“Nerves Like Daggers”
The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas
The house had been booby trapped.
Luckily for those under his command, Sargent Detective Gil Katsaros held back his men in respect to the local police force. Rovas and Berrak were behind them when the explosion forced them all to hit the ground. Shrapnel flew by Rovas and Berrak, but wood slivers and other debris pierced some who were closer to the house. The five members of the local force were scattered around the burning mess of a vacation home.
Berrak helped tend to the wounded with some of the other officers, after making sure Rovas was OK. He, after checking she was all right, went with the Sargent Detective to examine the scene after they called the local authorities.
“EMTs and fire trucks are on their way,” Gil told Rovas as they went to check on the status of the downed police. Three of them were dead; the other two, one a female cop, were still hanging on. Both were unconscious, which Rovas thought was a blessing for them, seeing how badly they were injured. While the others did what they could until medical help could arrive, Rovas and Gil continued searching the perimeter. The house was still ablaze and too hot to get too close to.
Gil drew his gun, offering Rovas his back up piece. He shook his head and produced his own gun from under his coat. Gil’s eyebrow went up in a bit of surprise, but he let it go immediately.
“I’ll take that, Gil, if you don’t mind.” Berrak had come quietly behind them, aware of her presence when she arrived.
Gil’s face twitched, ready to say no, but Rovas turned and gave his wife his gun. He took Gil’s back up. “I feel better if Berrak has a gun that she’s practice on already. Home protection, after…” he trailed off.
“Right. There’s not much we can do here while the fire burns so hot.” Gil walked over to his second in command and spoke to him out of earshot of Rovas and Berrak. “They’ll stay her for the medical team and back up, and will call me when this area is secure. I’d like to go check out the surrounding area, but…” Gil said, kicking himself as he was saying it, “…stay close to me.”
Rovas only gave him the look. He nodded. Berrak fell to her husbands’ side as they made their way into the trees that surrounded the property. To the west was a small beach area; the east, behind the remains of the house, was forest, a small hill in the near distance led to the south. Open land and the main road were due north. If John Peters was still in the vicinity, Rovas agreed with Gil: the forest would be the first choice to hide or escape through. Everything else appeared too wide open.
They scoured through the copse of trees, searching the tops of the sturdiest trees as well as any large groupings of shrubbery. They heard the sirens in the distance. Rovas remained intent in his hunt for Peters; Gil was glad to hear the sound, knowing reinforcements would soon be freed up to join them. Berrak was unsuccessfully looking for any markings of Peters passing this way. There were none.
She turned around, looking back along the way they came. The land had risen slightly as they walked, which now gave them more of a panoramic view of the burning house and more of its surroundings. Around a bend in their search, she spotted something: a bright glint of light to their left. She prodded Rovas, who tapped Gil. They began to crouch just as they heard the sound of a rifle firing.
Gil went down in a spray of blood from his shoulder. Two more shots rang out, missing them.
“Berrak, stay with Gil. Call for help.” She began to shake her head, but Rovas was already off. As he ran, he flicked the gun safety switch. He heard Peters cutting through the brush more than saw him. There were glimpses, but not enough for a clear shot as he ran. There was more than a twenty years difference in their ages, but Rovas was spurred on by adrenaline and anger.
Rovas followed Peters as the hill rose steeply. Peters fired off another shot, turned and ran again. He missed, but this allowed Rovas to lesson the distance between the two. The killer crested the hill and disappeared completely from sight. Wary, Rovas made his way to the top, expecting another bullet.
He crept to the top and peered over. The hill sloped down with a radical drop. He saw Peters sling his rifle over his shoulder. From the distance, Rovas saw Peters take out a piece of paper, a knife, and watched him drive it into the trunk of the tree closest to him. He climbed onto a waiting motorcycle and put a helmet on. As he revved the engine, Peters turned and looked up.
Rovas and Peters locked eyes for an instant. Peters reached up and closed the helmets’ shield and kicked up the stand. Rovas took aim with his gun and fired off four shots. Peters drove off at high speed and was gone in a flash.
A medic was tending to Gil as Rovas came to where he left them. Berrak was by him before he could say anything. She checked him over to make sure he wasn’t shot. She found nothing more than scrapes. “I’m ok, I’m ok,” he said to her as she dabbed at the blood on his hands and then face. “It’s only a flesh wound.”
“This is not a time for joking around, Zarian.”
The half smile faded from his face. “I know. He got away, Gil. Had a blasted bike hidden away. He left us a present where he stashed his motorcycle. We’ll pick it up soon.”
“Military planning all the way around. Take the enemy out, stake out the high grou…ouch!…high ground. Plan your retreat.” Gil grumbled. “Bastard.”
“Through and through,” said the EMT, Jill. “We’ll take him to the hospital for a full check up. Yes, you are going to the hospital,” she said, before Gil could say anything.
“I assume you’ve already had this argument while I was gone.”
She turned to him, tight-lipped but smiling nonetheless.
“Gil, go. We’ll be right behind you.”
Rovas put his arm around Berrak’s shoulder, pulling her into a hug as the others made their way back to the house.
“I was worried,” she said.
He just nodded his head, which she felt alongside hers in the embrace. They stood like that for a little bit, then made their way to the car.
“The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas” is my theme for this year. Cold case files for the good inspector to delve into, trying to make sense &/or solve. My plan is to use a variety of genres within this overarching theme to allow me to play and, of course, challenge myself. Some cases might bleed into another case. Most will be stand alone. We’ll see, won’t we?
As to the Blogging from A to Z challenge, I’ll let the words of Arlee Bird (founder of said challenge) tell you what this is all about:
The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 4 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.
The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends.