Chapter 21: It all made sense

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A few voices were already shouting behind Max. They were faint and distant for now, like an annoying hum in the background.

"Where is he?"

"He has to be close by."

"We can't let him escape."

Max's quick steps had taken him two streets away, but he was being closely followed by four officers. Their invisible hands were reaching out for him, trying to draw him backwards.

"I think I see him ahead."

"Shoot him if he resists."

Their voices were so close it felt like the men were breathing on Max's neck. His pace did not matter, because they were closing in on him, like a hungry lion on its prey. He stopped suddenly and glanced backwards, noticing four heads rising over a nearby hill. It was only seconds until their eyes met and the frantic chase resumed.

A brief thought of surrendering kicked in, after Max keeled over and breathed in painful air. His clothing had submitted to his sweat, sticking to his skin like a wet sheet. Both of his calves were badly burning, leaving him possibly unable to move again. He suddenly felt a tracing bullet whiz past his ear and chip the bark off a tree. His ears heard the wisp of two more approaching bullets, before they ricocheted off the steel of a nearby car.

"Stop," one of the officers yelled, "the next one won't miss."

These poignant words stunned Max for a second. There were two-hundred yards between him and his chasers, but he locked eyes with one officer, like they were only inches apart. He noticed a red tinge occupying his irises, strained by a bout of aggression. This man was not here to take a hostage - he was here to fill a body bag. If the DA surrendered, he could be signing his own death certificate. If he did go down, he needed to go down fighting.

Max's heavy feet pounded the bitumen, ignoring his words. He kept his head forward, overlooking the shouting voices and the reverberation of heavy footsteps behind him, spurring him forwards. His feet quickly found a rhythm, but another two shots whizzed narrowly past, causing a hitch in his step. A shake hit his feet and he stumbled, scraping his knee on jagged stones. His mind urged him forward once again, "run, don't give up," but his legs slowed, trembled and his lungs breathed fire.

A stark comprehension occurred, after an angry voice belted the air.

"This is your last chance," an officer screamed, "stop or you're dead."

Max coughed loudly and finally stopped, giving into his plight. His body was rocked by shudders and twitches, making another step impossible. He was out of breath, with his throat constricted and flush with fear. His arms rose in the air, before he turned around and noticed the men walking towards him. They had a mixture of anger and delight heightening their red, exhausted faces.

"Don't you fucking move or you're dead," one of them warned.

The shadow of death felt like it was looming over Max, as the men approached. A large axe was only moments away from taking his head. He had failed. The DA knew there could be piles of evidence lying at Magnifique's house, but he would now never find it. He had taken his chances, but his plan had failed miserably.

A radio suddenly chirped loudly, stopping the men in their tracks, only a mere twenty yards from Max.

"Do you have him?" a voice squeaked on the other end.

"Yes sir," one of the officers responded, "we're just about to take the suspect into custody."

"That won't be necessary. The suspect is armed and dangerous. We want him taken out."

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