It’s getting very close to the end now. I hope you’re enjoying the ride.
‘Time for a new plan,’ Connelly said to himself once he had retreated from the office building and regrouped. It was when he took the time to reassess the situation that Connelly realised he still had an ace up his sleeve or in his pocket to be more precise. The tracking device, I can use that Connelly thought. He pulled it out of his pocket and noticed that the little red dot on the screen was stationary which suggested that either Jack had found the tracking device and discarded it or he had stopped somewhere. Connelly hoped it was the latter.
Connelly leapt into his car, followed the little red dot on the tracking device, and found himself outside a block of flats. Taking all necessary precautions, Connelly parked out of sight and walked up to the building. Once he saw the name Jack Ledger on one of the address slots he realised that Jack must be in his flat.
What Connelly didn’t know was why Jack had stopped at his flat. Connelly also didn’t know that Jack intended on meeting Jerry O’Dowd so he could try to rescue his gran and his brother. Connelly hid out of sight and waited for Jack to exit the building.
Back in the hospital, Derek lay in a bed doped up to his eyeballs on painkillers.
‘I can cut that off if you like,’ the nurse said as she pointed at Derek’s comb over which was skewiff and hanging to his head by just a few threads of hair. Derek didn’t respond as he was pumped up with drugs and wasn’t taking in half of what she said. The nurse shrugged and used the surgical scissors for their original purpose which was to remove his blood stained dressing and inspect his wound.
‘Yes, that’s healing nicely,’ the nurse said, smiling as she put the old bandage in the clinical waste bin and replaced the blood stained bandage with a fresh one. When she was done, the nurse removed her gloves and apron, washed her hands and then put on a fresh pair of gloves and picked up a clean pair of surgical scissors.
‘So how about it? Would you like me to–‘ She snipped the air with the scissors in anticipation of doing the same to Derek’s comb over.
‘Okay,’ Derek said, slurring his speech and smiling.
The nurse simply held Derek’s hair in a tight bunch then snipped it away and disposed of the comb over in a clinical waste bin.
‘Don’t you feel like a new man,’ the nurse said with a wry smile.
‘Isn’t it a bit chilly in here?’ Derek asked as he struggled to put his hand on his bald head but eventually managing it.
A voice broadcasted across the hospital PA system ‘Can a Mr Jack Ledger, a Mr Jack Ledger, please make his way to the reception.’
‘They’re a bit late,’ Derek said, giggling from the effects of the drugs.
‘What do you mean?’ the nurse asked as she started putting her equipment away.
‘He’s already left,’ Derek said, trying to get up and out of bed. ‘I need to tell someone about Jack and about Doris.’
‘Wait,’ the nurse said. ‘You can’t get out of bed.’
‘It’s my friend she’s –‘
‘Lie back before you hurt yourself.’
‘You don’t understand, Doris is –‘
As the nurse tried to placate Derek, Jasmine poked her head through the curtain.
‘Did you mention Jack Ledger?’ Jasmine asked Derek.
‘Yes,’ Derek said. ‘He’s going to try to rescue Doris from a man called Jerry O’Dowd. J-e-r-r-y O’-D-o-w-d,’ Derek said, saying the name slowly then giggling. ‘I must be high.’
Jasmine didn’t waste any time she ran out the building and to a car that her fellow agents had given her to use. Jasmine got in the car and sped through the streets towards the dock where she knew Jerry O’Dowd would be. As Jasmine drove onwards, the speed of her driving was mirrored by the speed of her thoughts. You should bring back up. No, not this time. This time it’s personal. I want to bring in O’Dowd myself. No, you don’t. You want revenge. You want to kill him for killing Malcolm Turner. So what if I do? Jasmine was so preoccupied with her thoughts that she didn’t notice the car that was heading straight towards her on a collision course.
As he drove at high speed into Jasmine’s car, Connelly smiled. ‘Got you, Cochrane.’
Jack had gone to his flat to get his tools. He knew that trying to rescue Doris by himself was dangerous and that Jerry O’Dowd would probably kill him, but he also knew that if he had any hope of rescuing his gran he’d need all the weapons he could get, so he picked the most portable and useful tools he had. By the time he left his flat, Jack had quite an assortment of knives and hammers which could be used in hand-to-hand combat and which he had also taken the time to strap to his body like some sort of comic book vigilante. Not much use in a gunfight thought Jack. But they’ll have to do.
When Jack got out his flat he was immediately assailed by the aftermath of Connelly’s collision with Jasmine Cochrane’s car. Jack saw Connelly get out the vehicle he used to crash into Jasmine and knew instantly what he intended to do to the injured agent.
Connelly didn’t escape the collision unscathed, though. He was visibly limping and pain was etched across his face. Yet despite his own injuries, Connelly gloated as he hobbled towards Jasmine Cochrane with a handgun in his hand. He had every intention of blowing Jasmine’s brains out.
‘Not so tough now, Cochrane, are you?’ Connelly raged.
Unable to fire back, Jasmine Cochrane couldn’t stop Connelly getting close enough to kill her with a simple headshot. Just as Connelly was about to pull the trigger, Jack ploughed into him with his van and crushed Connelly against what remained of his own car.
‘That’s what I call a crushing defeat,’ Jack said as he jumped out of his white van and went to assist Jasmine Cochrane.
‘I’m fine,’ Cochrane said as Jack opened her car door and helped her to get out.
‘You don’t look fine,’ Jack replied. ‘We should get you treated. You could have internal injuries.’
Jasmine brushed him off. ‘I can walk it off,’ she said. ‘Just give me a minute.’ Jasmine stumbled but regained her balance and tried to compose herself. As she took a deep breath, Jasmine felt bile rise in her stomach. Get a grip, Cochrane, she thought.
‘You don’t look so hot,’ Jack said ‘Maybe –‘
‘I’m fine,’ Jasmine snapped. ‘Now, I take it you’re going to meet O’Dowd,’ she said confirming what she already knew and trying to straighten her outfit.
‘Yes, we have some issues to discuss.’ Jack said. ‘It’s personal.’
‘I know he’s got your gran and your brother, but you can’t go it alone,’ Jasmine said.
‘You’re a wreck,’ Jack replied. ‘I’d feel bad if—’
‘Well, I’m coming, anyway,’ Jasmine said. ‘It’s personal for me, too.’ I’m going to kill that cocksucker, Jasmine thought as her mind turned to the image of what O’Dowd’s men did to Malcolm Turner.
‘I’m supposed to come alone,’ Jack said, trying to dissuade Jasmine from coming.
Jasmine wiped a trickle of blood from her eyebrow and tried to fight off the waves of nausea which were once more rising up within her.
‘But you will be going alone,’ Jasmine said, smiling as she walked to the back of her car. ‘You can drop me off somewhere within striking distance of the dock.’
From the boot of her damaged car, Jasmine pulled out a black case which had been undamaged by the impact to her car. She unlocked the case and quickly assembled a fully functioning sniper rifle.
Jack smiled. ‘You ready, then?’
‘Yes, I’m ready,’ said a po-faced Jasmine.
Before he got into his van and drove to the dock, Jack scored off Connelly’s name in his Little Red Book of Karma.
‘It’s time to kick some butt,’ Jack said looking at Jasmine and smiling as he yanked his van door shut and then drove along the road towards the docks.
Colin, O’Dowd’s stammering right-hand man, saw Jonah Burns drive up towards them. ‘Are y-you s-still g-go-‘
‘going to kill Jonah Burns?’ O’Dowd said, finishing Colin’s sentence. ‘Yes, I am, Colin,’ he whispered, ‘It beats paying him for his services, doesn’t it?’
Jerry O’Dowd smiled as Jonah got out his car and walked towards them. ‘Glad to see you finally showed up, Jonah.’ O’Dowd’s said, his smile fading and his eyes narrowing the more he looked at Jonah Burns.
‘I had to make a quick stop,’ Jonah said, unconsciously tapping the guns hidden inside his jacket.
‘That must have been quite a stop, Jonah,’ O’Dowd gestured towards Colin, ‘You had Colin, here, worried.’
‘I’m a busy man,’ Jonah said, ‘And I…’
Jonah didn’t finish his sentence because when he glanced over to his left he saw Graeme smiling and waving at him from behind the window of a dockside building.
‘How did you get him?’ Jonah asked, pointing at Graeme. Did he nab him from Lenny or did that fool let that wee weasel escape? Jonah thought.
O’Dowd snorted. ‘Oh, I found him cowering behind his granny’s skirt, so to speak.’
‘You mean he was with her?’ Jonah asked, pointing to Doris who was still gagged and sat squirming in her seat.
‘Yes, I found him in his granny’s flat. Why do you ask?’
‘Oh, no reason,’ Jonah said. ‘Do you mind if I make a quick call.’
‘You’re not thinking of bringing anyone else to this meeting are you?’ O’Dowd asked.
‘No,’ Jonah said. ‘I just need to talk to one of my associates.’ Lenny, you imbecile, Jonah thought.
‘Well, I don’t know, Jonah,’ O’Dowd said.
‘What do you mean?’
‘I mean, what’s to stop you making a call that will bring a bunch of your “associates” here only for them to then do me and Colin some serious harm?’
‘I’m a man of my word,’ Jonah said, sounding hurt.
‘I’m sure you are, Jonah,’ O’Dowd said ‘And I’d like to believe you. But you must understand my position. I’ll tell you what. I’ll let you make your call on one condition.’
‘And what’s that? Jonah asked, sounding irritated.
‘If you let Colin put his gun to your head, then I’ll –‘
‘Are you being serious?’ Jonah asked.
‘Yes, Jonah, I am,’ O’Dowd said. ‘So the question you should really be asking is how badly do you want to make that call?’
Before Jonah could respond, O’Dowd nodded to Colin who pulled out his gun and pointed it at Jonah’s head.
Back in the hospital, Pete was lying in a bed with both his arms now bandaged and Sam snuggling into him.
‘I know about Mum and Uncle Jack.’
Fuck, what do I do now, Pete thought.
‘And I don’t care what anyone says,’ Sam said, sounding serious. ‘You’ll always be my father.’
Pete looked down at his Star Wars T-Shirt ‘I am your father,’ he said doing a poor impersonation of Darth Vadar.
Sam laughed and hugged him. And despite the pain, Pete found himself wrapping his arms around Sam and hugging her tightly. I love you, he thought.
In another part of the hospital building, Derek was sitting on a chair waiting to be seen by a doctor when he saw Doreen come through the door. She was supporting John who was injured.
‘You stupid bugger!’ Doreen screamed at John. ‘Why didn’t you look where you were going?’
John seemed impervious to Doreen’s tirade. He slumped on the chair beside Doreen and appeared to doze off.
Perhaps it was the effects of the drugs or maybe he just wanted revenge, but when Derek saw a junior doctor’s white coat and stethoscope lying over a chair in a cubicle in which the junior doctor was sleeping soundly, he seized his opportunity.
Derek walked up to Doreen with the white coat on and the stethoscope around his neck.
‘Ah, there you are, Madam,’ Derek said to Doreen. ‘We’ve been looking for you.’ Derek tried not to laugh in case his ruse was rumbled. He put a hand on Doreen’s arm.
‘You’re not a doctor.’ Doreen screamed. ‘Let go of me.’
A hospital orderly approached. ‘What appears to be the problem?’
‘I’m afraid someone was a bit careless and left the door open in the psych ward,’ Derek said, sighing. ‘I’ve been looking everywhere for this patient.’
‘He’s not a doctor. He’s my mother’s next door neighbour,’ Doreen said in a high-pitched screech which hurt the hospital orderly’s ears.
‘She said one of the nurses was her sister the other day,’ Derek said, shaking his head. ‘It’s a complex case and difficult to treat.’
‘She’s very loud,’ the orderly said as he held one of Doreen’s wrists to stop her from lashing out. But that was a mistake because Doreen took the opportunity to take a swing at the hospital orderly with her free hand.
‘Violent outburst and delusional episodes,’ Derek said, shaking his head and adding, ‘Yes, it’s a sad case.’
‘I’ll bet it is,’ the orderly said as he dodged a slap from Doreen and caught her other hand. ‘They’re all sad cases, doc.’ The orderly glowered at Doreen and said sarcastically, ‘And I have my violin playing for each and every one.’
Doreen raged. ‘You can’t do this to me. Let go of me. Now.’
‘Calm down, madam,’ the orderly said as he dragged Doreen to the psych ward. ‘We’ve got a comfortable bed for you, so you can have a little rest.’
As Doreen was being dragged away, Derek gave her a cheery wave and a cheeky smile.
Derek took off the white coat and stethoscope and put it back where he found it and then sat beside John and nudged him awake.
‘Where’s Doreen?’ John asked, sounding sleepy.
‘What, you mean the woman who dropped you off?’ Derek asked, trying to keep a straight face.
‘Has she gone and left me all by myself?’ John asked, sounding hurt.
‘It seems like it, Derek said ‘Was she meant to stay and –‘
‘No, but it’s a bit cold, no?’ John asked. ‘I mean, I’m injured and she –‘
‘I see what you mean,’ Derek said, pretending to show concern for John by patting him on the shoulder. ‘Women, eh? Who needs them?’
‘Yes, who needs them?’ John pouted and folded his arms. ‘Well, I’m going for a nap. Give me a nudge will you if they call me?’
‘Sure thing,’ Derek said, smiling.
‘And one more thing,’ John said, gritting his teeth. ‘If you see Doreen, tell her she’s dumped.’ With that, John closed his eyes and in seconds was sound asleep.
As Derek went back to his seat he chuckled to himself but felt alarmed when he overheard two of Jasmine Cochrane’s colleagues talking about a gunfight at the docks and about agent Cochrane needing back up immediately
‘We’ve to bring an ambulance, too,’ one of the agents said.
‘Is Cochrane hurt?’
‘I don’t know but there are fatalities. Apparently, there’s a body that needs to be fished out the water.