Like A River Pt. 4

Hondo was out of breath and with the sweat dripping down his forehead, the darkness made it hard to see but he knew he was there, hoping that the shadows would keep him hidden. Hondo was determined to end him, to stop his reign of terror.  Hondo could smell him, and he could hear him breathing…he could feel the man’s fear.

“Don’t kill me!”

Maurice sounded so different than the man who’d trapped him and beat him while taunting him for hours. Hondo’s body hanging from the rafters of the old warehouse helpless to defend himself, drove his tormentor to show him no mercy. But now, that same man sat cowering in a dark corner begging for his life and Hondo held the power of life and death over him.

“Please, don’t kill me!” He pleaded again.

Hondo had dreamt of this moment for weeks; He’d nearly lost everything because of what Maurice had done to him. Even now the memory of the man’s laughter rang loudly in his ears. Hondo wanted him dead; no one would know that he had been the one that had taken his life.

Maurice’s eyes widened and his pleadings grew louder as he watched Hondo raise the gun and aim it toward him.  He knew this day was bound to come, if not the cop then countless others that he had wronged over the years. Still, he wasn’t ready to die and he hoped that his begging would appeal to Hondo’s sense of right and wrong.

“No, no, no…”

Hondo wrapped his finger around the trigger. Taking Maurice’s life was more important than anything now; more important than the hard work he’d put in to earn his place on SWAT, and more important than setting a good example for Darryl. Maurice had to die and after Maurice, he would end Herman’s life too.

The sound of the gun discharging seemed loud enough to wake the dead. Maurice’s eyes seemed to illuminate the darkness as he took his last breath staring at Hondo accusingly as if to say, you were supposed to be better, I was counting on you to be better!

But Hondo wasn’t better; he was just like Herman and Maurice and he’d taken a life to prove it.

Home of Hondo Harrelson- Evening –

Hondo jerked awake, out of breath and sweating profusely. He heard his own screams and he prayed that they were just a part of the dream. This had been his life, his terror for the last several weeks. He struggled every night to get to sleep and to rest through the night without being chased by the familiar nightmare. Tonight, was worse than before. This time he’d actually pulled the trigger.

S.W.A.T. Headquarters – Morning – 

“Okay, who is she?”

Street burst into the locker room planting a firm hand on his roommate’s shoulder. Luca wanted to disappear or fly away or start the day over, but it was too late, and this was a conversation that the older man dreaded having.

“Not now, Street.”

“Oh yes, now!” 

Street moved to the other side of his friend planting himself firmly in Luca’s personal space.

“Spill!” Street continued. “For the last three weeks you’ve barely been home, so spill!”

“Grow up, man; besides you don’t see me asking you about your personal life.”

“Trust me, Molly and I aren’t complaining it’s just I want to know who the lucky woman is. Whoever she is has definitely gotten you distracted.”

“Distracted, I’m not distracted.” Luca insisted.

“Yes, you are but that’s okay it looks good on you.” Street encouraged.

“Well in our line of work we can’t afford to be distracted, so no, I’m not distracted.”

Street watched as Luca shrugged him off and continued to change into his uniform.  Luca hoped that they were finished with this conversation, but he was wrong.

“So, who is she?” Street asked teasingly under his breath.

Luca glanced toward the door before beginning; this wasn’t going away so he decided to get it over with.

“Her name is Nia; Nia Wells, she’s an assistant D.A.”

“Wow! I’m impressed my friend. Man, you’re dating up, that’s good right?”

“It’s great and yes, she’s definitely out of my league.”

The two laughed at the truth of it all. Street could relate, he felt lucky to be with someone like Molly even though she was the boss’ daughter.

“I’m happy for you, really. I know I never thought I’d find someone like Bonnie especially after…”

Street stopped; his feelings for Chris were still unresolved and still a secret. Chris would never forgive him if he shared that with anyone.

“After what?” Luca asked.

“Nothing, it’s just I went through a period where I didn’t think I’d find anyone you know?”

“Yeah, I hear you.”

“I thought there was something wrong with me that everyone woman could see a mile away.” Street added.

“I always fall too hard, too fast and then after a while I think I scare the woman off, but Nia she’s tough and fearless and I know this sounds funny especially for a guy to say, but she makes me feel safe.”

“Wow, that’s deep.” Street chuckled at his friend.

“There’s only one problem.” Luca began apprehensively.

“Problem; what problem?”

“She’s Hondo’s ex.”

“Damn Luca! Of all the women in Los Angeles, you had to pick Hondo’s ex?”

“It’s not like I went looking for a woman that he’s dated.”

“I feel sorry for you if he ever finds out, that’s all I’m saying.” Said Street.

“He already did.”

“Damn Luca!”

Office of Assistant D.A. Nia Wells – 

“Hellllloooo, Earth to Nia…Earth to Nia!”

Nia quickly turned toward the door. Angela, her assistant and friend stood shaking her head and chuckling at her boss.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you. Come on in.”

Angela handed her one of the coffee cups in her hand, then closed the door and got comfortable in one of the chairs near the desk.

“Dang boss lady, you’ve got it bad!”

“Don’t start!”

“I called your name three times before you heard me. Who is he?”

“Girl, please.” Nia deflected.

“Please tell me you got back together with that fine-ass SWAT cop, what’s his name…Harper, Hansen…”

“Hondo and no, we are not back together. Besides, he and I were just spending time, that’s all nothing serious.”

“You sure?”

“Hondo is a nice guy, but we came into each other’s lives at a crazy time and things well, they were going to end eventually.”

“And now?”

Nia sipped her coffee before taking her seat behind the desk. She wasn’t sure how to answer the question.

“And now, I’m…”

“You’re what?”

“I’m happy.”