Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Police (10/12/06)
TITLE: The Line of Fire
By Jesus Puppy
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Brian Jenkins sat in the back row of the parish church, tears streaming down his face. He wept bitterly in a mix of guilt, shame, and remorse-- the confusion that wracked his soul. Visions of a child that lay bleeding at his feet, killed by his own hand.
Losing his wife the week before, as she took their only child and left without a word, had added to the stress of the week. Working nights had put a strain on his life, but the job itself had caused the greater struggle in his marriage, and she simply had enough of the worry. Not knowing if one morning he would not come home, killed on the street by violent crossfire.
"Why can't you have a normal job?" His wife had always argued how his line of work would one day get him killed. "Always skulking around with cut-throat or worse."
"It is what I am," was his only defense. "You knew that when you married me."
Now, to be haunted by his own actions, driven mad by the blood on his hands. As he drove away from the church, he knew what he had to do. Even when told not to, Brian felt the responsibility to deal with his mistake was his alone.
It had been near midnight as they walked down a darkened alley-way, checking the backs of jewelry shops. Normally it was a quiet stroll, just checking for that all-so-easy entrance in the night. His buddy had seen something from the shadows and always leery of security giving away their location, they slid back into the darkness to wait.
Seconds crawled by like hours, as a deeper shadow moved in the dark. The muffled sound of footsteps as someone ran from the back of a store. Shots were fired in their direction as his partner stepped out to block their path. His own gun rose in response. At the end of the alley another form moved, a hand raised, and Brian reacted without thought.
Now, the pain of his reaction, to live with the taking of a life.
"The hazzards of our line of work," his partner had said when things had settled down. The words brought no comfort to his pain.
As Brian pulled up the drive to a small run-down house, paint chipped and pealing from need of better management, he could still see the child's body as though it had just happened. His tears blurred his vision as he walked up the steps to the door, but they could not wash the sight from his mind. Slowly, he knocked, and seemed to wait an eternity for the woman's reply before he spoke.
"Mrs. Carver?" he said softly through the door, "My name is Detective Jenkins. I need to speak with you about your son."
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