17 – Motherhood

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“Fifteen, come in. There is a report of a fugitive near your location. I need you to track her down and take her in,” Commander’s voice toned through my radio.

I picked up the sender end, and replied. “Send me the coordinates. What other information do you have?”

“A witness claims that she drowned her only child early this morning. Take that to mean she might be a threat.”

“Roger that, Commander. I’ve received the coordinates, and I’m tracking her now.”

I drove to the address that Shelby had sent me, and scrutinised the area. This was the first time that I had a legal reason to attack someone in a long while.

Suddenly, I saw legs flying over a fence and away from me. I accelerated and began to chase her down.

“Target is sited, she is fleeing on foot.” I ignored any reply I might have received. The perpetrator was not going to get away from me.

The woman ran through the streets like a maniac, and it almost looked like she had no self preservation instinct. She just kept running. I couldn’t blame her. Her life depended on it. Although, she didn’t yet seem to be aware of the police vehicle pursuing her.

As if just to prove me wrong, she suddenly turned into an alleyway to flee from me.

“Fuck all!” I screamed, braking my car. “Pursuing target on foot!” I dropped the radio, and hopped out of the car.

She ran as fast as her legs could carry her. The blue sundress she wore danced around her legs, giving her ample room to sprint freely. However, her lack of shoes made her feet susceptible to anything lying on the ground. 

She sprinted, and I sprinted after her. I caught up slowly, moment by moment. Once I was finally within her hearing distance, I yelled at her. “You’re under arrest! Stand down or I’ll be forced to shoot!” It was the same thing that I had been required to rehearse for years.

As was to be expected, she kept running. So, I closed some of the distance between us. After the distance had been closed, I drew my gun, kneeled, aimed, and fired in one swift motion. Her legs were swept from beneath her feet, and she rolled forward a few inches.

“You should have stopped running when I gave you the chance.” She didn’t respond to what I had said. She just lay there, muttering to herself. I moved in closer to hear her

“He- he made me do it. I was sleeping… I never wanted this,” she mumbled. Her eyes were glazed over. She had to have had a mental disorder. 

I looked at her leg, where I had shot her. Her calf was bleeding terribly, and her dress was smeared with the blood from it. I had been aiming for her thighs, but a calf works just as well.

“Ma’am, you are under arrest. You have the right to remain silent, and anything you say can and will be held against you,” I picked up her body. I needed to get her to my car and bandage her leg. She didn’t need to die out on the streets. She needed a proper execution, as I had been taught.

I ran to my car with her body in my arms. Her leg bled the whole while, leaving an awful trail behind me. She would likely die in my arms before we even got to my car.

“Please… stop…” She mumbled at me, her hand touching her leg. The blood that she had shed covered her hand halfway up her forearm.

I slowed down my run, and waited where I was. “What do you want?” I looked at her. Her eyes were still empty, but they seemed to be looking for something.

She raised her blood soaked hand to my face. “Let me go,” She slid her hand down my cheek. I felt the blood, even after her hand left.

“Ma’am, I legally can’t do that.” She had let her head go limp. She had stopped searching for anything, and simply hung.

“It doesn’t matter. I’ll die anyway. ” Her voice was still calm and steady, and she didn’t panic. “My son- he’s here. He’s calling for me. He isn’t mad. Please let me touch him.” She had reached down, and grabbed my hand. It wasn’t as warm as when she had touched my face.

“Fine, miss. I’ll do as you ask. A shot through your heart should leave you funeral ready.” I set her body down, then drew my pistol.

I didn’t want the bullet to hit her ribs, so I felt her chest to find a gap that would still lead into her heart. It would be swift for her.

“Thank you, Alex. Thank you.” She didn’t move, and it almost looked like her lips also hadn’t moved either.

“Sure,” I placed my gun on the spot where her ribs left enough space to reach the heart. I pulled the trigger. The flash and sound happened quickly, and then her body laid empty.

“At first you ran, then I shot your leg. Then you attacked me, so I had to dispatch you. That will be the official report. Everyone is going to think that you were insane. Is that really better than facing what you had done?” I usually didn’t muse to corpses, but none of her behavior fit any violent mental disorder that I had ever heard of.

I picked her corpse up, and took it back to my car. “You killed your child, which is a bond that I had been taught couldn’t be broken. Yet, here you are. Dead in my arms. Your child is probably dead in your home. You claimed that you had killed him in your sleep. That isn’t possible.” I got to my car, placed her body in the back seat, then got into the driver seat.

“You are like nothing that I had ever seen before. This intrigues me. I think that I want a reminder of this intrigue. You don’t mind if I take a shred of your dress when we get back to base, do you?” I looked at my center mirror, and angled myself so that I could see her corpse. Her dress was completely red at the chest, and she was soaked down to her hips. On the side where her leg had been shot, the dress was red from top to bottom. The only blue patch left was her unharmed leg.

I started my car and began to drive. I quickly realised that I hadn’t radioed in to Commander to tell her about what had happened on any level. So I took the opportunity to do that now. “Commander, copy in. This is Fifteen. I have apprehended the perpetrator.”

It took a few seconds before Commander responded. When she did, she was trying to avoid sounding furious, and poorly at that. “Officer, do you understand how many protocols you broke at that moment?”

“Yes, I do,” I coolly responded, “However, the perpetrator was going to escape if I waited for permission. She was running quite fast, and had fled into the alleys. If I didn’t chase her, there wasn’t going to be any chance of arrest.”

“That means you arrested her?” Commander still wasn’t very calm.

“No. She died. That said, you going to need to send someone to collect the body.”

No sound came from the radio for another few moments. Then, a new voice cut in.

“Fifteen, how did the girl die?” The voice was Superior’s. I shrugged, and decided to tell her the truth rather than my made-up status report.

“She was running from me. She refused to stop even after I had told her I would have to shoot. I shot her calf, and she fell. I picked her up, told her the basics of the arrest, and she muttered something remorseful about her son, and claimed she didn’t do it on purpose. I carried her body up to my vehicle. Along the way, she asked me to kill her then.” Now was when I told a lie. “I took pity on her and decided to do as she asked. I shot her in the heart, and avoided any ribs. She was going to die from blood loss in her calf either way.”

Superior came back with a reply quickly. “I think that was the right thing to do. However, you most certainly won’t want to write that in your report. Make sure you lie there.”

“I will. Fifteen over and out.” I put my radio down. Just in time, too, as I had gotten back to base. I parked the car outside for a moment. I still wanted my reminder of this encounter. I opened the backdoor, and reached toward the woman’s dress. It was now that I realised that her fall had torn the fabric up to a terrible degree. I grabbed the remaining blue on the dress, and tore part of it off. I stuck the fabric into my pocket, shut the door, then got back in. I drove into the garage.

I picked my radio up one more time. “Commander, Superior, I’ve arrived with the corpse in tow.” I placed the radio back into its proper spot, then climbed out of the car.

“Damn it, Fifteen. Why do you always have to bring back bodies? Just a few arrests is all it would take to balance all of this out. Jesus, it’ll take months to clean this out of the seats. This car will have to be decommissioned for a while,” Officer Zoe complained. It looks like she was already waiting for me.

“Well, maybe if everyone I tried to arrest didn’t fight back I wouldn’t have to stain the seats so often. Sorry about that, Zoe. Maybe I could get you some tea to make up for it?” Her eyes lit up at hearing tea. She loved tea, but was only able to get a glass or two during celebrations.

“How did you get your hands on tea? You aren’t sleeping with Commander are you?” I laughed at her remark.

“I’m not sleeping with Commander. I suppose I can see why you’d think that.” She laughed in return.

“Whatever, I don’t care who you’re sleeping with or how many bodies you drag to base, that tea will be worth it!” She pulled the corpse out of the car and examined it.

“I could’ve sworn that I recognised this girl. I think her name was Asilynn.” Zoe threw the body over her shoulder, then walked away. “Hey, Fifteen! I’ll be back to clean the car in a bit, so don’t take it anywhere!” She pushed open a door, stepped through, and it shut behind her.

I sat about for just a little while. I needed this vehicle to be clean if I was to go anywhere. That, or I needed new orders. Either way, one would eventually come.

Turns out, one would come faster than I had expected. Commander burst through the doors. “Fifteen- Fifteen your face! My god!”

I had forgotten about the blood that Asilynn had smeared onto my face. I also forgot that she had grabbed my hand. To top it off, I had forgotten that she had just bled everywhere on me when I carried her into my car. “Oh. Right.”

“Jesus! Go clean yourself up! You’ve got blood all over you!” Commander pushed me toward the door, doing her best to keep her own hands clean. I tend to forget that people have such an aversion to blood.

I went to the locker room, took off all of my clothing, then got into a shower. We rarely showered here. When we did, it was usually after an execution or after an event like this. There wasn’t much need for extra water use around here.

I had only just realised that it had been two weeks since I had last showered. I might’ve cleaned myself off on my last day off, but I was busy finding Famine, though I didn’t know it at the time.

I let the water run over my body for a while. It was hot, and that wasn’t something that I often could use at home. Hot water took too long to heat up in the home, and I usually only had it when I heated it up over the stove.

I felt warm. It wasn’t the usual heat that I had gotten used to while outside. However, the temperature was getting colder every day. I suppose I ought to enjoy the warmth while it lasts.

After what felt like hours of standing still and having the only sound be running water, I finally got some soap and washed my body. Then, I washed my hair. Some blood had made its way there, too. I had been covered even more than what I initially knew.

I looked about the shower for a fresh set of clothes. There wasn’t one. The only clothing up here was the clothing that I had come up with. Sighing, I tossed on a towel and went into the connected locker room. It wasn’t my locker room, but someone had to have left something out.

After finding nothing sitting out in the locker room, I just walked through the halls and into my locker room. Only a couple of people saw me marching through the hallways, and they were both equally surprised. They likely stared as I walked past, but I only noticed their looks while they were in front of me.

I went into the locker room, opened my locker, and got dressed. It felt nice to have some proper clothes on. I tossed my towel into the nearest basket, then left.

It had been thirty minutes since I had gotten back to base, and I was just barely reporting in to Commander about the neutralisation I had performed.

I knocked on Commander’s door. “Come in, Fifteen.” She was expecting me.

I pulled the door open and stepped inside. The door shut itself behind me. “Commander.”

“Yes, you’ve arrived. What happened with the girl?” Commander seemed just a little more impatient today than usual.

“I had to dispatch her. Now, you can either receive the reality or the report I’ll be filing later.” Commander tapped her desk with her fingers.

“I can read your report after you file it. Tell me what happened.”

I related to her the events that transpired while I had chased the mother. I told her about how I had chased her in my car, before needing to abandon it and continue the chase on foot. I told her about my lucky shot that was placed in the center of her calf, and how I saw Asilynn crumple and roll to the ground. I told her of the ramblings that the woman had spoken just before I tried carrying her to the vehicle. I ended the story by telling her about how I decided to listen to her pleas for death and gave them to her.

“That makes sense. So what do you plan to say in your report? I’ll need to say the same thing, in essence.” Shelby leaned forward in her seat. She must have found herself invested in my story.

“I plan to say that I chased her on foot. She stopped around a corner and then attacked me. I misfired and shot her leg, before taking the gun immediately to her chest. Then, as usual, I took the body back to my vehicle for examination. I don’t think she was on any sort of psychedelic, however.” Shelby nodded.

“Well, we’ll have to see what the forensic guys have to say. For now, I think it’d be best to just let you go home and rest.” She sat back in her chair and let out a long breath.

“Thank you, Commander. It’s well needed rest.” I turned around, and twisted her doorknob.

“Wait, one moment Ren!” I heard from behind me. I turned back around.

“What do you need, Commander?” I anticipated her response. I had been lacking sleeping for too long now.

“Tomorrow’s my day off. I was wondering if you’d like to get together and chat for a while? Maybe over some lunch? Does my place sound good?” I shrugged.

“I don’t see why not. I’ll see you there. Goodbye, Shelby.” I left.

I would get to go home early, and finally catch the sleep I had missed. That was just what I needed.

So, I took my leave of the station, and finally headed home.

Next Chapter

Author: Kaleb Kathleen Walker

I write short stories, and post them to my site justmynarratives.com

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