Categories > Original > Mystery > Gridwork0 Reviews
Something is very wrong in New York. One man has done the seemingly impossible, and the only survivor of a massacre is a criminal. Is this a mere act of violence, or something larger?
The FBI team sat outside the building in an unmarked vehicle. They had been watching this particular catch for some time now.
Bank robbery, grand larceny, extortion, destruction of federal property...the list goes on and on...He used his charm, guile and cunning to get his work done. One might call him a con-man, but he goes far beyond that title.
Stakeouts took time and patience. Hours on end sitting in a car with nothing but coffee and the occasional chatter over the radio. But they were close...oh they were close.
Ivan Richmond, their suspect, lived in an apartment complex in Manhattan. This was a temporary home, as he has had 5 other places of living spread out over the country. One in Manhattan, one in Boston, one in DC, one in Chicago, one in Las Vegas, one in Houston and one in Los Angeles. He was a mastermind of crime a real Moriarty of the twenty-first century. But he was a relatively non-violent man. They let him go for the time being, collecting evidence so when the time came to finally take him in, they would have a slam dunk case.
This was the time.
"Unit Alpha, we are a go." A voice called in through the radio.
They had come through. The team in the van wouldn't wait for the SWAT team to arrive. The man in the driver's seat signaled to his partner then waved a hand to the rest of the team in the back. They promptly piled out of the stark black van and ran to the apartment, guns drawn. The lead man swiftly opened the door and the team of five filed through and ran up the stairs to the second floor of the apartment.
Apartment number 28...
Upon reaching the door the lead man signaled to the rest of the team to stand to the side. He yelled out to the man inside.
"Ivan Richmond, open up! FBI!"
The man knocked now, hard, and yelled again. "We know you're in there Richmond! Open up!"
Still no answer from the criminal inside...
"This is your last chance! If you do not open the door we will force it open!"
The silence seemed to mock the FBI team.
Frustrated, the lead man signaled to an agent that carried the battering ram. The "ram-man" smiled wickedly and without a moment's hesitation smashed the door open. Following the lead man, the team filed in through the door and into the apartment. The leader called out. "Richmond?"
A crisp voice called out from a room across the hall.
"I'm in the kitchen...please come in gentlemen..."
The team exchanged odd looks then marched on, guns still drawn. Upon reaching the end of the hallway and rounding the corner they faced a black man in his late twenties, cool, calm and collected. He wore black slacks and a dark green button down shirt. He was sitting cross-legged on a chair, sipping a Coke from a martini glass through a straw. He stared at the team with a conniving smile on his lips.
They had found a weird one all right...
"Officers...Good of you to come. Can I offer any of you a drink?"
The lead man stood unfazed at Ivan's audacity.
"Ivan Richmond you are under arrest."
"Oh now that's not fair. In the many years that I have practiced my beloved profession, I've never encountered a lawman so...to the point."
"You have the right to remain silent-"
The man groaned ever so slightly and continued. "You have the right to an attorney, if you cannot afford an attorney one will be provided for you. Do you understand these rights?"
"My grandma used to tell me stories about Russian justice...A lot more brutal than this I'm tellin' ya. Makes me proud to be a citizen of the great US of A."
"That's great Ivan, show us your hands."
Ivan craned his neck and extended his arms, palms outwards. "Go ahead, ya' won. Take me in."
A FBI agent strode from the group and produced a set of handcuffs. The agent reached for Ivan's outstretched hands.
The agent could just barely make out a glimmer in the criminal's eyes, but by then it was too late.
In a flash, Ivan reached forward and grabbed the agent's arm and pulled him towards him. He forced his head down, and then twisted his whole body around forcing the agent's arm behind his back painfully. The rest of the team reacted by raising their weapons. With his "shield", Ivan moved steadily towards the window. Raising his right leg he bashed through the glass with his boot and left the window wide open to the warm summer day. Ivan whispered to his captive.
"Does it hurt?"
"Yeah..." The agent said nonchalantly, with a hint of pain in his voice.
"I want to let you know that I really regret having to do this."
Ivan wrenched the agent's arm up further, dislocating it. He shoved the injured man into his team and flung himself out the window. Grabbing onto a pipe on the side of the building he slid down to the street below where a SWAT van was just rounding the corner. Ivan ran down the street to a taxi that was parked near a convenience store. Ivan opened the front door and pulled the startled driver out of his seat. Upon taking his place, Ivan yelled to the driver.
"I'm only borrowing it!"
Ivan turned the keys that were still in the ignition and peeled out towards downtown New York.
A man dressed in black fatigues and body armor loaded all his weapons and checked them again.
He looked forward to this, and the many rewards that came with it.
That is if he lived...
Only upon reaching his destination, a Best Buy electronics store, did Ivan see the helicopters and numerous squad and SWAT vehicles tailing him. Without giving them a second look he sprinted into the stored and ran towards the crowds near the plasma screens.
There he mingled with the crowd, even taking some time to comment with the guy next to him on the football game that was on. That is until a security guard showed up. Showing no fear, Ivan walked up to the skinny man and politely asked.
"'Scuse me. But you know where the emergency exits are?"
Slightly confused the guard scratched his head and pointed to a bright sign on the other side of the store.
"Thanks man. I'm just curious. I'm doing a study on emergency preparedness of department stores. I'll put in the good word."
Feeling slightly fulfilled, the guard did not notice that Ivan had snuck around him and made a full dash towards the emergency exit.
Three yards from the door, he screamed. "There's a fire!"
That's when he busted through the emergency exit, setting off the alarm and sending every customer into a frenzy.
Ivan bashed his way through the doors. For the time being, the cops outside were thoroughly distracted with the panicked customers pouring from every exit. Ivan looked around him, and his eyes fell upon an uncovered manhole, with the construction workers attention now fixed on the screaming mass in front of them. Ivan ran across the road without any thought of passing vehicles and leapt over the manhole guard fence. He quickly peered down the hole and without hesitation grabbed a hold of the ladder leading down and descended to the dank sewer below.
Ivan breathed through his mouth and kept them shallow as he proceeded through the tunnels. Carefully maneuvering around the muck, he stepped up on the walkway on the side of the tunnel, crouched down and continued.
He knew someone who would protect him: a lady friend going by the alias "Dammerung". In every sense of the word she was perfectly legit, at least on the outside. She was the head computer maintenance technician for Masco and Co: A small programming firm.
In private however, she acted as a freelance hacker and programmed viruses. She was dangerous when on a keyboard, and Ivan had relied on her skills more times than he could remember. She was also the best friend he had ever had.
However, all the charm in the world that he possessed wouldn't help him find Dammerung while blind and choking in a smelly sewer. He decided that he had to leave before he succumbed to the near-toxic air.
He found the nearest ladder and climbed. Upon reaching the manhole cover, he pushed with all his weight and slowly lifted it. He shoved it to the side squinted at the bright sun that now shone through. As his vision cleared he made out an object in front of him. A black object...a lot of them...
Ivan found himself staring down numerous barrels.
'Either I underestimated their search radius...or they psychic!'
"Put your hands up!" One of the SWAT officers yelled.
Ivan smirked. "I would if I didn't need them to hold onto this ladder..."
Not finding any humor with Ivan's retort, that same officer grabbed his collar and heaved him out of the hole and pinned him to the street, stomach down.
"Be careful man, I just ate lunch!"
The officer roughly and unceremoniously clapped Ivan in irons and led him to a waiting squad car.
The ride over to FBI headquarters in New York was relatively uneventful. Which was good since the last thing that Ivan wanted at the time was a dressing down on his way to a dressing down.
He now sat in an interview room overlooking the rest of the floor. Around him he could see researchers and agents busying themselves with their work.
He really did respect them...but they were his adversaries nonetheless.
A well-muscled FBI agent walked in. "I'm Special Agent Quentin."
Ivan nodded towards his cuffed hands. "I'd shake your hand sir..."
Quentin waved off the remark. "I'm the sad man that's been hunting your sorry ass for the past...God I don't know how long it's been."
"I'm not a liar...I wasn't a terribly difficult catch if you ask me. I only got away for what...an hour, maybe?"
Quentin scoffed. "If it were up to me I'd have busted you the second we had reason."
"But...ya' didn't did ya'?"
"No matter, we have you now. Just wish you hadn't attacked one of my boys."
"Oh, how is he anyway?"
"Fuck off...all you should care about is that it adds another charge to your already impressive file."
Ivan's eyes narrowed. "What am I charged with by the way?"
Quentin reached for the pile of papers at his side and mindlessly flipped through them, then tossed them to Ivan "Take a look, it would take to long for me to tell you myself..."
Ivan smirked at his "accomplishments".
"You've grown quite popular among the criminal community according to my sources. They call you the 'Smoothtalker'." Quentin continued.
Ivan shrugged. "I didn't come up with the name, but I'd say it fits."
"You're quite different from most of your degenerate friends...you're a fairly non-violent man. The fact that you attacked that man at all speaks volumes."
"Violent people are just poor souls without a proper outlet and are probably uncomfortable with their sexuality."
Quentin rolled his eyes as Ivan continued.
"Read up on the Tantra...you'll find some very philosophical shit in there, I guarantee it."
"What are you my wife?"
Ivan craned his neck. "Trouble in bed?"
Quentin slammed his palms down on the table. "Shut up you hippie bastard...".
"Ah now that's unfair...I've never hugged a tree in my life!"
"Didn't I tell you to shut up?"
"I have the right to remain silent...doesn't mean I NEED to be."
Quentin stuck his right index finger right at Ivan's face. "You're pushing towards what the media boys would call "police brutality".
Ivan beamed. "Ah! That's a great defense! I'll use that."
Quentin shouted an obscenity then turned and left the room. Ivan called after him. "I could use the insanity defense if it would make you feel better!"
The room was silent now, save for the tapping of Ivan's fingers.
Jake Quentin fumed as he headed back towards his desk. There was still a lukewarm cup of coffee sitting there, at least that might make him feel better. Despite having caught one of the most notorious criminals in the country, a man that he had be chasing since the "dawn of time" as he would say, something made him on edge.
Maybe it was Ivan's attitude? Or the "Post Arrest Depression"? After all, he had devoted a large chunk of his time to catching Ivan Richmond...what does he have to do with himself now.
He hoped that with this case over, it would only be a matter of time before there would be some psycho killer or sick rapist to occupy his time once more. He lived for that.
Upon reaching his desk Quentin sat and slumped his head down on the stack of papers on his left. He didn't even bother with the coffee. Knowing the quality of the brew in this building nowadays, it was probably congealed by now. He soon heard footsteps and a second later he head someone knock on his desk. Quentin slowly lifted his head to see his partner Peter's face...that smug, four-eyed face of his.
"Hey partner..." Quentin managed after a few seconds.
"You drunk or just tired?"
Quentin allowed himself a small smile. "I'm just tired. I'll get drunk later."
"Come on! You just bagged the catch of the year! What's your problem?"
"Mmmmger...." was Quentin's only response.
"That's great Jake, if you need me, I'll be over at the cake."
Quentin remained unmoved. "I don't like cake..."
"I know, that's why you're not having any..."
Making sure that Peter was out of sight, Quentin slumped back down on his desk and sighed. 'There's no frickin' cake and he knows it..."
All was right with the world...except no one on that floor knew that the guards downstairs had just been shot.
The man in black shot through the guards on the first floor without tripping any alarms. Though he really wouldn't have minded, more lambs to the slaughter. He proceeded to the elevator. In his hands he carried a pair of silenced P90 submachine guns: more than enough firepower to deal with the people on the tenth floor.
He was somewhat surprised though...wasn't the great Federal Bureau of Investigation supposed to be impregnable. He laughed at the thought. Slowly but surely he slipped into the mania that had gripped so many before him.
He entered the elevator and pressed the button to the fourth floor. It was at this time he realized that he wasn't leaving this building alive, but that was of little consequence to him. For some reason he felt as if he was born to carry out this execution, as if it were his destiny. Fulfilling one's purpose, reaching one's actualization or enlightenment or whatever, was really all that a he could ever ask for.
As the elevator climbed, seconds seemed to turn to hours, and "hour after hour" he grew more and more manic. His laughter filled his little 8 by 8 world. The man unscrewed the suppressors on his weapons and continued his mad laughter.
Crazed, insane, mad, screw-loose, nutcase...he was everything. His eyes grew bloodshot and his pupils dilated. He began to foam at the mouth as his laughter grew louder and louder. Blood trickled from his lips. He heaved and lunged forward, coughing up a mixture of blood and bile. He kept laughing. Veins bulged from every area on his body. He got a splitting headache all of a sudden, but he no longer cared for mere, mortal pain. He was something else at this point, and he was on top of the world.
The elevator dinged...tenth floor...
Jake Quentin remained slumped down on his desk. He was relaxed at least. Biggest catch of the year, and that catch had just talked smack right at his face.
'Ballsy son of bitch...Need coffee...'
Quentin stood and walked to the mini kitchen that the taxpayers had "donated" to their humble team, and poured himself a mug. It was at this time that he could almost hear laughter. It was faint, as if it was contained in something. Quentin peered around the corner to see that the elevator was ascending. He yelled out.
"Does anyone else hear that?"
"You mean that shrill high pitched scraping akin to fingernails on a chalkboard?" One called out.
Quentin's eyes narrowed. "No, I mean laughter. Very faint."
"Now that you ask...I kinda do..." A woman called back.
Quentin kept his gaze fixed on the elevator. He was almost certain that that was where the laughter was coming from.
Floor 8...9...10...the elevator stopped, but the doors remained shut. That same laughter continued. It seemed pained and, somewhat maddened. Quentin's hands shook as he instinctively reached for his sidearm.
At this point a small group had gathered around the elevator, curious at the odd sounds emanating from it.
Suddenly, a hard pounding. It seemed as though someone was slamming both fists on the doors. The doors began to slowly slide apart. That laughter grew louder and louder.
Quentin trained his weapon on the door of the elevator and screamed. "Get away from there!"
In a flash the doors slid open, slamming as they hit the walls. The laughter now seemed earsplitting. In the elevator stood a man decked out in black. In his outstretched arms he held two automatic weapons. They were now trained on the small group in front of him.
They never even had time to gasp. The man in black opened up with both weapons and cut down the group in front of him. Men and women now lay dead or dying at the mans feet, their last images that of a psychopath.
Quentin screamed and spun from is position. Aiming at the assailant's chest, he fired twice. The bullets found their mark and impacted deep in the murder's flesh. He remained upright, unfazed, as if nothing had happened.
The murderer marched down the halls and fired in every direction, slaying all that stood before him. Agents across the room returned fire, but their rounds were equally useless against the assailant. He raised his weapons and laid down a withering wall of bullets that ripped through the agents on the other side of the floor.
The man continued his mad laughter as proceeded on his killing spree.
Ivan dropped to the floor. All he needed to hear were the sounds of gunshots and he knew what to do.
'Then again, he could just come in here and waste me...'
Ivan carefully peered over the ledge and looked through the interview room window. The sight he saw nearly made him puke.
There before his eyes lay dozens of men and women. Blood was sprayed across every surface. Most of these people had been away from their desks when they had it, the rest were slumped over in their chairs, bullet holes everywhere.
And there, roughly ten feet away was a man with a pair of guns, laughing like some kind of sick clown as he sprayed bullets all over. Out of the corner of his eye he could see a man fleeing towards the stairs just before he got hit in the back. Tears began to well up in Ivan's eyes at the sickening sight before him.
Sadness turned to anger and anger turned to determination. He rose to his feet and looked at the door leading out. It was locked. Ivan reared back, and slammed his left shoulder into the door. The only effect was a bruised shoulder. He tried again, and again, slamming into the door. Finally it began to buckle. The wood splintered and cracked. With one final lunge, Ivan broke through the doorway and carried by his own force, landed on the floor of the office.
Ivan froze...had he heard the slamming on the door...the splintering of the wood? Had he heard him fall? He held his breath, praying to every god in existence that the madman just ten feet away had by some miracle not heard him. Twenty seconds passed...he wasn't coming. The sound of gunfire had muffled his attempts at escape.
He rose but kept low to the ground. He crept slowly towards the emergency fire exit: the stairwell leading to the streets. He crept over fallen furniture and fallen bodies, trying his damnedest to contain himself.
Finally he made it to the other end of the floor. The emergency exit was at least eight feet away. It would take him at least five seconds for him to get up, sprint for the door, open it and leave. He retreated back to a desk a few feet away and retrieved a paper clip and a clipboard. He crept back to his position near the exit. He waited for a break in the firing and then with all his might he threw the clipboard across the room. The madman turned and ran towards the source of the sound. Ivan leapt to his feet and sprinted across the hall...
The madman heard footfalls across the room and spun around; having now realizing the previous noise was a distraction. He brought up his weapon...
Quentin jumped and tackled the murderer to the floor, his last round going astray into the ceiling above. Again and again Quentin slammed his fists into the man as he screamed angrily.
The madman, with his eyes bloodshot and that same wide, devilish smile on his face, slammed his head into Quentin and with impressive strength, shoved him off, hurling him ten feet backwards. The madman knelt down and picked up his firearm, training it on Quentin's head.
Quentin closed his eyes; convinced that the last sounds he was going to hear were the shrill tones of this psychotic's laughter.
Quentin dared open his eyes, and he saw the familiar blacks of the Bureau's HRT unit.
For once the madman stopped his laughter. He turned slowly towards the HRT squad and smiled that wide, manic smile.
"Drop your weapon!!!"
The madman craned his neck in mock surprise and lurched back in gut-wrenching, tear-inducing laughter. Some one the HRT squad wavered.
Straightening out, the murderer's bloodshot eyes narrowed and his lips thinned. His laughter grew silent once more. In a flash he brought the P90 to his head and pulled the trigger, blowing his head apart and sending his body spiraling to the ground. The HRT leader walked up to the body and kicked the weapon away. The medic in the back radioed out.
"We need ambulances and a triage team standing by!"
The leader looked to Quentin lying on the floor in absolute shock. "Sir...?" Quentin remained silent. The leader walked up to him and extended a hand.
Quentin leapt to his feet and ran to Peter's office. There, slumped over on his desk, his hands still on the keyboard was Quentin's partner. Quentin's shock turned to absolute rage.
"Get me a Goddamn medic!!!"
What had he just witnessed...? Was he hallucinating? Did the trauma of being arrested make him see things?
No, this was real. He had seen the blood. He had smelled the stench. He had felt the death in the air. No...this was real.
Ivan didn't know what to make of it, all he knew was that someone had just barged into FBI headquarters and slaughtered everyone on his floor. Maybe everyone below his floor too...this was bigger than him.
Ivan used the paperclip he took to unlock the handcuffs. He hurled them to the ground...that's when reality really hit. Ivan pushed himself against a building, collapsed to the ground, and sobbed.
So much death, so much blood. Such wanton disregard for life. It was just like the stories that his grandmother and grandfather told him about life under Stalin...He had never believed that people could be so cruel and inhuman. What had happened today was further proof to that measure.
Ivan rose, keeping his back to the wall as he composed himself. There was only one thing certain now: he had to find someone to help him, someone who would take him in, someone who would believe him.
He had to find Dammerung...
--End of Chapter One--