The Horror Zine
Rancho Cordova Sheriff

Read Part One HERE
Read Part Two HERE
Read Part Three HERE

Part Four of a novel by Jeani Rector


You can buy the complete book HERE.

Jeani Rector


Part Four


“I think we ought to drop in on Barnett for an interview.” I told my partner. “You remember Barnett....he's the guy who pushed himself on us the day I discovered the body.”

Foley looked at me out of the corner of his eye. “You mean, the day the kid discovered the body.”

Annoyed, I said, “Whatever. ”

“That’s where we’re headed, all right,” Foley said as he drove the squad car. “The neighbor reported his mother as missing. Makes me wonder why Barnett didn't call it in himself. ”

“Good,” I said.  “If Barnett lets us in, then we should take a real close look around that house if his mother is still not home.  Since we don’t have enough evidence to merit a warrant, we need to have Barnett’s permission to go inside.  By the way…last time we were there, Foley, did Barnett’s house smell funny to you?”

“Yeah, but I don’t think the smell was essence of corpse.”

“Well, we ought to keep an open mind just in case.”

We pulled onto Ambassador Drive and were soon parked in front of 10660.  Together Foley and I got out of the squad car and approached the front door.  Foley rang the bell.

We waited, and then Foley rang again.  I looked at my watch—it was eight-thirty in the morning.
Suddenly the front door opened, and Barnett stood blinking at the sunlight shining in his face.  I was taken aback by his appearance, because Barnett looked terrible.  He had not shaved, and he stood almost in a crouch.  He was wearing the same dirty shirt that he had been wearing the last time we saw him, and I could smell his body odor.  His clothes hung loosely on his thin frame.

“You came back.”  Barnett said it as a statement, not a question.

“We told you we would,” Foley said.

“People always lie to me,” Barnett said.

Ignoring that, Foley asked if we could be invited inside.

“Sure, but my mother’s not home.  She lets me have friends over, though.  But I haven’t had any friends over in a long time.  Nobody likes me much.  I like women better than men, but they don’t seem to like me back.  Did I tell you that women reject me?”

“Probably you did,” Foley said as we entered the dim, musty-smelling living room.

I carefully scrutinized the room.  The couch was worn, and stood on little wooden legs, as was the style for sofas many, many years ago.  The coffee table was small and also had thin wooden legs.  The only light in the room were small streams of sunlight that peeked between the slightly parted curtains of the front window.

I looked closer, searching for any signs of a possible struggle.  I saw none that I could tell.

“Did you come to get my help with the investigation?” Barnett asked as the three of us stood in the living room.

“We were hoping to talk to you some more,” Foley said.

“And to talk to your mother,” I added.

“She’s not home,” Barnett said.  “Are you laughing at me?”

I was surprised because that question seemed to come from out of the blue. 

“We aren’t laughing at you,” Foley assured him.

“You don’t mind if we take a look around, do you?” I asked.

“You think I killed that woman in the woods,” Barnett accused from seemingly out of nowhere.

“We aren’t making assumptions about anything,” Foley said.  I could see that Foley was scrutinizing the room as carefully as I had been doing. 

“Do we have your permission to look around?” I asked.

“This house is just as good as anyone else’s,” Barnett said.

“I’m sure it is,” I told him, then repeated, “Do we have your permission to look around?”

“Go ahead,” Barnett sounded sullen.

“We’re going to start with the kitchen,” Foley said, then he turned around to walk in that direction.  Barnett was right behind him.

It happened so quickly.  So very quickly.

It had an unreal quality about it.

The moment Foley turned around to walk towards the kitchen, I saw Barnett move faster than I had ever seen anything move in my life.  He appeared as a dark blur streaking towards my partner.  The word trouble screamed in my mind, and adrenaline hit my heart like a sledge hammer and I felt pain in my chest.

“Foley!” I cried, and jerked myself into motion.

I ran the few feet in Foley and Barnett’s direction.  Time became slow motion, and I could see Foley’s head turn in response to my shout.  I reached for my gun, realizing what Barnett was after.  Now it would be a race as to who could get to a gun first.

I could see that Barnett was wrestling with Foley’s gun belt.  Foley was still turning around, and was twisting his torso to prevent his gun from being grabbed by Barnett.  Foley tried to push Barnett away so he could secure his gun.

We used Sig-Sauer 40 caliber, semi automatic, double action guns.  All that held our weapons in the holster was a thin strap with a snap on the end.  It was intentionally easy to get the gun out of the holster in a hurry in case the cop needed it in an emergency.  But that little snap on the strap also meant easy access to the gun by Barnett.

I stopped in my tracks and felt the fingers of my right hand close around my own gun grip.  Yanking it from my holster, I began raising it to eye level.  The eerie feeling of slow motion persisted, and it seemed hours for my gun to raise.  When I had the gun in the firing position, I intended to shoot to kill.

I stopped myself from firing.

Because Barnett had gotten Foley’s gun after all.

Barnett was holding Foley in front of him.  Foley was in-between Barnett and myself.  I couldn’t shoot with any confidence that I could miss my partner.  I would have to shoot through my partner to kill Barnett, which of course I could not do.

Barnett held the gun point blank at Foley’s head with his right hand, the end of the barrel resting directly below my partner’s earlobe.  Barnett had his left arm around Foley’s neck, which secured him in place.

“Put the gun down,” I tried to sound authoritative but calm.

“No, you put your gun down or I’ll blow this cop away,” Barnett said.  “You can’t take the chance that if you fire, you’ll hit me before I kill your partner.  I know this.  I read Detective magazines.  If you shoot, you could be a second behind me when I shoot.  You might kill me but you’ll have a dead partner in the process.  And of course, you might not hit me at all, but you could kill this cop here because he’s in your way.”

“Put the gun down,” I repeated, not wanting him to feel in control.

“You have to negotiate with me,” Barnett said.

“What do you want?” I asked, still aiming my gun at him.

“I want you to listen to me,” Barnett said.

I looked at Foley, who’s face was bloodless and pale.  He had a grim expression and I wanted to scream at him, What should I do?  Foley, what should I do?

Instead, I continued to appear outwardly calm. “I’m listening, now put the gun down.”

I couldn’t believe how tranquil I sounded.  Inside, I felt that I was falling apart.  Stupid thoughts raced through my head; I was thinking that everyone was right….I was a woman, I was only patrol, I couldn’t handle this.  I should have listened to my mother, I should have gotten married, I should have stayed home and had babies.  I never should have believed I could make a difference in the world by becoming a cop.

I was scared, really scared.  I couldn’t remember the procedures.  Was I supposed to back off?  Or was I supposed to take the risk and shoot Barnett?  I was afraid if I tried to shoot, I could miss and kill Foley.  They were so close, and Foley was in front of Barnett. 

Procedures!  My mind shrieked at me.  What are the procedures?

And suddenly I remembered the procedures.  I remembered that I had the right to kill Barnett because he was a threat to the life of both my partner and me.  I was not in a public place, so again, I had the right to shoot. 

But because Barnett was holding Foley in a manner that was in-between he and I, taking a shot could endanger Foley.  So I could not shoot.  In this situation, procedures dictated that I was to negotiate with Barnett until I could either get him to put the gun down, or until he relaxed enough so I could get a shot at him that wouldn’t hit my partner.

But under no circumstances was I to put down my own weapon.  Under no circumstances was I to allow anyone but myself to gain possession of my gun.  That procedure stood out to me most of all.

So Barnett was right--I had to negotiate.

I was a strong, remarkable woman, and I was a good cop.  And all that nonsense that had gone through my head earlier about not being capable was just that….nonsense.  I could do this. 
I am a good cop.  Slow down and think, I told myself.  I can do this.

I felt a drop of sweat fall into one of my eyes and I tried to blink it away.  It stung, but I made no move except to keep blinking.  I couldn’t let my vision blur.  Most of all, I couldn’t wipe my eyes, because any sudden movement might set Barnett off.  If he felt threatened, he could very well shoot Foley.

“Mr. Barnett,” I began, “at this point, you have not committed a really bad crime.  You can stop all of this right now, before things get really bad, and you will be given help.  If you stop now, you’ll be stopping in time, and everything will turn out all right.  I want to help you.  But I can’t help you until you put down the gun and let my partner loose.  Believe me, both of us are here to help you.  Let us help you.”

“I want you to listen to me,” Barnett said, still pressing the gun against Foley’s head.

“That’s fine, I will listen,” I spoke confidently but smoothly, not allowing my voice to shake.  I tried to sound kind and sincere.  “If you put the gun down, it will be easier for you and I to talk.”
“I know what you’re up to!” Barnett suddenly shouted, making Foley jump a bit because the sound was right by his ear.  “People always lie to me!  And women hate me.”

“I do not hate you.” I tried another tactic.  “Why don’t you just talk to me?  I told you I’ll listen.  Come on, talk to me so I can get to know you.”

“I wanted to be a cop,” Barnett said, “but they said my background didn’t qualify.  And my mother always says I told you so.  She said I told you so when the police force turned me down.”

“Mr. Barnett, at this point, you are not in too much trouble.  If you put the gun down, we can help you.  I’m listening to you, so please listen to me, too.”

“But you’re a woman, so you hate me.  How can I trust you?”

“I don’t hate you,” I repeated, trying to soothe him.  “And you have been helpful to the police.  My partner and I took the evidence you gave us yesterday, that women’s underwear that you found in the woods.  We were glad you gave us the evidence, and like I said, you are really helping with this case.  Put the gun down so you and I can talk about the evidence you gave us.”

I was saying anything I could think of.  Was I babbling?  More importantly, would Barnett buy what I was saying?

“I think all women hate me,” Barnett said dubiously, staying on the same track.

“You said you think,” I tried a new direction, “so you’re not sure.  I can tell you that there’s always good and bad people.  I am a good person.  I don’t hate you.  I would like to talk to you, but you need to put the gun down first so I can do that.”

“I killed that woman,” Barnett said.

“It’s over now,” I said.  “You’ll have a lawyer.  Your lawyer can help you.  I can help you too, if you’ll just let me.”

“I killed her because she was just like all the rest,” Barnett told me.  “I liked her, but she didn’t like me.  Women never like me.”

“Give me a chance to like you,” I said.  “Give yourself a chance to be likeable. Please, this is your chance. Put down the gun.”

Suddenly Barnett snarled, “No! I’m going to shoot this cop because you like him and not me!”

And then things became surreal once again.

Foley suddenly dropped down to the floor, effectively slipping out of Barnett’s grasp.  Barnett had not been expecting Foley to move downwards, and his eyes widened in surprise.

Then when Barnett realized that Foley had escaped, he brought the barrel of the gun to aim at me.
I had to do it.

My mind screamed NOW!

I squeezed the trigger of my Sig-Sauer.

The noise was deafening.  I had never fired a gun before without ear protection.

It was so loud.

Again I had that eerie feeling of being caught in slow motion, like someone had slowed down some sort of recording device.  I had an out-of-body sensation like I was a third party watching from afar.  It seemed so unreal.

I watched Barnett suddenly jerk backwards.  Unlike the movies, there was no big splattering of blood.  And unlike the movies, Barnett remained standing.

I felt the trigger as my finger once again squeezed.  The trigger was warm from my own body heat. 

I shot again.

I watched Barnett drop to the floor, right next to Foley.




































































































































































































































































































































































by Jeani Rector

Melissa is determined to succeed in her chosen profession, despite prejudice against her gender.  And she does hold her own, going by the book... until the day she finds a dead body in the woods.

Buy the complete novel HERE.