Authors: Mark Bredenbeck
Tags: #thriller, #detective, #crime fiction, #new zealand, #gangs, #dunedin
"I'll give the
duty Detective a call", he said, "I think it’s time the big boys
came out to play".
twenty minutes before Grant Wylie made it to the scene; the phone
call had woken him from sleep and dragged him from his warm bed
next to his equally warm wife. He had been a Detective for the past
eight years and the excitement of being 'On call' had completely
worn off, big jobs or not. He had hoped it would be just a matter
of dishing out some advice to the attending officers tonight. He
could then leave them to secure the scene until morning when he
would be back at work. All thoughts of returning to his bed and his
unusually accommodating wife went from his head as soon as he
entered the shop.
Gill, what's happened here…?” Grant took in the scene before him,
the medics had removed the patient to hospital but his life’s
legacy was pooling on the floor in a sticky mess, made worse by the
attending ambulance officers who had smeared the blood with their
boots all around the immediate area.
So much for a
sterile scene, he thought.
"Its touch and
go with the male who was shot Grant, he's been taken to Dunedin
Hospital". Gillian followed Grant's gaze towards the mess. "That's
all his blood, so you sort of get the picture".
"It looks like
I will have to wake some more people up Gill; we could be looking
at a murder enquiry if he pops his clogs". Grant's mind was
clicking into gear sluggishly; the adrenalin had started to kick
in, banishing the remnants of sleep. "What's been done so far?”
Grant a quick outline of what she knew. "The girl's gone to
hospital with her father, Steve has gone with them just in case the
man regains consciousness and says something. I've already got a
quick statement from the girl, she can't add a lot in relation to
descriptions they were wearing masks."
a start anyway Gill; it’s always a pleasure to attend a scene where
the attending officers have some sort of clue how to do their job".
He smiled at Gillian who took the compliment in her usual
self-depreciating manner. There was a lot to think about after the
initial excitement had worn off. It was one thing to save a life
but when it came to punishing those responsible everything had to
be meticulously gone over, every angle had to be covered. Any small
crack in the investigation could turn into a landslide inside a
courtroom, undermined by a clever defence lawyer blinded from his
client’s guilt by the promise of a big pay cheque or a moment of
infamy. Grant had learnt the hard way to do things properly right
from the start.
"I thought you
were acting Senior Sergeant Gill? That’s mostly an office job, how
is it that you were here first?”
is short staffed Grant, plus I don't really do offices anyway so I
teamed up with Steve..., besides someone has to keep him in
you....” Grant said, retrieving his cell phone from his pocket.
The phone was
ringing in his ear, Mike Bridger was not due back to work until
tomorrow after being on leave but Grant knew the recently promoted
Detective Sergeant would not shy away from this; he would want to
be involved right from the start. He just hoped he would find him
sober enough to attend the scene.
Bridger". The voice sounded sober, a good start.
Grant, we have a situation at work I thought you would want to know
Bridger the quick version while he listened to him getting dressed
at the other end of the phone. He could hear the sound of laboured
breathing and the occasional expletive as the phone dropped onto
the floor on more than one occasion requiring Grant to repeat what
he was saying.
"I'll be there
in ten minutes," Bridger said "Call the team and have them meet us
at the scene". He cut the connection.
Grant put away
his phone and looked at Gillian. "Mike's on his way, he wants a
full turnout on this, it could be a long night".
not like we haven't had one of those before", Gillian replied with
a half smile. "How is Mike? I haven't seen him since the Marion
"He's been on
leave; I think it was more directed rather than by choice,
something between Matthews and him. He was in a pretty dark place;
I think things just got on top of him".
let’s hope he has had a good break then and is ready to get stuck
in. I have a feeling this one is going to test us.”
He sat in the darkness of the car looking over at the store;
the area was busy and alive, with Police Emergency tape strung up
like confetti and flashing lights blinking blue and red. He could
see a number of uniformed officers standing around looking busy but
not really doing anything. 'Dimmer' was playing quietly on the car
stereo, 'Dark Night of Yourself'. Bridger loved his music, it
evoked all sorts of emotions in him, it cheered him up when he
needed it, and it brought him back to reality when he started to
get a bit ‘mixed up’ with stress. Something he had been
experiencing a lot of in the last few weeks. He thought of a quote
he had read recently
‘Without music, life
would be a mistake’
. It was something that
rang true in his mind.
a psychotic man had abducted a girl in her twenties. He had used
her in a macabre piece of drama to exact out revenge on his parents
for past abuse. Bridger had been instrumental in recovering her
just in time, but that investigation had taken its toll in him. He
knew he had been using alcohol as a crutch during that time to get
through his day-to-day existence, but it had taken a downward
spiral. He knew that now, but he had hit rock bottom before he had
realised the extent. He had been on leave ever since.
dog handler came jogging down the road from out of the darkness,
red with exertion. His large hairy dog was still pulling excitedly
on the lead, happy to be involved. The busy scene had a lot going
on, red and blue lights were still flashing on a few of the patrol
cars, there was a gaggle of people standing further down the road
being shepherded by an harassed looking junior officer. Flashes of
brighter light were visible inside the doorway like a disco-tech,
no doubt the Police Photographer doing his thing, recording
everything in minute high definition detail, the frailty of
humanity seen through the eyes of a lens. He took a deep breath and
Time to get
back on the horse, he thought.
opened the car door, then stepped out into the cool night air and
walked purposefully towards the controlled chaos. Entering the
store, he found Grant and Gillian off to one side; they were
talking in hushed tones as the photographer snapped away at a large
pool of blood on the floor. Grant must have said something funny as
Gillian suddenly let out a short but loud belly laugh. They both
looked happy in the circumstances, not really a care in the world.
Life goes on in the busy world of policing, a new day, a new crime,
a new way for humanity to surprise him.
been off work now for a number of weeks, more than he cared to
remember, each long day bringing a new battle with his emotions,
with his loneliness, and with his addictions. He was glad he was
back at work, something else to worry him and take his mind of his
life. He was ready.
Mike," Grant said, looking up. "Good to have you back."
you lot have let things slide a bit", he said, looking at the pool
of blood on the floor, "This wouldn't have happened on my watch",
he added, trying for a bit of levity.
felt the familiar adrenalin surge as it started to make its way
through his bloodstream, banishing any lethargic feelings he may
have harboured prior to receiving the call from Grant. He may have
lost his way a bit in the last few months, but this was what he did
best. He loved the challenge of making sense out of chaos, finding
the cancer in the midst of society. No matter what happened in his
life, he always had this to escape to. It was an oddly comforting
thought though, seeing as it took someone else's misery to enable
him to feel this way.
done so far Grant? Gill?” he looked at both of them in turn.
Gillian give Bridger a briefing on what had occurred prior to his
arrival then added his own little bit. "Just really the basics
Mike, it’s pretty fluid at the moment. The dog tracked a short
distance down the road but lost the scent. It is most likely that
they got into a car at that point. Witnesses have said they saw a
blue Subaru leaving at speed." Grant shrugged his shoulders. "We
were just about to have a quick look at the CCTV", he added,
indicating the camera above their heads.
then, let’s do that", Bridger said. It was a good a start as
The black and white images were flickering in front of their
eyes, the time lapse making it hard to see clearly. The scene
started with a girl on her own, standing behind the counter.
, there were now
three people wearing black masks in the store with her, one of them
was slightly out of shot; one had a shotgun in his hands.
, the girl had
backed up against the wall, the larger person was running the
barrel of the shotgun down her front. One person was filling a bag
with items from the shelf.
, a fourth person had entered
the scene with a baseball bat he appeared to be an older male, the
person with the bag now had the shotgun.
, the larger person was on
the floor, the person with the gun shot the man with the bat in the
the man with the bat was lying face down on the floor; the girl was
crouching next to him. There was only one other person in the shot
but slightly out of view.
, that person was gone. The
only two left were the victims. Two and a half minutes of action
reduced to 45 seconds of footage, not ideal.
only shows the view point of that camera", Grant said, pointing to
the camera above them. "I'm guessing when it flickers; it should
show footage from that camera above the counter. It's obviously not
working so we lose some of the action".
still good evidence, bag it and we will get the Techs to take a
look, see if they can get anything more", Bridger said.
cold and calculating don't you think", Gillian said, "He didn't
even blink, not even a warning before shooting that man in the
back. He was just protecting his daughter and his livelihood".
at Gillian, "In some ways the actions of the victim actually
motivated the outcome", he said, "The man used force which left the
aggressor no choice but to retaliate with force".
Grant both looked at Bridger disbelievingly.
motivated by different things", he continued, "It's not as simple
as good versus evil, there are any number of reasons for someone to
be on either side of that coin. I think it was Friedrich Nietzsche
who said; 'The good man is not the opposite of the evil man, rather
he is just a different expression of the same basic impulses that
find more direct expression in the evil man'".
really believe that do you Mike?" Gillian said in disbelief, "I can
see exactly where this poor man was coming from, and he is nothing
like those animals on the other side of the gun".
absolutely nothing to me", Grant said, looking at Bridger with a
sober expression, "But it sounds pretty deep for you".
"I'm not sure
I've actually figured out exactly what it means yet either, but
I've had a lot of time to sit and read lately," Bridger said,
shrugging his shoulders. He was wondering himself why he thought to
use that little piece of information.
The radio on Gillian's belt crackled into life.
‘Any unit available to attend Unity Park in
Mornington, possible stolen Subaru abandoned in the car
. The Police Dispatcher's voice was
tinny through the small speaker.
Bridger's ears prickled, it was too much of a
"I'll take that." He motioned
to Gillian to respond to the radio call. "Grant you stay here with
Gill and finish the scene. Ring Becky back and get her down to the
hospital to take over from Steve. I'll get the other's to meet me
at the park".
Grant was a good operator and had the
scene under control and
Wright was more than capable of handling the hospital side of
things on her own.
Bridger left the shop
and jogged over to his car, cell phone to his ear. It could not be
left the North East Valley the southbound one way system swept
Bridger through the central city quickly. There was not a lot of
traffic as the city and its roads settled down for the night. It
was less than eight minutes later when he parked his car in the
windswept car park of the Unity Park lookout. Brian Johnson and
John Mouller had already arrived and were standing with a uniformed
officer he did not know. The wind was buffeting them
was a senior Detective and one of his most trusted colleagues. His
calm, unflappable approach to the job had helped keep him in check
on numerous occasions. John Mouller was a good officer when he
wanted to be, which seemed to change from day to day. He always put
that down to John's current relationship status, which also changed
from day to day. As he got closer to the group, he got a surprise
to see that Jo Williamson was also there.