There will be a prequel to this story. It will go into detail of Detective Alex Zandar's Life and Lyralei's as well.
I was jolted out of bed by the sound of my telephone. Groggily, I reached over and picked it up.
"Detective Zandar here," I slurred sleepily.
"Alex, its Tim. Listen, I'm sorry for waking you, but we need you down here at the station." The seriousness in Tim's voice brought me to full alert.
"Can you give me a hint as to why I am needed?" I asked. I could tell that my friend of many years was shaken and that was saying something. Tim Conner was never shaken.
"Not now, just come as fast as you can. You'll want to know this."
"Ok, I'm on my way," I said as I hung up the phone. Turning, I put a gentle hand on my wife's shoulder.
"Lyra, I need to go to the station. Tim's just called and he sounded pretty shaken about something."
"Oh, do you want me to come or…"
"No, you just sleep. It's only 3:00."
"Alright, call me if you need help."
"Will do," I said as I gave her a kiss and quickly dressed. Heading into the bedroom next to ours, I bent and softly kissed our only son Severus before leaving.
As I climbed into my beat up old sedan, I wondered what was so urgent. My partner of four years had never sounded this rattled about something. In fact, it was very hard to get him to react to anything so understandably, this worried me.
Even at three in the morning, the streets of New York were teaming with activity. I could see the night walkers staring at me as I rode past, their chests thrown out as if offering to anyone who wished to take them. As long as we did not get too many complaints, we let them be. They were making a living just as we were. Sometimes, they even helped in solving cases for us. One brave lady… or man, I wasn't sure which, came up to my window as I drove slowly past.
"Hey sugar, you wouldn't be looking for a little adventure now would ya?"
"Now Lucy, you know I have a wife," I said, forcing a smile. I knew Lucy. She had helped us on several occasions and we always joked about my married status when we saw each other.
"Ahh damn Alex. You don't know what you be missin' man." I forced another smile and waved my hand.
"Alright Lucy, I'll see you later." She shook her head in a mock sad manner and moved back. I drove on toward my destination.
For three years before I got on the police force, I was a child psychologist with my wife as my secretary. I still help out occasionally with any delicate cases they might have, but mostly I work with the NYPD as a detective with my Partner Tim Conner. He and I had been friends since college and we treasured our friendship greatly. Me because as a boy I had not been allowed to have friends, and Tim because I supposed he could sense that vulnerability in me. Even if I wouldn't admit it.
Soon I pulled up outside the police station, into my usual parking space. I could see Tim's old Volkswagen parked two spaces away from mine and also chief McCormick's Porche. Getting out of my car, I locked up and went inside.
I could see a lot of people rushing around with papers and yelling at each other. I scanned the room and spotted Tim's big frame bending over a counter to talk to one of the lower ranking detectives. He looked pretty angry and I went closer to listen.
"Listen here McDowell, I'll be damned if I let that bastard get away. Who knows what he'll do. Alex has told me what he did to Lyra and I… Oh, Alex, there you are," he said, seeing me standing behind him.
"What's up Tim?" I asked. I had a feeling that I didn't want to hear what he was about to say next.
"Uh, Alex," he said in his deep voice that was surprisingly soft when he wanted it to be. "You are not going to like this but, Lonny Stone has escaped."
I was floored. I had expected bad news, but not this. Lyra was going to be very frightened. Unbidden, the memory of that last night I saw Lonny popped into my head. I could still feel the panic as I heard Lyra's screams of fright through the window and the glass tearing at my clothes as I battered my way through it. I could still see him upon the bed to my left, unclothed and on hands and knees above Lyra, who lay on her back under him. Her pants were around her ankles and her shirt pushed up around her neck.
His face was a mask of hate and lust. It made me sick, angry and sad all at once. Anger won out and I had leapt forward, onto his back and wrapped my hands around his flabby neck. Adrenalin made me stronger and I had pulled him off of Lyra.
If it hadn't been for her, I would have become a murderer that night. Lonny Stone and I both would have gone to jail. As it was, only he went.
He had been charged at first with attempted rape and child abuse. Later in court, Lyra had testified that her father had raped her several times. He had gone off the deep end after the deaths of his oldest child Christa and wife Annie in a car crash. Now, he had escaped and I feared for Lyra. I knew what the man would do, knew the carnage he would cause before coming for his daughter. Also, I feared what I would do if I met him first.
"Alex, are you alright?" Asked Tim. He had known the whole story because I had told him my version. Also it was in the police files.
"Yes, I am fine."
"Listen, the chief doesn't think you should be involved in this case. He thinks that…"
"What?" I was angry! I wanted Stone caught and I wanted to be the one to apprehend him. My rationality had flown the coop. I was not thinking of proper police procedure, not thinking of anything else but my want to catch that man.
"Lex, I'm sor…"
"No, I am going to talk to the chief, get this resolved!" The lobby had gone quiet. If it hadn't been so quiet, I wouldn't have heard the snigger.
"You got something to say McDowell?" I asked, turning to face him. I could feel the angry heat from my face.
"Nope," he said in a bored tone. Turning, I headed for Chief McCormick's office on the 5th floor.
Without so much as a knock, I barged into the chief's office. He sat at his mahogany desk, eating what looked like a chocolate doughnut. Upon seeing me, he set the doughnut down. McDowell and Tim came in behind me and I heard the chief sigh. So evidently he had been prepared for this visit.
"Zandar, Conner and McDowell take a seat. I'm sure I don't have to be told why you are here.
"You don't want me on this case?" I had ignored his offer of a chair and was pacing from the door to his desk.
"No Zandar I don't want you on this case. The reason being that for one, you were involved in Stone's arrest some years ago. You're too close to this case. For another reason, you've just heard about it and you're already this worked up?" He pointed at a chair. "Sit down and that's an order." Reluctantly I did so.
"I do have a third reason why I do not want you on this case. That reason is your want for vengeance. You want to catch that man yourself, which I can understand."
"But! The way you are acting now tells me that you would just recklessly go out there and start looking. You would not follow the procedures that an officer should follow. This case will have two people working on it, not just you. I know you Alex; have known you for some years now. I know you would rather work alone. You have a tendency to hide things from your partner. I will not put you on a case that you are this close too."
I was sitting stiffly in my chair. I felt trapped. I was unsure what to say. Then a question occurred to me.
"Who will be working on the case?" I looked over at Tim. He had an uncomfortable look on his face. I knew I wouldn't like the answer.
"It doesn't matter; I've got another case I want you on."
I did not like having my question ignored, and I certainly did not want to work another case while Stone ran loose causing trouble.
"Zandar, you will either take this case or you will be on leave. I will not put up with insubordenance in my officers, and weather you like it or not, this is a job for 2 people, not only you. If I say you can't be on a case, there is a reason for it and I expect you to do as I command with no arguments."
"Yes sir," I said, but I was still stiff. I was mortified at being dressed down in front of McDowell and Tim. Least he could have done was send them out before doing that. Now it would be all over the department in less than an hour.
"Now, you and Detective Cray will be working together for the duration of this case. There are stacks of cold cases and I want us to start making some headway through them."
I clenched my hands into fists. Cold cases? Busy work, that was what it was. To keep me out of trouble.
"Listen Zandar and I will only say this once more. I expect you to listen to me. I could have you put on leave, but I am giving you a chance. You are a damn good detective and we need these cold cases worked on. Our solve rate in that area is sadly lacking. Now, go home, take a breather, what ever you need. But I want you back here by Monday working with Cray."
Conner, McDowell, I want you two to start combing the files, see what you can find on Stone."
He was working with McDowell? That was the last straw for me.
Raymond McDowell and I had been at odds ever since he entered the force 2 years ago. There was no particular reason for our dislike towards one another, we just did not see eye to eye on most things.
"McDowell? Tim, why didn't you tell me?"
"Well you rushed over here before I could," he said, calm as ever in the face of my anger.
"Yes, your recklessness impaired your listening," sneered McDowell
I jumped up. "Alright McDowell I oughta…"
Zandar, sit down. McDowell, go on back to your desk please."
When he had left, I relaxed a fraction. That man always made me tense.
"Ok you two go on and do what you need to. I shall see you both on Monday."
I nodded to the chief then walked out, hearing Tim's footsteps behind me.
I headed outside through the bustle of everyone working. No notice was paid to me and I was glad. I sank down on one of the steps. I felt Tim sit down next to me, but he didn't say a word. He knew when I was thinking hard.
"What do I do Tim? Lyra is going to be frightened. She… just barely got over the treatment that man gave her all of her life. And now I will be stuck at home. McDowell of all people!" I slammed a fist into my palm.
"I know Lex. We'll get him. Raymond is a good detective. I know you don't like him, but I will keep him in line."
"I am sure you'll do fine Tim. I just wish I could be beside you." He nodded and patted my shoulder.
"Go home," you look all in," Tim said. "I'll watch your desk."
"Thanks Tim. If there's any news, don't hesitate to call me."
"That's a given."
As I drove slowly home in the predawn light, I thought about how I would tell Lyra. It would be hard and sad for the both of us. We had both gone through extensive methods to get over what had happened. I had come so close to killing Lonny that night. If it hadn't been for Lyra, I would have and for many nights, I had lain awake and been frightened by that notion.
I knew also that if I told Lyra about this, she would want to help me with finding him. Because even though I had been taken off the case, I intended to do what I could. I did not want her hurt, but if I said no, she would be angry with me for protecting her too much. I guessed I would decide after I saw her reaction.
Pulling up in front of the house, I saw a light on through the kitchen window. Lyra had a habit of not going back to sleep after I was gone. I smiled and went inside.
"Lex is everything alright?" she asked, knowing that something was on my mind. I hugged her and we sat down on the couch. I really did not want to tell her, but knew it had to be done.
"No Lyra. Listen, you're not going to like what I have to tell you." She squeezed my hand and that gave me the courage to go on. "Lonny has escaped."
She sat for a moment, speechless.
"When?" she asked.
Just last night. I don't know the details of the case. Chief McCormick said I was not allowed to be on the case. He said I was too close to it.
She buried her head in my shoulder briefly, and then raised it. A glint of determination had entered her eyes.
"I am sorry Lex. I better than anyone know how you want to catch him. "You are still going to do what you can right?"
"Yes I am."
I intend to help you." I opened my mouth, but she cut in.
"I don't intend to go out on stake outs or whatever you'll have to do, but I can help you in little ways. After all, some one'll have to watch Severus."
I hugged her. She was so brave and she knew and accepted that I wouldn't give up just because I was officially off the case.
"Now, who's on the case?"
They've got Tim and Raymond McDowell on it," I said, knowing what was coming next.
"McDowell huh? I'm sorry. That must rankle a bit."
"Yes, it does. Him and my partner."
A small smile turned up the corner of her lips. "Do I sense some jealousy?"
"No, why would I…"
She laughed and gently kissed me. "I know Lex. She grew serious.
"Listen to me Alex Zandar. I want you to be careful with whatever you must do. I do not want you hurt again, and there's Sev to watch. We need to keep the danger at a minimum this time."
"I will Lyra. I will do everything in my power to make sure you do not have to see that man. The violence will not reach our house this time, I promise."
"Don't promise Alex. You cannot control other people's actions. All you can do is try."
"Then I promise to try my best."
"Good," she said and I sank back into the couch, suddenly drained of energy, despite it being early in the morning.
"Come on Lex, I'll make you some breakfast," said Lyra as she hauled me up by the hand. I went without complaint. I was hungry and I hoped that my energy levels would be up after a nice home cooked meal from the best cook I knew.
After breakfast, I sat at my desk, staring at a folder with the name 'Lonny Stone' written on it. I had managed to procure a police file from the records office and I was curious as to what they had done. I had been a teenager when the man had been taken into custody so was not allowed to know the major details. Now that I was apart of the force, I had records privileges.
Opening it, I first saw the copies of mine and Lyra's statements. I flipped past those to the trial report saying what charges Stone was booked for and his length of sentence.
As I settled down to read, I heard a squeak as my study door was opened. Severus stood there for a minute, and then came to me. I swept him into my arms and held him; it felt good to do so after the hard morning.
"Daddy, you sad?" I smiled and held him tighter. Despite my son being only four years old, he was very perceptive. He knew the change in our moods as he saw the hands on a clock change the time. I loved him for that, but he was too young to know the hardships of life just yet.
"No Sev, just thinking," I said as I put him down. "Run along and play now. I have some things I need to get done." The boy nodded and walked out of my study, closing the door.
I read the file, sorting the facts I knew from the ones I didn't. Apparently the man had been charged with other things such as theft, disturbing the peace, and now rape. He was a criminal and I had not known that.
I got up, tired of reading about Mr. Stone. He was out there somewhere and I needed to get him back behind bars again. Lyra and Severus needed to be protected and I was going to do it, no matter what it took.