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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Special Circumstances - 5. A Lifechanging Encounter

“Now, that’s fast," I muttered to myself as a car sped past me. Admittedly, it was past midnight, but my patrol car with Battenburg markings standing still by the roadside should’ve been very visible in their headlights, yet they still raced past me.

I turned on the blue lights and siren and started to follow. It took me several attempts to stop them. The driver was either deliberately ignoring me or heavily distracted, not reacting to the racket I was making behind them. My flashing blue lights were clearly visible in the dark night. I was about to call in a pursuit situation when the car suddenly stopped.

“Sierra X-ray, Golf-Hotel One-Three-Three.”

“One-Three-Three, go ahead.”

“PNC check requested for a dark blue or black Range Rover, index Kilo Victor Six Three Alpha Romeo Tango. Suspected traffic violation, Hazelmere Road.”

“Copied.”

While Control would perform the check, I got out of my car to talk to the driver. I knocked at his window. He looked at me in shock when he lowered the window.

“Good evening. I’m stopping you because I suspect you of driving at a speed exceeding the legal limit. You do not have to say anything, but it might harm your defense if you do not mention now what you later want to rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence," I said, putting the caution out right here and then. Anything my bodycam recorded now counted as admissible evidence. “Your driving license, please.”

The driver was in his mid to end thirties and clearly posh. From the tie of his modern business attire to his cuff-links, he screamed privilege, station, and money.

“Ah, what?” he asked focusing on me now.

“I want to see your driving license. Have you consumed any alcohol today, sir?”

The man was sweating and clearly afraid. “Ah, no. Look, I really need to leave.”

“You aren’t going anywhere for the moment. Please turn off your engine and step out.”

His eyes grew wide, panic visible in his face as he looked past me. He screamed.

I looked towards a sudden movement to my right, and I was confronted with a mountain of a man at least two heads taller than myself. He’d appeared out of nowhere. The unknown man grabbed me with his left hand on my right shoulder and turned me towards him. With his right he was grabbing my throat, and he lifted me up, choking me.

My feet were dangling in the air! I couldn’t breathe! I would’ve never believed this possible! I pressed the emergency button on my radio. Ignoring police training, I tried Krav Maga kicks and hits to no avail. This was impossible! Help! He was so strong! When I looked into his eyes, they were … lifeless.

I was about to pass out! My vision seemed about to go when suddenly, he threw me backwards into the other lane. I landed hard, grateful for my stab vest which took most of the impact. Thankfully, there wasn’t any traffic, because I couldn’t get up. I gasped for breath like a newborn. How long had he held me? The radio was blaring, but I didn’t discern anything. I couldn’t focus.

I saw the man who had thrown me like a puppet turn back towards the car I had stopped. Only now did I realise my assailant was stark naked. The man grabbed through the window into the car as if he wanted to get at the driver. The vehicle accelerated hard, dragging the man a short distance with it before he fell onto the road.

I got back up and drew my Taser. Taking aim, I approached the naked man carefully. He got up.

“Police! Stay on the ground! Do not move!”

He ignored me completely as he got up and looked after the vehicle driving away.

“Police! On the ground! On the ground now!”

He turned to face me. I activated the Taser and saw the needles clearly connect and the electric charge being delivered. He didn’t flinch. Instead, he took a step towards me. I activated the Taser again. No effect. This was impossible!

With my most powerful weapon ineffective, and him unbelievably strong, I didn’t want him to get into close range. The man took another step towards me.

“Get Back!” I shouted and gave the Taser a third try. Equally ineffective, I disconnected the cables and dropped the weapon to the ground. I drew the Captor pepper spray from my utility belt.

We’d been taught about the fact that people could be immune to pepper spray and that some could weather the pain of a Taser better than others, but absolutely no reaction was unheard of. I sprayed the man, hitting him square on the forehead and the eyes. Exactly where I should hit. The noxious substance didn’t make him flinch either. I put the can into my pocket.

I was quickly running out of options. This guy was out to get me, of that I was sure. This was Krav Maga time. I changed my stance and tried to concentrate. I became calmer, yet I felt my muscles charging. The world around me seemed to be in slow motion. My attacker took slow steps towards me. I readied myself. I wouldn’t let him grab me again.

As soon as he came in range, I attacked. With my right leg, I executed a front kick into his naked groin. He seemed so slow, but I didn’t take any time to assess any damage. He was still standing, huge, and strong as a bull. I jumped up at him to execute eye strikes with my left and right hands in quick succession. The momentum threw me backwards, but I landed on my feet, allowing me to execute another kick.

My attack had no effect on him! He was motionless, staring at me, the blue lights from my car reflecting clearly on his skin. I’ve been afraid in policing situations before, but this was new. I was terrified. At this point, I seriously considered running. I have no idea why but instead, I drew the most useless weapon in my arsenal, the telescopic baton.

He lifted his right hand to grab.

Training kicked in as I shouted “Get back!” and hit his hand with so much force it should’ve broken every bone in it. I dodged the grabbing move with ease. Why was he so slow? Was he playing with me?

The guy looked down at me, said something like “Hos Ga i," turned and ran away.

I stood in the middle of the street, looking after him. The radio brought me back to reality. I’d pressed the emergency button.

“Golf-Hotel One-Three-Three, urgent," I croaked.

“One-Three-Three, priority go ahead," the Controller said, quietening all other units.

“Suspect of assault on police, IC-1 male, at least two metres twenty and completely naked. So far.”

Police training and radio code were ingrained as I allowed the controller to process what I’d said instead of just blurting it all out as I wanted to do right now.

“So far," he replied when he was ready for me to continue.

“Fleeing on foot along Hazlemere Road, towards the Commons. Do not approach suspect! Repeat, do not approach suspect! So far.”

“So far.”

“Three Taser discharges and Captor deployed, all no effect. He is very strong and lifted me up by the throat. Requesting armed backup. Over.”

Duty done, information passed on, and warning given. From here on, everything was a haze. I apparently still stood like a statue in the street in front of my car, baton drawn, my Taser lying by my feet. I saw blue lights approaching in the distance, or were they my own being reflected? It was so confusing.

Suddenly, Nam was at my side, he said something, but I didn’t understand. He and someone else helped me to sit down on the curb. The area was flooded with police searching for my naked assailant. A paramedic came and checked me out. They didn’t find any injury, and my disorientation was put down to shock and adrenaline surge from the fight.

Sergeant Ward drove me back to the station where she even made me a cup of tea. One of my CID colleagues took my bodycam for downloading while I gave an account of the fight to my superiors and the night duty CID. I was shaken to the core. Those who knew me had concerned expressions.

I felt famished. Several colleagues gave me some food they had. I ate it all, feeling ashamed but ravenous. I was allowed to lie down on the old couch in the cafeteria area.

“Jamie," Sergeant Ward said softly. She shook me by the shoulder. “Jamie, wake up.”

Groggy, I sat up. “I’m sorry, ma'am. I must’ve dozed off.”

“No worries, that was intended. The superintendent wants to have a word with you.”

“Sure.”

While I wondered why our area commander wanted to talk to me, I followed her downstairs to a witness interview room. There waited Superintendent Brown, our area commander, and a Chief Inspector who I didn’t recognise.

“Ah, Constable Artois," Superintendent Brown said, “Please have a seat. This is Chief Inspector Mwangi.”

“Sirs," I said in greeting, and we sat down.

Interestingly, it was CI Mwangi who took the chair opposite me at the table. The big, bald man sported a wide smile. Strangely, it seemed genuine.

“I hear only good things about you, Jamie," Mwangi began. “Sorry, can I call you Jamie?”

“Sure.”

“Your colleagues describe you as honest, sensible, and knowledgeable. One said, quote, ‘You won’t find a more reliable guy’.”

He seemed to wait for a response from me. I just nodded. What did he expect me to reply?

“You’re also described as calm and distant.”

Again same reactions from him and me.

“Would you tell me why you don’t participate in your shift’s social activities?”

“I spend most of my wake hours with them. While I might join for an occasional dinner, I don’t go out drinking in the pub with them. My private life is my private life.”

“At the same time, you’ve had a hard time privately, resulting in your colleagues giving you a new nickname, Leon.”

“Sir, with all due respect. Is this a psych assessment?”

“I just want to get to know you, Jamie. I like being prepared," he replied smiling broadly just to continue as if I hadn’t spoken. “Since arriving at this station three years ago, you’ve had sixteen complaints one of which was investigated, and you were cleared.”

Again the same reactions from him and me.

“Do you take any drugs?”

“What?”

“I’m not accusing you, Jamie," he said soothingly. “I’m merely asking a very important question. There will be no consequences if you answer positive, we promise.” He glanced at the superintendent who nodded in agreement. “I can’t stress enough that it’s of the utmost importance you’re honest with me now.”

I was annoyed. “I haven’t taken drugs in years, and I don’t drink alcohol either, because I can’t stand the stuff. In case that’s your next question.”

“Good," he said and smiled. “As I’d expected. I’m sorry, I had to be sure.”

“Can you now explain to me why I’m here, who are you, and what do you want?”

“Constable," Superintendent Brown reprimanded me.

Again, that smile from CI Mwangi. Didn’t he realise I was trained in the same interview techniques he was? What game was he playing?

“Please allow me one other question, Jamie. What martial arts do you practice and for how long?”

“Krav Maga, six years. Kendo, five years. I also do sports shooting, two years.”

“Have you ever applied any of these in policing situations?”

“We aren’t allowed to employ any techniques which aren’t authorised by the Metropolitan Police.”

“An excellent textbook response, Jamie.”

“Sirs, in disciplinary proceedings, I have the right to representation. I refuse answering any more questions until I’ve had legal council.”

“This isn’t a disciplinary, Jamie. I assure you," Mwangi said and picked up a laptop.

“Pretty much sounds like one to me.”

He did something on the computer and turned it over to me so I could see the screen. He said, “This is your bodycam footage. Please have a look.”

I saw the driver who I’d stopped, his cry of alarm and me being turned around … by a guy who was not visible in the picture. The image shifted up when I was grabbed by him, and he should’ve been fair and square in the camera’s field of vision. There was nothing.

“What the fuck?”

I sped forward to where I tasered him. The needles were visible. They just hang in the air. The incident was captured in full, but my assailant wasn’t visible at all. I scrolled back and forth. Nothing! It was as if he’d never existed.

“Yes, Jamie," Mwangi said calmly. “What the fuck.” After a pause, he continued, “What the fuck, indeed.”

He turned the laptop back to himself, clicked something and turned it back to me. “That’s the footage of your private dashcam in the patrol car.”

How did he get that? But my annoyance of somebody fiddling with my gear was overshadowed by shock. My interaction with the driver was only partially visible. On the footage, I turned back towards the camera and then hovered in the air, apparently fighting the air, to then land on the street on my back. The Range Rover was speeding away, and I got up drawing my Taser. There was nothing there, it seemed I was doing dry exercises when I’d been fighting him.

I looked at Mwangi and swallowed.

The smile was gone from his face when he said, “You see, Jamie, I think your account of the incident is somewhat inconclusive.” He exchanged glances with Superintendent Brown.

“This is impossible! He was there! He grabbed me by the throat and lifted me up!”

“I’m sorry, Jamie, but I can’t see anybody.”

“But," I sputtered, “But I’m hovering in the air. The Taser needles do, too. He was right there!”

“Constable Artois," Superintendent Brown said, “Pending an inquiry into your behaviour tonight, I’m suspending you from duty on full pay until further notice.” He got up. “Please hand me your badge, warrant card, and the key fob to the station.”

I was dumbfounded. This was a bad dream and couldn’t be happening! I got up, too, and handed over my leather warrant card holder which contained the three items that meant my life. I followed them out of the room where Sergeant Ward was waiting for us.

“Please escort Constable Artois to change and out of the building," Superintendent Brown instructed her. “I’ve suspended him until further notice.”

“Yes, sir," she replied and the senior officers left. She looked at me, her face unreadable, and said, “I’m sorry, Jamie. Let’s go.”

She chose a backward, more complex route through the building and led me through the women’s changing area to my locker. This way, we avoided the usual shift offices and thus meeting any colleagues. I was grateful for that.

The Captor spray can I gave to her. I took off all gear and put it carefully into the steel locker. I moved like an automaton. I couldn’t help it, but tears were now rolling down my cheeks. Usually I didn’t, but now I removed the shoulder epaulets with my force id number, putting me visibly off duty.

“You okay, Jamie?” she asked, concern on her face. I looked at her, and she reacted to my tears. “Oh, Jamie," she said and took me into a hug, “This isn’t the end of the world.”

I needed that hug it seemed. I cried into her shoulder silently, the stress of fear of fighting for your life and now fighting the police administration for my career was manifesting itself.

“I’m sorry, ma'am," I said when I was able to let go of her.

“Nothing to worry about.”

I put on my motorbike gear.

“You shouldn’t drive," she said when we were walking downstairs. She’d again chosen a backwards route leading to a side entrance for CID.

“I promise I’ll be careful.”

“Let me know when you’ve arrived at home.”

“Yes, I will. Thank you.”

She nodded in encouragement and closed the door of my station behind me. I drove home carefully and messaged Sergeant Ward that I’d arrived home safely.

I went to my room, removed the heavy garments and collapsed on my bed. I tried to find some rest, but in my head, I was repeating the evening’s events over and over again. After having turned from side to side for while, I decided to go for a run. My phone showed it was half past eight in the morning.

It took a while, but I was able to block out everything else and focused on running To my amazement I’d run nearly four miles to the city centre. I felt positively exhausted, but I was ravenously hungry. I had to eat! There was a chain bakery, and I impatiently joined the queue of customers. I bought two full salami baguettes and two bottles of coke.

Leaving the shop, I downed the first bottle of coke. I felt famished. I tore at the first baguette like a dog and barely chewing it, swallowed the pieces. What the fuck was going on? I was able to force myself to chew the second baguette much more thoroughly. The last coke vanished, too.

I felt refreshed and much better mentally. That I did a four mile run fast had happened before, but it had been a circular run and I’d arrived at home again. Now, I still had four miles ahead of me to return home. How did I manage to run four fucking miles without realising it in the first place?

I picked up my phone to write a message to Nam. “I’ve been suspended. Need to talk. Let me know when you’re free.”

I sighed and started the run home. Focusing on nothing but running, I got back into the rhythm.

When I arrived home, my flatmate Rebecca was making herself some breakfast.

“Hi, sweetie," she greeted me enthusiastically over her cereal, “How was night shift?”

“Becks, I’m sorry, I’m ravenous! I need to eat something. Have I got anything left?”

I opened the fridge. I took one of my cans of coke, but otherwise my shelf in the fridge was pitifully empty. The leftovers from a meal Mike had made two days ago were gone already. I opened the can of coke and downed it. Realising I had a jar of nougat spread, I took it from a shelf, grabbed a spoon, and sat on the couch next to her.

Rebecca was looking at me in disgust when I took the nougat spread by the spoonful. “Jamie, don’t you have anything real to eat? I thought Mike had made you something.”

“Gone," I said between two spoonfuls.

“That’s gross, mate.”

“This is how vampires must feel. I’m so hungry. It’s unbelievable.”

“What happened during your night shift?”

“Not the night shift. I ran to the city centre this morning where I ate two baguettes and had a liter of coke. Now back, I feel as if I was starving.”

The pot of nougat spread was empty now. I got up and binned the jar. I went to the fridge and got another can of coke.

“Sweetie, that’s unhealthy. Even a sporty guy like you can get hyperglycemia.” She got up to get a measurement device from her paramedic’s kit. “Let me check.”

I let her prick my little finger to take a blood sample. She couldn’t believe the number she saw. “Based on that low value, I’d advise you to drink a can of coke. Let me do it again.” The result was the same.

I felt tired now. “Just leave it, Becks. You won’t believe the night I’ve had. I got suspended.”

She was really concerned now. “Suspended? What happened?”

Although I was tired, I told her about the fight. Knowing I was serious about martial arts, she was probably as afraid from listening to me as I had been when facing that bloke.

“And where does the suspension come in?”

“There were issues with footage from several cameras. Maybe I was disoriented, but my account doesn’t match what can be seen. Anyway, as hungry as I was before, as dead tired I feel now. I must hit the sack. When will you be back?”

“My shift starts at quarter to ten. I’ll be covering up Luton way today. If all goes fine, I should be home by six.”

“Have fun," I said, and something dawned on me.

I picked up my phone. It was quarter past nine. If I subtracted the time it had taken me to eat, it meant I’d run eight miles in maybe twenty minutes. This was utterly impossible! I must’ve read the time wrong this morning. However, none of this was as important as sleep, so I made my way to my room. Then closing the door behind me, I let myself fall on my bed. One slight turn to adjust and I was vast asleep.

My phone rang. Groggily, I took the damned thing and answered.

“Yes?”

It was Nam. “Jamie, mate, how are you?”

“Sleeping?”

“No, not anymore. I’ve heard all kinds of shit. You’ve been suspended?”

Reality banged against the door of the hotel room my brain had retired in.

“Yes. What have you been told?”

“Fuck all. At shift end, Superintendent Brown assembled us all and told you were suspended pending investigation into the incident and we weren’t to discuss any details about it with anybody, especially you. What happened?”

“I don’t know what to say. We shouldn’t talk about it, and I don’t know whether I want to talk about it.”

“Oi, we are mates, yeah?”

“Of course.”

“Shoot.”

“Come here. Becks is at work. And Nam?”

“Yes?”

“Can you bring pizza? I’m starving.”

“It has been five weeks and Mike still hasn’t taught you any basics?”

“He somehow always gets distracted.”

“Horny bugger! See you in thirty.”

I checked the phone. It was about one o’clock. I knew Mike was working for lunch time, but I left him a voice message. “Hi, Jamie here. I’ve been suspended. Call me when you get some time.”

I got out of my dried sweaty running gear to have a shower. I let the phone play one of Nam’s House compilations loudly. When I returned, I had three missed calls from Mike.

I called back, but before I could get a word out, Mike said, “Jamie! What happened? Are you okay? I’ve tried calling you!”

“I’m fine. I’ve had a shower. I’m sorry, I didn’t think you’d answer that quickly.”

“I check messages from you instantly. With those news, of course, I call you back asap.”

“Thank you. That means a lot to me.” It did.

He was very concerned. “What happened?”

“That’s a long and complex story, and to be honest, I doubt I should burden you with it.”

I could hear the disappointment in his voice when he said, “Jamie, I thought we had something going on between us. I thought you’d trust me. I’m neither Brian nor David. I’m here for you, if you let me.”

“Yes!” I hastened to say. “It isn’t that at all. What I’ve got to say might stretch my credibility.”

“Did you cock up?”

I was appalled he could think that. “No!”

“What is it then?”

“I wonder whether I’m losing my mind. When do you finish?”

“I’m here till three, then I’ve got to be back for five.”

“I’ll be at the restaurant for three. I’ll explain everything then.”

“Okay.”

“Mike, don’t worry!”

“I’ll try," he said and hang up.

Nam arrived just a couple of minutes late, but I excused him because of the pizzas he carried. I described the fight in detail and explained the discussion with the senior officers. I told him the footage was showing something odd, however, and they were investigating that.

“What’s so odd about the footage?”

“That I won’t tell you. I won’t get you into trouble.”

“That bad?”

“No idea, but I need your help.”

“What can I do?”

“Can you find out who this CI Mwangi is? I’ve never heard of him or seen him before. Why would he have been there?”

“Probably Professional Standards Department?”

“PSD is an option, but he wore duty uniform and neither civics nor presentation dress.”

“I see.”

“Also, what time was that? If I arrived home around eight as evidenced by my message to the sarge, I would’ve left the station by around seven thirty. The super and the CI have been in the station to talk to me. Before that, they almost certainly had a talk among themselves, so maybe they arrived at the station by six thirty, maybe quarter even past? What brings senior officers into the station at that time on Sunday morning? Also, who called them? I slept for about four hours, I think. The incident took place between two and two thirty.”

Nam sighed. “Okay, I’ll have a look at who that CI is. Can’t be difficult with that name.”

“Those whose name is Nguyen Ngoc Truang Nam shouldn’t talk about alien names.”

He laughed. “True. Anyway, I brought some statement forms. Start writing the incident down.”

“You’re fantastic, Nam. Don’t get into trouble for me!”

After seeing Nam out, I dressed and made my way to see Mike. I parked my motorbike behind the restaurant in the now familiar tiny staff parking area. Driving a motorbike sometimes gives a distinct advantage.

Mike had heard me arriving and came out from the restaurant’s back entrance to fetch me. His colleagues had left for their break, and we were alone in the fine establishment. He first hugged and kissed me passionately before he brought me a cold coke. I settled down and started telling the events of last night, except for the meeting with the senior officers.

“Let me get this straight. A naked, two metre twenty man lifted you up Darth Vader style?”

“Yes.”

“He was immune to Taser, Captor, and your martial arts fighting?”

“Yes.”

“Then he turned around on the spot, ran down Hazlemere towards the Commons, and nobody has seen him since?”

“Yes.”

“Apart from me being really concerned now, I can’t see any reason for you getting suspended. Maybe I don’t know enough as Special.”

“Oh, you do know enough. I haven’t explained the problematic part yet.”

“Well, that explains. I was beginning to question myself. Phew.” He smirked.

I just looked at him.

“Sorry, Jamie, I tried being funny.”

“I’m sorry, you don’t know how difficult this is for me. The police is my life.”

Mike took me into a tight hug. “Jamie, I’m sorry. I want to be supportive.”

“I know, I’m sorry. I’m losing my mind.”

“Why’d you say that?”

“Here’s the rest. I had a meeting with senior officers. The super and a CI who I don’t know. They showed me my bodycam footage. The guy wasn’t on the video.”

“Come again?”

“The whole scene was there, but he wasn’t visible. It was as if he’d never existed! Not only that, they recovered footage from my dashcam. Same thing. The whole incident is covered, I even hover in the air, but he isn’t there! I swear he was there! Or I’m going mad imagining this!”

“Could someone have edited him out?”

It took me a moment to process what he’d just said. “Mike, you’re a genius! You’re right! If Nam can edit my dashcam videos, then a professional could certainly do that. But to what effect? To suspend me? I’m hardly that important.”

“What about the car?”

“The car?”

“The posh guy you stopped. Didn’t you say he was afraid?”

“Yes, he drove seventy in a thirty zone. Even papa’s money couldn’t have rescued his license. Well, I hope.”

“What if he wasn’t afraid of you, but of him?”

I thought back. “That may be possible. I’m not going mad. You’re fantastic.” I gave him a kiss.

“Glad I could be of help. You feel any better?”

“I’m suspended. I’m gutted but this conversation has helped a lot. Thank you!” I was starting to feel some degree of hope.

“Then I’m not afraid to tell you we’re alone here and the meeting room in the back is free.” He winked.

“You really have a meeting room?”

“Oh yes, we do. Let me show you.”

Again, thanks to my editor @Mikiesboy. From this chapter on, I became less work (I think).

I hope it is obvious this encounter is not rooted in a real life experience. What is based on reality though, is the impact getting grounded has on dedicated police officers who have done nothing wrong. This happened to a colleague who was stopping an alleged drug dealer. Upon being stopped, the man swallowed his drugs packages and then died. This death caused an inquiry which cleared the officers involved and a court case which also cleared the officers involved. Yet my police force kept an internal investigation going for eight (!) years.

Copyright © 2024 lawfulneutralmage; All Rights Reserved.
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A very special thank you to my editor @Mikiesboy and beta reader @CassieQ. Their support and advice has been invaluable.
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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