(A/N: I can't remember how I came up with this story, which is set in the fictional Welsh city of Lanvale. Updates may be slow, but I'll work as quickly as I can. Hope you enjoy!)
The deep, damp nights in Lanvale around winter were always abhorrently cold. This night was no different.
An old, black Datsun ripped through the silent streets.
It was midnight and the criminal element of the city, although it was always active, wasn't visible until roughly two o'clock. However there were still large numbers of law-abiding people clogging up the roads at this hour. The car was heading for the police station, ignoring all speed signs and cameras and weaving between other vehicles, who let their displeasure be known loudly and crudely.
The car screeched to a halt outside the large brown-bricked building and a brown duster jacket leapt out and ran inside. The jacket sped up several flights of stairs before stumbling into the office of his superior, his eyes falling on the thin figure sat in the middle of the room, handcuffed to his chair.
"You caught him?" The blue shirt behind the desk looked up and nodded.
"He just walked in about four hours ago. Said city life was boring."
"Mad bastard. He must have known his sentence would be increased if he got caught." Said the jacket, shutting the door.
"Said that's what he wanted."
"Did he say anything else?"
"No. Hasn't spoken since."
Mark Avery, detective at Lanvale P.D, circled the gaunt creature that sat in lieutenant Hoffman's unnaturally organised office. The creature stared at the floor in front of his feet, his grimy, straggly dark hair falling over his eyes and most of his blank face, leaving only his pale lips and narrow chin visible. He said nothing and didn't move at all; even his breathing was silent and motionless.
The man's name was Joseph Kerry and what he did to deserve jail wasn't too impressive, but months after he was incarcerated he changed completely and became incredibly dangerous. Friends and family described him as a quiet and gentle soul whose only ambitions in life were to live free of care and to not attract too much attention to himself. They were shocked when he was arrested for fraud, and absolutely devastated when they discovered he was responsible for the deaths of several prisoners.
Lt. Hoffman sat behind his desk, eyeing the criminal in front of him. He couldn't see why he had to be handled with such caution, someone that skinny couldn't possibly be much of a threat. But, he knew the kinds of facades criminals put on and so he wasn't about to ask questions or take chances – Kerry had already escaped once. The middle-aged superior scratched his thinning hair and leant back in his chair, moving his attention to Avery, who was stood at Kerry's left.
"You already know you have to be careful when transporting these people, but for some reason Parkwood are even more jumpy over this one. Don't talk to him unless you really have to and don't listen to anything he says. Apparently he's good at getting under folks' skin."
Avery nodded, stuffing his hands into his duster jacket pockets. He'd heard rumours about this man. It was a media sensation when he escaped from West Penitentiary, which ironically was on the eastern outskirts of Lanvale. Nobody really knew how he got out and every newspaper had a different story on the subject, one paper even claimed that he had help in the form of corrupt officers – a claim that was strengthened when one of the prison guards tasked with watching Kerry was found dead, hanging from an overhead beam in his garage just days after the breakout.
What made the police panic even more was the fact that Kerry had two options: he could escape into the city, putting innocents at risk, or he could flee into the countryside and hide in the vast forestry surrounding the city.
Luckily for them he chose to go back into the city where, for two long months, he disappeared and did what came naturally to him, avoiding attention and melting into the backdrop of the city.
Hoffman tossed a set of handcuff keys in Avery's direction.
"Montoya 's waiting outside, she's already been told everything I just told you. There's a truck outside ready to take you to Parkwood Asylum."
Avery caught the keys. "Parkwood? Jesus, all he did was escape from West Pen. It's not like he killed babies while he was out." Hoffman shook his head, took out a flat silver tin and pulled out a cigarillo, placing it between his chubby lips.
"The fact he escaped has nothing to do with it. They were going to transfer him anyway." He said, snapping the case shut before sparking the small cigar and taking a long, deserved drag; savouring the thick smog and inhaling it through his nostrils as it escaped his lips. "Seems he's too much of a handful for them." His eyes fell back on Kerry, who was now watching him through the grey filter that surrounded the lieutenant; his eyes hardly visible through his hair. Hoffman took another drag and bitterly exhaled it, motioning to the door. "Go on, get him out of here."
"May…I have one?" A simple, soft-spoken request interjected. Hoffman blinked at the prisoner, looked at Avery and then back to Kerry. He scoffed and took another drag.
"Put simply: no, you can't."
The handcuffed man glanced away at a window, through the blinds he could see the tungsten light of the streetlamps outside. "I have heard of Parkwood and know that I'll never smoke again should I go there. Please, allow me this last luxury because I could not do so during my period of freedom." He looked back at the Lieutenant. "Having no money is frustratingly restrictive."
Hoffman sighed and picked up the case, pulling out another cigarillo. He lit it and held it out to Avery, who took it and placed it in Kerry's mouth. He leant his head back and the cigar glowed as he took a drag; fresh smoke swirled together with Hoffman's stale mist as he let out a long-held sigh.
"Thank you, lieutenant. Your generosity belies your ignorance."
The officer stared at him, not really knowing whether or not he was just insulted or complimented.
Kerry stood up and turned as Avery held his arm, leading him out to the waiting armoured vehicle with an armed escort in tow. A dark-haired woman was waiting by the truck, the arms of her red leather jacket folded across her chest and the lamps protruding from the station illuminating her caramel skin.
There were two men with her; both were armed and didn't appear as foreboding as someone who escorts dangerous people to an insane asylum should look. But Avery knew them both, though not personally, but he knew they were good at their job and more professional than a lot of other officers he knew.
Montoya eyed Kerry carefully as they both approached and noiselessly assisted him into the back of the brightly lit navy-blue box.
They chained Kerry down to one of the two benches running down either side of the vehicle and sat opposite him while two armed officers sat at his flanks while the convict happily breathed smoke; the fog was quickly sucked from the air through small vents just below the ceiling of the box when the truck pulled out of the station car park.
For half an hour they sat in silence. It seem that nobody minded the quiet atmosphere – quiet, save for the growl of the engine.
Avery and Montoya were used to it because they'd gotten to that stage of their work partnership where aimless conversation was unnecessary and uncomfortable; the two armed officers appeared to enjoy the silence and Kerry, of course, revelled in it.
It gave him a chance to think, something he liked doing a lot.
Montoya sighed and leant her head back against the cold steel behind her. "How far is this damn place, anyway?" She moaned, turning to Avery.
"About an hour or two from the station, I think."
"Five hours and forty-two minutes." Kerry chimed in, shifting his cigar from one side of his mouth to the other. "On foot, of course."
"You've never been to Parkwood," Montoya challenged, "so how would you know?" Kerry sighed, exasperated at having to explain himself.
"When you are homeless for two months you find yourself walking a lot. Since staying in the same few places would have been too risky I decided to go and see the notorious asylum. I stopped within half a mile of the gates and calculated the remaining distance to the doors before making my way back to the city…to your station in fact, Ms. Montoya." He glanced at her through his hair. "I've always wondered…what is your first name?"
Scornfully, Montoya scoffed and folded her arms across her chest. "You really think I'm going to tell you?"
Kerry leant forward, playing with the cigar in his mouth. "Come on, you can tell me."
"Please." His thin lips curled into a small smirk as he watched Montoya give him a disgusted glare before opening her mouth to retort, but was stopped by her male partner.
"Ignore him, Montoya. If he talks, don't answer." He said before glancing between the two guards. "That goes for you two as well."
Half an hour of silence passed; silent, that is, besides the occasional mumbled whispers that came from Kerry. They were now clear of the city, driving through the pitch black night and the rolling mountains that came before the main gate to the Parkwood compound, which was followed by an escorted ten-mile journey to the building itself.
Parkwood Asylum, being one of the most guarded places in the UK, was a forbidding sight to behold. The building and dirt road that led to it from the massive steel gates were flanked by a thirty-foot high chain link fence which was topped by razor wire and that fence was in turn surrounded by yet another fence. At strategic places along the perimeter were guard towers and there were checkpoints along the road below.
The truck topped a hill, coming within view of the asylum, before dipping out of sight again.
Suddenly the truck lurched forward, then sideways, tyres and brakes screaming. The vehicle shook violently and left the ground, landing heavily on its side and scraping across the ground for several feet.
A minute later Avery opened his eyes to see Kerry above him, still chained to the bench, still breathing smoke into the air. His head rang painfully and he watched as the two armed men stood and helped the criminal down, removing his handcuffs. He stepped over Montoya's unconscious body and left the truck. One of the two men dragged Avery to his feet, shoving him outside while the other picked up Montoya and set her down on the road next to her partner who was now on his knees, struggling to gain his bearings.
They were at the foot of a hill; the truck lay on its side next to the road having created a seven-foot scar in the ground behind it. The silver moonlight glinted off mud and metal, slowly revealing the otherwise idyllic scene around them.
Montoya let out a painful moan as she stirred, shakily sat up, and looked over at Avery, then at Kerry, who was looking into the night sky.
"What's going on?" She whimpered, shutting her eyes tightly; her head swam, making her feel incredibly nauseous.
"Please Montoya, do not disrupt this eloquent silence. I wish to preserve the magnificence of this moment for as long as my schedule allows." Said Kerry softly, leisurely enjoying his cigar. Avery tried to blink away his headache before attempting and failing to get to his feet.
"Yes, detective. I do have plans for tonight."
Avery looked up at the two escorts. "And you're both in on it?"
"They are now." Kerry answered for them.
A small breeze interrupted them and the biting cold of the night quickly hit them all, though it didn't appear to affect Kerry or his new cohorts. It was eerily quiet, with only the intermittent and distant barking of vixens to disrupt it. Avery tried once more to get up before the clanging of metal stopped him, followed by the groaning and cursing of the truck driver; the two detectives turned to see the man's chest and face rip open under an assault of gunfire, the shock of which caused them both to dive to the floor.
"Jesus Christ!" Yelled Avery, rolling onto his back to face Kerry and his men.
"Please, don't blaspheme, detective – I don't like it."
"You didn't have to kill him!" Avery cried; frightened for his and Montoya's lives, and angry about two men who previously worked for the same police force – both upstanding men – changing sides in such a horrific way.
Kerry shook his head, almost saddened over the death of the driver. "I'm afraid we did. There's a radio in that cabin – with the flick of a switch he could have alerted the asylum or your little force. That would not have been good for me, you understand."
Montoya glared at his thin frame, silhouetted by the moonlight. She spat and sat up again. "Gutless shit…"
"You've fucked up on this one Kerry," growled Avery, "you've killed a cop. If you don't kill us we'll hunt you down, and if you do the others will. At best you're a dead man!"
Without much pause Kerry grabbed the rifle of the nearest of the two escorts and let off a stream of bullets up the left side of Avery's stomach and chest.
The detective crumpled to the floor.
"Shame," Kerry sighed, handing the weapon back to the officer he retrieved it from and approaching the corpse before him, removing the cigar from his mouth, "I had hoped that we would be nemeses."
Montoya stared in abject horror – the man she'd worked with for four years had been shot dead in front of her and she had no idea how to react. Should she be enraged and fly into a fit that ought to display feats of strength beyond all human comprehension? Should she fall into a pit of despair and adopt the foetal position while the trio escape, hoping that they leave her alone? Or should she watch it all and do nothing, like a sick voyeur?
So many questions and the possible outcomes of their answers tore through her mind in seconds; the obvious and most sensible thing to do was to keep her head down and pray that they would leave her alive, but although she knew this was true, she found herself staggering to her feet, reaching for her sidearm – which wasn't there.
Pain screamed through her face and she fell to the floor when she was punched by one of the officers; Montoya blacked out and when she woke up again her nostrils were filled with the pungent odour of petrol. She looked up in time to see Kerry flick his cigarillo at the overturned truck, setting the fuel alight.
The fire towered enormously, engulfing the entire vehicle and petrol-soaked grass. Montoya managed to find the strength to roll away from the blaze before it overwhelmed her.
Her final glimpse of them was that of Kerry's face, lit by the fire, smiling back at the scene, his sickly eyes staring deep into the red-orange inferno. The three of them turned and walked into the night, quickly disappearing from view.
Once again, she blacked out; the crackling of the fire accompanying her into unconsciousness.
(A/N: Hope you enjoyed the story. Any constructive criticism will be gladly received and it will be updated as soon as possible.)