Finally : Part Fifteen of Angel
“. . . but your release isn't in this game
It's your time to be ashamed
be named the gudgeon
to be the one who gets bludgeoned
just like your cousins
coming in dozens
to watch your blood be spilt . . .”
It had been a slow day. My last case, a mysterious arson, had been solved when the kid turned himself in. The kid said it was just “something to do”. I guess you could say it's been a slow month. I had been staying in late out of habit, sifting through empty paperwork at my desk. I had been poring over the names and the places of these files like they had just been dropped on my desk. Then the phone rang, at precisely 10:19. I scooped it up, immediately.
“This is Detective Greene.”
“Hello? Detective?” It was a woman. “My name is Helen Throburghe.”
Helen told me that her friend, Macy Wallace, had been taking care of someone and he'd run away. I told her, catching runaways was a job for the police. She should call the dispatcher and that person would be able to help her. Helen scoffed and told me there was more. Adam wasn't missing; he was staying with Ms. Wallace. She said the problem was his father.
“So it's the father that ran away?” I was impatient. That wasn't what I was there to work on. I shouldn't even have been there.
“No,” She told me, “His father is going to try and kill him, too.”
“So…he's killed someone else?” I asked.
“Yes,” She replied.
I could hear someone talking in the background. Helen was calling from a house. But she hadn't spoken in so long that I had to ask if she was still on the line.
“I'm here,” She spoke more quietly, “He's killed Adam's boyfriend-and, maybe, his wife, Adam's mother, Eve.”
“Is this a joke?” Adam and Eve, I hadn't heard that one before. But it was possible. Still . . . “How'd you get this number? Did you know making prank phone calls to a law official is a federal offense?”
“I'm not joking!” Helen was defensive, “I'm a registered LCSW and a mandated reporter. We've already called the CPS. Adam was abused at home, by his father, Jack. He's told us that Jack killed his lover in front of him. That's why he ran away. Now, come down here and take a statement.”
When I came down the next morning, I knocked on their door. A caucasion female in her mid thirties answered the door, accompanied by a canine. She identified herself as Helen, the caller. Another woman, with light brown hair and captivating green eyes, appeared at the door beside her. She introduced herself as “Macy”.
Sam, a boy with black hair, brown eyes, and a hole in his left ear, was sitting at a table in the kitchen. They told me that Adam was still asleep. Sam went quietly into a room across from the kitchen table as the dog nudged my crotch. I could hear murmuring.
Macy leaned back against the counter, inadvertently ending in a provocative pose, “Would you like something to drink, Detective? Some coffee?”
“Just water, please.” I told her.
Macy was leaning down in front of me; I was looking down her shirt, when Adam came out his room.
“Adam,” Macy addressed the boy, “This is Detective Ash Greene.”
Adam shook hands with me, “Nice to meet you.”
“Likewise,” I said.
“. . . He wants to ask you some questions about what happened back home, for a police report.” She smiled at me, “Are you okay with that?”
“Umm, sure,” Adam replied, “Can I have some coffee?”
Adam sat opposite to the corner where I was sitting. Macy came with his coffee and we got down to business. Adam answered all of my questions with a frankness I'd not seen in many victims many times before. He'd lost count of how many times his Dad had hit him. But he was able to tell me he'd been to the hospital four times because of his father. And he'd been out of school for almost a whole school year, all together. Thankfully, the boy didn't have any permanent damage.
The others all sat at the table or leaned against the walls or counters while he retold his tale. I took notes, furiously, on my laptop. Jack had killed his lover, Scott, for sure. Adam expressed his certainty. Later on, when I called the LAPD, they said they'd found the body of a teenaged boy and a middle-aged woman in a secluded wildlife reserve. When I called Macy to ask, she said it was only a ten-minute drive away from where Adam used to live. Still, there was no sign of the boy's father.
Jack drove furiously across America, for twenty-three hours straight. He decided to stop, a little more than halfway through, after he got his second speeding ticket.
The LAPD had searched their place of residence. It was a mess, they said. The furniture was destroyed, and there were take-out boxes littered everywhere. The lieutenant I spoke to told me they would post a watch that night, to see if he would return. But, they said, it looked like he packed up and left. They found a plethora of blood traces when they turned the black lights over the Luminol. Traces of puddles were found all over the bathroom, the living room and the master bedroom-as well as on the walls and floor around the door in Adam's room. They conjectured, that's where it all started.
An hour after I finished faxing the warrants for Jack Wallace's arrest, I received a phone call from the Missouri State Highway Patrol. They had issued Mr. Wallace a ticket for speeding, east on Interstate 44. Twenty minutes later, Oklahoma called to tell us they had issued him a ticket for tailgating outside of Tulsa.
Jack pulled over at a shady looking roadside motel. It was the kind of place, he knew, that would accept his cash without questions. Before he went to sleep, that night, he told the empty room that he would find Adam soon. And his happy family would be together again.
The credit report came back. No activity since a day before the tickets. He must have known. LAPD said his account at a local bank was closed and cashed-out, same with credit. His mobile phone account was cancelled. He was coming, and he was close. From St. Louis, there would only be a day between him and Adam.
In the morning, Jack shaved his head, donned a cap and aviator sunglasses; then he traded in his truck for a bucket of the same type. He went out shopping and came back with a pizza, a bottle of J.D. and maps of the Philadelphia area. He decided to stay one more night, to keep a low profile, and get some more sleep.
As I sat at my desk that night, I felt useless. A murderer was on the loose, coming for his kid. I couldn't find him. There was no sign of him anywhere. Highway Patrol officers were working double shifts to find the guy, but he was nowhere to be found. I sent out a recent photo of him that Los Angeles had been kind enough to fax over. I even included a flawless description of his truck and license plate. Nothing.
Before Jack left the next morning, he called Macy. Her voice was stressed. But he didn't say that. He didn't say anything. Macy told whoever it was to fuck off. But, in the back of Macy's mind, Jack was sure, she knew it was him.
A day went by. No word. I had posted two men, undercover, down the street. They reported nothing unusual. Sam and Adam never left the house. Helen stayed with the boys, only coming and going every once in a while. She returned with groceries, a bag from Best Buy. Macy called to tell me she was receiving hang up calls. Nothing. Macy allowed us to tail her to work. But still nothing.
Jack had driven by early, the very morning he arrived, pretending to deliver papers. Macy's house was quiet; there were two cars in her drive. One was a black Mercedes-Benz and the other was maroon, of an indiscernible model in the same price range.
I relieved the watchmen the next day, at noon, and took up my position directly in front of the house. In the evening, at approximately four, a caucasion male, around five feet, ten inches arrived in a blue blazer. He had a shaved head and word dark, aviator sunglasses. His physical description matched that of Jack Wallace.
I watched patiently as the man knocked on the front door of the Macy Wallace's residence. Helen answered. The man pushed her down, and rushed past her, into the household. I immediately called in for back up and got out of the car. I withdrew my side arm and reached the door before Ms. Throburghe had gotten up.
Further inside, I could hear screaming. The suspect's voice bellowed above that of Macy, Adam and Sam. Helen fled from the house. In the distance, the sounds of sirens had just become audible. I looked back in time to see Jack throw Sam on the kitchen table; broken bits of an omelet-con-plate and coffee cup squeezed out from under him. Sam coughed and rolled off the table. Jack then took a ten-inch kitchen knife from the knife block on the counter.
“Jack Wallace!” I shouted, “Stop!”
Jack seemed oblivious to my presence. I took three steps towards the doorway that opened up to the kitchen.
“Stop!” I shouted again, “Police!”
He turned towards me, brandishing the ten-inch kitchen knife, and began to approach me. I shot him twice, once in the shoulder and once in his leg. Mr. Wallace collapsed. I kicked the knife out of his reach and assessed the scene of the crime. Sam was breathing and sitting up. He was not bleeding and didn't seem to be seriously injured. Macy had been behind Jack when I shot him, she was hysterically screaming. Helen was still outside.
Adam was in his room, hiding behind his bed. He seemed unharmed and in shock.
Macy seemed to calm down on her own, once she noticed that I was there and that she wasn't dead. Jack lay, groaning in pain. I looked down at Sam, sitting on the floor and staring wide-eyed at me.
“You okay, kid?” I asked him.
“Go comfort your friend.” I told him.
Sam slowly stood up and, walking around Jack, went in to comfort Adam. Three more police officers rushed in and, seeing the situation had been neutralized, began reading the perpetrator his rights. The paramedics strapped Jack into a stretcher and treated Sam in the kitchen. Two of the three officers who had rushed in before, came back to begin taking pictures of the scene and collecting evidence. The third officer was taking a statement from Helen on the front steps.
Suddenly, Adam burst out his room, screaming.
“You motherfucker, I fucking hope you rot in hell. You're not my father; you're just a pathetic drunk! And now you're caught. Fuck you!” He screamed until he was actually blue in the face, even after the paramedics had led him away from the ambulance.
I stood back, observing the scene for my report. Deep inside, I took a sadistic pleasure in knowing that Jack, the murderous husband and father, would be thrown in jail. And, if I had any say in it, burnt at the stake for what he's done.
That night, I sat at my desk and sifted through a mound of fresh files. We'd be able to prosecute him for: one (1) count of breaking and entering; one (1) count of assault with intent to kill, one (1) count of aggravated assault, and four (4) counts of attempted murder one. On top of that, in Los Angeles he'll be charged with: two (2) counts of first degree murder, and thirty-six (36) counts of various forms of assault/child-abuse.
So much for the slow month.
After it was all over, they all just stared at the place on the floor where Jack was once lying. Then, they looked up, around the room and to the front door in disbelief. Adam was the one who broke first. He exploded in tears. Helen squeaked in a mix of in-and exhalation. Sam sighed, collapsed in bed with Adam, then yelped and rolled over to face him. Macy coughed, then chuckled, a tear streaked down her face, then she laughed loudly, then cried, then laughed again, then cried, smiling.
It was over.
For the rest of the night, they walked around in a daze. Helen and Macy slept in bed together; so did Sam and Adam, but that was only expected. In the morning, they would be able to fully take in all that had happened. But, just for then, they needed a break.