Early Monday morning, Laverne Kowalski and her little sister Veronica head down to Washington Irving High School for a meeting with the Dean of Students, Mr. Flyss. It is a long and tense drive. Veronica sat quietly in her seat like a condemned on her way to a lethal injection. She didn’t dare say a word to her sister, who was absolutely furious over the incident with Bethany Salem. Despite her protests that she did nothing herself, she was a part of the incident and did nothing to stop it. Veronica was busted, she deserved it, and she knew it. Det. Laverne Kowalski had already called in to the station and informed them she has to take some Lost Time.
Mr. Flyss speaks with Laverne first, explaining in full what had happened. A group of students, including Veronica, and led by the school troublemaker, Karl Marsden, cornered freshman Bethany Salem in the gym. After bullying her, someone—they think it was Karl—pulled out a lighter and tried to set her hair on fire. Some of the others restrained Bethany while this happened. A teacher broke the incident up. Bethany was not seriously hurt, but she is understandably shaken.
Mr. Flyss says, “Ronnie says that she did not actively participate in this, but she does admit to being there. I believe her, but as a freshman she is already starting out with a bad crowd at this school. Karl has been expelled, and the rest are being suspended, Veronica included, for three days. But I think something more is needed. Your husband couldn’t make it today?”
“I’m not married,” replies Laverne.
“I see, well raising a daughter alone can be a challenge.”
“Veronica is my sister. I was given custody after our mother died.”
“We’re catching Ronnie early enough that we might be able to focus her energies elsewhere. If you agree, I’d like to make her participate in something extracurricular to keep her more occupied. Out school’s drama program is very good, and there will be three shows this semester. I’d like to enroll Ronnie in this. She’d help putting the shows together and running them. It’s fun, but it’s a lot of work. I think she could benefit from something like this.”
They eventually call in Veronica and Mr. Flyss reads her the riot act. She naturally acts like her life is over, but she’s smart enough to shut up and take it or things may get worse for her. Starting in three days she will start work on the first show coming up, Guys and Dolls. Veronica will come to the precinct house after school where she will do homework under supervision. Once that is done she will “volunteer” to help do filing, whether it be with Lisa Aldonato, or upstairs for John Tunney in Anti-Crime. Then Laverne will take her to the school to work on the show, and then pick her up afterward. Veronica slips into the Ninth Layer of Hell, from her perspective!
Meanwhile the detectives of the 13th Precinct are settling into their day’s work. But the normal morning banter is cut short when a shot rings out from down stairs. The detectives stare at each other for a second, as if to see if everyone else hears it, too!
“GUN!” The shout is accompanied by the screams and curses of the officers and civilians below, and punctuated by repeated blasts from what sounds like a shotgun. The stairs is too vulnerable a position to go charging into an unknown scene. Return gunfire rages from below. The other officers are fighting back, but the shotgun blasts continue! Does no one have a good shot? Is there more than one perp? The detectives want to help, but there are too many cover spots below and the stairs are just too damn vulnerable! Cries of pain mingle with the screams of frightened civilians. Finally the shooting dies down. Are the perps down? There is no “all clear” call. Finally the detectives hear footfalls on the stairs. Someone is coming up! They immediately take cover, their service revolvers out.
Lumbering up the stairs is a walking nightmare! He is a giant of a man, wearing average street clothes and sporting a huge army jacket, and toting a 12g. Street Sweeper! But what’s worse, he is drenched in blood; and from the condition of his clothes, much of it is his! This man has clearly been hit multiple times by small arms fire—and he’s still walking!
The detectives trade fire with the gunman, but nothing seems to bring this guy down! Suddenly the gunman levels a shot at another detective and fires! The man goes down with a cry of pain. The gunman pumps the forend, back and forth, but the weapon doesn’t chamber another cartridge. He drops the shotgun and draws out a .357 semi-automatic pistol. O’Hinn tries for a headshot but catches the gunman in the shoulder. The gunman turns and fires at O’Hinn and catches him in the torso! This guy isn’t using buckshot! He’s using ball cartridges! Fortunately O’Hinn’s ballistic vest holds out, but it feels like slug might have cracked a rib! The gunman advances as O’Hinn goes down. Shirley hits the gunman several times, but no good! He staggers with each hit, but he continues on like something from a Romero movie! Several shots ring out from behind! A couple of the officers made their way up the stairs. A good shot strikes the gunman in the back of the head sending a spray of blood across the ceiling—a hunk of his skull, still attached to his hair, flips up and over like a trashcan lid. It wobbles obscenely over the gunman’s face as he falls to his knees, dropping the .357! Then he falls forward and face-plants on the floor. Blood pools out rapidly around the fallen gunman as officers move in and secure the .357 and search for any other firearms. They find a .45 tucked into the gunman’s belt for backup when he emptied the .357.
The precinct becomes a whirlwind of activity. ES is called in to tend the wounded; O’Hinn is taken in an ambulance to the hospital while Shirley helps her fellow officers and tries to make sense of the situation. Nobody has any idea who the gunman is
Det. Laverne Kowalski turns her car onto 22nd St. and comes up on a sea of people. She can see a small forest of telescoping transmission masts from the tops of multiple news vans, their roofs like an archipelago in a sea of people. The scene actually draws Veronica out of her self-involved funk.
“Oh my god, what happened?”
“I don’t know,” says Laverne. She has no choice but to double-park. As she gets out of the car she says, “Stay here” to Veronica.
Det. Kowalski makes her way through the press of people: A mix of curious onlookers and rabid reporters. When Kowalski gets through she finds a fence of striped a-frame barricades. It is lines with tense looking officers. She makes eye contact with one. The look between them says it all: Someone attacked their House. Kowalski turns quickly back to her car, fighting her way through again. She sees that Veronica is standing outside the car, next to the passenger-side door.
“Go straight home, now!”
Veronica is not about to question that tone of voice. She turns and starts off on her way toward their apartment building. She looks back a couple of times, but keeps moving.
When Kowalski gets into the precinct she finds a war zone. Bullet holes and blood splatter the walls. Smeared pools of blood cover the ground, along with urine—probably spontaneously vacated either through fear or pain. Papers are everywhere, along with overturned furniture. What the fuck happened here? EMTs are carrying out body bags. Kowalski’s thoughts go to Ravetti. But to her relief she finds him. She controls her inappropriate relief and asks him what happened. She learns that “some guy” came in and shot up the place. He just kept shooting. Officers returned fire, but the freak wouldn’t go down. Current speculation is PCP, but something about it doesn’t feel right. A total of four dead and six wounded is the total casualty list. Among the wounded is Det. Sgt. O’Hinn. Kowalski eventually heads up to Robbery/Homicide and meets Det. Shirley. The two go over what happened in detail. The gunman seemed to ignore the civilians in the precinct house and concentrated on uniformed officers. It was a nightmare. He just kept coming! People were hitting him! The guy was bleeding all over! You could see the hits; but apart from a momentary stagger, he just lumbered on!
Putting on crime scene gloves, Kowalski kneels down to check out the body. As she goes through his pockets, she notices something: Some kind of scratches on his stomach, revealed when his shirt rides up while she’s searching him. She lifts the hem of his shirt and sees writing! The two detectives share a look, then draw the shirt all the way up to reveal words scratched into the man’s skin.
“Carus porci, attendite et recordabor!”
“What the fuck is this supposed to be?” Kowalski writes the message down. Years of life as a Catholic tell her that it is Latin, but that’s all. Hers is not a church that does Mass entirely in Latin. Kowalski and Shirley continue to roll the suspect and finally come up with something in the perp’s pants pocket: a folded up piece of paper. They quickly unfold it and find an address, but it’s not the address of the police station. The address is in the East Village at 626 East 11th Street.
“We need to get here quick,” says Kowalski. “You up for a drive?”
“Sure,” replies Shirley.
The detectives arrive with ample back-up. The address is to a community garden set in between the buildings. The gate to the garden is unlocked. The police carefully step into the garden area. It leads in between the buildings into a wider area. The area is a miniature farm right in the midst of the city. Well-cultivated rows of food plants are in full verdure everywhere. Along one wall a tarpaulin is draped precariously over something. Revolvers out, the detectives carefully approach the tarp. On three they pull it down to reveal a body pinned to the wall with rebar. The body is dressed in a suit with the shirt torn open. Blood has pooled into a sticky mud below. Disturbed, Det. Shirley recognizes the man as the FBI agent who questioned her about the bone pit. They notice something about the man’s body and carefully part his shirt. Scraped into the man’s skin are the words,
“Hic Finitur leccionem – Corvi.”
The police immediately start cordoning off the area and call in CSU to process the scene. On initial search of the area, Det. Kowalski finds the chain normally used to lock the gate to the garden. Also nearby is the lock—only, the lock is all bent and broken, almost as if twisted off! The job could have been done with a crowbar, but it would still take a very strong person to do this.
CSU arrives and start setting up shop. Meanwhile the detectives begin canvasing the area. The garden is tended by several buildings in the neighborhood. Most of the most ardent participants are found in one building. The detectives question the super, a man named Sam Scheckie. Unfortunately most people in the building turn in early. It caters to older residents. After speaking to several of the tenants, the best they can come up with is some strange noises. But nothing the tenants tell the detectives would account for the violence necessary to do what was done to the FBI agent.
The detectives check with the lead CSU detective, Sylvesterson. He says there’s nothing but weird so far. The guy wasn’t mounted on the rebar. The only blood on the rebar is just around the wound. It looks like the agent was pinned to the brick wall with the rebar! Also, near the body CSU found a small bracelet with the name “Genevieve” engraved on it. Det.’s Shirley and Kowalski call into the station to find what may be new. They came up with a name Bernard Metz, Caucasian male, aged 25 years. He is currently a patient at Bellevue Hospital
Before heading to Bellevue, the detectives check in at the hospital to find out about O’Hinn and the other officers. O’Hinn’s vest stopped the bullet, but the concussion cracked a rib. Still he’s cleared for light duty. The other officers are stable, but will be out for a while.
Because it was a police station the shooter blasted away at, Dex already has a few findings for the detectives. Nothing makes sense about him! The man was wearing no body armor, he was shot multiple times from multiple angles; and except for the kill shot to the head, and every wound had shallow penetration and light bleeding. Also, there is no sign of phencyclidine or any dissociative drug in his system, so the high on angel dust theory is right out. Also, Dex has a handle on what the words mean. He says, “Like before, it’s Latin., It says, “’Here ends the lesson’, and it’s signed The Ravens.” Dex shrugs, his usual chipper self, “Kind of dramatic. I think it’s more, ‘Here endeth the lesson.’ Kind of fancy style of Latin, almost Biblical.”
The rest of the day the detectives run down the life of Bernard Metz. Nothing about this kid’s life adds up. He had Down ’s Syndrome and was by all accounts a gentle person. The doctors at Bellevue cannot understand what had happened with Bernie. He has a friend at the hospital, a girl named Genevieve. They confirmed that he was trying to get a birthday present for her. He wanted her name, and he wanted to learn how to spell it himself. It apparently took him two months to learn how to spell Genevieve’s name. Genevieve herself is a sweet girl of sixteen years of age. The age difference between the two seemed irrelevant. Genny, as she is often called, doesn’t understand yet that something has happened to Bernie. “Bernie is my friend,” she says in a slow, deliberate tone.
While Det. Kowalski interviews the doctors and Genevieve, Det. Shirley takes a tour of the facility, and examines Bernard’s sleeping area. Using her ability to sense impressions, she gets the reading on an employee named Spinks. Gerald Spinks is an orderly on the night shift. The images she gets with the sensations are very disturbing, but she doesn’t know what to make of them yet.
Det.’s Shirley and Kowalski track down Mr. Spinks while O’Hinn tracks down the Metz family in Long Island. The detectives uncover a twisted abuse case with Mr. Spinks involving some of the patience, but nothing substantial about Bernard Metz. O’Hinn brings the parents in but the interview reveals nothing new. There seems to be absolutely no reason why Bernie Metz flipped out and shot up a police station.
The detectives finish up the night at the Blue Line tavern and discuss what happened. With so many fellow officers down, nobody’s really in a celebrating mood. Laverne goes and picks up her little sister, Veronica, and brings her down for some dinner. There Ronnie has to defend herself as she is questioned about what happened in school. Later, however, she gathers everyone’s attention by pointing them outside the tavern.
“That’s weird, I know that guy,” she says, pointing to a large man on a motorcycle. He is a huge man, completely bald and seemingly tattooed over every visible part of his body. Even from this distance the swastika seems prominently featured.
“You know that guy,” asks Laverne sternly. “Let me ask you a question, why do you know that guy? Is that the kind of guys you’re hanging out with now?”
“I don’t hang out with him,” says Ronnie. “That guy’s scary; I don’t have anything to do with him. I just seen him around He’s this Nazi skinhead biker guy, goes by the name ‘Pink Tom’.”
As the group looks out the window they see Pink Tom talking with another, much smaller man. They are in front of the 13th Precinct House and gesturing to it animatedly. The two men finish their conversation and part ways. The second man walks right by the window of the Blue Line. The group can’t help but stare at him. He is a rather smallish man, with neatly cropped blond hair and an intense look on his face. He is dressed in dark colors and is wearing a London Fog-style trench coat. To everyone’s surprise, as he passes by the window of the Blue Line, he looks right at the group. He pauses, grins, and then continues on his way. After that strange situation, the group decides to call it a night.
The ride back is difficult on Ronnie as she has to endure a lecture from Laverne on the kinds of people she’s been hanging out with. The conversation ends as Ronnie points out the window and says, “Hey, there’s that guy.”
Sure enough, the blond man is walking down the street alone.
Laverne gets her sister home and makes sure she’s settled in the room for the night. One done, she then decides to go out for a little walk.
Det. Laverne Kowalski was burning with questions. She wasn’t exactly sure what she was looking for, but she felt she needed to go look. She made her way east on 19th Street and turned north on 3rd Avenue toward the station. Of course the streets of New York City are never empty, but there was hardly anyone out at this time of night. Cars passed by leaving Laverne to walk through plumes of exhaust. The air was filled with the sounds of the city: Honking car horns, police and ambulance sirens, and the constant drone that most natives never even notice.
Then across the street on 2nd Avenue past 20th Street she saw the blond haired man. He walked out of an alley and was walking along with what Laverne characterized as a determined gate. She watched him for a while until he suddenly stopped and looked right at her.
She doesn’t know why, but a chill runs up Laverne’s spine. The man starts crossing the street toward her. Rather than retreat, Laverne stands her ground. He is not a large man, but he has an air of authority about him. When he gets close she can see that he is a rather young looking man, handsome, with short blond hair in a style she’d never seen before.
“It is a dangerous city for a lady to walk alone, don’t you think?” he asked in a decidedly German accent.
“I like walking at night,” Laverne replied.
“The night is beautiful,” the man agreed. “I can’t help but wondering at your apparent interest in me.”
“I was wondering what you were doing in front of the police station.”
“You are a police officer, yes?” He pulls out a cigarette and lights it. Ash he returns the tin of cigarettes to his trench coat, Laverne spots something. Perhaps it is a gun, she is not sure.
He sees that she notices something and smiles. “You have a good eye, would you like to see?”
“I’d prefer you keep it right where it is,” says Laverne, thinking about the Beretta she has tucked in her belt at the small of her back. As he moves she can clearly see the pommel of what looks to be a rather elegant looking knife in some sort of baldric.
“You are a police officer, yes?” he asked again. The shadows cast the young man’s face with a sinister look. She couldn’t put her finger on it, but she felt a cold undertone in his voice that rather disturbed her. Then Laverne’s memory ceases.
In his Queens home, O’Hinn is pouring over the newspaper clippings left him by the two strange women, Gwynn and Moira. His phone rings and despite the late hour, he answers it, “O’Hinn.”
“Um, this is Veronica,” says the young voice on the other end. “Have you seen my sister? Is she there?”
“No, she’s not here,” says O’Hinn. “What’s going on?”
“She went out for a walk but she didn’t come back. It’s been a few hours. I don’t know what to do.”
“Stay put, I’ll be right there.”
O’Hinn first checked at the precinct house to see if she was there working late, or maybe decided to crash upstairs in the crib. No sign of Kowalski there at all. He drove to Laverne’s apartment and talked to Ronnie. He told her to stay there in case she came back, and to lock the door. O’Hinn began driving up and down the streets of the area looking for any sign of his partner. After over an hour of looking, he finally sees something.
Laverne woke up in a dark, empty room. She was dizzy and felt drunk. She could not remember anything that happened. There is a trace smell of vaporized bullet lubricant and a metallic smell from vaporized lead are in the stale air. Someone had been firing a gun. The thought occurred to her as a curiosity and she realized that it did not have the sense of emergency that she knew it should have. What happened?
Laverne picks herself off the ground, her muscles aching in protest. She is in a very dark room. After a few moments of stumbling around she finds a door and opens it. She finds herself in an alley at the bottom of a set of stairs going to street level. She stumbles out of the door like a common drunk. Navigating the stairs seems more work than it should be. She is very light-headed. When she makes her way to street level she begins to shuffle toward the lighted street. As she does she falls onto a parked car. The car alarm goes off noisily—God!—her head is pounding!
The few people on the street give her a wide berth as they pass the crazy doped up chick. Laverne takes inventory of herself. She is bruised up, and for some reason there is a bunch of holes in her jacket. The persistent, sharp ache on her arm is from a bullet graze! She’s been shot! She checks herself all over; no holes. The only damage is on her upper arm. Apparently the other holes were from a series of near misses! But as she pats herself down she finds that her neck is wet. In the reflection of a car window she can see that her face is cut! What, the hell!
Disoriented and panicking, Laverne stumbles her way along the street. A car stops and someone gets out and runs to her. Thinking it some panhandler—she has no idea why that thought came to her—she tries to push him away. Only after a few moments of incoherent protest she realizes that it’s O’Hinn.
He says, “You’re going to the hospital!”