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08 February 2017 @ 01:28 pm
Too Late  
Old piece I found whilst looking through my prompts file - It needs some polish but I quite like it

“You’re gonna regret this, you stupid bitch. You’re gonna regret ever messing with me”
The words were clear enough through the solid oak door to send shivers down Ken’s spine. Swearing under his breath, he tried the handle. If she got herself killed – no, he wouldn’t even think that. Then he heard Karen’s voice reply “Put that down – You don’t want to use it, not really”
“Don’t I?” the gravely voice laughed, and Ken thought he heard a safety catch click off. He swore again, and aimed a kick square at the lock, sending the door flying open, banging into the wall.
The man; tall, gangly, scruffy; spun to face him, the revolver glinting evilly in his hand. Ken’s body, detached from the terror and rage in his mind, automatically kicked out at the hand holding the gun, sending it flying across the room. A punch to the man’s face took him down, crumpling into a heap on the floor.

Karen looked at him wide eyed, then flung herself into his arms.
“You crazy woman” Ken muttered, burying his face in her hair, wrapping her tight against him “What on earth were you thinking, coming out here alone?”
“You got my note?” She burrowed against his chest, the shock making her voice breathier than normal.
“Can’t believe you’d be so stupid” if he heard her, he showed no sign of registering her words “You couldn’t have waited the 10 lousy minutes to get some back up?”
“No – I only just got here in time anyway – he had some schoolgirl in here, she couldn’t have been over 14… if that bastard had hurt her you know I’d never forgive myself!”
“I should lock you up, you know that? Lock you in our most secure cell and throw away the key!”
“I didn’t know you cared Kenny” her voice took on the teasing note he knew so well, but he thought, perhaps, there was a touch of uncertainty underneath. He took hold of her shoulders gently, and stepped back so she could see his face.
“I do care. When I read that damned note, I thought my heart had stopped. All I could think of was what if you got yourself hurt, and I’d never told you?”
Tears welled up in her eyes, and she reached out to touch his face “Oh Ken, I never knew – I didn’t dare hope…”

Ken opened his eyes. He wasn’t in that dingy basement; Karen wasn’t safe in his arms. He hadn’t made it in time to stop that fatal gunshot, no matter how many times he wished and dreamed it could be otherwise. He looked down at the plain gravestone in front of him. “Detective Inspector K. Marshall, 1978 – 2004. Held in our hearts forever” Such a short life – no time at all, when you thought of all the plans they’d had. And he never had told her…

Shoving his hands deep into his pockets, Ken turned around and walked way from the stone, wishing he could leave the memories behind as easily. He paused to look back at the stone, anonymous, lost amongst the countless others in the cold morning mist. He felt cold inside, empty – had done since the shooting… and nothing could ever change that.

Normally Ken would just drift around, to the local haunts, trying to kill some of the endless hours stretching ahead of him, but today he was restless. After he left the cemetery he went to the station. He couldn’t help himself; he had to keep going back. He was making his way to the cells when he saw some colleagues by the coffee machine. He instinctively ducked into a doorway; he knew he didn’t need to hide, but he didn’t want to talk to anyone and it was force of habit. He was close enough to hear them talking.
“… Was given time off work – Well under the circumstances what else can you expect?” Those two were near enough inseparable… In fact, if you ask me there was more there than just a good working relationship!”
“Hell yeah – she was crazy about him, forever going on about it in the locker room. Had no idea if he felt the same though, so she always played it cool. And you could tell from the way he looked at her he felt the same; I’m surprised they never worked it out!”
Ken turned and walked away from them. Ever since the shooting, he’d heard plenty about how Karen had felt for him – but he’d found out too late. If only he’d worked it out in time. If only one of them had said something, if only…

He made it to the cells without running into anyone else, and stared in though the hatch on one of the doors. ‘Joey Grant, rape/murder’ was chalked on the slate…Ken could think of a lot more things he’d like to chalk there as well – but he wasn’t meant to be here. He stared at the man lying on the bed, daring him to turn and see him. But he never did – he just kept staring at the ceiling. Ken wondered what he was thinking – some days he wished he could get inside his mind, understand what drove a man to do what he had done.

He had been under investigation for weeks – but they hadn’t known who he was then. All the squad knew was that there was a man prowling the local area, preying on young women, and sometimes girls. He would grab them from behind, and drag them into some deserted building… there seemed to be a pattern as to where he would strike, but no one had figured it yet. They’d spent the last month staking out abandoned warehouses, old factories, and empty boathouses; only to get a call saying they’d missed, and another girl was in hospital. He never left any trace they could go on, and the only real clue they’d had was a scar that ran across his left cheek. None of the known cons in the area had any scars at all, and the team had been stumped. They'd sent out requests to the other stations in the area, but it was a needle in a haystack search.

The only thing they seemed to know for certain was when he would strike – every fortnight on a Friday. He almost seemed to be mocking them, and it was torture knowing someone was about to be attacked, and they could do nothing about it. No one had taken it harder than Karen; she always seemed to take it personally when young women were involved. She’d always laughed and blamed it on her mothering instinct – God it hurt to remember the way her eyes lit up around little children. He’d been able to imagine her so clearly, with a little girl of her own – not that he’d ever told her that. He’d always been worried she’d have laughed at him. And now he’d never know what she would have said.

After the most recent attack, they’d had a new clue to go on – the girl thought she recognised a slight Liverpudlian accent to the attacker’s voice. It had been late, and he and Karen had been the only two from the team at the station. Karen was running a search on all the Liverpool stations' records, and Ken had popped out to get some pizza’s; he know Karen wouldn’t leave until she’d fully checked out their new lead, no matter how flimsy. When he’d got back, she wasn’t there; Joey Grant’s file had been flashing on the screen, a map book sprawled across the desk with coloured pins spaced out fairly evenly, and a hastily written note. He could still remember it word for word now.

Brilliant news, think I’ve found the bastard! Left the file on the screen, he’s got a history of this sort of thing, escaped from jail about four months ago – a week before our attacks started! And from the old case notes, I reckon I know where he’s going to attack next – he preys near schools or colleges, and uses abandoned buildings on the edge of the local estate – if you look at the map, plotting the schools instead of the attack sites makes a pretty straight trail; St Josephs is next in line, and there’s an old warehouse on the edge of the Green Park estate! He’s due to attack tonight, and call it a hunch, but I think he’s going to strike there! I’ve gone to stake it out, will call for back up if I see anything.
Wish me luck! Karen

Looking at the photo on the screen, at the scowling eyes and the deep scar biting into his cheek, Ken was sure too that this was their man. But he also knew Karen. If this guy did turn up, she wouldn’t wait for backup, she’d try to take him herself. Cursing, he grabbed the map book and ran out of the office, to the garage. He had to make it on time!

Except he hadn’t. He’d got to the warehouse, found the stairs to the basement. Heard his voice through the door, heard the gun catch, kicked open the door. But before he’d been able to make a move, Joey had pulled the trigger. There had been a bone jarring bang that seemed to echo round and round the room, a horror and a pain that tore his heart in two; and so much blood…

Karen sat up in bed, gasping and crying. It had been the same nightmare again – the night she’d got Ken killed. She looked at the clock, and got out of bed. It was early, but she’d never get back to sleep now. She got dressed and left the house, not really seeing where she was going, playing the events over and over in her head. How she’d made her way to the warehouse; caught Joey Grant struggling with the girl. How he’d been pointing the gun at her when Ken kicked in the door. How Joey had shot Ken before she could move. Sure she’d knocked him out, and tried to call an ambulance, but he’d hit Ken straight through the heart. He hadn’t stood a chance…
She was at the graveyard, and she instinctively found his stone. “Detective Inspector K. Marshall, 1978 – 2004” Ken Marshall, the best partner she had ever worked with – and the only guy she’d ever loved. And she’d never told him, had hoped he’d figure it out. But he never had, had never known. And now it was too late…