No Asylum – Epilogue

September 10, 2010

Two weeks later…

…In an office off an underground parking garage

“Aye, I have it for ye, laddie.” Grayson Fell’s accent was even thicker over the phone than it was in person, but the Dundee brogue came easier to Ian’s ears than it might have to an American’s, coming as it did from less than two hundred miles North of his home town.

“Yer man Fitzpatrick? Twice-decorated CSA officer. Admitted to San Paro General two weeks ago in critical condition, then transferred elsewhere last week… Don’t know where to, yet, though; they keep that stuff pretty quiet. But the good news is, the prognosis for yer man doesn’t look very good. Cranial bleeding, multiple fractures to the skull, one bullet lodged in there. Best he kin hope fer is a really long nap.

“I’ll keep an eye on him for ye, though. Somethin’s twitchin’ me nerves with this, like, and we neither of us need some fuckin’ CSA hero comin’ after ye and yer lassie.”

Behind his dark glasses, Ian’s eyes went somewhere far away. Since he pulled her out of Detention Centre 14, Dolly had reverted almost immediately to her usual, sunny self, as if the experience had washed straight out of her. But she trembled more at night, now, whimpering in her dreams until he wrapped her tightly in his arms and held her close. Then she’d give a soft little sigh and squirm about, grinding her bottom against him in a way that wasn’t really conducive to sleep and rubbing her foot back and forth against the sheets before sinking deeper into sleep with a smile on her face.

It wasn’t just the arrest, he knew. But her time in detention had opened the door again for older, darker horrors. Horrors he’d worked so hard to chase away.

“If he does…” Ian drummed his fingers restlessly on the table. “It’ll be worse for him.”

…In a top-floor room in a private hospital on the Waterfront

There was a certain, unwritten code to be obeyed in a police partnership. You could refuse to partake in corruption but you couldn’t rat. You could drunkenly insult each other, but never fight. You never forgot each other’s birthdays, but it was never too personal a gift. You always had each other’s backs, protected each other. You could argue and they had to listen, but if they insist, you have to help.

Pretty much the only instance in which it was acceptable to break the code, was if your partner slept with your wife.

Chris was divorced, but as he stood beside the bed with a thick file clutched in his fingers, he wondered if a fast, drunken marriage to some Vegas hooker, followed by outright pushing her into Derek’s hospital bed, would have been preferable to what he was getting involved in.

“Look. He already almost killed you once. Christ! Look at yourself! This is not a good idea!”

Derek couldn’t answer verbally. The bandages swathed his entire head, sealing his mouth shut, leaving only a tiny slit for one eye to abate the claustrophobia. He typed on a slim, silver keyboard instead, moving his hand carefully to navigate the tangle of wires for various monitors, the tubes from IVs sending liquids in, the tube from the catheter taking liquid out.

Chris pondered a joke about “taking the piss” but figured Derek wouldn’t be in the mood.

“LOOK at me, Chris. Look at the file. The guy NEEDS taking down.

“I want to be the one to do it. I OWE him, Chris.”

“We can pull him in on any one of a hundred charges at any time. The problem is that we can’t make it stick, and CSA warrants expire a lot faster than police ones.” Chris shook his head. Derek hadn’t been thinking straight since he regained consciousness. All he could talk about was Ian Carlyle.

To the extent that he could talk at all.

“It’s not about arrests, Chris. This is about DESTROYING the Limey fuck.

“I’m going to tear away everything he cares about, one by one, then I’m going to take him off the streets FOR GOOD.”

“Christ, Derek! You can’t… I’m not going to stand here and listen to you plot cold-blooded murder!” Chris half-turned to walk away, feeling that surge of panic in his chest again, but Derek was still typing.

“We HAVE to, Chris. What’ll happen to that poor girl if we don’t?”

Fuck. Derek was playing with his head. Chris knew it, but he couldn’t take his eyes off the screen.

“She’s only 19. Not mentally competent. And he’s the insanely jealous type, you said.

“For all we know, he beat the shit out of her once they got out of DC14.”

No, thought Chris. No, I’ve never seen him hit her. But the image of it still gnawed at his guts, etched itself on the backs of his retinas, pricked at his palms, curling them into fists.

“Fuck you, Derek.” Chris threw the file onto the bed and stormed from the room.

You’ll be back. From the bed, there came a wheezing sound that might have been a chuckle as Derek carefully erased the screen.


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