McGregor High School – 9:01 a.m.
Chester took a deep breath to calm his nerves. Pulling the door open he quietly entered the back of the auditorium. He’d spent almost three years in and out of the old room where the school had held too many assemblies for him to remember now. Mr. Spurnwell had expelled him a week before graduation so it was only fitting that the old man would die first. Chester would give him just enough time to recognize him before taking the kill shot the move on to fulfill the rest of his mission. The nineteen-year-old had never killed anything other than rabbits but he was ready; he was built for this. Nothing had become of his life since his expulsion and so, this would be his legacy.
No one thought it was odd enough to be suspicious as Chester made his way down the left-side aisle toward the stage. Mr. Spurnwell was introducing the honoree just as Chester began his assent toward his first target. Seeing the potential interruption, old man Spurnwell frowned as the familiar face stepped into the spotlight. First the sound of gun fire then the small frail body of Erving Spurnwell fell like a feather to the floor. Silence then screams cracked through the shocked unbelief that had for a brief moment captured the attention of the room. Chris instinctively reached for her gun only to be reminded that she was not armed. Then there were more shots from the shooter’s rifle forcing students to duck for cover. Some were not so lucky.
“CHRIS!” Street yelled from the back of the room.
Gunfire continued and chaos was now in charge of the packed room. Deacon, Luca, Tan and Street needed to do something, but they too were unarmed. Bodies were dropping as gunfire continued to ring out. Deacon placed a call; for now, it was all they could do.
Darryl had been earning extra credit as part of the AV team. He heard the familiar sound of gunfire from backstage. Then the screams; he knew enough to find cover. He wanted to help, like Hondo would do if he were here, but the sounds of bullets flying kept him in place.
Maurice smiled while checking his watch and waiting close by. He’d placed four explosive charges around the large building the day before and even from his vantage point he could hear the screams and the shots. Things were on schedule; fumbling with the small detonator he reminded himself to be patient…it was almost time for things to really heat up.
S.W.A.T. Headquarters –
“Yes, this is Sgt. Harrelson, what can I do for you?”
“How does it feel to know that somebody’s child will die today and there’s nothing you can do about it?”
“Who is this!” Hondo shouted.
“I’m your worse nightmare!”
“What do you want?”
“I want you to know that I beat you…I won…I always win, Sgt. Harrelson!”
The call ended abruptly; Hondo’s gut told him exactly who it was. It was an official declaration of war and Hondo needed to find out what the man’s plan was before it was too late. He ran out of his office and headed toward the command center. Hicks met him half-way. Hondo saw the look of terror in the older man’s face.
“Hondo!” He shouted.
“Hicks I just got a call…”
“There’s been a shooting!”
“McGregor High School!”
Without another word Hondo changed direction and headed toward the armory. Hicks quickly grabbed him by the arm stopping him in his tracks.
“Where the hell do you think you’re going?”
“McGregor; that’s where Chris is getting that award! The whole team is there and…”
“I’ve already sent Rocker’s team, let them handle it.” Hicks ordered.
“Like hell I will!”
“You’re not cleared for the field for another two weeks!”
“Commander, the team is there, unarmed and for all we know…”
“Don’t go there! Trust your fellow officers to do their jobs!”
“Commander this isn’t about trust! It’s about family and it’s about not leaving a man behind! Are you going to tell me that you’re not going to that school right now?”
There was nothing Hicks could do to keep Hondo from leaving. He understood but he also knew that there was a lot at stake allowing a recovering officer to return to the field. He watched Hondo disappear out of sight and he resolved that he would deal with the fallout later.
“Damn!” Hicks muttered.
McGregor High School –
While the gunman was distracted reloading, the team including Chris managed to get several students and staff out of the auditorium through the back and side doors. Darryl dialed Hondo’s number and waited for him to answer.
“Answer, answer…pick up, pick up…” he whispered.
“Darryl, where are you?” Hondo shouted from the other end of the phone.
“Hondo there a guy shooting up the auditorium! Please, you gotta get here!”
“Yeah, I know and I’m on my way, okay?”
Darryl shook his head and closed his eyes trying to remain calm.
“Listen to me; don’t be a hero you hear me, Darryl?”
“Yes, yes I hear you.” He promised.
“I need you to stay down, stay out of sight and wait. We’re on our way.”
It was time. Maurice checked his watch one last time before pressing the detonator. One by one the explosives went off, sending debris and glass flying into the air. The building seemed to implode. The sound of screams increased punctuated with cries and pleas for help. No one would walk away unscathed he thought; no one. As the sounds of students and faculty died down, Maurice walked calmly down the street out of sight.
S.W.A.T. Headquarters –
Hicks caught up to Hondo as he jumped into his car. The banging on the window caught Hondo’s attention. Rolling down his window, Hondo glared at his boss.
“Please tell me you’re not going to try and stop me!”
“No, there’s also been a bombing at McGregor; I’m riding with you!”
McGregor High School – 9:35 a.m.
The screams of students and staff had been replaced with moans and whimpers of those who had managed to survive. Chris opened her eyes trying to assess the damage around her. She knew that she was blessed to have survived; judging by the debris she prayed she wasn’t the only one.
Now she was hallucinating she thought; maybe she hadn’t survived after all and had actually landed in hell.
There it was again. This time the voice was familiar.
The tall lean figure of her teammate was now hovering over her. He was completely covered in soot but otherwise he looked to be in good shape. Chris tried to stand but found herself buried under debris.
“Hold on, let me help.” Deacon ordered.
“What are you doing here? I told you not to come!”
“Yeah well, we thought we’d surprise you.”
“Me, Luca, Street and Tan.”
Deacon slowly helped Chris to stand and the two slowly began working their way through the damage and bodies buried in the mass of rubble around them.
Hondo pulled the car to an abrupt stop. The area around the school was already cordoned off and uniformed officers, bomb squad and SWAT were on site sorting through the confusion while keeping onlookers safely away.
“Oh my god!” Hondo whispered as he crossed the yellow tape and headed toward the building that was once a two-story structure.
Hondo wondered if he were too late. The caller had told him that someone’s child would die today. He would not rest until he brought the mad man responsible to justice. Then his phone rang again; his hand trembled slightly as he answered.
“Sgt. Harrelson.” Honda began.
“See what you have done?”
“I didn’t do this, you did!”
“Please tell your leaders that the blood of the slain is on their hands!”
“You sick son-of-a-bitch…”
“Now, now Sergeant, save your energy; you’re going to need it because I’m just getting started!”