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Monday, 25 August 2008

The Rising - Chapter 24: Replay Of The Attack

Dave didn’t know what to expect as Sergeant Crawford led him into the police station. Murder was a regular occurrence in his life and he had been witness to countless scenes of carnage down the years but he had never seen anything like this at a police station.

The off-white walls were sprayed with blood and pools of the dark red liquid had gathered on the uneven floor. Empty bullet casings lay on the floor, scattered around the taped outlines of where the victims of the attack had fallen. Police photographers were tiptoeing around the evidence, getting snapshots that their superiors would analyse when they finally got their act together and responded to this crisis.

I take it all the bodies have been removed?’ Dave asked.

That’s right, detective,’ said Sergeant Crawford, ‘They’re being taken to the hospital for further investigation. Captain Nash and Officer Slater did not sustain any gunshot wounds.’

What happened to them?’ Dave asked as they reached the empty cell where Emily Owen had been held.

Broken necks.’

Broken necks? Is this where Captain Nash was killed?’ Dave asked, pointing at an outline on the floor.

Yes sir.’

Did they still have their guns at their side?’

Yes sir, I believe they did.’

But they didn’t have time to draw them?’

No sir.’

Did you have any other prisoners?’

Yes, but only the woman was touched. Whoever did this wasn’t interested in the other prisoners. They’ve all been moved to another station outside the city.’

They both looked up and down the corridor that led to the holding cells. It was long and narrow. Nash would have been able to see and hear the beginning of an attack. If he didn’t have time to draw his gun, the attacker must have worked very quickly.

Dave cast his eyes around the cell but there was nothing of interest. Just a small sweaty room where Emily had been held all day.

Have you reviewed the security tapes yet?’ Dave asked.

Not yet.’

That’s one of the first things I’d think to check, Dave thought.

Okay, I’m going to look at them now.’

Sergeant Crawford led Dave to the front desk, where they had to wait until the photographers and forensic team had finished. The police station wasn’t exactly a high-tech operation but Dave wanted to thank whoever installed the security system. The feeds from the cameras were saved to a hard drive in a server that was locked away in the basement so unless the attacker had known where it was held or destroyed the whole building, the record of what had happened would be safe.

Dave sat down and loaded up the security system software, which would let him view footage from the past seven days from up to four different cameras at once.

What time did we get the call?’ Dave asked.

About ten o’clock,’ Sergeant Crawford replied.

Dave entered 21:55:00 into the time selection field in the security system and the video feeds flicked to a more ordinary situation than the one he had been thrown into. One image showed a completely still car park, with headlights on the main road in front jerking past at half-second intervals. The other images showed the main entrance area from two different angles and the corridor that led to the holding cells.

He watched as the calm scene before him changed. A pair of headlights moved into the car park and stopped right outside the front door. A tall man got out of the car and entered the police station, where a handful of police officers were going about their business. He was wearing a long black coat and Dave just made out a long sheathed sword strapped to his side.

By the time the man had moved to within the field of vision of the cameras in the entrance area, he had already drawn his pistol and shot one man, who dropped to the floor. Dave watched the silent images as the invader wiped out everyone before him. He holstered his weapon and moved towards the holding cells. As he did, another policeman approached him and was immediately grabbed with one hand and thrown head first into the wall. Captain Nash started to run down the corridor from Emily Owen’s cell and met with the same fate.

The man bent down and picked a set of keys off the floor where Nash had fallen. He walked up to Emily’s cell and unlocked the door. In a flash, he grabbed her and pulled her out by her collar. Dave followed the images as Emily was dragged out of the police station by her captor and thrown into the back seat of his car. He removed the sword he hadn’t had call to use from his belt and got into the driver’s seat then drove away.

As the car turned around in the car park, Dave paused the video. With the mouse pointer, he clicked on the image before him and dragged a rectangle around the car’s licence plate. The cropped image stretched out to fill the screen and the quality slowly improved, block by block, to reveal a licence plate number.

Sergeant Crawford,’ Dave said and turned round to look at the man behind him who was dumbstruck.

Sergeant?’ Dave repeated and he snapped out of it, ‘I need you to do a search on this plate: Whisky Seven Four Seven Bravo X-ray Charlie.’

I’m on it,’ the sergeant replied and sat down at another computer in the entrance area.

Dave stood up and went over to a small metal case that was mounted on the wall. He opened the case to reveal a selection of keys to the police vehicles that were parked outside the station. He picked out a set of keys for an unmarked car and put them in his pocket.

Sergeant Crawford had finished searching for the car. He stood up and shouted over to Dave. ‘The car’s registered address is one-two-four Castle Crescent. The owner is a Doctor Forrest.’

Doctor Forrest? Tom mentioned that name before. I must be on the right track.

Thanks, Sergeant,’ Dave said, ‘I’m taking a car. I’ll call if I need backup. Tell the chief to call me if he needs me.’

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