the street lights though. Sure, they’re bright but the spot lights that have been placed or erected atop scaffold towers are the real shining stars. They remove all shadows in their path and with as many as there are dotted about, from what Damian can see; it’s no surprise his eyes are straining painfully to keep from being overwhelmed.

Suddenly, the loud whoosh of air and a chugging cutting noise fills his ears. Damian feeling the downdraft looks up to see a police helicopter, with attached search light, slide into the airspace overhead and then hang in the air effortlessly.

“Overkill don’t you think?” Bart booms into Damian’s ear. He’s leant in close to deliver the line, fearing that if he didn’t Damian would never hear him. Damian nods. He doesn’t attempt to speak. There would be little point. His voice would only get lost in the sounds of the helicopter as items of trash are blown about his feet in every direction.

Margaret meanwhile sniffs in response to the helicopter and the racket it brings. Her focus isn’t on the people, the lights or anything else like that. No, she is gazing at the building. She doesn’t recognise it. Not that she expects that she should. What she can say is that it is unremarkable in every way and by looks of things must have at one time been a factory unit. It’s little more than a frame of concrete now. Graffiti covers much of the concrete along the lower part but those same sprayed murals, many of which are idiot street names, are darkened by the years of grime that have been allowed to accrue. It’s a pretty common sight in the city but does indicate that they are near the outskirts, in one of the old industrial districts. What could be happening out here that would require the presence of her, Damian and Bart she hasn’t a clue. The most likely possibilities would be the need for a raid because inside is a drug den but then if that is the case why is there so much fanfare. If you’re making a drug or arms bust you don’t want spotlights, helicopters and uniforms everywhere. It’s a dead giveaway. So could it be a hostage situation? It strikes her as the most likely option and yet even that she feels is out of place. Usually for hostage situations SWAT are sent in. They can handle that. It’s part of why they exist. Margaret and the squad she is a part of are a step above SWAT. They are the most elite and are called in when you want something done fast and without any witnesses coming out the other side. Not civilian witnesses, criminal ones. Everyone wants civilians to come out alive the other side, except maybe the criminals that is.

“Damian, over here!” Captain Casagrande shouts loud enough to be heard over the din from the helicopter, which is an impressive feat in itself. His left arm gesticulates wildly as reinforcement for the summoning being issued. Damian alerts his two colleagues and then jogs across to the Captain. He’s in the middle of the road, not that any traffic is capable of coming through. The cordon has cut this road off completely so no one is getting through unless the police want them too, and they won’t until whatever this is is all over.

“Captain.” Are the first words out Damian’s mouth once he is alongside the ranking officer on scene.

“You boys are late as usual.” Casagrande comments with a wry smile. Damian flicks his eyes toward Bart but the mouthy squad member says nothing. He keeps quiet. A good start Damian thinks while uttering, “Apologies sir.”

“Bet there was traffic that held you up.” The Captain adds as an overweight and balding man accompanied by a tall, dashing younger one stride toward them.

“Mr Mayor.” Captain Casagrande declares with a nod meant to convey respect.

Margaret rolls her eyes, but makes sure to look over her shoulder before she does. That hides her reaction from being glimpsed by anyone of note. She can just imagine what would happen if she didn’t make the extra effort to turn away. Captain Casagrande would be ‘pissed.’ He wouldn’t be really but he’d fake it while in the presence of the Mayor. The smug looking bastard on the other hand would want her balls in a sling. Just as well she doesn’t have any then. And yes that had been one of her remarks once when the Mayor had gone to town on her because she snarled in response to him uttering a remark about a woman being in one of the elite squads. She knew it was a mistake as soon as the words had left her mouth and yet by that point it had been too late to do much about them.

With her eye roll completed, Margaret turns back to see the seething eyes of the Mayor burn into her for a few seconds. It might be that he knows what she just did. He didn’t see it and so can’t be sure however. Quickly he moves on, offers his hand to Captain Casagrande, who takes it. A short shake and a few exchanged words follow, Margaret can’t hear what is said. This time she is forced to resist rolling her eyes as now the Mayor has been greeted formally she can’t afford to turn away. Slimy rich fuck, she thinks.

“Are we going to get this done Captain? What’s happening here is quite worrying. We need your best people on this job.” Mayor Castor Patrick blathers with a distinct air of superiority and absolutely no tact.

“I assure you Mr Mayor these are our best people. They’ll get the job done.” Captain Casagrande assures while with a out of view, for the Mayor, hand gestures to one of the nearby officers that they step in and escort the Mayor away for some refreshments or something.

The officer does exactly as gestured, steps forward and politely asks if the Mayor would like something to drink. Castor’s aid, the overweight gentleman urges the Mayor take the offer. Castor agrees and is quickly led away. Captain Casagrande exhales sharply, his head shaking. Once he’s finished getting over having to play babysitter to the elected official he turns back toward Damian, Bart and Margaret.

“Follow me. You need briefing and I don’t want anyone else hearing this.” The Captain gestures and the trio follow in close step behind. Margaret and Bart exchange looks as if to say something here is off.

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