New York, New York
“We’ve got a situation here, do you read me, over?”
That night, it's the eve of Christmas. It's the usual business for most households, but it was different for police officers like Ronald.
At the back his head, there was this “guilt feeling” that says: he should've just agreed to stay inside his cozy apartment. If so he did, he must've been sipping a cup of hot chocolate while watching Home Alone, one the classic Christmas tale he grew up watching every Christmas eve.
He should've said yes to his Chief when he told him to let others take the shift for the night. He refused. He’s the hard headed type. Besides, he's got no one to celebrate the festivity with.
“Do you copy? I said we’ve got a situation here. The Mannequin Museum, I am requesting for some back up here, over.” he said.
“What is it?” a woman from the other line replied. “I've already sent some back up but can you please confirm what's the situation is?”, she added.
“It’s the Witch, he’s back. I saw him here and we are on a play with him.”
“ Are you sure it’s him?”
“Affirmative. Hey, I’ll just ring you back, things are heating up here.”
With him was Conrad, a friend for ten years and his most trusted co-worker. They’ve both been dealing with criminals, and been in action together since day one of his service. As long as they’re together, it’s a good team. They’ll make it out alive.
“Told ya, you should've said yes to Chief when he said you take to the night.”, said Conrad in an act like teasing him.
He can see how tired Ronald's been since the divorce. He saw day and night how his friend drowned himself into tons of paperwork in the morning, then sobber himself by nightfall.
“You know me,” he said, while keeping an eye along the alley as the Witch keeps himself protected by the wall.
“I just can’t stay at home”, he said in a mellow voice. He can’t. He'll just pity himself for being alone. He would rather be at a life risking situation than keeping the company of his own shadow.
Time passed and still the firing continued. Stained glasses of the museum were breaking, and it's been a non-stop action for already half an hour. The Witch, whom they've been chasing for over eight long and challenging years, now is trapped.
“If I were you, I would just surrender and I’ll ask the chief to somehow lessen your years of sentence. How’s that for a deal?” Conrad said.
“I’m not as stupid as you are. Just shut your mouth. My surrender is definitely not negotiable even at this moment, you dickheads”
“Okay, so no more surrender and no more lowering of sentence. So were doing this the hard way.”
“The hard way it is, sir.”
Hours passed and HQ's back up arrived. Sirens filled the entire museum and there’s nothing left for the Witch but to surrender. Definitely, the Witch's been cornered and he couldn’t find another way out. Unless, some miracle happen to save him from being caught.
“You hear that? That’s us telling you to put your gun down ‘cause this is done. You’ve got nothing else to do, nowhere else to hide.”
Slowly, the duo - Ronald and Conrad, marched to the corner where the Witch was.
“I don’t want to count but you’ve left me no choice, get the hell out of there, raise your hand and turn around as I say three or I’ll definitely fire this gun without hesitation!”
Ronald felt odd. His gut-feeling's been telling him that something’s wrong. The Witch, it seems like he’s no longer around. He could sense it, and this is bothering him.
He heard something flickered at the back of the desk. To his shock, he knew it - there's something wrong. The Witch's already gone and a bomb's about to explode in half a minute!
“He is no longer here! Let’s get out! There’s a bomb! And we’ve got about half a minute, so go!”
Suddenly, there's this deafening silence after the explosion. Ronald couldn't breathe. He froze. He's wounded, so as Conrad. He knew the Witch got away, but the question was: how?
He felt like they’re dead, but they're not. On the other hand, he was grateful. He survived a supposedly festive night, not just from the bomb - but from the crippling loneliness of celebrating it all by himself.