Lieutenant Jacob Kilborn was four hours into his graveyard shift at the Chandler Police Department, and his eyes were beginning to droop as he leaned back in his chair behind his desk. He was scrolling through the latest reports on his computer when a pair of headlights glanced off the front window and immediately disappeared once the engine was turned off. There was normally a skeleton crew this time of the morning, an hour before the sun even came up. A crew that consisted of Kilborn and no one else.
When he worked by himself he typically locked the civilian entrance and watched the front door through a monitor hanging on the outside wall. A bright light illuminated the entrance where puddles were accumulating in the rainstorm. He paid close attention as a man in a black suit approached the entrance, looked up at the camera and held up a gold shield for Kilborn to see. He stood there with a bleak expression as the raindrops flattened his hair. Kilborn pushed a button and buzzed the door open. The man entered the reception area and made his way to the counter where Kilborn was already waiting. The man wore a white shirt and jacket with no tie. His shirt appeared disheveled and his jacket looked like he’d sat on it while driving over.
The man nodded to Kilborn in a professional manner. From the other side of the bulletproof glass partition, he held up a leather case with his credentials dropping down from the bottom so Kilborn could get a clear look. He leaned over to speak through the small opening in the partition. “FBI agent Ron Turkle.”
Kilborn had been with the Chandler PD for over a decade, and he’d never seen an FBI agent work past 6:00 at night unless there was something really serious going on.
“How can I help you?” Kilborn asked, carefully examining the man’s credentials.
The man’s face softened. He put away his shield and shrugged. “I woke up an hour ago in a sweat because I messed up. The SAC asked me to pick up Jeff Davenport and bring him over to the field office late this afternoon and I completely spaced it. When he shows up to work in a couple of hours and that kid’s not there, I’m screwed.”
Kilborn understood the concept. He’d been in a similar spot several times himself. He had nothing against helping a fellow officer of the law, but he needed to cover his own behind first.
“What do the Feds need with Jeff?”
“Well, apparently the bank is wanting retribution and the press is getting testy. Since he took prisoners in a federally-insured bank, it’s our jurisdiction. My boss doesn’t want this to coming back to bite us in the ass.”
Kilborn was going to ask for a warrant but then the FBI was one of the only departments which didn’t require one and this guy was correct about jurisdiction.
“Listen,” Kilborn said. “I have no problem with this. Just let me check with Detective Meltzer first. He was the one who took the boy in.”
Turkle nodded while pulling out his cell phone. He pushed a couple of buttons, then pressed it against the window for Kilborn to see the last person in Turkle’s recent call list. At the top of the list was an outgoing call just ten minutes ago to Detective Sam Meltzer.
“I just spoke with him about this,” Turkle said, his eyes wide with understanding. “He knows about my predicament. Don’t worry, I didn’t wake him up. Apparently he’s on the west side of town tracking down a criminal.”
Kilborn’s suspicions were calmed when he heard Turkle’s knowledge of Meltzer’s whereabouts. The detective was just in the office a couple of hours ago and said something about heading out to the west side.
Kilborn pushed a button under the counter and a hinged portion of the partition sprung open. “Come on in,” he said to the FBI agent.
The man walked through the opening and gestured down a long corridor. “He down there?”
Kilborn nodded, then grabbed a set of keys from a hook on the wall and searched for the one he needed. As he passed the agent he said, “I’m sure the kid’s asleep.”
“What kind of prisoner has he been?”
Kilborn found the key, then turned on the overhead lights in the corridor. “Jeff? He’s a model citizen. Just a little mixed up, that’s all.”
“Sure,” the agent agreed, sounding as if he wanted the conversation to end quickly.
They walked past a couple of empty cells until they got to the only one that was closed. Kilborn unlocked the door with a metal-on-metal scrape and swung it open. “Hey, Jeff, time to get up.”
The kid was curled up under a blanket and moved slowly, his hands covering his eyes to protect them from the sudden intrusion of light. “What’s going on?”
“We need to transfer you, is all,” Kilborn said, not wanting to spook the kid.
“Transfer?” the boy’s voice cracked from sleep, or nerves, or just lack of use. “Where am I being transferred to?”
“It’s okay, Jeff,” Kilborn said. “We’re just taking you over to the federal building where the facilities are a little more accommodating.”
Jeff rolled to the side of his cot and placed his feet on the ground, then looked up at the stranger in his cell. “Who’s he?”
Kilborn placed a hand on Turkle’s arm. “This here is Agent Turkle. He’s going to transport you.”
“Agent? What kind of an agent?”
“Don’t worry. He’s an FBI agent who will safely take you to a new cell. One with better air conditioning and better food too.”
Jeff scratched the back of his head, but kept a wary eye on the agent. “I like the food here. What if I don’t want to leave?”
“You don’t have a choice, son.” Turkle spoke in a voice which induced a clear sense of alarm in the kid’s eyes.
Kilborn could see the boy beginning to lose his cool. He’d pulled his feet under the cot and grabbed the metal railing which kept the mattress in place.
“I’m not going,” the kid stared at Turkle with pure dread.
“Listen,” Kilborn lowered his voice into a smooth paternal tone. “You’re going to be completely fine, Jeff. There’s no reason to be afraid.”
“But I am a-a-fraid,” the kid stammered. He leaned back and pointed at Turkle. “I don’t like him.”
“I want my mom!” the kid cried out. “Please call my mom and let her know what’s going on. I need her to come down here, right now.”
The FBI agent’s jaw tightened just a bit, and Kilborn could see a flare of heat emerge from his eyes. Turkle withdrew the gun from his holster and pointed it directly at Kilborn. He held out his free hand and curled his fingers. “Give me your gun and your cell phone.”
Jeff Davenport squealed. “Don’t.”
Kilborn felt a surge of adrenalin rush through his veins. He considered his options.
“Are you really going to shoot me?” Kilborn said, putting the thought in the guy’s head.
Agent Turkle glared at the police officer with a fierce determination in his eyes. “You bet your sweet ass I will.”
The way the man leered at him, Kilborn understood he was dealing with an unstable personality. He slowly removed his gun and handed it handle-first to the agent. Then he reached into his pocket and handed him the cell phone.
Jeff had squirmed his way into the back wall as if he were trying to disappear.
Turkle motioned for Kilborn to move farther inside the cell. “Sit down.”
Kilborn didn’t move. This was the damndest thing he’d ever seen. An FBI agent stealing a prisoner from a holding cell. “What do you want with him?”
Jeff slid down the wall until he was on the floor, knees to his face.
Turkle grunted while pointing the gun at the kid. “Get up. Now!”
Kilborn could sense Turkle becoming unhinged and couldn’t predict what the man would do next.
Kilborn leaned over and touched Jeff’s shoulder. “Stay put. My partner will be here any minute and take care of this moron.”
Kilborn was trying to put the agent over the top and force him into making a mistake. Unfortunately, the insult seemed to ignite a rage that Kilborn wasn’t prepared for. Before he could even turn to face Turkle head-on, he caught the glimpse of something flashing his way, then a moment of hard metal impacting his head.