Author's note: This story is an entry in RuckusQuantum's Mystery Writing Contest.

Part One: 16, October 2009 11:32 AM

"This is Lieutenant Wesley Cronenberg, badge number 9917, acting in the capacity of Internal Affairs investigator for case ID 09-6081: Line-of-duty death of Detective Reese, Robert A. badge number 1701 precinct 12, which occurred the evening of 4 October 2009. Today's date is 16 October 2009," the Lieutenant spoke clearly in a dull monotone. The air of detachment in his voice was also evident in his grey-blue eyes. He continued, "This will be interview number one with the surviving officer involved in the October 4 incident. Would the officer please identify himself for the recording?"

"Foley," stated the man being addressed. He was, in fact the only other person in the sparsely furnished, windowless, but garishly lit office. "Detective Foley, Edward R. badge number 0687, precinct 12," he finished.

"Thank you Detective Foley," replied the Lieutenant. He reached forward to the digital audio recorder standing upright on the fake mahogany desk. With a nearly imperceptible motion he pressed a button on the device, causing the red LED to go out. With the recorder off, Wesley Cronenberg's voice took on a far more relaxed, and personable tone.

"Ed, I know this is hard, and believe me I want this shit to be over as much as you do."

"...Yeah," Detective Foley replied, almost robotically. His brown eyes were glossed over and rosy, and despite the outward appearance of his grey, wool suit and silk tie, his face gave the impression of a man who may have rolled out of a storm gutter just moments before. 

"It's a shame, what happened and I'll be glad when it's all behind us. I'm certain you will too." If the detective agreed, he gave no outward signal of it. "Just make sure you give me the same facts as you put in the initial report, and this'll be the last time we have to talk about it. Even if there's some kind of SNAFU we can use your reports as testimony." He tried to exude a sense of confidence and care which seemed all but lost on Detective Foley. 

Cronenberg kept his eyes on the face of the man sitting across from him, the man who appeared to be staring through him at the white-painted cinderblock wall behind. Finally, the Lieutenant nodded, more to himself than to his interview subject. He reached once more and activated the recorder.

"Detective Foley, please state your relationship to the deceased."

"Rob was," he started, "Detective Reese was my partner."

"How long had you worked with one another?"

"Since Summer, I think, four years ago. 2005."

"Would you briefly describe your professional relationship with the deceased?" Cronenberg had reverted to his dry, toneless voice since the recorder had come back on.

Foley licked his lips, and his eyes finally met the Lieutenant's face, the only actions that had thus far betrayed his near vegetative demeanor. "Yeah, he and I worked together on a few cases. There were a lot of transfers going on and after my old partner moved upstate, he..." He paused. "I'm sorry, I'm not making much sense."

"Please, take your time."

The detective took a sip of water from the plastic tumbler on the desk and started again. "Reese transferred in about the same time that Lawrence, my old partner, moved to the northern part of the state. We worked a few cases together before being assigned to the ATF, the ah, "Amber Task Force" which specialized in child abduction, conspiracy in human trafficking, that sort of thing.

"We saw a bunch of cases through, maybe half a dozen or so, to convictions, and were able to squeeze some good info in the years we worked together. Shut down a few pimps and we were able to reunite a fifteen year old missing girl with her parents once. We worked real well together."

"How was your relationship on a more personal level? Did you two get along well? Ever have any serious disagreements or altercations?"

"Well," Foley began to smile. "He was always a sore loser if that counts for anything." 

"Would you mind explaining that further?"

"Sure. Me and him, Reese that is, we were always making these little bets here and there. Not like gambling or anything, but like, when you spend so much time with a guy, you find ways to pass the days. Mostly stuff like, 'What color is the next car that comes around that corner gonna be?' 'Who's gonna win the Sixers game?' Sometimes we'd bet on how long it would take to get through the tunnel, stuff like that. More often than not, I'd win the bets, and collect in cash, or lunch, and he always complained that I cheated, or changed the bet at the last minute or some other BS," he chuckled, "But I always made sure I squared up with him right. I'd double up the next time and we'd be straight. 'Now, we're even,' I'd tell him."

"Sounds like you two were fairly close."

"Yeah. Yeah, we were."

"If you're ready, I'd like to go over the events of the night of the incident," Cronenberg stated stoically. 

Foley took another sip of the metallic, city water and began. "We were on an abduction case. The girl; Jane Silsby, the case number's in the report, I think. So, the girl had been found safely and recovered, but the suspect fled the scene hours before. Detective Reese and I had a few ideas on where the suspect, Albert Goshen, might have run off to, but no trail to follow. 

"We asked the girl a few questions before the rest of the boys showed up. She mentioned that she thought the suspect may have mentioned something called The Monarch in a phone call she overheard. We were able to figure out that there was a construction project about twelve miles from the scene, there was a hotel being renovated. It had been a franchise owned Holiday Inn that got bought by Monarch Hotels and was being renovated. We later found out that the construction was halted when an adjoining property had an independent survey done, so the hotel was half gutted, and was likely to be for weeks or more.

"In any event, Reese and I figured it was worth it to check the property. We skirted the warrant since the structure was between owners, and we felt we had just cause to check it out. That was in the report too."

"Yes, that's correct," Cronenberg stated clearly. "In light of the event, Monarch Hotels did not feel compelled to press any issue regarding unlawful search."

"We caught a break there. I actually," the Detective paused, then swallowed deeply, "I actually made a bet with Rob, Detective Reese, that the Hotel chain would string us up for entering the property. He said that they'd let it slide, under the circumstances. I... I guess he can't collect on that one now..."

Lieutenant Cronenberg shifted uncomfortably in his chair and cleared his throat, as if signalling for the story to continue.

"So," started the Detective, "so... we get to the hotel, the construction zone. By this time it's getting dark, it's around six-thirty PM, and trying to look for any evidence of forced entry in an inactive construction site is almost impossible. We climbed the chain-link, and started sweeping the area, just looking around the perimeter, not really expecting to find anything. From what we could see, a lot of the windows, and pretty much all the interior doors were missing. Some of the windows had plywood over them, but a few didn't. 

"I took the northeast walls and he took the southwest. When we met back up at the rear of the building at approximately seven PM, Reese told me that he saw light in one of the interior rooms through a missing window. He said it looked like an LED or maybe a cell phone screen. We decided it was worth it to take a look, so we backtracked to the east wall of the structure where I had seen a viable entry point, another uninstalled window. 

"I had Detective Reese lead me through the structure to where he saw the light. A piece of masking tape was stuck to the drywall next to the door frame, reading 113. We flanked either side of the doorway, there was definitely light coming from within the room, pale and blue-white like a cell phone screen. 

"The room was an interior, so there were no windows leading outside, through the door frame was the only way out. So we announced our presence, and identified ourselves as police officers, told whoever was in there that he was trespassing and that he had to come into the hallway with his hands above his head, fingers interlaced. You know the drill."

Cronenberg nodded.

"The guy didn't exit the room, and was making strange noises, like speaking, but we couldn't understand him. At this point, I figured we were likely dealing with a standard drunken vagrant, or a squatter. I'm not sure what Reese thought for sure, but I was pretty convinced that as far as finding the man who abducted Janie, this was a dead end. But we came this far, so I figured we ought to at least check this squatter out, maybe put him in the tank overnight and send him on his way.

"At this point, it's probably around seven thirty. The perp isn't coming out, he's slurring his words and I just want to get this over with and get back to the case. We tell the guy that we're coming in, and that he needs to lie down on the floor, face down with his arms spread. I signal Rob, he's gonna go in first with his weapon ready, and I'll follow in case things go bad. That's how we usually did it..." At this point, Detective Foley stopped and licked his lips again.

"Take your time, Ed," said the Lieutenant, momentarily breaking his cold, professional demeanor.

"...So, Reese turns into the room, drawing his weapon just in case. I'm about to slip in behind him, then... then a lot of stuff happened real fast. I heard this crack and then a noise, like, a sizzling noise. Then there's a bright white flash, and I just see Reese's shadow in front of me, like his outline. The, uh..."

"Silhouette," the Lieutenant interjected.

"Yeah, that's it. Then everything goes all bright pink in the room, and I hear Rob shout something, might have been a curse, or maybe not a word at all, I can't recall exactly. Then he's backing out of the room, reeling-"


"Yes sir. He backs into me before I can get around him and into the room. Then the perp must have pushed him or kicked him, 'cause he hit the opposite side of the hall hard. I draw my own piece and turn back into the room, something flies at my face, and nearly fu- nearly blinds me. I duck and roll to my right, and when I get up I hear the shots. 

"Turns out the crazy son of a bitch was tossing those magnesium road flares at us. Things are bright and hot as hell. I guess he got Reese in the face with one when he came in, tossed another at me when I tried to get in. There were five of them burning by the time... when it was all over.

"While Reese was blinded and prone, he either dropped his weapon, or the perp disarmed him, either way, when I entered the room, the perp had Reese's service piece. After he knocked Rob against the hallway wall, he squeezed off five rounds in quick succession. I couldn't tell if Rob had been hit at first, I could still barely see from the burn of the flares. But I rolled in front of the doorway, the perp turned and took aim at me. I was able to fire before he could get a shot at me. I don't remember how many rounds I fired, forensics told me it was eight. 

"It all happened so damn fast. When I saw the perp drop I stepped over to the scene and saw, I saw-" his jaw began rhythmically clenching for a moment. "I saw Reese with half his fucking face torn off... It was a close range hit. He must have died almost instantly. The perp, Albert was, he was pronounced dead when the coroner arrived. He bled out quickly from my shots."

"Thank you Detective Foley. I know that this must be a terrible ordeal for you, we are almost done here. Just a few more questions required for the I.A. report. Do you confirm that Detective Robert Reese's weapon was used against him by Mr. Goshen?"

"Yes sir."

"And there were five rounds fired from that weapon?"

"Yes sir, I don't know if he had a fully loaded clip, but I counted five shots."

"Detective Reese's wounds were fatal. In your assessment, could the detective have been saved by medical personnel?"

Foley's eyes were fixated on the half empty tumbler of tap water, "Sir, I'm not a medical professional-"


"But he appeared to me to be beyond help. I'm not sure how someone can survive after... after losing that much brain matter, let alone blood."

"And Mr. Goshen, could he have been apprehended with the use of non-lethal force?"

"I suppose anything is possible sir. I just know that in another second or two, he would have fired upon me, without attempting to use 'non-lethal force.' "

"Thank you Detective, I'm terribly sorry to have had to make you experience that situation again. There is only one more question that the Crime Scene Team had for you, then we should be done here."


"There were two pairs of footwear located at the scene, near the end of the hall where the 'incident' occurred. A pair of steel-toe black, half-work boots size 10, and a pair of gloss black Oxfords, size 11 1/2. It was determined that these shoes belonged to yourself and Robert Reese."

Foley's glassy eyes seemed to warm momentarily, and the corners of his mouth turned up into his stubbled cheeks. "Yeah, those were our shoes. That was Rob's thing, Detective Reese. Guy was always certain that a suspect would hear footsteps coming and could take that extra second to make a break for it. Sometimes when we were on a call, or about to apprehend a suspect, he'd take his Oxfords off and urged me to do the same. No one ever did hear us sneak up, though I'm not sure if that's due to not wearing shoes, but he swore by it." Foley chuckled a bit.

"Thank you Detective Foley," the Lieutenant's face had softened again. "That should be all, I'll let you know if there will be any further need for your testimony, but I don't see that being necessary. Good bye son, and God bless."

Part Two: 29, March 2012 1:22 AM

Though a phone call coming after midnight wasn't uncommon given his line of work, Edward Foley still got pissed off by unexpected, late-night calls. The ringing hadn't awoken him, he had been lying awake in bed for an hour, but it was still an intrusion. He unlocked his phone and read the caller's number. When he saw the contact info on his screen, he knew he wouldn't be getting any sleep tonight, and he had known in his gut that the call would be coming sometime soon. He sat up and answered his cell.

"Foley here," he said, trying not to sound too annoyed.

"Mr... Detective Foley, it's Agnes, from the Royal Hotel on East Chestnut Street. I'm so sorry to bother you again. We're having another, ah, issue with Gerard," said the voice at the other end of the line.

"I figured that was the case, can you bring me up to speed?"

"Yes, of course. He checked in again last night under the name James Cagney, and paid for three nights in advance in cash. The girl who was on shift last night hadn't seen Gerard before, so she didn't recognize him, or push the issue of the obvious false name."

"Shit," Foley muttered.

"I'm sorry?" came the reply.

"Nothing, nothing. James Cagney, huh? That's a nice touch, real nice."

"Erm, yes," Agnes stammered uncomfortably, "I wanted to call the police, but I know that the last time this happened, you asked to be notified personally. And I do appreciate that, a large incident with uniformed officers and cop cars, and lights is never good for business."

"Yeah, no problem," Foley said, pulling his boots on, "Thanks for letting me know. I'll be over there in twenty minutes. Think you can keep things under control till I get there?"

"I think so. It isn't as bad as last time yet, and Thursday's not a busy night for us."

"Gotcha. If it's all the same to you, I'd like to come in the side entrance."

"Certainly. Yes, that would be preferable, I think. I'll leave a keycard on top of the reader of the north entrance. It'll work to get in, and I'll program it to-"

"Room 113."

"Y... Yes. Thank you again Detective, This is very much appreciated."

"Not a problem," Foley half-lied before ending the call.

Gerard Reese. Despite the pity Ed Foley had for the guy, he was still pissed off at how he had handled himself since the death of his brother. The shit had started at the wake, and had been going on for over two years on-and-off. The guy was half in the bottle to begin with, and after Rob's death, he crawled the rest of the way in, hung some paintings and put a mailbox outside.

The grief that Gerard felt at the funeral had morphed into anger by the time the wake was going. Thanks in no small part to the open bar. He had confronted Foley a half hour in, quietly at first, telling Foley that he was responsible for Robert's death, that he knew it was a case of negligence, and that he may as well have put a bullet in Rob himself. Later this escalated into shouting and posturing, and Gerard was removed by some family friends, so as not to further create a scene.

In the subsequent years, there had been other incidents, scores of drunken phone calls and voicemail messages, a few letters, and poorly concealed car tails. Then there was the night at the Royal Hotel. The Royal was what the inactive construction zone where Detective Reese met his end eventually became. A mid level traveler's hotel somewhere between a Days Inn and a budget Marriott. Gerard checked into room 113 and spent his day drinking and sobbing, by midnight, he was pissed, shouting and wailing, in an apparent conversation with his deceased brother. 

The frightened receptionist called the police who came and had to physically restrain Gerard before detaining him and letting him sit two days in a holding cell. The officers on the scene had contacted Foley about the incident, so he went to the Royal Inn, personally paid for the damages to the room, and gave the management his personal cell phone number, insisting that they call him if another such incident ever occurred. 

Foley sat down at the wheel of his Nissan Sentra, rubbed his eyes and sighed before starting the engine. He had his shield on him, but unhooked his holster and slid it under the driver's seat in favor of a powerful, close range stun-gun he hung from his belt. He hoped to hell he didn't have to use it, and could simply talk Gerard down, maybe even drive him back to his house. If Foley was lucky, Gerard would be less angry, and more maudlin by the time he arrived to confront him. That happened from time to time.

The Detective had been anticipating something like this for the last two weeks, as the signs were growing harder to ignore. The phone calls, either silent, or containing an ear splitting electronic tone had been coming in more frequently, and just two days prior, he had received a letter written in almost unintelligible and splotched ink. The pages appeared to have blood smeared across them, and the only words that Foley could decipher had been "Brother," "Murder," "The Truth," "Get Even," Square-Up," and "Cocksucker." Also included in the package had been a photo taken from the crime scene, showing Robert Reese's body slumped against a wall, God knows how he got his hands on that. All signs were pointing to another confrontation.

Driving across town, Foley came to a familiar intersection with a notoriously long red light. He was reminded of the long minutes sitting in the Nissan, or a cruiser with Reese, waiting for the light to change. One of Detective Reese's favorite low stakes bets to make used to happen at this traffic light. Every time the two were stopped, he would flick the radio to the nearest station plying a song, and he'd bet whether the light would turn green before the song ended. Two or three days before his death, Reese made such a bet while riding with Foley. 

The car rolled to the already red light that day, and as it came to a full stop, Robert Reese flicked the radio station to one of the presets and simultaneously said, "Ten bucks the light's green before this song ends."

Foley replied, "Okay, you're on." The two waited silently, eyes fixated on the traffic light as Lady Gaga rhythmically explained her Poker Face at great length. As the chorus repeated for the last time, the green light shone, and Reese bellowed a triumphant laugh.

"Ten bucks, man. Pay up."

"No way, that was the end of the song."

"It was still going!"

"It was fading out, that doesn't count. It was over!"

"You know the rules, Ed."

"We're coming back this way later, we'll go again if the light's red."

"Whatever man, you're just a sore loser."

"We'll square up, later."

The light was green when they came through later that day, and there was no bet. As they partners were leaving the station that evening, Foley said, "I swiped my Metrocard for you at the turnstile, so we're even now."

"That was only a two dollar swipe, the bet was ten," Robert retorted.

"No man, we're even."

In reply, Reese merely sighed and rolled his eyes. This wasn't the first time Foley welched on a bet.

Now Foley's radio was off. The light was green almost five seconds before he realized it and continued driving.

Part Three: 29 March 2012 1:55 AM

The Nissan pulled into the side parking lot of the Royal Hotel, taking a space several spots from the building. Looking at the structure, Foley could still envision it as it had been, half finished, windows haphazardly boarded up, sawhorses and piles of dried cement scattered about. Now it looked like the perfect place to pull in and rest your family when your wife refused to sleep at her in-laws' house. Cable televisions bolted to the wall, and off-brand chocolates wrapped and sitting on the pillows.

Stepping out of the car, Foley pushed the old memories of the building from his mind, he'd have the rest of his life to think about all that. Stalling only momentarily, he opened his car door and retrieved his piece. He didn't feel right without it. He strolled around to the north side entrance, and saw a maroon and white card with a thick black stripe on one side sitting on top of the exterior card reader. The number 113 was written on it in black marker. The Detective swiped the card, stripe first through the reader, which blinked green, and clicked as the lock disengaged. He entered.

Opening the interior door, and turning down the corridor, he felt the commercial grade carpet scratch against the soles of his boots. Down the hall on the left he would find the door to 113. The buzzing in his pocket stopped him, and he plucked his cell phone from his trousers. Gerard's number was displayed on the screen. With a pained sigh, he answered it.

"Gerard," he said flatly.

No answer.

"Gerard, stop bullshitting. I'm about 15 steps from your door, let's just-" he was cut off by the voice on the other end of the line.

"You're where? What the fuck are you doing here?"

"The hotel called, they said you were causing a disturbance. Again."

"So you came all the way over to my house? What for?"

"No, I'm not - I'm at the hotel."

"That makes one of us."

"Cut the shit, I just got a call that you were causing trouble here."

"Well, I left about two, maybe three hours ago," Gerard slurred. "Ran out of gin. Besides, alone in a hotel room's no way to spend a birthday. Alone at home's a different story..." he trailed off.

"So you're not here. Not at the hotel?"

"No. And thank God. The last thing I want to see right now is the cocksucker that killed my brother," he was choking up.

"All right. Fine. Listen, even if it's your birthday, just... just try to take it easy, okay?"

Gerard chuckled through his sobs, "Ain't my birthday." Then the call dropped.

Foley was sure now that there had been some miscommunication. Gerard had been here, but he was gone now, so there was no reason for him not to drive back home and try to have a quiet night. He'd probably have to pay for some more damages to the room, but that could wait until tomorrow. He leaned against the near wall, closing his eyes and rubbing them with his thumb and middle finger, thinking about how exhausted he suddenly felt.

When he opened his eyes again, the hallway was unexpectedly dim. The overhead fluorescents had gone out, the only light was coming from an emergency unit on the wall. After a few seconds, that light went out as well, leaving the corridor illuminated only by the pale moonlight coming in from the far window. Foley's sense of alarm was dampened by his fatigue and curiosity.

He took a step down the hall, then another. On the next step, his feet kicked into something. He knelt down to get a better look, using the screen of his phone for additional light. Shoes. He had almost tripped over a pair of shoes. Inky black, and shiny in the dim light. Oxfords. He stared at the footwear for nearly a minute, puzzled that he hadn't seen them before.

Finally, he stood upright, still looking at the Oxfords in the dark. A sound issued from down the hallway, a crack, followed by a loud sizzle. He gazed up and saw an incredibly bright flame, dancing and spitting pink sparks. It was a road flare lying on the carpet. Another crack, and another, the scent of acrid smoke filled the hall, combined with the dank, metallic smell of burnt magnesium. After a minute, there were five signal flares dotting the hallway floor, spitting and sizzling wildly, bathing the walls in a rosy glow.

Detective Foley felt drawn along by the flares, leading him to the end of the hall. To room 113. When he had walked the length of the corridor, he turned to see that where the door to 113 should have been, there was simply an empty, unfinished frame. Next to the frame the room number was written on a scrap of masking tape. The guest room beyond the threshold was visible only due to the light reflected from the flares, and the screen of a discarded cell phone. He stepped into the darkness of the room.

What he stepped into was not what he had expected to see. The room seemed to be a sort of amalgamation of reality and memory. The floor of the room was unfinished plywood, coated with grey dust and footprints. The walls were covered with a flat, white primer, screw and nail heads poking through in some parts. There were no light fixtures. No outlets, nor switches. However, elements from the current state of room 113 remained. A flat panel TV hung on the far wall, its power cable dangling, there were two nondescript landscape paintings, and a full body mirror hanging as well. In the center of the near wall sat a queen size bed, fully tucked and made up, but coated with the dust that lay over almost every surface. 

Edward Foley looked around the area, blinking his eyes in hopes that they would open and show him a sight of which he could make sense. When he was just about to turn and run from the enigmatic sight, he heard a voice call to him. It reverberated closely as if in a small unfinished space.

"Edward, it's nice to see you again."

Given the strange turn of events, Foley was not as surprised by this as he would have imagined. He replied:

"Rob? That's you, isn't it?"

"I wouldn't bet against it, partner."

Out of the darkest corner of room 113 walked a figure. It was dressed in grey slacks and a blazer over a white shirt, a paisley tie hung from its neck. It wore argyle socks with no shoes. It approached the Detective slowly.

"Rob, what's going-" before he could finish the thought, a signal flare from the hall rolled into the room, ignoring all suggestions of physics. It spewed forth a violent, bright white-fuchsia glow, illuminating the figure's features. 

It was the figure of Detective Robert Reese. Like the room itself, he contained elements both old and new, familiar and foreign. His form was in a constant state of flux, splotches of decay and rot danced across his body, only to give way to fresh, living tissue. A mixture of pale, dead and healthy, pink flesh was oozing across his face, each side giving and taking in an endlessly nauseating dance of convulsed fusion. This paradox also extended to the rest of his head, the top left of which was shifting between a healthy, hair covered scalp, and a gaping bloody maw of fractured bone and tissue.

Noting Detective Edward Foley's confusion and disgust, the form of Robert Reese gave a polite sounding laugh, then spoke.

"Ah, Ed. Let's not screw around with pleasantries, and teary-eyed reunions. I'd bet that the way you see me now, you wouldn't be too eager for a brotherly embrace, or even a handshake," he laughed again, more heartily. "Besides, I'm pretty sure we both know what this little re-acquaintance is about."

"Robert... how is, what's going on?"

"Forget it, partner. I pondered it for a while. Trust me, It's not worth it, just accept that what you and I have right now is a rather unique opportunity that is not afforded to many. I want to take a proverbial 'trip down memory lane,' if you will."

Foley swallowed hard, and nodded his acknowledgement.

"Great!" shouted Reese. "I'd just like you to take a look out that doorway behind you."

Foley slowly turned to face the door frame. On the floor in front of him was another form, not quite corporeal, but there. It is the form of Albert Goshen, kneeling down with a flare in each hand, moaning and grunting. A voice comes from the corridor beyond.

"All right, we'll do this the hard way," shouts Foley's own voice. "Lie flat on the floor with your arms spread out to your sides, we're going to come in!"

A second later, the figure of Detective Reese spins into the doorway with his weapon drawn and crouches, as another figure, that of Foley himself, turns into view merely a moment later. In that moment, the form of Albert Goshen strikes two flares against each other, lunges forward, tossing one sparking flare just past Reese's head, and stabbing ahead with the other jamming the flaming end into the Detective's hand. Reese drops his weapon, and staggers back a step. 

Goshen's eyes hungrily take in the sight of the detective's service piece clattering on the floor, but he doesn't skip a beat in pulling two more road flares from his pants waistband and striking them together. He hurls them both at Reese's face, then rolls across the floor grabbing the detective's discarded Glock. 

At this point Reese has staggered out of the room, pushing Foley back into the hall, and knocking him off his feet. Goshen leaps out of the room while tossing another lit flare. Foley, regaining his balance lunges through the confusion of sparks, smoke and mayhem into room 113, thinking Goshen is still inside. When he realizes his error, and turns back to the hall piece drawn, only to see Robert being held in front of Goshen, being used as a human shield. He's got Reese's weapon jammed against its owner's temple.

"Don't fucking move! Don't you dare fucking move or I'll paint the walls with his fucking brains!" screams Albert Goshen, violently jerking Reese's body back and forth. Foley's service piece is trained on Goshen's head at a range of eight feet.

"Drop your weapon! Drop it now and release the detective!" bellows Foley, no tremor of fear in his voice. "Do it! Do it now, or I open fire!"

"Don't fuck with me, man! Shoot me and you'll hit him!"

"Wanna bet?"

At that moment, several things happened. Albert Goshen turned his stolen weapon toward Foley, Reese started to turn to disarm him, and Foley fired a shot. Foley's round was intended for Goshen, but in the struggle, Reese was pushed in its way. The top of Detective Reese's head exploded into a shower of blood, brain matter and skull fragments, and he immediately dropped against the wall and fell to the floor.

Goshen and Foley, were both stunned by what had happened, but Foley was the first to regain his bearings. "Motherfucker!" he screamed, and popped off several rounds puncturing Goshen's abdomen and chest cavity, as well as tearing off a large portion of his neck, severing his jugular. Goshen dropped to the floor with a wet thump. There was silence except for the hiss of the burning flares.

Foley stood there for several moments, arms outstretched before blinking and seemingly returning to reality. "Fuck," he muttered. "Fuck. Fuck!" he holstered his weapon and checked on the fallen lumps of humanity. Both dead. One a low-life scumbag, the other his partner, lying together in a sick embrace of seeping crimson, shining black and purple in the glow of the flares.

Without delay, Foley heaved the body of Goshen back toward the doorway, and lay him down. He picked up Reese's Glock, by the barrel, wrapped the fingers of his one-time suspect around the handle, and squeezed a few more rounds into the rapidly cooing body of his partner. Each shot made him jiggle in a manner that would have been comical in other circumstances. Foley further smeared, and obscured the blood on the floor and walls, trying to cover his tracks by souring the crime scene. Then he got on his knees, flicked the power on his radio, and called in to the station dispatch. He explained his quickly fabricated story, then sat in room 113, weeping and watching his ex-partner's argyle socks soaking up congealing blood.

The image of this scene faded, and the characters vanished, leaving the room empty aside from Detective Foley, and the amorphous apparition of his friend and partner. Foley was weeping again.

"I was always waiting for your recklessness to bite you in the ass," stated Reese, breaking the silence. "I just never thought I'd get bitten too. I wouldn't have cared so much if you hadn't covered it up, so you could keep your paycheck. I didn't deserve that. I didn't deserve to be the ante in one of your inane bets."

"... I, I was certain," began Foley, "I knew I could have made that shot. If he hadn't moved, if you hadn't made to disarm him... I could have made that shot." 

Reese's half ruined head swung back at this, and he began laughing. His laughter had a wet, gurgling tone to it. When he finally composed himself, he spoke.

"So, I see. It was my fault that you missed your insane shot and I got my brains blown out! Ah, I see it so clearly now, despite lacking an eye. The one that was shredded when your bullet crashed into my skull. I suppose I ought to apologize, eh?"

Foley stared in awe, tears welling in his eyes.

"Well, please accept my sincerest apologies, partner! I'm terribly sorry that I made you kill me, then blame it on some lunatic pedophile. I'm so sorry that my brother has been such an inconvenience to you in these past years! It was certainly selfish of me to cause you so much grief!" Reese's fake smile had curled into a scowl.

"Reese, please..." Foley struggled, "It's not, it wasn't like that." His plea went unheard.

"I'll tell you what, Ed. All things considered, I'm in a good mood today. It isn't every day you get to take in a show with an old pal, especially when you're in, my... condition."

Tears of terror and regret spilled from Foley's eyes.

"No need to cry anymore, in fact," the smile returned to his face, "it's a day for celebration! Did you know? Did you know that today was... is my birthday?"

Edward Foley remembered his exchange with Gerard Reese from earlier. He had mentioned a birthday. The Detective couldn't recall if he had ever known his partner's birthday, or if he had simply forgotten.

"Since it's such a special day for me, I want to share my happiness with you, friend. I'd like to make a wager. I know neither of us could ever turn down a good bet. I'd like to see you put your money where your mouth is, I'd like to see you make the shot you missed."

The detective gaped at the form of his ex-partner. "Rob, I don't think-" but he was cut off.

"But I insist." 

Without warning, the apparition of Reese had swooped behind Foley, it had an icy hand gripped on one of his arms, the other around his throat. 

"You've got your piece, I assume."

In response, Foley used his free hand to draw his weapon.

"Excellent!" Reese, whirled the detective around the confusing hotel room, and faced him toward the full length mirror hanging on the wall. "This must look familiar to you, eh Ed?"

Reese was holding Foley much has Goshen had held Reese back then. His head peaking out from above Foley's shoulder. 

"Take aim, partner."

Foley raised his weapon, and took aim toward the mirror. He trained his sights on the reflection of his former partner, miserably readying himself to fire upon him again. As he was about to pull the trigger, Reese wrenched his body back and forth, breaking the man's concentration.

"Wouldn't want to be unfair, I just want to recreate the situation as accurately as possible." He continued to turn and pull Foley back and forth, muddying the detective's aim. After a moment, Foley simply closed his eyes, and let his weapon do its own aiming. He choked a sob, and fired.

The sound of glass shattering filled his ears, echoing over and over itself, mixing with the fizzing of the flares. Foley felt himself violently pulled forward, spinning, then suddenly, all was still. He opened his eyes at last. 

What he saw was the room he had just been in with his partner, but appearing as though shattered and put back together. Through the shards and cracks he saw his own form, staring back at him. The doppelgänger figure looking at him leaned in close, smirked and straightened his tie. 

"Not bad, Ed. A very admirable try. I guess you just weren't as lucky as you thought you were. But don't feel badly about it. I don't. Some bets you win, and others you lose. And as far as it goes between you and I... Now, were even.

Foley watched through shattered eyes as the man in his body turned and walked out of room 113. Edward Foley closed his eyes, and faded into the withering darkness.

Written by Urkelbot666
Content is available under CC BY-SA

Original Inspiration: SynfulBlood

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