Cale drove passed Victoria’s house and around the block before pulling in a parking spot down the road. He turned off the engine of his Volvo and sat watching the activity on the street in front and in the rearview mirror, looking at each parked car for other people waiting and watching. A few minutes past before Cale got out of the car and walked to Victoria’s house. As Cale walked up the stairs to the front door, he noticed an unopened newspaper in a plastic bag on the brick porch welcome mat. He picked it up and checked the date through the bag. Cale pushed the doorbell and backed up a few steps and surveyed the street again looking into cars and trucks for any kind of odd movement. He watched the houses across the street for a curtain flutter, anything. Cale played with Victoria’s key in his pocket. There had been no word from Victoria and the search through out San Francisco was on. Every patrol car had her picture on their screen as they made their rounds. He pushed the doorbell again and glanced up and down the street then pulled out the key and opened the front door. He walked in closing the door behind him. “Victoria? It’s Cale.” Cale walked through the living room towards the kitchen looking for her phone machine. He hoped it was blinking with a message from her. On the kitchen counter sat her phone machine blinking away. Cale pushed the button and listened skipping down the messages from her family members, the precinct, to the end. There was no message from her. Cale grabbed a glass and filled it with tap water. Trying to figure what he would do if he was running from someone, where would he go if he left his building down the back stairs? The only place out back is Lombard Street, a few bars on Chestnut Street and the Palace of Fine Arts. Cale went to the door and as he opened it as Victoria burst in slapping the door against the wall.
“Do you have a gun?” she exclaimed.
“Get a knife out of the kitchen. And take your photo chip, here.” Victoria pulled the photo chip out of her pocket and tossed it to Cale.
Cale caught it and turned into the kitchen and pulled a large knife out of the collection on the table. “What’s going on? Who’s after you?”
“I think it’s the last of the Stell’s! I need a Knife!”
Cale grabbed another, “Got two.”
“He’s coming. He’s been chasing me relentlessly since your flat. I can’t get away. He keeps showing up everywhere. I can’t shake him. I didn’t have my keys to get in my house till I saw your car. He’s coming. Call the precinct. We need back up, now!”
Cale picked up the landline and the phone was dead. “He’s here. He cut the lines. Lock everything.” Cale pulled out his own phone and flipped it open and dialed 911and put the phone down on the counter.
“It’s already locked. I’m a single woman in one of the most violent states on the fucking planet. Give me a knife, get me two.”
The door blew open off the hinges in pieces knocking Victoria to the ground. A gun barrel walked in the door followed by a man. He stepped on the door pinning Victoria waist down to the ground.
Cale went silent with four knives in his hand and moved to the blind spot near the entryway of the kitchen and listened.
“You are one fast lady. Now, give me the chip.”
“I don’t have it anymore.”
The man shot through the door below Victoria’s feet. “Where is it?”
“I gave it to a cop.”
Victoria didn’t answer.
The man shot through the door and caught Victoria’s calf.
Cale turned the corner and hurled a knife at the man. The knife landed backwards and the handle bounced off his chest. Cale slammed the kitchen door and locked it. His only way out was a second story window and in his condition that was not an option. Cale had nowhere to go. He was trapped.
The man started shooting at the doorknob and lock. Cale heard the door rock on the floor and Victoria as she screamed again. He came to the kitchen door as a siren sounded outside, and then another. Victoria was swearing and moaning. A shot rang out and the man ran down the hall to a backdoor to Victoria’s little walled backyard. The backdoor slammed on its springs and then again softer. All Cale could hear were the patrol cars pulling up with sirens quieting and then intermittent radios.
Cale opened what was left of the kitchen door as two police officers entered the front door with guns drawn. “Detective Dixon here. I’m unarmed. Officer down. Call an ambulance!” Cale came out with his hands first and his identification in one. “The guy went out the back door! It’s a fenced in yard.”
Recognizing Cale, one officer changed his gun aim down the hall and asked, “Are you hit?”
“No. Victoria Short has been shot.”
One officer moved down the hallway and the other helped Cale get the door off of Victoria. Victoria was limp. Cale checked her pulse at her neck and looked for bullet wounds. One bullet had struck her leg and a rose red welt formed on the side of her head as it filled with blood.
“I’ll wait with her for the ambulance. You go get that son-of-bitch!” yelled Cale.
The officer grabbed his radio and requested an ambulance as he hurried down the hallway.
Victoria moved her head and raised her hand to her head, “What the . . .?”
“Don’t move, you’ve been shot in the leg and walloped on the head. An ambulance is on the way. Just stay still.” Cale grabbed a pillow off the couch and put it under her head and looked down at her blood soaked leg. “You’re going to be alright. They’ll be here in a few minutes, just stay still.” Cale grabbed another pillow and went into the kitchen and grabbed a couple dishtowels. Cale picked up Victoria’s shot leg a few inches and put the pillow underneath her foot.
Victoria hit Cale with a weak backhand, “What are you doing? That hurt.”
“I’m trying to stop the bleeding. Just try and relax.”
Victoria winced as Cale rapped her leg in dishtowels and held on with two hands, one palm on top and one palm underneath the wound.
More police arrived followed by an ambulance, an EMT unit and a fire truck. The vehicles blocked off the road and police diverted traffic at both ends from coming down the street.