Even from his perch above the crime scene, the smoke that billowed from the remains of the 16th Precinct burned Lyger's lungs, and the smell of burning rubble and melting tar stung his nostrils. He watched from afar as rescue workers combed the scene, pulling body after body from the rubble. He watched as stunned paramedics loaded black bag after black bag into the backs of ambulances, which then drove off, carrying the remains of someone who would never make it home.
It was a familiar scene, one that he had seen repeated here again for the sixth time this night. At each site, a school bus loaded with explosives had driven into a building, causing a massive explosion that leveled the target building. The first location that had been struck was the city's central fire station, then the local state police barracks, followed by a Sheriff's Department sub station, an apartment building, City Hall, and now this, the 16th Precinct of the Crown Ridge Police Department. To Lyger, the simultaneous attacks had two purposes. The attacks on law enforcement, city government, and the fire department were meant to destabilize the city and slow down any response by those departments. The attack on the apartment building was meant to incite fear in the population.
The tension in the air was palpable. In the wake of the attacks, the city was on edge, and Lyger knew that all it would need to descend into chaos was the just the slightest push. He alsoAs he knew that he had to act fast to keep it from coming to that. Having seen enough from his perch on the rooftop overlooking the scene of the crime, he surveyed the scene one last time before he activated the com link in his mask.
“Whisper, tell me you've got something.” He said, unable to mask the anger in his voice.
“Nothing yet boss.” Came her reply. “The only thing we know is that the buses seem to have left from the same location, east of the attacks.” She finished after a momentary pause.
“Well, that's something. I'll look into it. See if you can narrow down the location of the launch point, and I'll see what I can find.” He told her as he made his way across the rooftop.
“I'm on it.” Whisper said as the communication was cut.
From there, Lyger made his way to the corner of the rooftop, just above the alley where he had hidden his motorcycle. He took a deep breath and dove off the roof of the three story building, completely a forward flip and landing in a crouching position, thankful for the upgrades to the impact dampeners that Harry had installed in his boots before he retired. He then climbed on the bike, and started it up before riding off into the city, hoping to find any clues as to the identity of the person, or persons responsible for these attacks.
Emma Jones sat behind the news desk waiting for the countdown until they resumed their live coverage of the attacks in Crown Ridge. As a seasoned news anchor for WCR News Center 5, Emma had reported on her fair share of horrifying and tragic stories. However, something about these most recent attacks was different. It almost felt as if this were just the beginning of some nightmare, if this was only the opening volley in a war that would tax the very souls of the people of Crown Ridge, and beyond.
“Chuck, how are we doing on that refill?” she asked, lifting her empty coffee mug toward the producer. “If we're going to keep going like this, I need my fix.”
“Joey, would you please get Emma her fucking coffee?” Chuck responded. “We're going live again in one minute.”
As the crew rushed around making last second preparations for the broadcast to resume, the studio door opened and a figure slipped onto the sound stage. The slender man was wearing a long black overcoat and a Crown Ridge Reapers cap, and did what he could to stay out of the way.
“Okay people, 10 seconds.” Chuck announced. Then, after several seconds began the countdown to going live. “And 5..4..3..2..” then he pointed to Emma, indicating that they were live.
“Welcome back to WCR News Center 5, I'm Emma Jones and we're continuing the coverage of the multiple bombings that rocked Crown Ridge earlier this evening. If you're just joining us, six locations throughout the city were bombed earlier tonight in what authorities are calling a brazen act of terror. We're told that Jose Gutierrez has more information from the Crown Ridge Police Department's 16th Precinct, which of course was one of the locations hit in this attack.”
“Terror? Oh, you don't know the first thing about terror.” The slender man in the ball cap said loudly from the corner of the studio where he had been biding his time. He stepped forward removing his cap, and for the first time those in the studio saw his jaundiced yellow skin and his sunken black eyes. “But, if you bare with me, you will.”
One of the stage hands rushed toward Insomnia, however, before he could grab the madman, Insomnia reached into his overcoat and produced a buck knife. Before the stage hand could react, the blade pierced the side of his neck, and with one quick motion, the intruder pulled the knife from the front of his throat, nearly decapitating the man where he stood. He stood over the man's body for a moment, a sinister sneer etched on his face as the rest of the studio stood in stunned silence. Then, he looked up from his handiwork and began slowly striding toward the news desk.
“You see, some people might say that I'm insane. But...I...I assure you that I am not.” He spoke as he moved toward the news desk. “The truth is, things have never been more clear to me. This world is diseased. Violence, corruption, government overreach, they are all simply symptoms of a greater truth.” He said as he reached the desk. Emma Jones looked up at him, choking on fear as he began to gently stoke her long blonde hair. Then, he began to run the dull side of the blade down her cheek.
“The truth is, the world is a nightmare. And I'm here to...” He paused. “Wake. You. Up.”
“Who...who are you?” Emma, finally channeling some of her years of investigative reporting asked.
“Oh...didn't you know?” He asked feigning hurt. “I am.....