By Cole Lee
“Lincoln Drago, Lieutenant Commander of New York’s most prominent police force, was one of the many victims of the police car bombing. Authorities have informed the public that it is one of the most recent, violent acts in a series of crimes against the police. Five bystanders were wounded, two policemen injured, and three policemen killed instantly by the explosion. The two officers that were wounded were rushed to the hospital. However, Sergeant Joe Clinton, was pronounced dead upon arrival–leaving Lincoln Drago the surviving officer.
While Drago has recovered, it has recently been released that a full recovery is not to be expected. As a result of the trauma induced by the bombing, Drago has been pronounced permanently blind. While doctors say they continue researching and hoping for a new treatment, current medical science, they say, will not be enough.
When asked to comment, Commander Kenneth Nelson stated that Lincoln Drago will not be able to return to his role as Lieutenant Commander due to his physical condition. However, he said that the state of New York and his country both thank him for his service and his bravery, and that they will be rewarding him financially for his sacrifice.
Thus, Francis Satori will be receiving the title of Lieutenant Commander at the ceremony set this afternoon, where all will be on high security alert. Nelson also stated that these recent, brutal acts of violence towards the police will only be the beginning if these inborn terrorists are not stopped, and that–“
The low pitched voice of the news reporter was suddenly eliminated by the clicking of the tv set shutting off. Silence ensued, following the gentle tapping of a glass being placed on a wood surface. Then, there was the steady ticking of the mantel clock that gnawed at the edges of silence like a dog with an old bone. Each quiet tick became louder and louder… still louder… until the mantel clock was no longer a clock, but a bomb.
Suddenly, there was the intake of quick breath by the man in the brown, patent-leather arm chair. He let out a slow, forced sigh. Though his breathing was now steadied, his fingers continued to dig their way further into the arms of his chair.
The clock kept ticking.
“You shouldn’t listen to that stuff,” a husky voice further down the room said, interrupting the ticking ****.
“What?” questioned the man in the armchair.
“Reporters make it sound so… so detached. It isn’t right. They’re not right! This whole thing isn’t right, Drago!” the husky voice called out in raged desperation to his friend.
“No,” Drago agreed. “It isn’t right.” He lifted his head in the direction of Francis Satori’s voice, but his blank, white eyes could not find him. “But that’s life. Especially for a cop–and especially for the good ones.”
“Dang it, Drago!” A loud thud could be heard as he slammed his fist onto a nearby desk, rattling its contents. “How can you be so bloody calm? Don’t you even care what they’re doin’ to you? Just throwing you away? After all you’ve done?”
In one, fluid movement, Drago was out of his chair and took a step forward. His usual composed, even voice raised in a rare flame of anger.
“Of course I care! I’ve been a cop long before you could even dress yourself. I’ve mopped up other people’s spills so much that I could wring my hands of their blood and their lies until they drown in them! But that’s what I signed up for the moment I picked up a badge!”
With a quiet sigh the tension on his face eased and his voice dropped, but not the heat and weight in his words.
“It’s not just a job, Franny,” he said, using Satori’s pet name to draw his attention. “It’s a way of life. A life that you, me, and every other cop is expected to live, because it’s what we chose–not for recognition, power, or anything else! So yes, Franny, I care. I care that now I am being forced to leave a life I loved living. As for being calm…” Drago huffed a single laugh. “I’m far from it. I’m angry. But, if my last act as a cop is to leave and pass it on to someone else, then I’ll do it… quietly. Besides,” he added with a rueful smile, “it’s good to know I’m passing it on to a friend, and I can think of no one else I would rather give it to.”
Throughout Drago’s speech, Satori had been silent, and his emotions grappled deep within him. Now that his friend was finished, he still said nothing, for the words that originally formulated in his mind dissolved on his tongue like a secret. So, instead, he stared at his friend and life-long mentor, his former boss, his role model, and dare he even think it… his idol.
Satori was considered tall at six foot two and was used to people looking up to him–in more ways than one. That is, until he met Drago. At six foot five, Drago was the only man alive that Satori ever had to look up to, and to himself Satori often swore that he would be the only one. Though he didn’t think himself prideful, he was rather high-minded, which often made it difficult for him to get along with others and them with him.
Drago, however, he found to be equal, and at times, higher than he in perfection, stubbornness, persistence, and honor. At last, he had someone to butt heads with without having to worry about hitting back. Even so, Drago never let him forget who was in charge, and more than once Satori had gotten himself into a head-butting for which he was severely reprimanded.
Now, as Satori looked up to him, he no longer saw the familiar, demanding gaze of steely blue. Instead, blank sheets of white reflected his own dark face, like two canvases that could never see what was being painted on them. Around his eyes was a dark scar that stood out as a coffee stain on a white shirt. His dark brown hair looked almost black, and was combed and cut in its usual, immaculate fashion. Except for a slight, unruly wave in the front that insisted on resting between his eyes. It suggested that beneath his stoic face and controlled behavior, there was a piece of unbreakable stubbornness. An animal that none would desire to be free, but had every means of being so, if forced.
Satori’s heart grieved within him at the circumstance that had been thrust upon his friend. But, despite the unseeing eyes, he could not find a trace of anything different in the man before him. In fact, while his heart overflowed with guilt at the thought of taking over his position, it also swelled with awe and adoration. Drago was standing in his usual demanding presence. Unbroken and unscathed… or so he seemed.
Finally aware of the silence he had let drag on for too long, Satori cleared his throat and stumbled out a long awaited reply. “Thank you, Drago. That means alot… you mean alot… I mean, I’m sorry…”
A faint smile came to Drago’s lips. Carefully, he felt his way around the desk until his hand met his old friend’s shoulder and gripped it tightly.
“That’s alright, Franny, really. You don’t think I’ve been letting you tag along all these years for nothing do you?” he chuckled faintly. “This is what you’ve been training with me for. It was just a matter of… when. You can do this, Franny.” He clapped his shoulder. “I need you to do this.”
The desperation in his voice shook him, but Satori clapped him back steadily and said, “I will, Drago. I will. On one condition.”
Lines creased Drago’s forehead as his eyebrows drew together. “Oh? What’s that?”
“I can come over and bug you about a case whenever I want.”
Drago chuckled in disbelief. “Don’t know how you could need my help when I can barely get around without bumping into things.”
“You may have trained me this far, but we both know that there is a lot that you haven’t taught me yet. As for bumping into things… get a dog!” Satori said with a playful punch to Drago’s shoulder.
“Why do I need a dog?”
“It would be good for you!”
“Well, you wouldn’t have bruised knees for starters! Plus, they’re good company and great for guarding the house.”
“Sure, sure,” Drago said wryly. “And you have to feed them, clean up after them, put up with their barking at night, and not to mention all the walking you would have to do.”
“It’s great exercise!” Satori protested.
“Then you get one!” Drago said, patting his arm before turning away towards the desk. He felt around its surface before his fingers finally felt what they were searching for. “If I want company, I’ll find a cat,” he said, lifting his dark glasses over his eyes, hiding most of his scar.
Satori laughed and shook his head. He looked down at his watch. “Say! I better get going or I’ll be late!”
“Never keep the state of New York waiting,” Drago agreed.
“Aren’t you coming?”
“I wouldn’t miss it. Go along now! It wouldn’t due to keep Commander Nelson waiting either!”
Satori rustled about as he opened the office door. Before leaving though, he paused. “Drago?”
Drago turned his face towards his voice.
“There’ll never be another cop like you, but I’ll do my best.” Drago nodded in reply, and with one last look, Satori shut the door.
Darkness always was empty, but even more so when he was alone. But, he wasn’t alone for long before he heard the sound of an old, gnawing voice.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
“No,” Drago agreed. “I pray to God there will never be another cop like me.”
The clock answered.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
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