Chapter 17: The axe had fallen

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An internal dread was swallowing Max's body like a sickness, causing him to slump into his seat. He knew every angle required to prove his innocence had now been quashed. The confession of Red had been essential, but he had revealed nothing and he was now in unfriendly hands. The DA's expulsion from this job was looming. It was set to destroy his world, like a plummeting asteroid and he was now powerless to stop it. He needed evidence to back up his theories, but there was none to be found. The Mayor had outplayed him once again.

Max felt like Thomas could read his thoughts or more worryingly, he had a mole in the office. He had an internal paranoia lacing his veins. There was not a shadowed corner in the DA's office that had been left unturned, in case someone was listening. He had even had a weekly bug check performed to ensure it was secure. There had to be a reason why the Mayor was always one step ahead.

His voice was noticeably shaky, as he looked to Grant and spoke.

"We've got nothing. What are we going to do?"

He hoped for a forthright answer, but all that responded was an even shakier tone.

"I don't know," Grant admitted, "we put all our chips on Red and the house took our money."

This answer only angered Max further. He had a darkness currently hanging over him and he was hoping for a glimmer of light from Grant, but his colleague was also languishing in self-pity. The DA's body had reached its capacity and a hollow kind of fatigue had set in.

"Did Red tell us anything that we can use?" Max asked in desperation, "is there any leads we can follow up on?"

Grant took a second to consider the question. He finally answered, but his voice was not laced with any confidence.

"I guess we could check out the Paul Walker angle. We may find a link between him and the Mayor. He was his accountant, so Jamie may find a financial history between them."

"That won't prove anything," his boss growled angrily, "the Mayor's involvement is always hidden. Even if we find a connection, it always leads to a dead end or a phantom organisation. The prick is like a magician, he makes evidence disappear, like a rabbit in a hat."

Max was obviously frustrated. Both his tone and body language were awash with irritation. His perilous situation had finally come to a head. He had reached the edge of a chasm where no life lines existed, only the option of being pushed or jumping into the abyss. There had been hope that a parachute could have arisen in the form of Red and his confession, but that had proven to be a dead end. The DA was now desperate, bordering on frantic, looking for the slightest sliver of good news.

"Is there anything else we can look into?" he asked worryingly.

Grant's mind was blank. He wished answers would flush forward like a torrent, but nothing arose, only a feeling of dread rising up his esophagus. His boss's face was flooded with desperation and locked on him, beckoning for a nugget of gold to leak from his mouth, but all that he was able to give at the moment was more disappointment. For the first time in a long time, a redness occupied his cheeks, signalling that his mind was running on empty, like a gas tank.

"I don't know," Grant replied, "I'm stuck like you are."

"We're fucked then," Max cursed, releasing a puff of anger with his words, finally succumbing to his frustration. His worried reflection glared back at him through a nearby monitor.

"It won't be long until we're charged with Robert's murder," he continued, "they're probably altering the evidence right now, so it looks like we did it. We might as well give into our fate."

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