The Exhibit 4: Call of the Oath

Officer Braxton Lyle pulled into the precinct parking lot with a cold coffee in hand. I can go home and drink after my pass off. He didn’t want to become an alcoholic, so he kept his drinks to one a night. The clock on the dash read 20:00. Right on time, though later than his usual ten minutes early. A car followed him a little too close on his way back. The pursuer turned west a few blocks from the precinct.

Braxton discarded his cold coffee into the closest outdoor receptacle. A series of vibrations emitted from his personal phone in his left pocket. The initial single vibration signaled a text, but the second pair of vibrations meant an email. No one emails me anymore on my personal. Anyone who knew his personal email were people he’d rather not see. Braxton hesitated before entering the precinct. 

“Fuck it.”

Braxton checked his phone, and the text made him glad he’d already let go of his coffee.

At art show, sketchy Artist things happening. Help.

Braxton didn’t know of any art shows nearby, but the message from Ben meant it was serious. He’d given the kid his number a year ago, in case The Artist tried to visit him. Braxton never expected to hear from Ben. The Artist dismissed Bradley Brown as an independent actor and ex-supporter. The humid air thickened in Braxton’s lungs as he saw the subject line of the email. 

I have selected you to join an Art Show!

The subject line and text lost all surprise when the email’s content provided an address in Salt Lake City. Braxton ran to his Patrol Car again and radioed that he had a family emergency to the Captain. He didn’t care if it was out of his jurisdiction; he needed to be the first one on site. 

On the way, Braxton’s mind flooded with memories from twenty years ago. Eight years old and he’d walked into a room where he and his family found his dead sister, Jessie, on the wall. You cannot think about that right now. Focus on Ben, he won’t be another victim of the Artist. That the Artist knew Ben hadn’t sent the location bothered him as well. Braxton pulled over, turned his cruiser lights off, and then shut off and tossed his personal phone out the window. He’d claim insurance on it tomorrow. The bastard wouldn’t know he was coming. After he started driving again, the Captain called to confirm that he still drove Cruiser 135, and asked what the emergency was. To get away with this, Braxton needed to tell her the truth.

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