7: Jack


His mind raced through all the implications. A few moments ago he had merely been in pursuit of the presumed culprit in a long-running serial abduction case. The scenario changed as this new player appeared …

She could not be human, not if she could move at such a speed. That meant she must be a ‘spook’, one of the strange  creatures that had been showing up with increasing frequency over the last ten years. And with a spook involved, the criminal could not be just a common run sexual predator.

That sensation came to him again. Don’t worry about her! She isn’t the enemy!

Could he rely on it? He’d encountered spooks before. Officers in urban settings ran into them at least once or twice a year. Their habit of showing up in the middle of mysteries and disturbances guaranteed it. Their tendency to disappear the way the girl had just done, or flash from one place to another at crazy speeds, earned them the title ‘spook’ when they first appeared over a decade before.

The name also fit the fact that formerly, most people didn’t believe they actually existed. After they became established as reality rather than tabloid fodder, the government determined they were living creatures, but the name ‘spook’ had stuck.

He’d seen spooks, but never one like this tanned beauty. Raven-haired, athletic, and sparsely clad, running at speeds no human could manage… but the swimsuit-model first impression jarred out of focus as he recognized that her ‘swimsuit’ outfit consisted of snake skins, pelts, feathers, and moccasins.

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Was she supposed to be some kind of primitive nature spirit?

When the subject fired, she disappeared as if she’d been an illusion all along. She just… twisted out of existence, as the world folded up around her.

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While Jack squeezed off more rounds, Roy yelled into his radio again, “Subject is armed! Firefight in progress!”

But of course, he also had to report what they had both seen. Standard procedure. “Also, spook warning! Be advised of a spook on the premises! Repeat, we have a spook on the premises!”

Jack took off again for another covered location, behind stacks of large boxes, as the firing stopped. He switched magazines and kept an eye on the door as his partner followed behind him. He stuck to textbook safety procs, with a two-handed weapon hold, pointed down and to one side. The youngsters could laugh at him and his strict procedures, but he stuck to Army MP training when it came to firearms. It earned him the gratification of hearing Roy mutter behind him after they both came to another stop, “Always, everythin’ by the freakin’ book!”

Roy went back to the radio as Jack took off again, now aiming for the spot next to the door where the subject fired from. “Spook is female, mid-to-late-twenties, medium brown skin, average weight and height, long black hair, dressed like a wild-woman wearin’ animal skins. She may be a ‘white hat’. She seems to be after our guy, too.”

As Jack took up station next to an electronic badge-reader and a clock hanging on the wall, Roy added, “Also, it looked like subject was firin’ at her, not us.”

He put the radio back in its holster as he joined Jack, on the opposite side of the entry, back against the wall. They went through the room entry drill, perhaps a little more carefully now that they knew the subject was armed, and moved into the warehouse offices. A scattered array of desks with monitors confronted them in the dim security lighting.

Roy updated their location as Jack wondered what was taking that security camera feed so long. The subject could be hiding behind any of these desks, or the row of file cabinets, or the big copier/printer in the corner…

He swiveled toward a muffled noise. It sounded like footsteps on a staircase. He spotted the stairwell entrance across the office and ran for it. Again, the vague impression returned, of knowing where the subject was. Their man lurked somewhere in the hall above their heads.

He couldn’t explain it, but he had felt the same sensation many times in the past. He’d gotten a lot of mileage out of that weird ability that he couldn’t tell his fellow cops about, but he knew he could trust it.

The impression vanished as he proceeded up the stairs. He was about half way up, with Roy just starting up behind him, when the subject came around the corner above them, firing.

- my thoughts:

By now it should be evident, we aren't in present-day St. Louis. But, it isn't all that far in the future. Perhaps two decades.

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