Friday, October 19, 2012

Walter Wallace - Chapter 64

Whisky holstered his gun and headed straight for the girl. He had hit her chest but couldn’t be 100% sure it was fatal. The distance to the girl and the fact that he only had his handgun meant that she could have anywhere up to an hour of life if left to bleed out. She was still the immediate threat, potentially able to set the bomb off herself, or perhaps the device had a second trigger from a remote location. Either way Whisky would be lucky to get there in time to find out but his duty compelled him to neutralise the threat.

He had already made a rapid descent from his vantage point in the scaffolding, stage left and just in view of the audience, and was trying to push through the waves of people fleeing for the exits. He stepped up onto an empty seat in the adjacent aisle and looked towards the back of the theatre to where the girl had been standing. The retreating masses seemed to peel away from the point in a perfect circle like a ripple moving in slow motion.

Whisky stepped up and balanced himself on the top of the back of the seat, the soft cushioning giving way to a thin sturdy metal frame. He leapt from seat to seat, quickly closing the distance before being cut off by the people again. An alarm sounded out in some vain attempt at protocol and a voice came over the speaker asking for calm. Whisky worked his way through the final perimeter of the ripple, aggressively pushing the last few people away and sprinted to the limp body in aisle 76.

The girl was face down with a wide berth of blood staining the carpet around her. Whisky rolled her over and observed the bullet wound. It would have shattered a rib before piercing her heart, no exit wound. She wouldn’t have even had time to recognise she was dying. Whisky removed the plastic bound explosive, from the strapping around her waist. C4, most likely, a simple homemade version with a mobile phone detonator inside. He examined it a moment before removing the detonator.

In her handbag there were more explosives which he disabled also. The size of the potential blast would not have killed more than half the crowd or taken down the building which brought some relief to Whisky – Walter Wallace was never a direct target.

Police had now entered the building. Whisky whistled sharply and raised his hand. They worked through the crowd slowly as the PA continued to issue futile directions.

“Do we need a squad?” the first officer asked on arrival.

“No. Plastic explosives; it’s safe now,” Whisky handed the packets to the officer who nodded and looked down at the girl. “Dead.” Whisky said bluntly.

“Didn’t know they had snipers on,” the officer said, possibly on behalf of the police force wishing to be better informed of potential shootings. Whisky opened his jacket to show his holstered weapon. The officer looked slightly confused, “You were close to the girl then?”

“I was backstage, above in the scaffolding. If you have any more questions please contact the network. Right now I must continue my job and ensure the safety of Mr Wallace.”

The officer didn’t object and Whisky ran through the mostly empty theatre until he arrived at Walter’s dressing room. He entered discreetly and found Walter pacing back and forth with Manny Holdsworth sitting in his make-up chair trying to calm him down.

“I just don’t understand. Why would somebody want to bomb the place? It makes no sense to me.” His voice was unnaturally pitched, he was clearly on an adrenaline rush and not at all like the placid Walter Wallace that Whisky had seen so often.

“Walt, it was probably...probably just a hoax or something, you know.” Manny said, with the tone of a man who knew it was not a convincing argument.

“A hoax? Are you- Are you kidding me? The girl was shot. I saw it. I saw her fall. Nobody tried to help her and-” he just noticed Whisky’s presence in the room. “Who shot her?” he asked accusingly, “Did you?”

Whisky nodded. Walter stared at him. He had the body language of an aggressor, it was rare to see in Walter and were it anybody else Whisky would have tensed himself for a physical encounter. Walter drew a breath and the moment had passed. Whisky was grateful because he would not have been able to react or detain Walter if he had advanced.

“Is she dead?” Whisky nodded again. “Was there a bomb?”

“Two plastic explosives; a detonator in her hand. Enough to kill about a 15m radius. 300 people, more injured. Not enough to kill you.”

Walter seemed to take on the information, appreciating the detail as it might help him answer the questions he wanted answered. He slumped down on the couch, “So I guess I’m stuck in here with you until we’re given the all clear?”

Again Whisky nodded.


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