Detective Ramos Archives #2 – Part 20

Jose’s jaw clenched as he stared down Nick.

“Really?”

Nick shrugged his shoulders. “No hard feelings. It’s just the cost of business.”

Jose flinched as Nick pressed the gun to his temple. His eyes darted to Elaine as she trembled on the floor. “Elaine, don’t give him anything. If you do he will kill you after he gets what he wants.”

Elaine shook her head, tears streaming down her face. “Jose, I don’t care I would give it to him if I knew but I really don’t. I don’t know what to do!”

Nick sighed. “You have ten seconds Ms. Ramos. TEN!”

“No wait!”

“NINE!”

Elaine began furiously typing anything she could think of. Still the computer showed “Incorrect password, access denied”. “I really don’t know what it is! Please don’t do this!”

“FIVE!”

“Elaine, don’t give it to him.”

“THREE!”

“Please don’t do this Nick! Mr. Durnstram didn’t tell me anything!”

“TWO! I will shoot him Ms. Ramos.”

“Elaine, it’s ok, I would gladly give my life for you.”

“ONE! Time’s up again Ms. Ramos.”

“WAIT! Jose what did you say?”

Jose looked at her closely. “I would gladly give my life for you.”

Nick’s gun clicked. “Say goodbye to your boyfriend Ms. Ramos.” But Elaine wasn’t listening. She leaned over typing each letter carefully. S-O-N-N-Y. Sonny. The dog that Tommy loved, that got her hired on this case but that saved them by giving up his life when he attacked his original owner Nick. A new pop up flashed “Access granted. What would you like to do with these files?”

“Sonny.” She whispered. She jumped up excitedly. “I got it!”

Jose groaned as Nick lowered the gun. “I knew you could help me. Now I really have no use for you.” Nick pointed the gun at Elaine.

“NO!” Jose leaped toward Nick knocking him over as a shot rang out through the warehouse. Elaine threw herself on the floor as she heard a yell from one of Nick’s henchmen who fell to the floor clutching his stomach, a pool of bright red blood formed on the cement floor around his body. The other henchman ran to his friend. Nick and Jose struggled on the floor, grunting and trying to take the gun from the other. Elaine jumped up and with all her might kicked the unaware henchmen in the head knocking him unconscious to the floor. She snatched the guns away from the two men and turned to the men still tumbling around on the ground.

Nick groaned in pain as Jose kneed him. He rolled over onto this side clutching his stomach. Jose stood and pointed the gun down at him. He looked at Elaine triumphantly. She was so relieved and opened her mouth to congratulate him when the door burst opened and a swarm of Federal Officers surrounded them.

One jogged over to her. “Ms. Ramos are you ok?”

“Yes, thank you.” She looked over to Jose as officers surrounded him, removing his gun and patting him down before they put cuffs on him. They led him over to a side area to question him. The man who jogged up to her gently held her elbow as he steered her in the opposite direction.

“Let’s check you over Ms. Ramos before we ask you some questions.” Elaine nodded as she allowed the medics to take over.

An hour and a half later Elaine sat in a roped off section of the warehouse being treated for dehydration and malnutrition. She gave her statement, denying anything she knew about Jose helping Nick. Jose was still cuffed on the other side of the warehouse talking to officers. The laptop and flash drive sat in evidence bags on a makeshift table in the center of the warehouse.

Elaine caught Jose looking at her as he was talking to the officer. The officer looked to her and nodded to Jose before leading him toward her. Elaine stood, taking her makeshift IV with her and met Jose next to the evidence table.

“Hey.” Elaine downcast her eyes. “Thank you for rescuing me.” When she looked up Jose smiled at her.

“It was my fault that you were captured to begin with. Plus I made you a promise, I would always keep you safe.”

“So, what’s going to happen to you now?” Elaine gestured to his handcuffs.

Jose shrugged. “I don’t know yet. I need to talk to my superiors. Don’t worry about me, Elaine, I can take care of myself.” He flashed his dimple as he smiled and leaned over kissing her gently next to her mouth. “Take care of yourself Elaine. Maybe we will meet again someday.” He whispered in her ear. Elaine touched the area of her face where he kissed her. He was quickly led away and placed in a car. She followed it to the door and watched it drive off into the falling snowy night.

Sadness overwhelmed her as she walked back to the medic area. Suddenly the officers’ radios began to buzz. They all sprang into action, yelling and jumping into nearby cars, wheels squealing. She grabbed an officer running past. “What’s going on? Is everything ok?”

“One of the arrested men has escaped.”

Elaine gasped. “Nick?”

“No, Jose Sanchez.”

A swirl of emotions overcame her. She felt guilty for feeling elated. Then a thought struck her and she ran to the evidence table. The evidence bag with the flash drive was missing. Her cheeks flushed as she realized Jose had used her again for his own agenda. He had stolen the flash drive. She shoved her hands in her coat pocket to keep them from shaking when she felt a piece of paper touch her fingers. She pulled it out and stared at the sprawled words written on it. “Come find me. I would enjoy sipping a drink on the beach instead of hot cocoa in the cold.”

Elaine smirked. Challenge accepted, she thought to herself.

Conclusion of Detective Ramos Archives – Nicholas Platnokiv.
Documentation for Case #3 to be uploaded soon.

Detective Ramos Archives #2 – Part 18

Elaine struggled against Nick’s henchmen trying to get free. Jose limped down the hall clutching his stomach in pain.

“Jose, nice of you to join us!” Nick shoved the flash drive inside the front pocket of his grey suit jacket. He shot Jose an irritated look. “You were one of my best men Jose. You let your feelings for this girl get in the way of your job.” His eyes settled on Jose’s stricken face. “You’ve failed me.”

Jose grimaced. “I had everything under control.”

Nick’s face flushed a deep crimson red. “Control?! You call letting this girl get away from you 3 times in a week control? You’ve never had control from the moment you set eyes on her!”

Jose grunted and turned his face from the group watching the snow fall heavily outside the front door window.

Nick shook his head and turned back to Elaine. “Now to take care of you my dear; once and for all.” Elaine kicked and screamed but the henchmen were too strong. Jose looked at Elaine with a pained look. He whispered “I’m sorry” before a dark cloth bag was placed over her head turning the world black. She felt a hand cover her nose and mouth and the last thing she remembered was telling herself to stay calm so she wouldn’t suffocate.

Elaine awoke feeling groggy and confused. She took in her surroundings. She was locked in some type of walk in freezer, that hadn’t been used in years from the filthy look of the cement floor and dusty shelves around her. A single light shone above her, with no other light source around her. She felt something crawl on her arm causing her to jump and smack at it. She shivered then walked to the door, checking the handle to see if there was a slim chance it was open. It wasn’t. She paced the small space for several minutes before finally settling in the middle of the floor. Hundreds of thoughts raced through her head. She couldn’t figure out how to get out.

Elaine rubbed her face with her hands and sneezed from the grime and dust. After a few hours she curled into a ball and began to cry, causing streaks in the dirt on her face. She pulled her wool jacket tightly around her and fell asleep.

When she woke she found a small plate of food, water and an empty pot. Time passed slowly. Food was delivered twice a day along with another empty pot replacing the old one and water was given to her 4 times a day, usually while she was asleep or preoccupied. She paced the floor, stretching and doing small exercises to keep her blood flowing so her muscles wouldn’t tighten up.

She made escape plans in her mind to keep herself from going crazy but mostly she thought of Jose. She wondered what he was doing and whether he really did care for her. Would he come and rescue her? He had betrayed her but she couldn’t shake her instinct that he was trying to still help her. She thought of when they were back in the office and when he almost kissed her. She held herself, regretting hurting him and wishing he had kissed her. She shook her head vigorously pushing the thought from her mind, angry with herself for falling for him.

Elaine didn’t know how much time had passed but she knew it must have been several days. The space was getting to her and she began to jog in place to keep herself occupied but she couldn’t help but think to herself why was Nick keeping her around? Why didn’t he just get rid of her? He had the flash drive he didn’t need her anymore. As she got on the ground to do push ups she heard the door click and creak open slowly. She quickly stood and waited expectantly. Jose’s face appeared and Elaine sighed in relief. He was here to rescue her! He really did want to protect her.

He took a step in, shoving his hands in the pockets of his jeans.

She reached out to him. “Hey, I’m…”

“Nick wants to see you.” He blurted and pushed open the heavy metal door to reveal Nick’s henchmen, arms crossed.

Dread blossomed in her stomach. She looked to Jose in disbelief but he was gone. This was finally the end.

To Be Continued…

Detective Ramos Archives #2 – Part 17

Jose’s eyes shifted to Elaine’s hand that closed over the flash drive. He made a move toward her and Elaine shifted behind the desk holding the flash drive tightly. Jose paused.

“Don’t make this hard on yourself, Elaine. Hand it over and I will let you go.”

Elaine shook her head.

Jose sighed. “Please, I don’t want to hurt you. Just give it to me and this will all go away. You won’t get hurt I promise.”

Elaine eyes flashed. “I won’t get hurt? You already broke that promise. I trusted you and you betrayed me!”

Jose’s face looked pained but she couldn’t trust his reactions anymore. They had fooled her long enough. “I really like you Elaine. I really do. This is just something I have to do. I’m sorry I broke your trust I didn’t mean for this to happen, you weren’t supposed to get involved.” He began to pace. “I have a job to do and you constantly kept getting in the way.” He paused to look at her. “I can’t ask you to trust me anymore, I know that but can you at least just believe me that I won’t let you get hurt? That’s all I’ve been trying to do this whole time was to keep you safe.”

“How am I supposed to believe that when you just gave me over to Nick earlier today? You were working with him this whole time!”

“It’s not like that…”

“I don’t believe you! You used me and I want nothing else to do with you!”

Jose’s face fell. Elaine’s emotions were in a whirl and she felt a twinge of guilt for yelling at him. But why should she feel bad? He was the one that betrayed and hurt her! Not the other way around. She was furious but needed to stay focused. She needed to get out of here. Jose covered his face with his large hands. Now was her chance.

Elaine sprinted for the door using her shoulder to push past Jose. He leaned back to avoid the impact causing her to trip over his extended leg. She fell into the door and grabbed the doorknob to yank it open but it was locked. Jose was immediately behind her and pushed her into the wall. She spun around and slapped him with full force. He held his cheek in surprise. His hand trembled with rage as he grabbed her by her shoulders and pinned her against the wall again. He face hovered in front of hers, his eyes searching her face. She knew he was angry and hurt but there was something else. He looked down at her lips and she had the thought that he might kiss her. A part of her wanted him to, for this all to have been a mistake and to just get lost in him.

Their trance was interrupted by loud talking and steps on the other side of the door. Jose’s eyes opened in surprise and she knew that Nick had followed him here. In anger, she kneed him and as he fell to the floor clutching his stomach in pain, she switched the lock and bolted out and down the hall. She turned the corner and ran right into Nick’s henchmen. They held her tightly as she kicked and squirmed trying to get free.

She was spun around and came face to face with Nick. He smiled his evil smile again.

“Elaine, you should know by now you can’t get away from me.” He took one look at her clenched hand and grabbed it, digging into her wrist and palm. She screamed in pain as he dug the flash drive out of her hand. “Finally! I was beginning to think you might have gotten the best of me Ms. Ramos, but now it is time for you to see why I’m the one in charge here.”

To Be Continued…

Detective Ramos Archives #2 – Part 16

Puffs of air floated in front of Elaine’s face as she watched her apartment from the shadows of a bush across the street. Wet snow was falling and sticking in clumps on the ground. The weather forecaster said they were expecting a blizzard tonight. It was the perfect cover.

She knew that the place would be watched by the police, but now it was a race against Nick and Jose to get the flash drive. It would be difficult to avoid both of them and the police unless she created a distraction. Elaine peered up at her dark living room window. She could see shadows moving around inside. Her boots crunched in the light snow as she crept along the snow covered grass. She blinked away the snow flakes that caught in her lashes.

Elaine carefully made her way to a spot directly across from her apartment window, leaning against a brick pillar connected to a gate. She had only one chance to do this correctly. She glanced around before stepping out onto the frozen sidewalk. She planted her feet, pulled her arm back as far as she could then hurled a brick directly at the window. Glass shattered onto the fire escape and sidewalk below as an alarm pierced the quiet night.

Elaine jumped back behind the pillar and pressed herself into the shadows to avoid being seen. She pulled a scarf over her mouth to hide the puffs of warm air her breath made. The night burst into confusion, shouting police officers raced into the building while the people inside yelled at each other. She heard more glass shattering and feet pounding down the metal steps of the fire escape.

“Stop right there!” There was a scuffling of feet on pavement and glass followed by grunting and clicking of hand cuffs. Radio static filled the air. “We apprehended two of the men trying to escape.” More static. “Great, bring them to the front.” The radio clicked off. “Let’s go.”

Elaine heard more grunting and shuffling as the captured men were moved by the police. She waited a few seconds before peeking around to find the area empty. She looked up to the now lit window to see an apologetic officer removing handcuffs from Jose! Jose’s face was contorted in anger as he yelled something about ruining his investigation. They both turned from the window giving Elaine a chance to sneak off into the night. Her plan couldn’t have gone better.

The bus ride to her office building was less eventful, which Elaine was grateful for. She felt the weight of the past few weeks press down on her. She couldn’t even remember the last time she had a decent night’s sleep.

She looked up at the dark building and smirked to herself. She had hoped Jose hadn’t remembered that after leaving the police station over a week ago, he had taken her to her office first before taking her home. She had wanted to pick up her laptop when they had come across the chaos Nick’s henchmen had left her office in. In her shock she had dropped the manila folder on her desk, which is why Jose hadn’t found it at her apartment. It would only be a matter of time before he realized his mistake so she needed a distraction to keep him busy so she could get it first.

Elaine pushed open her office door and peered into the dark room. Light from a lamp post outside the window shone through just enough for her to pick her way around the littered office. She didn’t want to chance turning on the lights. She immediately spotted the manila folder lying on a pile of papers on her desk. She picked it up and tipped it over, a small grey flash drive landing neatly in her hand.

Relief flooded her. She finally had it and now had to figure out what to do with it. She turned and jumped at the shadow blocking the door. The light switched on blinding her for a moment. Jose’s face came into view through the glare.

“This ends here.” His voice was like a low growl and his eyes flashed menacingly. The door closed silently behind him except for the click of the lock.

To Be Continued…

Detective Ramos Archives #2 – Part 15

Jose yanked the door open and shoved Elaine forward. He spoke low in her ear “Don’t try anything.” Elaine couldn’t believe her luck. She knew that even if she were to hand over the flash drive, Nick wouldn’t let her go alive. She needed to find a way out of this but she didn’t even know who to trust anymore. Like Mack said, the guy Jose & she had met with a few days before, Nick had the city in the palm of his hand so how could she stop him once and for all?

Elaine and Jose walked down the long hall to the door of the main hotel hallway. Jose swiftly opened the door allowing Elaine to walk through first. Elaine hesitated, wanting to stall, when she saw Matt jogging toward her.

“Elaine! Where have you been? I’ve been looking everywhere for you.” Matt paused and looked to Jose who was coming through the door behind Elaine. His eyebrows rose and he hesitated a few feet from Elaine. Jose paused, caught off guard by Matt, so Elaine decided that was her cue. She kicked back, catching Jose in the shin; he yelped out in pain and bent over.

Elaine bolted grabbing Matt by the arm and dragging him behind her. “Come on, run! We have to get out of here!” Matt obeyed and took off, his eyes wide and mouth in a firm line.

“Elaine stop!” Jose’s footsteps were close behind. They had to get out of here quickly. Elaine spotted the back door she took to leave the Gala; she reached for Matt’s hand and tugged him to the door. Together they yanked it open and slide inside.

The Gala was still going in full swing, flushed faced people swished around them as they mingled and swayed to the music. Elaine held tight to Matt’s hand as they wove their way through the crowd to the front door.

As they sprinted out the door the doorman called “Have a great night! Thank you for coming!”

Elaine threw a wave back and continued on. “We need to get to your uncle’s newsstand. We can hide there.” Matt nodded and in a burst of speed, raced across the street easily. He raised his hands in the air waving down his uncle. With the dress and heels Elaine’s progress was much slower and she was almost hit by two cars before she finally hobbled to a stop in front of Sal’s newsstand. Sal was waving to her and pointed to an area beneath the counter area where his cash register stood. Matt was already crouched below looking uncomfortable with this knees pressed tightly against his body.

Elaine heard shouting behind her. She glanced back to see Jose and a couple of Nick’s bodyguards leaving the hotel. She dove under the counter and huddled up next to Matt. Sal pulled a curtain in front of them so they were blocked from view. Matt closed his eyes breathing deeply and placing his chin on his knees. Elaine tried to do the same in the tight space.

“Sir! Have you seen a woman with a young man come this way?”

“They went down the alley.”

“Guys! They went this way!” Elaine heard pounding feet run past and echo down the alley. When all was clear Sal pushed aside the curtain.

“Thanks Sal.” Elaine pushed herself up and stretched, Matt immediately behind her. “That’s the second time you’ve saved me Sal. How can I repay you?” Elaine leaned over and gave Sal a warm hug.

“Did you get what you were looking for?”

“That and more Sal; much more.”

“Why were you with that guy in that room if you didn’t want to be around him?” Matt rubbed his hands in the cold air.

“Well, I wasn’t sure if I could trust him but he proved to me I can’t. Thank you so much Matt for all of your help. If you hadn’t come down the hall when you did I wouldn’t have been able to get away.” Elaine hugged Matt tightly. He looked down at Elaine.

“But why is he trying to get you?”

Elaine pulled away. “I…I can’t tell you guys.” She looked sadly at Sal. “I appreciate all your help but if I told you then you would be in danger too and this is something that I have to deal with on my own.”

Sal reached out a wrinkled hand and touched her cheek. “Well you let us know if you need anything we are always here if you need anything.”

Elaine nodded her thank you and waved as she slowly made her way back to her hotel. She needed to find that flash drive, tonight.

To Be Continued…

Detective Ramos Archives #2 – Part 14

Jose refused to look at Elaine. She glared at him waiting for an answer. He had betrayed her and he couldn’t even give her the courtesy of looking at her. She should have trusted her head and not her gut.

“Ms. Ramos please have a seat I don’t have all day.” Nick gestured again to the arm chair facing him. Elaine hesitated unsure of where to go. She would have to get past Jose to exit the way they came and Nick to get out the window. Elaine held her head high as she walked slowly to the arm chair and threw herself down. She sat perched at the edge ready to flee when she got the chance.

“Thank you.” Nick sat back placing his elbows on the arm rests and touching the tips of his fingers together as he contemplated Elaine. She held his gaze not wanting him to see her fear.

“Elaine, you have caused me a lot of problems. I am having a hard time trying to figure out what to do with you. For one you have a lot of information on me and I can’t have you around messing things up.”

“So why don’t you just get rid of me?”

Nick chuckled. “Oh that would be easy except that everyone knows about you and me and if you go missing…well…I will be the number one suspect. Now normally that wouldn’t be a big deal to me except I need you.”

Elaine’s eyes widened. “Me? What do you need me for?”

Nick’s smile widened. “You sure do an excellent job playing the innocent victim don’t you?”

Elaine furrowed her brow confused. Nick’s smile faltered; his cool demeanor vanishing, his voice low and dangerous.

“Where is it?”

“Where is what?”

“Don’t play coy with me you know what I’m talking about. Just give it to me and nothing will happen to you.”

Elaine shook her head, shrugging her shoulders. “Nick I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Nick jerked up and slammed his fist on the desk making Elaine jump.

“The flash drive! Where is it? He gave it to you I know he did!”

Elaine put her hands up defensively. “Who gave it to me? What are you talking about?”

Jose’s calm voice traveled across the room. “Maybe she really doesn’t know Nick.” Nick flashed his eyes toward Jose. “Look Nick I was there. She trusted me. She didn’t mention anything about this flash drive.” Elaine blushed at Jose’s words. Nick thought aloud.

“So, you don’t know about the flash drive. But I’m sure that he gave it to you.”

“Who?”

Nick broke from his thoughts seeming to notice Elaine for the first time. “Mr. Durnstram of course.” Elaine’s mouth fell open. “Oh my, maybe you really don’t know. I guess he did keep it a secret then. Oh he is very clever.”

“Are you sure that he gave it to her?”

Nick’s eyes never moved from Elaine’s face as he answered Jose. “I’m positive. He told Tony he gave it to her.”

Elaine sat back and closed her eyes. She gently touched her temples willing the oncoming headache to go away. Suddenly a thought occurred to her. She had forgotten about the manila envelope that Mr. Durnstram’s lawyer gave her at the station, the one that contained the check inside. She hadn’t searched the rest of the envelope. She had assumed it was only the check but could there have been more? Her eyes popped open to Nick’s cold eyes carefully watching her.

“Ah, you’ve figured out where it could be haven’t you?” Nick smiled as Elaine tightened her lips. “Jose! Take Ms. Ramos back to her apartment and help her look for the flash drive, then bring her along with the flash drive back to me.”

“Yes sir.” Jose reached over and grabbed Elaine forcefully by the arm. “Come on let’s go.”

Elaine’s heart fluttered. She couldn’t let Nick get that flash drive.

To Be Continued…

Detective Ramos Archives #2 – Part 13

“Elaine, how did you get in here?” Elaine squeezed her eyes closed willing the voice to just disappear. She felt a warm hand touch her bare shoulder sending a tingly sensation down her back. She knew she had to face him so she slowly turned to see Jose, dressed sharply in a black suit and maroon tie, staring at her expectantly.

“Oh…erm…hey there.”

Jose’s eyes widened. “Hey there?” His eyes swept over her dress a hint of approval shadowed his face. “Elaine, where have you been? I’ve been searching for you all over the city for the past 2 days! I didn’t know if you were taken, hurt or even…alive.” Elaine felt a twinge of guilt at the stricken look on his face. Then she remembered why she had fled to begin with.

“Well I had to leave. You…ummm…I…I heard that Nick knew of the transport and had someone waiting to get me as soon as I walked outside with you.” The lie burned in her mouth like a hot coal. She didn’t know why she lied; she just couldn’t bring herself to say it was because she didn’t trust him. How would she explain how she knew his secret? She couldn’t just tell him she peeked in his phone. At least that was the reason she told herself and that it didn’t have to do with the disappointed look on his face.

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, I just didn’t know how without getting caught. I left in the middle of the night and just have been laying low.”

Jose looked directly in her eyes. Elaine immediately knew that he thought she was lying. She blushed and looked down unable to hold his gaze. Jose opened his mouth to respond when they heard a door open. He glanced over his shoulder then grabbed her arm pulling her into the room she had just been about to enter.

“Come on, you’re not supposed to be back here.” He pulled her into a large cozy office with a solid desk and cushiony chair in the center of the room. A large window faced them and wooden cabinets lined the wall to their right. To their left was another door. Jose guided her to the door and opened it, nudging her inside.

“It’s the bathroom. Close and lock the door and don’t turn on the light. Don’t open the door unless you hear 3 knocks. That will be me.” Jose turned and strode to the other side of the office, opening a cabinet door and reaching inside for something. Elaine couldn’t see what it was because at that moment the office door began to open. She quietly shut the bathroom door and locked it as instructed. She didn’t know why she trusted Jose at this moment. He could be setting her up. Her head told her everything she had found so far pointed to his betrayal, but her gut told her there had to be an explanation. Her gut was rarely wrong. She had to trust him.

Elaine could hear muffled voices from the other side of the door. She tried in vain to hear the conversation but it was difficult to hear over the sound of her rapid breathing. It felt like hours before she heard the 3 raps on the door. She let out a breath and unlocked the door, opening it slowly.

Jose stood across the room his arms crossed, his expression unreadable. Elaine tentatively walked out of the bathroom.

“Jose, is everything ok?”

“Welcome Elaine. It’s so nice of you to finally join us.” Elaine jumped. Sitting comfortably at the desk was Nick an evil grin plastered across his face. He gestured to an arm chair facing him. “Come join me and let’s have a talk. Just like old times.”

Her gut was wrong. Jose had betrayed her.

To Be Continued…