The phone rang to wake Kurt up. He saw the illuminated time, it was two am. “What the hell?” He picked up the phone, still half asleep.
“Sir? Turn on your television. It’s the Senator, Sir. Claire Winslow has been shot.”
Kurt felt like he’d been hit with a train. “Where is she?” He took a few deep breaths and then asked, “Is she still alive?”
Kurt scribbled down the address and ran around his apartment, throwing on the clothes he’d worn the day before. Within five minutes, he was in his car, his siren screaming to tell the city not to mess with him.
The address was in the outskirts of the city, but he found it within 20 minutes. He stopped the car in the middle of the street, and jumped out, leaving the door ajar. “Who’s in charge here?” He passed several officers, tugging at them, shouting as he went. “Tell me who is in charge here.” Finally, one of the officers pointed to a woman standing behind a patrol car that was in front of the café. He went to her, held his badge out, “Tell me what the status is.”
Wanda Silverton saw him approaching, she knew him from reputation. “Detective, what are you doing here? This isn’t your problem.”
“No, you’re wrong about that. I know the Senator and that makes this my problem. Is she alive?” He looked toward the coffee house front. “Who the fuck is this guy in there? Let me talk to him.”
“I don’t think you should, we have this under control. Now let me do my job.”
“Look, let me talk to him. See? I’m settled down. I have experience with this sort of thing.”
Detective Silverton knew of his reputation, he was good at his job. “Alright. Here’s the status. We gave him his coverage, now it’s time for him to give us the hostages.” She dialed the phone and handed it to him. “Talk him down, Detective. He calls himself Stephen Johnson.”
The phone rang inside. Stephen jumped at the sound, then went to pick it up. The camera turned to follow him.
“Stephen, is this Stephen?”
“Yes, did you get it? It really is her, I have Eve Hart cornered.”
“We sure did, good work. Now, why don’t you let the others leave? Then we can concentrate on her.”
Stephen was elated. He was being recognized for his good work. Those were the words he’d heard. “No problem, Sir. Has the fighting stopped? Did I stop the war?”
“Yes, everything is now peaceful. Just let everyone out and I’ll come in to take over.”
“Sir, can you send someone for my wife and baby? They’re at the Tempton Hotel just a few blocks from here. I want them to see this.”
“The Tempton? Of course, we’re on it.” Kurt looked at Detective Silverton, she shook her head.
She whispered, “No hotel by that name.”
“Oh, and Stephen. How is the Senator doing?”
Stephen looked at the receiver in disbelief. Anger filled his insides. “Who am I talking to?”
“My name is Detective Kurt Simmons. We don’t want any bad publicity, Stephen. We need to get the Senator some help.”
“What is this, some kind of joke?” He threw the phone to the floor. He looked at Eve and shouted. “Get over here. Get over here now, Traitor!”
Eve stepped forward, and when she reached him, he grabbed her arm and dug his fingers into her skin. He put his mouth to her ear and whispered, “You and I are leaving now, and we’re leaving the way we came in. You seem to know this place so you should know how to get out of here. We’re going out the back way.” He looked at her with hatred in his eyes. “Go, now! Or I’ll start shooting.”
Eve looked at Claire, her mouth quivering. Ron, Christine, Rachel. Then she looked at Donna, “Did you know this would happen?”
“Shut up and move.”
They walked to the back where the tree had grown over her portal. She put her hand out to brush over it and as before, it shriveled up before their eyes, exposing their escape hatch.
Everyone in the room watched, the camera was on them. On them as they disappeared out the exit. Ron ran toward them. He reached the wall, but it was too late. Frantically, he groped the branches that had replaced the door. “No, Eve!”
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