by A.M. Tamburo
Contest Round 1 Entry.
Contest Round 1: Protagonist Background Story
Corrine crouched behind the cruiser, and watched as the deputies surrounded the sides of the house. It hadn’t all been smooth sailing, and she had taken some rough treatment from them; however eventually the men of the Caroline's Falls Police Department had come to like and respect Corrine McDaniel as their Captain. The department, while not always performing as a well-oiled machine, had slowly shaped up and was now good at following her spoken and occasionally unspoken orders and rarely questioned her decisions.
Now, as they waited outside 5 River Road, for the order to go into the small one story house where Jeffery Connors was currently barricaded in; his wife Sandy and their baby son as his hostages, the deputies carefully watched for the signal from her to enter the house. Just as the sheriff raised her hand to give the signal, a shot rang out from inside the house.
Cursing, Corrine rose from her position behind the cruiser and waved her deputies forward. Forging ahead, she ran toward the house, slamming her back against the wall when she reached it. Glancing behind her, she checked to make sure that her deputies were in formation behind her before she called out, "Jeff, this is Captain McDaniel! We have the house surrounded. Come on out now and no one needs to get hurt."
Waiting for a response, and hearing nothing from inside the house, Corrine stepped around the corner of the house, keeping her back to the wall; she raised her hand, motioning the two deputies at the other corner of the house forward. As soon as the men were in place, she stepped up onto the porch, and signaled for the deputy behind her to try the door. Stepping forward, he turned the door handle, and then stepped back quickly as the door swung open.
At her signal, the deputies began entering the house, guns drawn, checking each room and signaling as each room was declared clear. When the group reached the end of the hall, they came to a door that was closed. Motioning for the men to back her up, Corrine reached out and turned the knob.
The door swung open onto a heartbreaking sight. The room was obviously the baby's nursery. The walls were painted blue, and had been covered with pictures of baby animals and clouds with balloons fading in and out among them were painted here and there around the ceiling.
Sandy Connors lay on the floor on her back, her arms and legs splayed indicating that she had been shot from the front and fallen backwards. A small black hole in her forehead trickled a stream of blood that ran down her temple and pooled on the floor under her head.
Cringing, Corrine swept the room with her eyes, her gun held out in front of her. In the corner of the room, with a circus mobile hanging over it, was a crib. Inside the crib was a small bundle of blue blankets. Glancing around the room one last time, and seeing that it was unoccupied other than the body, Corrine stood and made the signal declaring the room clear. Holstering her weapon, she moved into the room and walked toward the alarmingly silent bundle in the crib.
Just as she stepped up to the crib and reached out to touch the bundle, her breath held in fear that of what she would find, the closet door that she hadn't noticed because of its position behind the main door to the room, flew open and Jeffery Connors stepped out, his gun drawn and pointed directly at her.
"Put your hands up and get away from my kid, bitch!" He spat, his words slurred.
Raising her hands, she quickly stepped back.
Keeping her hands over her head, Corrine slowly turned to face the man who had just murdered his wife and possibly his infant son.
"Okay, Jeff, just calm down now and let's talk about this." She began, keeping her voice low and non-threatening.
"Shut up!" Jeffery yelled, his voice rising and his flat stoned eyes flashing briefly as he raised the gun and aimed it more squarely at her.
"Ok, Jeff, Ok." She said.
Seeing that Jeffery appeared to be having difficulty holding the gun steady, she tried to move forward slowly but the movement brought his focus back to her and he jerked the gun back up. After she was still for a few moments, his attention began to wander again and leaning heavily against the wall he swiped his hand across his face and began talking.
"Damn bitches are all alike, always trying to tell me what to do. A man works all fucking day he wants to come home and enjoy himself... don't wanna have to listen to some stupid bitch whining about this and that being broken." Jeffery muttered, his words becoming more incoherent as he spoke.
"...tell me I can't have a few beers after work, tell me I can't have a hit if I want one... friggin' stupid bitch what the hell does she know about nothing. All she knows how to do is friggin whine and cry all the time!"
Corrine stood as still as possible and made not a noise. She watched carefully as Jeffery began to slump further and further in on himself, his chin coming slowly to rest on his chest, and his muttering and railing becoming incoherent and more sporadic as he spewed out his anger.
Seeing that Jeffery was swaying on his feet and looked about to pass out, Corrine turned her eyes to the doorway, where her men were crouched just out of sight, waiting for a chance or a signal from her to either back off, or take the man down.
Sergeant Pascal, a tall man in his late twenties with sandy brown hair and blue eyes signaled that he was going to try to come in and tackle Jeffery, who at this point was nearly unconscious on his feet, his gun arm sagging at his side. Not wanting to put any of her other officers in harm's way, Corrine held up her hand and shook her head, indicating that he should hold back.
The movement startled Jeffery and he jerked his hand up in surprise. As his hand jerked his fingered jumped on the trigger, and the gun went off.
Corrine jerked backwards as the bullet struck her right shoulder two inches above her bullet proof vest. As she fell, she heard shouts and running feet from the hall, and the last thing that Corrine saw as her vision began to dim was Sergeant Pascal and three other officers tackling Jeffery Connors to the floor.