Ayden folded the newspaper in half, flipped it over and set it aside. The headline said it all. What happened was extraordinary. Disturbing. First, two of their prisoners expired at the very same moment, falling together in a heap on the jail cell floor, while a third inmate looked on.
Shortly thereafter, two officers, outside the building, fell to the cement walkway, in eternal sleep. Later on, a third officer, their Receptionist, Kaylen Jackson, joined them on the sidewalk, presumably to pay her respects, when she suddenly fell dead, too.
Bobbi was back to flirting with him again, too. Thinking he was going to have to give her a second look, he tried to flirt back and engage her in conversation. Sadly, all too quickly it turned awkward. Maybe not such a good idea, after all. Best he look outside of the force, lest they become fodder for all of the ‘office romance’ gossip going on all too often.
And then this happens. Ayden pressed the heels of his hands into his tired, bloodshot brown eyes. What bothered him the most, was how and why this kept happening — So very many police officers or police support dying right here at the precinct. Six to date.
What about the two prisoners? How did they fit into this?
Ayden slammed his open palm onto the desktop, startling several of his co-workers. “Informant!” he said. “That’s it. That has to be it.” He immediately did a search on the two prisoners, to see if they were witnesses in lock-up, simply to keep them ‘safe’ before the trial and if that trial had anything to do with the Mobwives. Wouldn’t be the first time police kept witnesses in custody. Although normally they were kept in a ‘Safe House’. Ayden shook his head in dismay. They had failed these two people, miserably, if this were the case. He felt more than lousy over it. Again, he felt impotent. Unable to be of use.
Was the ‘insider’ the other jailbird who watched as the two perished before his eyes? Ayden found himself riddled with questions for which he had no answers. Not a comfortable or desirous place to be.
And, just what to do about his brother — Was he possibly the tie-in? Had he been spying on Ayden all of this time? Talk about an insider … the very thought chilled him to the bone. Perhaps, this uncomfortable association is what prompted the very long investigation into his own dealings by the Department. Why hadn’t they just asked him outright? Or, maybe, just maybe Ayden wasn’t the subject of this investigation, after all. He may well have been the bait. By which they hoped to draw Braylon out.
Ayden’s head began to hurt. Another tension headache, he was certain. Had his brother really murdered Jade? For the longest time he refused to allow himself to explore this possibility, let alone question why. She must have learned Braylon belonged to the Mobwives sometime between their conversation and her dying moment. Braylon had to be the one to tell her. Ayden always thought he was lying through his teeth about being a criminal. Braylon was such a jokester. Now, he wished he had listened to that little voice of doubt deep inside himself. The detective within nagging him that something just wasn’t right, here. Braylon worked at night, was evasive, was quick to deflect and distract anytime anyone pressed for any real details about his line of work. Quick to squelch any real inquiries into it.
Jade always took it to be a joke, too. A big fat lie. They used to laugh about it
Somehow, Braylon must have impressed on her it was no joke, but indeed, a fact he worked for them. Somehow, he’d slipped up, breached the code of silence. Then, fearing retaliation, since the Mobwives was such a secretive group, he must have scrambled to find a way to rid himself of his only witness. The obvious thing was a fatal accident. A fire. So, he switched out the canister of lighter fluid for Ayden’s spare gas tank. Jade would hardly know the difference …
Folding his arms on the desktop, Ayden leaned his weary head on them. Was he crazy to allow himself to think this way? Had he unwittingly stumbled upon a truth — Or, was this a manifestation of a grieving mind and heart, needing answers where none could be found?
Ayden got home after a full day’s work. No time to confront his brother as he knew he needed to do, the man, dressed in a suit, was on his way to work.
“Hey, no time for chatter,” Braylon doffed his hat, pretended to consult the non-existent pocket watch, “Oh, my fur and whiskers, I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!” Twirling himself about on his highly polished dress boot heels, he was off.
Ayden watched as his brother disappeared down the block, shaking his head. He was a funny guy. Quite humorous. Needing the distraction, he decided to collect the wild fruits, vegetables and flowers, instead of stewing over it, keeping up with the ‘family’ tradition. Busy work. Never hurt to have some extra funds on hand. He also hoped to still his rapid-fire thoughts for a time.
Before it grew too late, his father enticed him to go out. A friend had texted the ghost and invited him out for “Knight’s Night” at a place in Windenburg. Ayden readily agreed, but they took off so fast, he didn’t have time to change out of his work clothes. In fact, he barely had a chance to take a bite of his dinner. He took his plate with him.
The young bar tender, a Morgan Fryes, was a real looker. Beautiful red hair, large blue eyes, a sweet face. Incredibly young … He chatted her up. He’d had quite an awkward conversation with Bobbi earlier in the day, Ayden was afraid he’d lost his touch. It had been a few years since he was on the dating scene. Didn’t expect to be here again, nor did he want to be. But, he was lonely and his friends suggested he get back into the proverbial saddle. And so, taking advantage of this occasion, he invited the young lady to dance. Pretty soon, his day caught up to him. He bid Morgan goodbye and went home.