“This doesn’t look like the artist’s typical displays,” Braxton said.
No one responded. Braxton turned, expecting to find the large escort, but found no one. The urge to run for the exit pulled on all of Braxton’s survival instincts. Braxton walked towards the exit until a ripple on the stage caught his attention. Tonight marks the first official Artist attack since the Donahue ten years ago. I’m the first on site, so I’m required to gather as much intel as I can. The muffled conversations drifted over the tops of the barriers remained inaudible.
Red lights flickered to life to show the Mark of the Artist. A symbol not used until after Cass Lawrence’s imprisonment. Braxton remembered Cass’s first “piece of art” and he worried about no mark back then. No, the C and L shaped like a chainsaw appeared two years after a fan of his sent him the design. Cass simplified it, claiming to make it more universally recognizable. Braxton didn’t understand some people’s fascination with the psychotic.
“Offi… we are… Code ten…”
Braxton jumped and put his hand to the empty holster on his waistband. The guys will give me a lot of shit. White noise plunged most of the message into mystery as another transmission came through. That another officer was in range to even mention SWAT made Braxton’s inspection of the stage fascinating. With limited time, Braxton didn’t want to give a less than thorough report.
The ripples came from the red fabric inside the Mark of the Artist. A pungent smell of bleach and another chemical overpowered any lack of scents in the area. Braxton realized that the fabric wasn’t red, or if it had been, the bleach washed out the color hours ago. Instead, red LED lights like the ones in the hallway created the glow. Braxton lifted the edge of the fabric and could feel the bleach on his fingertips. Nothing but bleached water appeared to be under the fabric. But bleached water wouldn’t make fabric light up better. Plain water would work just as well. Another crackle of static broke through the radio mic.
“… do you copy?”
“Say again, over,” Braxton said.
Still holding the hand mic close to his mouth, Braxton scanned his surroundings. No one showed up to end the communication.
“… approval… Code elev…”
Braxton didn’t need to hear every word to know what happened outside.
“Ten four,” Braxton said, “we have possible hostages and multiple assailants. Contact Colorado, find out the status of Cass Lawrence.”
The response came as more white noise. Braxton edged towards the fabric wall and tried to send the message again, but got the same response. Cursing, Braxton placed his hand mic back on his shoulder loop and walked towards the next hallway. No matter what, he would keep Ben from dying that night.
7 thoughts on “The Exhibit 14: Disconnection”
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