Old Friends and Bad Guys
A SWAT team was seen stacking up alongside a brick wall outside an unfinished and abandoned warehouse. There were five members, four of whom were veterans, and one was a new guy. There always had to be a new guy, right? He had been a police officer for several years, but finally, after multiple attempts, he was picked up to be on the Special Weapons and Tactics team. This was his first operation. He could feel his heart thumping under his bulletproof vest, his hands tightening around the foregrip and handle of his weapon, and the stock tight up in his shoulder. He was excited.
As a bead of sweat ran down his face, a thought ran through his head. This was every kid in his neighborhood’s dream growing up. He remembered they’d be out in the backyard running around with sticks and making gun noises. Now, twenty years later, here he was, living that dream.
The new guy went by his last name, Stevens. He was a part of the Salem Ten’s group and was stacked last in the formation. He was listening to communications come through his earpiece from a drone circling high in the night sky somewhere beyond the cloud cover. It circled the area like a hawk does its prey, scanning the ground below undetected.
“Salem Ten, you’re clear for entry,” the drone in the sky radioed in.
The team leader in front slowly opened the door, and they all shuffled in one by one, clearing the angles and securing the first room. It was eerily quiet inside. Debris and abandoned tools littered the floor, and tarps trying desperately to cover broken windows and openings, flapped in the wind.
They stacked up again before entering the hallway and moving on. After clearing a few more rooms and hallways, they heard faint music and laughter. They could see light bleeding from beneath a rusted iron door just ahead. Stevens’s heart thumped hard. This was it. Go time. The mission was simple: Get in there, detain the individuals, and alert the teams on standby.
They stacked up beside the rusted iron door, and after a moment, the team leader kicked the door in. With Salem Ten’s weapon drawn, they all screamed, “Get on the ground! Hands in the air!”
Stevens scanned the area. Several standing work lights on tripods almost blinded him upon entry from the darkness they were just in. He saw at least seven dark silhouettes moving on the opposite side of the room. As his eyes adjusted to the light, he saw they were reaching for their weapons. The sound of classical music hummed from the radio on the large center table covered in a pile of drugs and wads of cash, and then there was a firefight!
The team opened fire, immediately taking down three bad guys. As bullets pierced through the air and across the room, drugs and cash flew up like leaves in front of a leaf blower. One of the bad guys fired his weapon, striking a Salem Ten member’s leg. Stevens noticed one of the bad guys flee through the side door and disappear down the hallway. He could hear the drone communicating that the teams on standby were moving in as he tore out into the hallway to chase down the fleeing bad guy. As Stevens chased him, he would see him for a split second, and then he’d disappear around another corner like a ghost. Stevens was eventually led to the stairwell. He stopped to catch his breath. He looked up into the darkening stairwell, sighed, and started running up.
The second-floor doorway had been boarded up, so Stevens proceeded to the third floor. The firefight downstairs had died down. Any remaining shots echoed as if miles away, and it was eerily silent again. A helicopter on standby had arrived and hovered above; its searchlight occasionally shined through the openings of the broken windows and unfinished walls like flashes from a lightning strike. He stepped slowly through the first room with his weapon drawn, his boot stepping on shattered pieces of glass, causing crunching noises. That’s when he heard someone rushing up from behind him. He didn’t have time to turn before the guy slammed into him and knocked the gun out of his hands. They both fell to the ground, rolling and scuffling. Stevens was able to quickly throw him off, but the guy hit the ground and grabbed Stevens’s weapon. Not knowing what good it would do, Stevens pulled his knife from his belt and stood up as the bad guy turned and aimed the gun at Stevens. At that moment, the helicopter’s searchlight lit the room as it passed by, and at that exact moment, confusion suddenly filled the air.
Stevens and the bad guy stood frozen, forehead and eyebrows scrunched up in a baffling way. They stood silent for what seemed like forever, and then the silence was broken.
“What the hell?” Stevens said in a perky yet confused manner.
“Wait, Ryan? What the hell?” The bad guy responded.
Stevens’s first name was Ryan, and he let out a small, chortled laugh in bewilderment, “Yea, bro…What the hell are you doing, Michael?” Stevens asked.
“Freaking making a living, bro. This is crazy.” Michael responded back.
A million thoughts ran through Stevens’s head. Two best friends since birth, even next-door neighbors, reunited after all these years in the strangest way possible. They had spent nearly every day together growing up. Every situation, including break ups, playing as kids in the backyard, video game sleepovers, and in high school, backing each other up at parties. The list goes on. They were the closest anyone could get to being true brothers, even when they weren’t related by blood. That was until college came around, and life took over from there. Both fell off the radar and eventually took their own paths. But now, somehow, their paths have collided again. Now, they were both grown, and the evil of the world had gotten to both. Yea, Stevens looked down and saw he had the uniform on, but he was no better of a person than Michael was. He knew Michael better than probably anyone else ever would. Who was he to judge?
“I see you’re a cop now,” Michael said, pointing the gun at Stevens.
Stevens laughed, “Yea, man, I am.”
“I miss you, man. Damn, I wish we could go back in time to when we were young, when there wasn’t a care in the world, don’t you?” Michael asked.
Stevens responded, “Yeah, man, I think about it every day. Growing old and knowing all those good times and innocent days are over sucks. Hell, it only causes suffering, depression.”
They both stood silent for a moment, not knowing what to say. Almost sad.
“Listen, this is what’s going to happen. I’m going to disappear.” Michael said as he stepped back.
Stevens sighed, “I don’t know if I can let you do that.”
“Well… then I’m sorry I have to do this then.” Michael aimed the weapon up and fired.
Stevens flinched and grabbed at his chest, but he felt nothing. He heard something thump behind him, and he turned. A bad guy lay dead with a bullet hole through his head, holding a knife. He must have been sneaking up behind him. He turned and looked at Michael.
Michael smiled, “It was good to see you, old friend. I’m proud of you.” He put the weapon down, ran across the room, and disappeared through and down one of the openings.
Moments later, his team leader ascended the stairs with a teammate, “Stevens, you get that bad guy that took off?”
Stevens looked around and gathered his thoughts. He looked towards the opening where Michael had disappeared and then looked down and saw the dead bad guy on the ground. He closed his eyes for a moment, and a flashback of him and Michael playing as kids ran through his mind. He opened them and looked at his team leader, and with a nod, he responded, “Yes sir, I got him,” and pointed down at the dead bad guy on the floor.
You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.
Hello, I was given this story as part of the critique circle. Two things I liked, obviously, the old childhood friends meeting in a police standoff. One good, one bad, but still both sort of jumping back in time to when they were just friends--good concept. And, I totally thought Michael was going to shoot him. I like that he shot one of his own and spared his old friend. And, I think you did a great job with the ending, with Stevens saying "yep, I got him." The beginning of the story, while descriptive and very much setting the scene, was...
I'm glad you liked it. Also, thanks for the comment and the feedback. It's always nice to hear of the good and bad.