5: Jack


He was certain that only Roy would attempt to radio a description while running a full-tilt sprint.

“Subject is a male Caucasian, (huff) mid-twenties, average weight and height, (huff) short brown hair… (huff)… wearing a button-down dark green shirt and jeans… and he’s a helluva runner…”

Roy finally gave up and started pumping both arms. While encumbered by the radio call, Jack had kept pace with him, but Roy had maintained a lead of several yards, and was now beginning to pull away again.

The property wasn’t a single warehouse as Jack first thought, but a factory complex with several buildings. It presented a maze where the subject thought he could lose them. They had already chased the man through an empty parking lot, through a loading yard and into a long alley filled with rain puddles and piles of scrap metal on old pallets between two windowless metal buildings.

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Jack had so far managed two good looks at the subject, and he was worried. This man wasn’t just a good runner. He was Olympic-level. More than that, Jack saw something horribly competent about the guy in general. Profilers working this case had warned them that the criminal might actually be something other than a garden-variety sexual predator. With neither victims nor other evidence yet recovered, the shrinks could not tell, but what little they knew didn’t fit the normal characteristics of a predator, and what he was seeing now seemed to confirm their hypothesis. This guy had the fitness of an athlete or a soldier, and worse than that…

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Most predator types had little skill. They were amateurs at crime outside of the tasks of finding and taking their victims. Once they knew the cops were closing on them, they turned into panicked prey, undisciplined and scared. In contrast, this man considered himself the one in control. To him, Jack and Roy weren’t the Man coming for him. They were minor hazards to be dealt with in due course.

His eyes had been the clincher. They weren’t the eyes of a fugitive, but he had seen them before. They were eyes he had seen in the Army. The man had the same steady gaze as a sniper Jack had known.

A strange feeling came over him with that glance though. It is vital that you follow this man no matter what, it seemed to say. It wasn’t his intuition, but it was a sensation he had felt before, several times in his life, the one that had inspired him to tell Roy to follow the sedan in the first place. He had no word to call it, other than a ‘feeling’. Almost, a communication.

He put the distracting thought out of his head. Of course he would follow. The bastard had to go down, and that was final.

The subject disappeared around yet another corner. Roy got on the radio again. “3-5-32, this is 3-5-48-Alfa. Subject just turned the corner up ahead. I think he’s taking us in a circle. Can you see him from where you are?”

He heard their answer across his own mini unit. “Negative, 48, but dispatch requested a live feed off the site security. We’ll have authority, soon.”

Roy cussed again, then pushed his speed up more, pulling farther ahead of Jack. He had good reason to be frustrated. Nine times out of ten, that authority would arrive too late.

“Damnit, Roy, stop before you get to the end!” he yelled ahead. Like every officer in the St. Louis MPD, Roy had a personal commitment to this case driven by from months of frustration, but Jack wanted to the kid to stick to his training. First lesson on the topic of foot pursuit was, cops get killed while they are rounding corners.

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