Yet one more not completely brand new. Pieces from previous chapters rearranged and edited for story flow and continuity.
I’ve learned to live with such things. Hope you can, too.
Cranston grabbed the railing as he jogged up the stairs to Precinct House 17. He may have been a linebacker in college, but that was thirty-five years ago and now he needed to pull himself up inclines when he jogged them.
He snapped his hand back as if he touched a high-tension line.
The railing was shaking?
Sure, ’17 was one of the oldest precinct houses in Boston, still brick-and-mortar as they say, and with wide-paneled hardwood floors and high ceilings and big fans hanging down because putting AC in a building about to be decommissioned was a waste of tax dollars, but that decommissioning order had been on the books for twenty years Cranston knew of. The city discovered it would cost more to put up a new precinct house rather than get rid of this old one, but somehow the money set aside for a new precinct house never made it into a working AC system.
Cranston made it a point to dig deep whenever he had to investigate a city or state official. He was going to write a book once he retired and call it “Fuckers I Have Known.”
Old or not, ’17 was still solid. Granite anchored the railings. They could shake? Like that?
He looked up and down the street. No fifty-three foot TT or heavy construction vehicles in sight, but dogs barked and pulled on their leashes. Pigeons, robins, and starlings took flight. The leaves on sidewalk maples, willows, and elms shivered as if chilled by a late October wind.
He touched the railing tentatively, one finger stretched forward, his body slightly turned and ready to pull away.
He shrugged and continued up the stairs. The desk sergeant looked up and nodded as he entered.
Cranston returned her nod. “You feel that?”
The desk sergeant shook her head. “Feel what?”
Cranston continued up the next flight to the offices. Leddy’s ring on his mobile stopped him at the doors to the precinct’s central office.
He went cold. Something happened to Leddy. That’s what he felt that nobody else felt.
Her ring again. “U OK?”
Cold yielded to confusion. “K U?”
The precinct’s wall mounted blues flashed ON-ON-off ON-ON-off. Chairs screeched across the hardwood floor.
Leddy TXTed “C THS?” and Cranston’s attention returned to his phone. Leddy sent her video through. “SIMON GOT IT ALL!”
She’d sent him pictures at every stage of SIMON’s development and had them made into a tshirt collage with the heading “Leddy’s Little Project.” She gave them to her friends, people on their street, people on the subway, and a 4XL for him.
She loved it.
But “SIMON GOT IT ALL!”?
SIMON’s cameras moved through hazy clouds flecked with ash. Cranston wasn’t sure what he was seeing until the drone cleared the clouds. It flew just above street level and revealed the clouds as billowing smoke.
“BPL Johnson w Pen.”
Captain Marete opened the central office door. “Bill. SkyHook just blew up. We need all hands on deck.”
Cranston followed Marete back into the office. Most uniforms and plainclothes had their mobiles in one hand, their landlines in the other, and held two or more conversations at once checking up on allies and reassuring family. A small group stood by the east facing windows. A puff of smoke seemed to hover above their heads before slowly dispersing.
Somebody called out, “Channel 5’s got it already.”
Cranston glanced at the wall screen. “That’s Leddy’s feed.”
Marete looked up from his phones. “Your daughter got this?”
Leddy’s TXT dinged in Cranston’s hand. “SLD 2 NTWRKS!”
A uniform at a far desk announced, “4 and 7’s got it. And NECN.”
Another uniform added, “So do Fox and the CW.”
Marete snorted. “Busy girl you got there. Maybe UAS should hire her. She got there faster than our own drones did. Tell her we’ll want that video. And anything else she got.”