Atlanta Police Badge for Diamond in the Dark


As Jake left the police station, his cell rang. “Yea? Okay, I can be there…” he looked at his watch “…in about a half hour. Is that good enough? I’m on my way.”
Once he arrived, Jake entered the hospital by the Emergency entrance. He walked up to the receptionist. “Hi. I’m Jake Diamond. I’m here to see Dr. Anderson?”
The nurse on the desk smiled and picked up her phone, paging the doctor. A few minutes later, Doctor Anderson came through the double doors from the treatment rooms. “Follow me, Jake.” He held the doors open till Jake caught up.
Neither spoke as they walked down the hallway toward the elevators. Once inside, Jake started to say something. Doctor Anderson held up a hand to stop him. “Not here,” he said, pointing at the ceiling.
Jake looked up into the blinking tiny red eye of the security camera. He nodded.
The doors opened and Doctor Anderson led Jake back into his office and closed the door. Then he turned on a radio and motioned for Jake to sit down across the desk from him.
Jake complied. “Doc, you’re the one who called me. What’s going on?”
Doctor Anderson looked at Jake. “The autopsy on Betty is done.”
“She died from strangulation, Jake. Same as the security guard, and the other body I autopsied. But there’s something else.” He shifted his weight in the chair. “I found evidence of poison on her hands. Is there anything you’re not telling me?”
Jake shook his head. “Nope. I told you everything I know. Wait. Why did you do the guard’s autopsy that fast?”
Anderson shook his head. “Not here. Someone else might hear me. But I will tell you that there’s something very strange going on. And it started as soon as baseball season was over. Jake, I don’t know for sure what’s happening to you, but I know it has something to do with Betty. Something she knew that somebody didn’t want you to know, or figure out.”
He stood up and pulled a thin book off the shelf behind him. “Here,” he said, tossing the book to Jake, “you tell me if I’m crazy or not.”
Jake grabbed it in mid-toss. Glanced down at the cover. Looked back up at Anderson. “Wait, you think….”
“I don’t know what to think, old friend. Remember? I’m not supposed to know anything about that caper some guys pulled off back in Athens 15 years ago, right? Nothing about those coins that have never showed up anywhere. But check out the pub date on the book. And the author’s name. That might tell us what the hell is going….”
A crackle of breaking glass, then a pop sounded behind Jake’s head. A tiny dot of red blood spurted out of Anderson’s forehead. He dropped into the chair, muscles spasming. Dead but didn’t know it yet. His hands reached for Jake, scrabbling on the wood of the desktop. Stilled. Silence.
Jake jumped to his feet. Crammed the little book into his pocket. Threw the door open and back against the concrete wall. More glass shattered and dropped to the floor. He heard the sound of the elevator door hissing shut. Ran for the emergency stairs.
Throwing the door open, he ran out into the lobby of the ER, right into a mob of injured and crying children. “Call the police!” he shouted. He caught sight of a man running out of the exit doors. Jake followed, pushing his way through the crowd. Caught up to him just as he reached into a car.
He grabbed the man by the arm, jerking him around. Jake held on tight.
The man stared at Jake. “What? Who are you? Why are you grabbing me?” he asked.
“I’m not letting go until the police get here, Mister.”
“Police? What for? I’m getting my insurance card. My kid was in a bus wreck. He’s in the ER. Please let me go,” the stranger wheezed.
Jake reluctantly dropped the man’s arm. Jake just stood there staring around, looking for his quarry. The insurance card guy ran back from his car and into the ER. Jake turned back into the hospital, nearly bowling over an older woman on her way out, head down, a heavy purse over her arm. He steadied her, then headed to the elevators.
A strong hand reached out and grabbed onto his right arm. “Where do you think you’re going?”
Jake looked up. The cop stood a head taller than Jake. Growled again. “I asked you a question.”
He shook his head. “You won’t believe me.”
By nightfall, he was under arrest.


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