“Vengeance is a monster of appetite, forever bloodthirsty and never filled.” – Richelle E. Goodrich, The Tarishe Curse
S.W.A.T. Headquarters – Monday Morning –
Hondo was the first to arrive and with no one else around it was a good time to get in a workout before the rest of his team arrived.
With each swing and with every punch that landed on the large bag, Hondo wondered if he had made the right decision in sticking around after the Commissioner’s attempt to get rid of him. The pain in his body reminded him that he’d been doing this for most of his adult life, first fighting for his country, and then serving, and protecting the city of Los Angeles with not much to show for it but aches and pains and a bruised ego.
Deacon had arrived shortly after Hondo. He decided to join his friend in the ring. He had made it a point to keep an eye on their leader since Sanchez, plus he needed a workout too. Deacon knew that Hondo had managed to slip past Dr. Wendy who’d been requesting a session with him for months now, but Hondo had always managed to find an excuse to reschedule.
Deacon watched from the shadows for a few minutes as Hondo sent his fists into the bag, each hit harder than the last. He was worried about the man who had appointed himself the guardian over all of them. He’d sacrificed his own wellbeing to make sure that all of them were good. But he wasn’t good and even though he would never admit it, Hondo needed a break, and he needed a friend to talk to, maybe today he would talk to Deacon.
Hondo didn’t realize he had company until Deacon stepped into the ring and braced himself behind the bag.
“It’s a little early for you. Annie let you off diaper duty?”
“Yeah, well you know. Besides if I don’t keep this old body in shape, I’ll be the one wearing the diapers.”
The two laughed and for a moment Hondo forgot about the real reason he was there so early. His early arrival wasn’t because of his desire to workout. He’d found himself awake before dawn for almost a week now. He’d gotten a phone call from Mexico a few days ago that he hadn’t shared with anyone, and it had him worried.
Deacon noticed the lost look in his friend’s eyes. It was now or never, there was no way he could let the morning go any further without having a talk with his team leader.
Hondo threw one more punch before exhaling and grabbing his water bottle. Both he and Deacon grabbed their towels and headed toward the locker room.
“What’s going on with you?”
Hondo looked puzzled at his friend.
“You seem preoccupied lately,” Deacon continued.
“It’s nothing, I’m good.”
“Hondo, I’ve known you for a long time and you’re not good. You look like you haven’t slept in days, and something’s got you distracted.”
“Did Dr. Wendy send you to talk to me?”
“No, I’m just a concerned friend, that’s all.”
“Look Deacon, I’ll work it out.”
Deacon stopped just before opening his locker.
“You take care of everybody else and if anyone on this team was walking around like you’ve been the last few days, you’d call us on it.”
He was right and Hondo knew it. If he couldn’t talk to Deacon, then who could he talk to.
“I got a phone call last week from Mexico.”
“Is everything okay?”
“I’m not sure. I got a call from Charro.”
“The deputy that helped you take down Arthur Novak?”
“What did he say?”
“Novak has been released from jail on a technicality.”
“You’ve got to be kidding.”
“I wish I was.”
“Do you think he’ll go after the Reyes family again?”
“Charro is keeping an eye on things.”
“What aren’t you telling me?”
Hollywood Hills –
It had been years since Arthur had been in Los Angeles. His son AJ was just a boy then and Arthur had an affinity for the City of Angels. He loved the quiet of the large home on loan from a friend. As he sat on the balcony and sipped his coffee, he made plans for his time there.
Hondo Harrelson had mettled into his business in Mexico and he’d taken the life of his only child. He wanted him to suffer, just like he’d made him suffer. He wanted the man to feel pain like he’d never experienced before and then Arthur wanted to look deep into his enemy’s eyes just before he took his life.
Arthur had been released from jail and for the last several weeks he had planned for a reunion with the cop who stopped his efforts to acquire land from the Reyes women. Once he killed Hondo he would return to Mexico and finish what he started there. No one would be able to stop him.
S.W.A.T. Headquarters –
“We need to tell Hicks,” Deacon warned.
“Why? There’s nothing Hicks can do about this!”
“Hondo, you killed the man’s son! You said it yourself, the man promised to make you pay!”
“I can take care of myself, Deacon.”
“Really? You don’t know where he is, if he’s coming for you…”
“Deac, trust me I am not afraid of Arthur Novak.”
Hondo finished dressing, stood, and checked his watch hoping that the conversation was over.
“Come on, I’ll buy you a cup of coffee.”
Shaking his head, Deacon followed Hondo out of the locker room and headed toward the kitchen.
Deacon wasn’t surprised, Hondo was the last one to ask for help. If he wasn’t going to worry, then Deacon knew he would have to take matters into his own hands to protect him.
Hondo was exhausted and he was glad to be heading home. Just as he started his engine, his cellphone rang. Frowning at the name flashing across his screen, he answered.
“Red, long time no hear. What’s up, man?”
“Uh…hey…uh…we need to talk.”
Red was one of his informants on the street and was always good for hard-to-find information. It was odd that he was calling because normally, Hondo would have to hunt him down. He sounded nervous and scared.
“It’s late how about we meet tomorrow…”
“…No, no it has to be now, Hondo!”
“Okay, where? This better be good!”
Hicks looked up to see Deacon walking through his office door. It was late and normally he was the only one still in the building. Hicks was wrapping up a last-minute meeting with his assistant.
“Goodnight Sergeant,” the young woman nodded as she passed him.
It was good to see her back from vacation. Deacon smiled and nodded back at her.
“Good seeing you, Arieta!”
“Same to you Sir. Take care.”
“What’s up, McKay?” Hicks asked.
“I think Hondo is in trouble.”
Hondo pulled into the alley and killed the engine. His gut told him this was a bad idea, but Red had been a trusted CI for years and he was worried about him. The man never lost his cool and he never asked for a meet. So, with an abundance of caution, Hondo headed toward the last door and let himself in.
“Hondo!” A voice whispered.
Hondo slowly eased into the room toward the voice.
The sight of Red lying on the floor stopped him momentarily. He was bleeding profusely. Hondo dropped to his knees next to him and noticed that he’d been shot.
“Damn! Red what happened to you? Who did this?”
“I’m sorry Hondo, I’m sorry!”
“Red, hold on!”
The man’s eyes fluttered as he struggled to stay awake.
“Don’t you die on me Red; you hear me, don’t you die on me!”
Hondo heard footsteps behind him; at least three sets, coming quickly behind him. He shot a look back at the man bleeding to death on the floor then over his shoulder towards the noise coming toward him.
“It’s a trap! He made me call you! He made me!”
“Hello Sgt. Harrelson, it’s been a while.”
He’d never forget that voice, the thick Irish accent, and the smell of expensive cologne. He stood and slowly turned to face the man. This was one reunion that he hoped he’d never have.
“Aren’t you supposed to be in jail?”
“You foolish, foolish man, no jail can hold a man like me not when I have enough money to buy my way out.”
Hondo looked at the two armed men behind Arthur. There was no way out and he silently cursed for allowing himself to be lured into a trap. Arthur nodded at the men who on beat quickly grabbed Hondo by the arms and held him in place.
“Is this all you brought with you? Don’t you remember what I did to your little army the last time we met?”
Arthur chuckled as several men appeared out of the darkness. Each one, armed and taking places around Hondo and the other three.
“Yeah, I remember. I also remember that you killed my son.”
The largest of the men slammed his fist into Hondo’s gut knocking the wind out of him. The man hit him again and again forcing his knees to buckle.
“I made you a promise Mr. Harrelson.”
The man sent his fist into Hondo’s face. His vision was blurry now as he struggled to remain on his feet.
“You won’t get away with this, Novak.”
“Oh, but I will and you know why?”
“Enlighten me please.” Hondo moaned.
“Because you always have to be the hero. I bet no one knows you’re here am I right?”
Arthur shot a look at the dead man on the floor.
“Even with scum like that, you always want to come to the rescue.”
Hondo was hit in the face again and again; his blood was on his assailant’s hands now. Arthur stepped closer.
“Who’s going to rescue you, huh? Who’s going to come and stop me from taking your life?”
To be continued…
*We do not own S.W.A.T. or its characters. We are not affiliated with the show or its creators. We have created our original characters that will come out to play from time-to-time*