Chapter 14

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The quiet that befell was eerily appropriate, because Nole was speechless. His hands were on the unconscious Enforcer’s holster, but they were no longer moving. The Enforcer further down the alleyway was about ten yards away from them. His sculpted brown hair gave him a serious look. He’s no rookie. The expression he held was intimidating as he gripped the gun with both hands, his beady eyes piercing Nole.

Despite the direct threat before him, Nole removed his eyes from the Enforcer and glimpsed at Olivia. She was standing, facing away from the new Enforcer. From where he was kneeling, Nole didn’t think she was scared. Her expression was neutral – no tears, not even a frown to indicate being afraid. The only thing that gave away her fear were her trembling hands lifted in midair. He desperately wanted to communicate with her, but was too nervous to speak. Her eyes were shut tight, as if there was a monster she didn’t want to see.

I didn’t even hear him, Nole thought. He didn’t introduce himself, or tell us to ‘freeze’ or anything. Removing his gaze from Olivia, he returned his stare to the Enforcer. She must have heard the click of the gun from behind her. I’d heard it, but I thought I’d done it through my own fumbling with the holster. I should have known, he chastised himself. I did know – the minute I realized Sgt. Bellamy was alone. Why hadn’t I spoken up? He bit his lip in anger. This is my fault.

Analyzing the scene, there was no way out. They were deep into the alleyway, so a quick getaway was improbable given the distance they’d have to run. There also wasn’t any potential cover for bullets. There weren’t any doors or dumpsters nearby, and they hadn’t passed any on their way there. This is bad.

Clenching his hands, Nole felt a lump form in his throat as every thought dismissed any possible escape plan. In that instant, his fingertips brushed against the cold metal of the downed Enforcer’s gun. He held his breath when the idea crossed his mind. Not only was he completely inept with weapons, but he also hated guns. Since being shot last year, he’d avoided the weapon completely, even going as far as steering clear of the top three gangs.

The weapon felt foreign in his loose grip. His fingers were clumsily conspicuous, and the Enforcer’s weapon made another clicking noise.

“Don’t move!” he ordered, his deep voice echoing down the alley several times. Olivia peeked her eyes open and watched Nole incredulously. Her mouth opened and it looked like she was sighing, but he could have sworn she mouthed the word “run” to him. Either way, he paid her no mind and focused on the now vocal Enforcer.

If I shoot him, I could save us both. This guy is prepared to kill me if I don’t do something. “Put your hands where I can see them!” he yelled.

Nole hesitated. This was the point where he would have to decide whether or not to take the gun. This was the moment he was considering shooting the Enforcer. “Do it now!” The Enforcer’s shouts were getting louder.

Instinctively, Nole lifted his hands, abandoning the gun, and possibly their only hope of escaping. I’m no murderer, he confirmed to himself. I didn’t kill Murphy, and I’m not killing this guy. He obligingly obeyed each command the Enforcer gave him, which included getting on his feet and removing his hood. After a few seconds of inspection, the man confirmed Nole’s identity. Once he verified his suspicion, he asked if the other officer, Sgt. Bellamy, was dead.

“We were defending ourselves,” Nole informed him, choosing his words cautiously. “He’s unconscious, but still alive.” Although she didn’t speak, Olivia’s face was curious about Nole’s answer. Perhaps she was expecting him to blame her completely in front of the Enforcer. After all, she had acted alone during the assault.

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