So far, they had been lucky.
Zigzagging across the shipping yard, Leslie and Jake had managed to avoid any flying bullets, aided in part by darkness. But their progress was slowing, as neither of them was in the shape to be running around dodging bullets. Leslie was hobbling rather than running, as her ankle could barely support any weight by now and Jake, even though he was trying hard to match Leslie's pace, was having a hard time keeping up. Hiding in the shadow of yet another shipping container, Jake signaled Leslie with a gesture to go on without him, to winded to even speak as he bent forward to try and catch his breath. Leslie however would have none of it and grabbed Jake by the arm, trying to support him as best she could while being injured herself. They made it another few yards, just in time as a bullet bounced off the side of the container they had been hiding behind.
Suddenly, they both became aware of the sound of a car's engine coming closer and a second later, they were blinded by the headlights of an oncoming vehicle. Leslie realized what was going on first and half-dragged half-threw both of them to the ground just outside the path of the oncoming SUV.
Leslie and Jake were still trying to disentangle themselves from the heap they had collapse in when looking up, Jake spotted the car reversing its engines. Whoever it was, they appeared serious about running them down. Just how many people were after them, he wondered, as he scrambled to his feet. Leslie was already back on her feet, pulling him up the rest of the way. It appeared impossible that they should be able to escape the car this time. Shipping containers were blocking their way to the side and it would only be a matter of moments until the car smashed them into the side of one of those containers.
However, several unexpected things suddenly appeared to happen all at once. There were three gunshots and the sounds of glass splintering close by. The car, though still coming toward Jake and Leslie, lost most of its speed and after a second or two, came to a complete stop. Jake, who at this point was only peripherally aware of what was going on, save for the fact that he couldn't seem to catch his breath, thought that finally, things were starting to look up. He had barely finished the thought when the world tilted and twisted around him before everything went dark.
It was a miracle Jake had managed to hold on this long, Leslie thought when Jake suddenly swayed and his knees buckled under him. She managed to catch him just in time to prevent him from hitting his head on the ground, but she had to bite her lip to keep from crying out as both her wrist and her recent bullet wound protested most vigorously against the sudden weight in her arms. Right now however and unconscious Jake was likely to be the least o her problems. Still, she couldn't just leave him lying there on the ground, so she started dragging him as best as could, which wasn't very well at all.
"Police, put your hands in the air right now!" a voice called before Leslie had managed to drag Jake two yards.
Lowering Jake as gently as possible to the ground, Leslie raised her hands. A bright light landed on her face, effectively blinding her.
"He's unconscious," she called out, while fighting the urge to lower her hands to shield herself from the glare. "He needs medical assistance. Please."
Jake came to feeling pleasantly warm and breathing much easier. Even the pain had dimmed to much more bearable levels. He would have been content to just enjoy lying there for a while had it not been for a nagging feeling of worry for Leslie. Feeling incredibly tired, it took considerable determination on his part to even force open his eyes.
His vision was hazy at first, but eventually cleared enough to reveal the inside of an ambulance. The vehicle was clearly stationary and he could see a swatch of night sky through the open back door. At that point, the paramedic sitting next to him noticed that he was awake. She quickly checked him over, something Jake only barely tolerate on a good day but which made him acutely uneasy when what he really wanted was find out if Leslie was okay. However, the middle aged woman appeared to have been warned about his usual disdain for following medical advice and refused to answer any questions until she had given him the once over. Jake protested, or at least tried to, but found he didn't have much energy between the after effects of the day's events and the painkillers that were no doubt responsible for him feeling better all of a sudden.
In the midst of his token protests, Mal appeared.
"You're stupid, you know that," Mal told him.
"Nice to see you, too," Jake replied, stifling a yawn. Those painkillers were really packing a punch.
"What's happening? Is Leslie okay?" he asked, eager to learn what had happened before he passed out.
"They are going to take her to hospital to have her ankle looked at, but otherwise, she's okay. She has been arrested though."
Jake nodded, trying hard to keep his eyes from drifting shut. "Calvin?" he asked.
"No sign of him so far, but the police are still searching," Mal related. "But enough of that. Get some rest now."
"But..." Jake began.
"No," Mal said firmly. "You're going to go to the hospital and get checked out. You've done enough damage for one day. See you tomorrow." With that Mal left.
Jake allowed his eyes to drift shut and was about to let himself be carried off into oblivion when he was startled by a shrill scream, followed by two very loud bangs. His eyes flew open and looking around, he tried to find the source of the noise, when, before he was able to gather his bearings, someone roughly wrapped an arm around his throat from somewhere behind him to the left.
"What the...!" he exclaimed, but the increasing pressure on his throat effectively prevented him from both speaking and turning his head. However he had all the information he needed a moment later when he felt the hot metal of a gun being pressed against the side of his head.
Leslie would never have thought to have been glad to be arrested. If someone had told her that she would feel this way a week ago, she would have pronounced them insane. However, now she was glad for the relative safety of the backseat of the police car. If the police hadn't arrived when they did, either she nor Jake would be alive right now. She wouldn't have been able to protect Jake in his unconscious state nor could she have saved herself as her ankle seemed to have finally given out for good just moments after the police had shown up.
It still hurt like hell now that she was sitting and not putting any weight on it, but it was of comparatively little concern to her. Her thoughts were dominated by her worry for Jake, who, last she had seen, had been loaded onto a gurney by the hastily summoned paramedics and by concern for her future. Calvin was still at large, so her story might still seem rather incredible to a judge. She wasn't so much worried about spending the night in jail as that much was bound to happen, but when a new hearing was set, she needed Calvin, or his body for that matter, or back up her story.
Leslie was mulling over the possibilities, her mind still racing while exhaustion was starting to catch up with her body, when she became aware of the sound of gunfire nearby. Looking up, she saw the two officer who had stayed behind to keep an eye on her rushing toward the ambulance that was still parked about twenty yards away.
As she couldn't see what was happening due to angle at which the ambulance stood Leslie strained to listen for any sounds that would tell her what was going on.
Soon, she picked up on the shrill, almost manic tones of Calvin's voice. She didn't catch every word, but he was yelling for someone to throw away their weapons or else. Leslie didn't quite catch the or else part, but whatever it was, it didn't sound good in the least. The reply was spoken in a calmer tone of voice, making it harder for her to understand, so she could only make out bits and pieces of it. Her curiosity finally won over and Leslie cautiously opened the car door a fraction, thankful that in deference to her injuries, her hands had been cuffed in front of her and not behind her back. She didn't want to be accused to trying to make a break for it, but her instinct told her that something bad was about to happen out there.
"His blood will be on your hands!" Calvin was screaming. Leslie's sense of foreboding intensified ten-fold.
"Okay, okay," another voice replied in a tone that was probably meant to be reassuring, but sounded more insecure than anything else.
"Just put down the gun and we can talk about it," one of the officers was saying.
Leslie, now sure that disaster was about to unfold, opened the car door further and awkwardly climbed out, hindered by her injured ankle and overall soreness. She tried to put at least a little weight on her foot but it was no use. She was well and truly stuck.
Rose had been talking to her husband nearby when the two gunshots had alerted them to the unfolding drama. By the time they had arrived at the ambulance, the two officers present had already been in position, guns trained at Calvin McAllister who to their horror was holding Jake hostage, a gun pressed against Jake's head. The motionless body of the paramedic Mal had spoken to earlier was lying slumped on the floor of the ambulance, dead or merely unconscious, it was impossible to tell.
Apparently, Calvin had managed to outflank the officers looking for him and sneak up on the ambulance when no one was looking. The shots they'd heard were most likely what had taken out the paramedics.
The two officers who had stayed behind with Leslie and the police car were trying to talk down Calvin, but so far, without much success. Calvin appeared downright manic and the officers seemed inexperienced at best. The whole thing was a recipe for disaster.
Calvin calmed a little when the officers agreed to throw aside their guns, but he still refused to give up, despite the obvious hopelessness of his situation.
While Mal stood transfixed, watching the scene unfold in horrified fascination, Rose thought feverishly for anything she could do to ensure a positive outcome. The conversation between Calvin and the two police officers was going nowhere fast. There were other officers on the scene but they were busy searching the shipping yard for Calvin. Besides, Rose wasn't sure that more police wouldn't push Calvin over the edge completely.
No one appeared to take any notice of her as Leslie stood leaning against the police car, watching the hostage situation unfold. Calvin was growing increasingly frantic, probably realizing that he was cornered and Leslie feared that his behaviour would only become more unpredictable and dangerous than it was already.
The situation briefly relaxed when the officers tossed aside their guns, a move they really shouldn't have made in Leslie's opinion. Much as she had predicted, the move only calmed Calvin temporarily. It did however give Leslie an unexpected opening. One of the officer's guns had landed in her direction. If only she could get at it, she might be able to end this, before any more lives were lost. The time she had spent with Calvin had made her seriously doubt that there was any reasoning with the crazed man. Completely unable to walk on her injured leg by then, Leslie had to crawl on her hands and knees, which, while doing no favours for her recently sprained wrist, had the added advantage that it kept her well out of sight, especially under the added cover of relative darkness. Still, her heart was beating unnaturally fast by the time she finally reached the gun. Looking up she assessed the situation once more. No one was paying any attention to her.
Both officers as well as Rose and Mal were facing with their backs towards her. The only people who might be able to spot her were Calvin and Jake and she hoped that Calvin was too distracted to notice her. In fact that was what she was counting on. Crawling several more meters, Leslie positioned herself as best she could to take a shot at Calvin while remaining undetected until the last moment.
She was a good shot and she knew it but this was going to be a difficult one. Not only was she in an awkward position without a good grip on the gun due to the cuffs encircling the wrists, but Jake was also shielding the majority of Calvin's body with his. She would have to wait for that fraction of a second opening that permitted a clear shot that would take out Calvin without hitting Jake in the process.
"Stay back! You come any closer and I swear I'll blow his brains out," Calvin screamed, jabbing his gun at Jake's head frantically when one of the officers tried to approach the ambulance.
"Okay, okay, just take it easy. I'm not moving. See, I'm not moving," the young woman said, hands raised in a defensive gesture. Overall, she seemed to be the bolder of the two officers with her older partner seemingly being more cautious.
It was the woman that Leslie would have to watch out for especially. She might just provoke Calvin sufficiently for him to use his gun. For the moment however, the entire situation seemed to have turned into a stalemate. Calvin refused any of the cops' efforts to engage in anything resembling negotiation. Leslie knew that as soon as back-up arrived, the situation was bound to escalate and there was no telling what Calvin would do then. She had to do something while she had the element of surprise on her side.
An opening presented itself a few moments later when the paramedic who until now had been lying motionless on the floor of the ambulance began to moan and move around feebly. For a split second, Calvin was distracted and as a result loosened his grip on Jake slightly. That was all Leslie needed. It was now or never. There was no margin for error, but it was her only chance to end this once and for all. Leslie squeezed the trigger.