Chapter 19-

Jeremy wasn't in uniform, but he wore a shoulder holster that contained a loaded gun. Other men were prepped of the possibly volatile situation and prepared should anything go wrong. Jeremy would like to take a risk and trust Lodge, but, truth be told, the man had always rubbed him the wrong way. The door opened and Lodge entered with a confident swagger.

"Detective," Jeremy greeted.

Lodge nodded for a reply. "So what was so important that you had to call me in on my day off, Hardwick?"

Jeremy tried to read the man's expression, but Lodge showed no real emotion. "We had a shooting at the jail."

"What happened? Did some gang member have an angry visitor?" Lodge asked with a sarcastic smile.

"No, one of our high-security inmates was shot," Jeremy stated. He watched Lodge for any sign of involvement, but still no real emotion was noted.

Lodge shifted in his chair and rubbed his jaw thoughtfully. "Did you call me in to investigate it?" he asked.

Jeremy shook his head. "No, I called you in because your pass was the last one used to enter the high security area of the jail."

A look of annoyance flashed in Lodge's eyes. "Oh, that, I meant to tell you, my pass was stolen from my car two days ago. If I had to put my bet on someone it'd be that old codger, Charlie."

Jeremy leaned back in his chair. "You say it was stolen two days ago," he mused.

Lodge nodded. "Yes."

"Then how did you use it yesterday to enter the high security region?" Jeremy asked grimly.

Lodge's eyes showed a desperate panic, before he regained control. "Did I say two days ago, I meant yesterday."

"No, Lodge, you mean two days ago." Jeremy said in emotionless voice. "You killed the inmate in cold blood. No one stole your pass."

Lodge stood slowly and reached into his shirt, but Jeremy was faster. His gun held steady pointed directly at Lodge's chest. "Why did you do it, Lodge?"

"This is all a mistake, Hardwick," Lodge protested. Before anything else could be said, he fired. Jeremy fired. Both men went down. Officers poured into the room.

"You all right, Hardwick?" Rogan called.

"Yeah, thank goodness for bullet proof vests," he said with a smile. He stood and made his way over to the wounded man. "Why Lodge?"

Hatred distorted Lodge's face. "He was a fool. He was going to talk. To tell the world that I planned the robbery."

Rage filled Jeremy, but he wouldn't allow it to overcome his judgment. "Why did you plan the robbery?"

Lodge swallowed hard. "I needed the money….for the kidnapping….." His eyes began to close, but Jeremy jerked him upward. "You kidnapped Zoe Hawkins."

Lodge uttered a maniacal laugh, "It was the case that was gonna make me famous….to solve the kidnapping and murder of a little girl….b-but…..someone foiled me….t-they to-ook the kid…." He began to gasp for breath. His eyes locked with Jeremy's, "Go to h…" He went limp and stopped breathing.

……………………………

Lola stared silently at the newspaper. The article stated all the facts she already knew. Zoe had been kidnapped by Detective Patrick Lodge, who had planned to kill her and solve the murder for his own glory, but before he could someone else had taken her baby. The FBI would keep the missing person's case open. Zoe's face would remain on the Amber Alert List, but she knew everyone was giving up hope. She herself was beginning to grasp the fact that her baby girl was probably gone. Tears slipped down her cheeks, but she had to remain strong not only for her family, but for the child that was growing inside of her.

………………….

The entire police department had felt a powerful blow when it was realized that one of their own had committed such a horrendous crime. Arika sighed as she studied the article in the day's paper. How could one man do so much damage? How could he plan to kill a child for his own glory? It was all so surreal.

………………….

Jaden knew Lola hadn't wanted him to see the paper, but he found it and he read it. Every detail of the evil man's demonical plan. He knew everyone thought that Zoe was dead, but he would never believe it. Zoe would always be alive to him, and someday he would find her and bring her home.

The End