6.3 Under the Law

by Matt P.

There are some rooms that look the same in the light and the dark, nothing more than a washed out umbral reflection of their daytime selves. For some rooms darkness is a sinister mirror, with every edge suddenly jagged, and every comforting nook a disconcerting portal.

And then there are rooms that suddenly go dark while holding a violent assassin who just finished monologuing, and they are a different kind of scary all together.

Like most police stations the interior of the Border Police Department was not prone to airy windows and skylights, and when the lights went out the room was almost impenetrably dark. Walter heard the air conditioner turning off, and felt the room go still. The hum of the recording equipment, and all the sounds of electricity and power and civilization were gone. The only sound was the low peal of chuckling from the prisoner, and the sudden harsh sound of metal squealing and rending away. It took Walter a second to realize it was the sound of the metal bracket that held Tennyson to the table, and he stood up in a jolt and reached for his gun.

He never saw the blow that sent him sprawling back to the wall, and he barely even heard it coming. It was just a sudden rustle and jingle, and then he barely had any time to tense himself before he impacted the wall. It set stars dancing across his vision, and he gasped as he forced himself to his knees. He heard Leah making a similar groan, and then the sound of a heavy door being kicked back off its’ hinges and clattering away in to the hallway. There was a pause, as if Tennyson was considering their forms, before Walter heard him leave the room.

It took several agonizing moments before Walter could get feeling besides pain to return to his limbs, and he gasped as he drew himself up to his feet. He reached down to undo the snap on his holster with shaking hands, grunting in pain and forcing himself to concentrate. “Leah, are you alright?” He asked as he started walking toward the door.

“I’m fine.” She grunted, and as Walter’s eyes were adjusting he found her coming up beside him, her weapon already out as well.

“Some day on this job I’m going to know what the hell is going on.” Walter murmured softly as both of them pulled flashlights out of their belts. Walter took it in one hand while still bracing his gun with practiced ease, while Leah mirrored the movement. As they did so they heard sounds of shock, and the opening pops of gunfire, coming from other parts of the building and carrying through the old structure. They shared a concerned glance.

“The Alexanders are probably chasing whatever it is.” Leah murmured. Both firearms up and all loins girded, the two of them pulsed forward into the hallway covering each other’s backs.

The hallway was empty as their boots crunched on the remains of the door to the interview room. “Jesus…that looks like it was thrown off by a dinosaur.” Walter commented as they looked around the carnage. There were pockmarks on the walls where shots had already been fired that they had missed in the ringing of their ears and the stunning rush of pain. “Damn…we need to get moving.” Walter said, starting to move down the hallway—before Leah reached out and grabbed his arm.

“Wait…we need something more.” Leah said seriously. “The armory is a few hallways down, and we can get more ready for…whatever the hell it is out there.” The sounds of more fighting came from the rest of the building, and Walter’s instincts called for him to start moving toward them to protect other soldiers. Police… Walter reminded himself.

“OK. But speed, speed is good.” Walter agreed with a quick nod as the two of them began to make their way through the halls.

It was one of the tensest and most difficult walks of Walter’s career. Every crack, every pop, every little tick of an ancient building settling in the unseasonably cool morning drew them to pause and scan their surroundings in sudden tenseness. But finally they came to the armory, and in through the door in an almost run.

“Dibs.” Walter said quickly as he moved over to the racks of rifles and pulled out one of the M4A1 carbines the department used for SWAT and other tactical situations. At this point in his life it felt as natural to him as he slung it over a shoulder as a backpack to a student. He quickly opened the ammunition locker and pulled out magazines which he quickly shoved into his belt. “Ready?” He looked over to see Leah having done the same with a department shotgun.

“Here…” She said, as she went to a safe that Walter hadn’t seen opened on his tour. It opened with a clunky key on her keyring, but she did it with a practiced hand. She reached in and pulled out another small box, which she quickly opened and began pulling several slender items out of. She handed two to him, which he stared at in confusion. They were knives made out of railroad spikes that had been half flattened to form several inch long blades, with the bottom half still their original shape and wrapped in leather. “Trust me.” She said, as she tucked two of them into her belt, and racked her shotgun.

Walter considered it for a moment, and then nodded to his partner. “Fine, let’s go.” He ordered, bringing his rifle up to his shoulder and chambering a round. With a quick step the two of them made their way back out in to the hallways. Toward the main room, toward their fellow officers.

And toward a police station at war.