It’s been a fun challenge to write this week’s scene because I naturally wanted to carry on! It’s always enjoyable when I work on action scenes, building up the tension before and then following the different characters POVs. I hope they make you smile too and you enjoy this week’s episode of Renee & Frei.
Act 3 Scene 8
In a rundown part of town amongst rotted industrial remains, the grimy brown broken panes of glass pulsed with flashlights. The police force were meant to have been able to just show up and find Gem or at least alert him but Abby Fleming, from her position back at the command hub was feeling uneasy.
Her most loyal member of staff, Gould, who had been there to help at the C.I.G base stood nearby. She could almost be Frei-like in the way her face remained impassive; her glossy red hair was bound and confined tightly to a bun and her brown eyes showed intelligence, dedication, and confusion.
“Gould, you look like you have toothache,” Abby muttered and glanced at the jovial police commissioner, Steve, who she was sure was only in charge because he’d been in the force the longest. “You have perfect teeth so what is the problem?”
Gould tucked her lips into her mouth, clamping them together.
“They found the stolen puppies?” Steve said to one of his officers with a grin. “How did they manage that when they were only just out of the academy?”
“Don’t know, Sir,” the officer, who didn’t seem to like fitness, said. “They were asleep in the van.”
“The academy officers?” Steve asked showing his adept ability at policing while picking at his ear.
“No, Sir,” the officer said with a chuckle. “The suspects.”
“Huh,” Steve said screwing up his mouth. “I should call the mayor. She’ll be pleased.”
“You want us to send them in first, Sir,” the officer waved at the screen in front of them showing the industrial unit.
Steve glanced Abby’s way. “We’ve been sitting here for a whole hour.”
Abby glowered back at him until he hunched. “I’m sure you are quite practiced in sitting for longer.”
Steve nodded. “It’s an important part of the job.”
Abby looked at Gould again who made no show that she was listening. “Gould, are you asleep?”
Gould turned to her then leaned in and lowered her voice. “Ma’am, the unit is supposed to have the suspect inside. I don’t think they are.”
“Sure they are,” Steve said with a gentle tone as if speaking to an inexperience officer. “There’s lights in there.”
Gould turned to him. “I lowered my voice not to be listened to.”
“I’m the commissioner. I’m good at police work.” Steve nodded and leaned back in his chair which creaked then thunked his head on the wall behind and grunted.
Gould turned back to Abby. “There is no one in that building, Ma’am.”
Abby frowned. “I can see there are flashlights myself.” She studied the screen. “I’m unsure why you don’t think there is.”
“The window on the left… the light hits that every two minutes, then the one in the middle every five… it’s in sequence…” She turned to Steve who rubbed at his head. “It’s programmed to look like there are people moving about but there aren’t.”
“Maybe they are patrolling.” Steve rubbed at his head again and fiddled with his cell phone. “Are we scoping it out or not because I need to call the mayor.”
Abby studied the windows but she couldn’t see what Gould was saying. She could see that the light was hitting each pane regularly but it didn’t seem like it had been programmed. Still, she trusted Gould so she pulled out her cellphone not really wanting to call and ask advice but she needed to.
“Black,” Renee chimed in her confident, professional tone.
“I know who I’m calling,” Abby mumbled feeling irritated yet again. Renee had the ability to make her feel like they had never even known each other and she’d just imagined being engaged.
“I know you do,” Renee said, non-committal, like she was busy. “That’s just how I answer the phone.”
“You didn’t when I called.” Abby waved to thin air as the ever present ache in her heart threatened to make her argumentative. “I need to know if Gould has spotted a problem.”
“Then ask her.” Renee was walking somewhere by the undertone of soft breathing.
Abby scowled. “Why am I bothering—?”
“I’m teasing you. You’re more intense than usual.” Renee softened her voice which, by memory, would mean she was smiling with that arrogant confidence she always exuded. “How may I help?”
“Gould feels the lights inside the target location are programmed but I can’t see them.” Abby blew out a breath as Steve eyed her and Gould turned deliberately and launched into conversation with him about the mayor. “I usually can spot most details.”
“Abby, you spot more than most agents.” Renee’s tone was softer and kinder. “Urs, quit giving out parking tickets and get over here.”
“Black, they are blocking a gate that says it is in constant use,” Frei said sounding grumpy.
“Gould feels the lights are programmed at the unit,” Renee said as if ignoring her. “You can quit writing the ticket.”
“I can write and listen.” Frei sounded ready to shoot the person’s tires.
“Is that something Gem would do?” Renee asked like she was used to Frei.
“Yes. It is something most owners would do,” Frei muttered. “They are usually a way to make the building look occupied when it is not.”
“But flashlights?” Abby asked with a shake of her head. “Why program flashlights?”
“Ma’am, we have a young girl heading toward the unit,” Gould said even while focused on Steve.
Abby studied the screen. The young girl was a teenager who carried a bottle of alcohol in one hand, a cigarette in the other and a smug smile. She yelled at something beyond camera shot and laughed.
“Renee, my gut is telling me that unit isn’t quite right,” Abby said rubbing at it, sure that Renee would laugh at her for such a comment. She was always logical.
“Abby, trust yourself,” Renee said instead, tone now intense. “Show a police presence outside the unit but do not go in.”
“Ma’am the girl has a few friends and they look like they are set on breaking and entering.” Gould folded her arms then shook her head at Steve. “It’s not an opportunity to deal with youth offending.”
Abby held up her hand. “Show the police presence, hopefully that will scare them. Stay at distance.”
Steve huffed out a breath. “I am not going to stay at distance. She’s underage drinking for a start.” He picked up his radio. “Go.”
Sirens blared as ten squad cars and two vans screeched into position outside. The girl and her friends ran… toward the unit.
“Gould, keep the police out,” Abby said, shoved her hands-free on, and sprinted out of the command hub across the shadowed alleyway. “Renee, there are kids heading into that building.”
“We’re on our way. Abby, I need you to keep those officers out,” Renee shot as Frei fired instructions to someone—must be Jessie. “These people use traps.”
“Oi,” Abby yelled to the kids as she ran around the back of the unit hoping that they would turn and head a different direction.
“Inside,” the girl said to her friends—two boys, one girl—as she held open a side door.
“No,” Abby picked up her speed but she was a jogger. She wasn’t fast, not like Renee was. “Don’t go into that building. It’s… dangerous.”
The girl looked up at her, scowled a teenage scowl then followed her friends in.
“Renee, they are inside. I need to get them out.” Abby winced as the sirens kept whining away. She pulled her pistol and slowed as she reached the door.
“They trap the place,” Renee muttered back sounding as though she was clinging on by the tires screeching. “Try to drive like you’re a cop, will you?”
“No.” Frei roared the engine.
Abby eyed the door then heard someone yelp inside. “Someone is hurt.” She sprinted in, heard something snap under her feet.
“Roll!” Renee yelled.
Abby threw herself forward then heard something clang into the wall behind her. She glanced back then panic fired enough adrenalin through her that she shook. “Is that a blade?”
“Yes,” Renee’s tone had switched to her professional tone again. “Doorways have those. Keep low, move slowly. If you catch a light hitting you, move to the side.”
“Which side?” Abby breathed out, picked up her pistol, holstered it—diving with live firearms wasn’t a good idea—and she lifted herself into a hunched walk.
“Either,” Frei said in the background.
Abby nodded and crept through the odd, derelict space. “Kids,” she called out hoping she sounded friendly not like she was shaking. “I’m a Federal Agent. You are in a premises that is very dangerous. You’re not in trouble. I just need you to come with me and I’ll take you outside.”
“Don’t listen to her,” a girl said in a slurred tone.
“But he’s hurt,” another girl said.
“He’s being a baby,” the first girl slurred back. “It’s a scratch.”
“It’s gone through his shoulder.” The other girl sounded like she was crying.
“Shut up,” a boy, older sounding, said. “We’re going inside. You can stay and get arrested.”
“Abby, please don’t go in much further,” Renee wasn’t one for being so polite.
“I need to help them.” Abby cut the call and crept around a corner then steadied herself. One boy was on the floor with some kind of plastic or glass shard in his shoulder. A girl hunched over him crying.
“Ma’am!” Gould called from behind her.
“Gould, watch your footing,” Abby called back as the girl looked up at her. “I’m here to help you. Let me help you.”
The girl nodded. “It just hit him when we were walking.”
Gould caught up to her. “I have Jessie’s help,” she said with a tap to her ear.
Abby nodded and followed her to the teenagers. “He’s unconscious. He’s bleeding… seems like it’s a vein…”
“Ma’am, he needs a medic.” Gould glanced at the girl but her eyes were hard to read… again, Frei-like. She touched her ear. “Jessie is sending one. I just need to get him out… and you.”
“I need to get the other two,” Abby said and held out her arms to the sobbing girl. “We’ll get him help.” She took hold of the girl’s hand. “Come on, you don’t want to be in here.”
The girl nodded, sobbing. “It’s his older brother… and his girlfriend… we didn’t want to break in.”
Abby led the girl as Gould carried the boy alongside them. “When a Federal Agent tells you to stop, you stop.” She sounded more like a mother than an agent but the thought of her own two girls in the situation was too much. “It’s better to be told off by the police than get into more trouble.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” the girl mumbled, sobbing.
Abby sighed and pulled her under her arm then led her out of the doorway, careful to avoid the trap in the floor.
“Ma’am, Jessie wants us to move them over to the command hub. She is sending her medic to a building nearby with… someone called Stosur?” Gould said carrying the boy toward the edge of the building.
“No idea, must be one of her staff,” she said hoping it sounded professional and not like she was dependent on a teenager helping her. “You take this lady with you. She will want to keep an eye on her friend, yes?”
The girl nodded. “Thank you.”
Gould paused, holding eye contact. “Ma’am?”
“I have to go and get the other two.” She averted her eyes. “I’m a mother. I can’t leave them in a dangerous place.”
Gould hesitated again.
“Take him to the medical staff and tell Steve if he tries to be a police officer I will retire him.” Abby turned and steadied herself then headed back inside. Ignorant teenagers or not, they were kids, and her heart wouldn’t let her do anything other than go inside and get them to safety.