Chapter 30

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“W-what did you just say?” Nole questioned tentatively.

“But he’s right though,” Caswell explained, ignoring Nole. “The doctor did die because of him, and you too.” The shock from hearing the statement made Nole completely numb. Caswell killed him? But all this time…

Rage engulfed Nole as the seriousness of his predicament dissipated from his mind. Murphy was killed by Caswell, and I’ve been aimlessly looking at the wrong guy. Rather than focus on spreading the information, he became blinded by his desire for revenge. I almost killed that guy, Nole thought, clutching his fists in guilt as he recalled his encounter with Taro in the alleyway. He saved me from Ryker, and I almost cut him in two.

A spark interrupted his train of thought. The blade, I still have it on me. Steadily brushing his hand against the pocket of his jeans, Nole felt the edge of the withdrawn switchblade. I can end this here. Now. Knowing that the odds were against him even if he could successfully take out the Chief, the pent up fury wouldn’t allow him to think rationally enough to formulate an appropriate plan.

Appearing distracted by Taro’s appearance, Nole slowly lifted his right hand and delved into his pocket until the handle of the switchblade was firmly in his grasp. In front of them, Taro and Maddox locking eyes, waiting for the first sign of attack.

“I was only looking to finish that kid off, but because you moved him from the alleyway, I was able to track him down to the good doctor’s home. Even though the kid wasn’t there when I arrived, the trip wasn’t all for nothing. In fact, if not for you, we’d have had no idea that dear old Dr. Murphy collected evidence of our actions. We were so close to being exposed to the public, but luckily we were able to dispose of him, and the evidence”

It was Caswell all along.

“I’ll tell you, it was a pain setting you up.”

He killed Murphy.

“I didn’t know if you knew about the doctor’s vigilante investigation, so just to be safe, I sent the Pents out to get any remaining evidence you may have had.”

I led Caswell straight to him.

“After you got away from them and these worthless Enforcers on multiple occasions, I actually started to think I’d never catch you. What an auspicious day, to have both of you before me,” he gloated.

Yanking the weapon out of his pocket, Nole rapidly unsheathed the blade in one fluid motion. With the gun still on him, he had to count on his reflexes being faster than Caswell’s, and they were. Knocking the burly man to the ground, Nole clenched the gun with his free hand, while pointing the blade at Caswell, who also grabbed the blade-wielding hand.

Neither of them relinquished the pistol or the knife. Even though he was outmatched, Caswell was aware that the gun was his only form of leverage.

“Vale!” Capt. Maddox’s voice bellowed over the noisy area. The impending fear of losing his chance grew in the pit of his stomach, but Nole refused to give in. “Lower your weapons and put your hands on your head!” Maddox ordered from his perch on the top of the stairs. “This is your last warning!”

“It’s no use,” Caswell murmured, amused by Nole’s futile efforts. “Killed by me, tortured to death by Ryker, or shot on sight by Maddox, you’re done no matter how you see it.” The man’s thick brown mustached revealed his heinous grin, and his cheeks became rosy, relishing in the delight of Nole’s defeat.

As angry as the words made him, Nole couldn’t contest the fact that it was an uphill battle. In fact, if Caswell wasn’t expressing utter elation, Nole may have given up peacefully; however, seeing his enemy, the man who had framed him, Murphy’s killer, feel so overjoyed, sickened Nole. Before his common sense kicked in, one final burst of adrenaline made its way through Nole, but not before a something knocked both he and Caswell to the ground.

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