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Ivy’s Twisted Vine

Author’s Note

This is a work of fiction. All events and characters in this story are solely the product of the author’s imagination; any similarities between any characters and situations presented in this book to any individuals living or dead or actual places and situations are purely coincidental.


South Memphis

Late September

9:15 p.m.

The midnight air rushed fiercely in Lt. Nicola Agosto’s face as he opened the unmarked squad car and hit the ground running half-stunned by the extreme intensity of the weather. Sprinting through the snowy slush, he tried to ignore his aching knees and brain-wrenching migraine.

Under no circumstances could he let this perp get away. He was the only lead they had in the Caesar Dominguez case.

Pushing past the pressure on his lungs, he gasped for a second wind. Plunging through large puddles of water and trying to avoid shards of broken glass that lined his path down the dark alleyway, he felt for his gun as he watched for any possible threat of an ambush.

Even at nearly thirty, Nicola was still quite agile. There was no cop on Truitt Street faster and no perp anywhere in Memphis smarter than he was, or at least he liked to think so.

Stretching his legs out a little longer to close the gap between he and his prey, Nicola’s stride became more powerful as he went searing through the gusty wind. He smiled inwardly feeling invincible as he caught a glimpse of his shadow under the streetlights. He hoped that he would walk away victorious from the chase and go safely home to a cold empty bed and a strong lonely drink.

Hearing his partner Brooks somewhere behind him, Nicola jumped an old wooden fence and felt a sharp splinter rip into his skin. Ahh! Almost invincible.

Landing in a puddle of muddy half-frozen water, Nicola saw the young drug dealer run into a vacant house. Wiping the grit from his eyes and posting up, he ran to the side of the door and looked in quickly. Nothing. Damn it.

Seeing Brooks follow over the fence, Nicola signaled into the house. Taking a deep breath, he burst through the door with his gun pointed, ready to fire. His adrenaline was pumping and his gear irritated him. Tugging at the top of his bulletproof vest with his index finger, he prepared to clear all of the downstairs rooms.

The perp-catching process, as he had termed it, was executed with total precision and extreme prejudice. After all, he had been chasing offenders for nearly a decade. It was simple enough to him. Don’t move to fast, because the runner would always lead you to where he was headed. Don’t move to slow, because you might lose him. And don’t move without your partner, because it was nothing like being caught in the jungle alone. It used to make him livid, but he didn’t even get angry anymore. He understood the game now.

The old house reeked of odors left by homeless crackheads that had used it for shelter. Cockroaches climbed the walls and hoards of rats hid in the corners peeping out past the shadows. Cold winds ripped through the dark, empty hallways and rattled the old hanging portraits.

Slowly, Nicola peered in every entry under nasty discolored dusty furniture and listened past the creaking sounds of wind and rain for a clue of where the young man was hiding. Finally as he focused in, he could hear movement upstairs.

Junkies and dealers alike were so stupid. Why would you go upstairs in a rickety old house? Anyone downstairs would be able to track you, he thought to himself as he put his infrared on the ceiling.

He could end it all right now. All he had to do was shoot above him. He was almost certain that he wouldn’t miss. But the point was to extract useful Intel, not to use the boy as target practice.

“Why don’t you just come out, and let me take you downtown? At least you’ll get out of here alive. If I don’t kill you, the rats will,” Nicola said, as he and Brooks took their positions at the base of the staircase leading up to the second level of the house.

“I ain’t goin’ back to juvy,” the young man screamed in a cracking adolescent voice.

“You know, there are a lot worse things than juvy?” Nicola said, slipping on his night vision goggles.

“Like what?” the teenager asked sardonically.

“Great, a kid,” Brooks said, shaking his head. They hated chasing teens.

“The night just keeps getting better and better.” Nicola tugged at his vest again.

Nicola instantly thought back to his last teenage chase. It went from a car chase to a foot pursuit. They ended up cornering the base heads in an alleyway. The teens were trapped, too scared to jump the fence, where three bulldogs salivated and barked wildly at the prospect of fresh meat. When he snatched up what he thought was two boys, he discovered that he had two fifteen-year-old parochial school girls that had been in the hood scrounging for crack cocaine.

“Stall him,” Brooks said, bringing Nicola back to the task at hand.

“Look, if you don’t come down, then we’ll have to come up after you,” Nicola taunted as he watched his partner pull the tear gas from his vest.

“Come on then!” the scared young man screamed again, this time sending several shots down the stairs to greet the cold and frustrated pair. “I ain’t never scared,” the boy screamed, holding his gun closely to him.

“Obviously,” Nicola retorted under his breath.

“Don’t worry, we’ll snatch a knot in his ass…after we catch our breath.” Brooks said, as he leaned against the wall. “Man, I’m tired.”

“You’re tired? I left you with the squad car. I’m the one out here running like a guard dog after this kid. I swear I don’t feel like doing this tonight.”

“You know what…I ran last night. So I don’t feel sorry for you.” Brooks snapped.

“You ran, but did we catch him?”

“That was your fault,” Brooks said, remembering the

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