Chapter 22: Dom

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"Is everyone in position?"

A slew of affirmations come across the radio attached to my belt and I grabbed the radio to add in my own confirmation.

"Dude, what the hell did we get ourselves into?" Ryan had been skittish all day leading up to the operation. We spent a whole week in Atlanta getting as up to date as Archie would let us about the sting happening today, planning, and lying to the Chief back home and now Ryan was getting cold feet about it.

I ignored him and looked across the deserted parking lot over to Archie. Apparently their guy on the inside was as sure as he could be that the auction was taking place at the abandoned Walford Plaza mall- The mall around 30 cops and SWAT officers were standing outside of currently.

Archie had been good to us while we were here. He helped us lay low, kept us informed, and put his job on the line for Ryan and I to be here today. He was a good man and someone that after all of this was over and I had Kat back in my arms, I would gladly take out for a celebratory beer or two.

From across the way, Archie turned his head in my direction and caught my stare. In the many yards between us, I could still make out the understanding he had for me and see that he wanted Kat to be here almost as badly as I did. He understood my pain with her loss and in the short time I'd come to know him, I could see why Ryan chose him to befriend back in the academy.

Archie was someone you wanted on your side, and I was damn glad that he was on mine today.

"Alright, on my call."

Here we go.

Either she was here or she wasn't. I'd been given strict instructions to not shoot unless shot at and to not get in their way. My sole mission was to locate Kat if she was on the premises and if not...

I didn't want to think about 'if not'. Over the last week, the thoughts of seeing her again were dangerous and overpowering. I dreamt of her every night. Dreamt of her while wide awake. I saw her reflection in passing windows, heard her voice carried through the wind.

Kat had quite literally taken over my sanity and I need it and her back before they both disappeared forever.

Archie's voice crackled over the radio in my ear, readying us all for his countdown to go.

And then we were off.

Tens of nameless officers poured into light, scattering around the abandoned mall like small, black ants raiding a dirt mound for takeover.

Ryan and I led off towards the back of the mall with a handful of other officers. From the blueprints we'd been able to pull, we knew the mall had two floors, over 300 possible rooms between the stores, offices, and back rooms, and three levels of a garage with two of them being underground.

Archie had given us no specific area to be or go once inside the building, just to stay out of the way of the other officers and S.W.A.T. Being on alert couldn't begin to encompass how focused I was as we ran towards the back entrances in silence so impressive that the foot fall of eight men sounded more like the pitter patter of a small animal than anything.

Both Ryan and I stayed back just as instructed as the leader of the group we were with held out his hand, signaling his team to halt as he reached the double doors. He sent one man to guard the only other back entrance in sight and I wondered who was planning to man the massive area of the garages three levels.

Maybe that's where I would go.

Maybe that's where she was.

Maybe that's where she wasn't.

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