Today is another spotlight look at Shadow Within a City. This passage in the book is from a conversation between two members of the after-hours elite police unit called—Ghost Squad. Ghost Squad as a norm usually defies laws to complete assignments even if their victory results in the loss of innocent lives in the process. To the average onlooker they display a demeanor of brutality with the approved authorization of the state.
As wise people believe things are not always as they appear, or is that wrong to assess such a statement?
“Internal conflicts without logic breed horrible conclusions.”
GHOST SQUAD’S LAIR
“Almost time for the news,” voiced RoadKill, one of BloodOath’s trusted soldiers. He sat reclined, still in S.W.A.T gear, listening to the reports of the Warehouse District Massacre that unfolded earlier that night. He’d just returned from a drug raid and was now set to unwind a bit as his shift had just ended slightly more than half an hour earlier.
Despite the dungeon-like exterior, certain interior portions of Ghost Squad’s lair fared much greater in comparison to the Police Headquarters. Selected hallways, though dimly lit, displayed beautiful artwork and statues of past and current public figures and lawmen. The interrogation rooms were almost on the same level of those seen in S.C.A.F offices, as well as an equally connected supply of arms. State-of-the-art equipment, lush furnishings and a rather nice sized, private cafeteria, made being a member of Ghost Squad more than a promotion—it was a ‘status’ builder.
“What are you still doing here?” queried a fellow Ghost Squad member, who’d entered the room on crutches.
“Relaxing cripple,” chuckled RoadKill. “So what gives me the honor of being in the presence of the hero—The Great Sirocco?”
“Hero my ass.”
Sirocco was on light duty after sustaining injuries during another drug raid a couple of weeks ago. He was shot in the leg after gunning down three men dead, one of whom was an innocent bystander, which was of no consequence—He simply didn’t care. A former soldier of N.A.F’s paramilitary, Shane ‘Sirocco’ Manners, was a master with firearms and close quarters combat. He stood five-eleven and clean-shaved, with reddish hair and a low cut. He was of Irish heritage, as both his parents were from Ireland, and soldiers of the Irish Republican Army. His family had relocated after integration with England made it virtually impossible for them to live there any longer.
“I’m waiting for the news,” replied RoadKill, as he lowered his feet, allowing Sirocco to go by and take a seat beside him. Sirocco comfortably propped his injured leg on the table. “You heard what happened tonight?”
“Yeah, we all did,” Sirocco said, taking a deep, relaxing breath and getting comfortable.
“So what are you doing here?”
“Catching up on paperwork. . .Its better than hearing my wife’s bitching.”
“That’s why I’m not married. I don’t have time for that shit.”
“Yeah, she wants me to quit the Department.”
“I’m serious! She’s been on my ass since I got shot.”
“Well at least she cares.”
“Too much.” RoadKill paused for a second before replying. His mind racing from the last statement his friend uttered. “What’s up?” Sirocco asked, sensing distress.
In a quiet-like manner, RoadKill turned to Sirocco. “No one can care too much, remember that.”
“Ok, I guess…”
“No, I’m serious, remember it.”
Sirocco was silent. Then without notice, he quickly tried to change the subject, “Have you seen Simms?”
RoadKill smiled inwardly from the weak attempt but played along, “Yeah, he’s in his office.”
“Yep, he’s napping.”
Sirocco shook his head, “I never understood how a man could sleep so much.”
“Simms was always a napper dude,” remarked RoadKill as he turned the TV to Channel 10. Hell, he used to dose off during roll-call in his younger days.”
“Bullshit,” cried Sirocco
“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Trevor J. Thompson of Channel Ten, the News for Opinionated People. We have an update on the horrific episode that occurred a few hours ago in the Warehouse District. Police are still without any leads at this time as the residents are refusing to speak with them. We have learned that among the dead is one of MCPD’s own, Sergeant Jericho Michaels, also a member of the elite, after-hours unit, Ghost Squad, codename, Ghoul. My sources have concluded that it was evident Sergeant Michaels was in the act of aiding a civilian to safety when he was mercilessly gunned down by one of the unknown assailants. From our accounts, as you can see, the alley behind us…”
The television became background noise as RoadKill resumed conversation out of nowhere. “Man, I’m starting to feel my age.” Sirocco eyes slanted towards his friend as he just listened. “I might quit the force come next spring.”
“What in the hell are you talking about?” questioned a confused Sirocco. RoadKill, in a motion gave a look. His eyes grew bigger and slanted towards Simms’s office. Sirocco knew that this was serious and lowered his voice before speaking again, “Ok man, what’s wrong?” “It isn’t your mother again.”
“No,” RoadKill gasped, “she’s coping with her depression just fine,” he answered, taking another long, deep breath, as if clearing a barricade to his emotions. “I need a change. You know these ‘special’ assignments are not right.”
Sirocco quickly glanced around. “What the fuck’s wrong with you!?” he whispered, “You know its too dangerous to talk like that around here.”
“Too late for that now, I’m sick of this shit. It was never like this before in Ghost Squad. Now, I’m taking fuckin’ kids to unknown locations—Days later they’re mysteriously reported missing? Now, what-the-fuck is that!?”
Sirocco placed his hands over his face in his own way of dealing with this fact he knew so well. “Ruben,” he spoke, “this is Shane you are talking too. I don’t like this either, but Simms said that they’re used overseas for some operation by N.A.F and E.A.F.”
“And you honestly believe that?” RoadKill retorted, “Some fuckin’ operation that N.A.F has to take. They abduct, kidnap or whatever-the-fuck you wanna call it, kids from their families!?”
Sirocco shook his head. “I don’t know what I believe.” RoadKill sighed but appreciated Sirocco’s honesty. For once, it was refreshing to have a candid conversation. “That doesn’t mean you have to quit, man.”
“Yes it does,” RoadKill huffed, “I was just thinking about it, but fuck, I can’t get those kids out of my mind. Look, I’m not an angel by any means. Me and Simms done a lot shit back in the day—Including the ‘Old Factory Murders’, involving Gangland; The killing of that social worker, Clarence Strong; The kidnapping of the reporter, Jane Standberry, remember her? And even the disappearance of Chief Tinsworth. Like I said, I’m no angel—but kids?”
“You shouldn’t say those things here. You know better,” snapped Sirocco.
“I used to,” RoadKill spoke somberly, “Simms was never like this. At least back then he had empathy—He gave a fuck.”
Sirocco shook his head again with his mouth twitching in disgust. “That muthafucka doesn’t have any feelings whatsoever.”
“Not anymore, listen! When I first met him, I could tell he had history. I could see that he was very comfortable with violence. But at the same time, even as causal a brute, he also showed a caring side. When he spoke of his girlfriend, Lynn, he was a different person. Hell, he would even smile and giggle when he mentioned her name.”
“I see,” Sirocco said, “her suicide must have really affected him.”
“It affected the entire city regrettably.