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The Scenic Route

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Jowd’s footsteps ring out loud and heavy as his feet tread over the concrete. Cabanela, in contrast, moves at a nimble pace, his long white coat flowing behind him. His steps are so light and springy, he could be walking on thin air.

Glancing doubtfully toward the inspector’s feet, Jowd’s brow knots. Not like he can see anything in the dim glare of the streetlamps. It’s just the two of them walking along the empty street. Looking around, he can see a few brightly lit windows, even at this late hour. What time is it? Not like he cares to know. What use does he have for time anymore?

“Quiet, isn’t it?” Jowd remarks. He sees Cabanela pause briefly in midstride. "Been a very long time since I've walked through the streets at night. Brings back memories.”

“Heh. Is that so?” Cabanela’s tone is light. Jowd wonders what expression he has on his face right now. “We spent some of those nights trawling the streets together. You remember?"

"Of course I do." How could Jowd ever forget the days on the force, working alongside Cabanela, taking down criminals together. Now here they are, back on the streets together. It's almost like old times. Except now he is the criminal, and Cabanela alone is brandishing justice, seeing to it he receives the punishment he deserves. 

Jowd's gaze sweeps around the vicinity. He has no idea what street they are even on right now or where they might be going. It's been too long and his memories are hazy. For all he knows, Cabanela is taking him on a grand tour of the town before turning him in so he can be executed as planned. Surely he's not that cruel? Well, who knows, he thinks, time changes people. It may well have changed the man who was once his good friend.

"Well then." Keeping a jovial tone in his voice, Jowd continues to talk. "Anything interesting happening tonight?"

"Other than a death row convict escaping prison on the night of his execution, you meeean? Afraid I'm not at liberty to discuss my cases with you, Mr Death Row Inmate."

Jowd releases a long exhale. He gets the feeling Cabanela is not terribly keen on conversation. There's a strange tension hanging in the air. "So there is a case going on tonight, I take it."

"Hm? Whatever gave you that idea?"

"I wasn't asking about your cases just now, was I? I merely asked what else might be going on tonight."

"Hmph. How like you, not even letting the little things slip past." Cabanela stops and looks over his shoulder, letting Jowd catch a glimpse of his smirk in the light. "I'm the head of the Special Investigation Unit. Naturally, I'm a busy man."

"And yet you took the time to come and attend my execution. I'm flattered."

"Just a courtesy, my old friend." As Cabanela once again struts forward, Jowd resumes his heavy plodding, watching his old friend. There's a graceful air about the way he moves. Nothing unusual about that. And yet, isn't it odd how carefree he seems about all this? 

"Aren't you afraid?" Jowd asks.

"Afraaaid?" Cabanela drawls. "Of what, precisely?"

"You're walking along a dark and deserted street with a death row inmate. Those guards in the prison were armed to the teeth, hunting in the dark, desperate to catch me. Doesn't it unnerve you?"

Cabanela lets out a short laugh. "Afraid, baby? Of yooou?" He gives Jowd a quick once over. "Gotta be honest here, you don't exactly look like a threat to me."

"But you have no idea what I'm capable of." Jowd spreads his arms wide. "After all, I was once known as the nation's best detective. In spite of that, I still killed-"

Cabanela whirls around, twirling his gun in his hand before Jowd knows what is happening. "You wouldn't have a chance to try anything funny, baby. I've got eyes all around. And, besides, where would you run to?"

Jowd shrugs. "I suppose you're right. Nobody's waiting for me with open arms. I'm a death row convict, after all."

"Nobody?" Cabanela's lips thin and he gives Jowd a doubtful look.

"That's right." Jowd smiles.

Silence hangs between them, thick and heavy. The distant wail of a siren carries over on the breeze. Cabanela studies Jowd's face as if hoping to discern some secret from those familiar features of his. Jowd crosses his arms over his chest, returning the stare with a nonchalant expression.

"If you saaay so," Cabanela says finally, replacing his gun in its holster. He falls back into his brisk pace down the street, keeping his attention on every sound and movement around him. Mercifully for him, Jowd doesn't say another word as they continue their long walk to the justice minister's office. Taking the scenic route, naturally. If he can have that little extra time with his old friend, then he'll take the opportunity. 

With a pained expression, he directs his thoughts toward Jowd. Sorry about the interruption, baby. I just couldn't let you say it.