This is the fourth and penultimate chapter of this gripping serial. You can read the preceding chapters here. A faceless monster is terrorising and murdering all the vulnerable lollipop women in the city. Can John Garrison stop him? He’s about to meet him…
Blood on the Paddle – Chapter Four
‘Better the Psychopath You Know’
‘It’s not your call to make, Garrison!’ bellowed O’Lynam, slamming his fist onto solid mahogany. Coffee breached the cup’s rim and flowed onto the desk. ‘I’ve had it. You’re too much of a renegade. You can’t keep playing by your own rules!’
Garrison finally looked up from his feet and raised his eyebrows.
‘Are you done?’
‘No. You are!’ O’Lynam spat. ‘You’re done on this case. You’re done on this force. You’re done. Period.’
I guess you could say O’Lynam wasn’t amused to hear that Garrison was hiding Sandra Rebecci, a prime witness, at his place.
Garrison rose from his seat and straightened his jacket lapels. ‘I’m sorry you feel that way, boss. I’ll be sure to give Sandra your regards.’
A smile cracked across the chief’s face. Perhaps he’d finally seen sense. Perhaps the rage had subsided and he was lightening up, succumbing to Garrison’s roguish charm. The smile widened into a full on grin and then bore teeth. He cackled at Garrison.
‘You don’t get it, do you Garrison?’ He was nearly choking on how amusing he was finding it all. ‘She’s not there. We picked the popper up twenty minutes ago. Why do you think I kept you here this long?’
Garrison’s eyes narrowed and his teeth gritted.
‘Where have you taken her?’
‘Where you should have taken her in the first place. An official police safe house where neither you or the killer can lay a hand on her.’
‘Where?’ Garrison growled.
‘Hand in your badge and gun on your way out.’ O’Lynam took a gulp of coffee and batted his hand towards the door.
‘She won’t be safe. He’ll find her. She was safe with me, God dammit!’
Three cops took enormous pleasure in restraining and removing Garrison from the chief’s office.
He returned to his apartment to find it empty. The serenity Sandra had brought to his home and indeed his soul was gone. All that was left now was disarray.
‘All is lost,’ he muttered to himself. ‘I’m at my lowest ebb.’ Just then the phone rang.
‘Is this Detective John Garrison?’ a low, raspy voice inquired.
‘Once, perhaps,’ Garrison replied with barely enough energy to hold the receiver.
‘My name is… well my name is not important, Mr. Garrison. I’m the maniac you’ve been looking for.’ Garrison turned as white a sheet that had been thoroughly cleaned recently. ‘It seems we are both looking for the same lollipop lady.’ Garrison could feel his knees begin to buckle. He righted himself against the table. ‘I have a proposition for you, John. Meet me at eight.’ And he hung up.
He called back a moment later to specify a venue for their meeting. And then hung up again.
The statue of Eris stood in the North West corner of Nulty Park, in a dark, overgrown nook, hidden from from the joggers and dog walkers. Garrison looked up at her flowing robe and cascading hair. She looked all at once powerful and vulnerable. A big marble contradiction. Her eyes reminded him of Sandra’s.
‘The Goddess of Chaos,’ the raspy voice whispered from the shadows. A tall, jaundiced looking man emerged from the gloom. ‘I thought you’d like it.’
‘She’s not my type,’ Garrison snorted as he casually lit a cigarette.
‘You came alone,’ the lunatic slithered past Garrison and examined the statue close-up. ‘I’m impressed.’
‘I’m not scared of you.’
‘You have no need to be, Mr. Garrison. You’re not really…’ He paused and licked his lips ever so slightly. ‘…my type.’
‘Give me one reason not to arrest you right now.’
‘Well, forgive me. But haven’t they given you the sack, Detective?’ His voice was getting more and more high pitched the more amused he got.
‘Then give me one reason not to break your neck and end this right here and now.’
The stranger lit up with delight and turned to Garrison, wide-eyed and practically giddy. ‘Because they’ll never let you see her again.’
The stranger leaned in to Garrison’s ear and whispered. ‘I know where she is. But I need your help to get to her.’
‘Why would I do that? You’d kill her if you got your hands on her.’
‘And you’d take her from me if you did. Why don’t we…’ He licked his lips again. Garrison shuddered in disgust. ‘…cross that bridge when we get to it?’
To be concluded…