downtown t.o

... i’ll always have you

It was his first week on the job and already Caden Ryder knew this was exactly what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Most of the week had involved walking the beat with his training officer, but in that time he felt as though he had learned so much more than he had at the academy, he had been able to really help people. Even if it was only small problems and even if at one point he did rescue a cat from a tree, typically a firefighters job but one that he obliged in nevertheless. Caden was walking downtown with his T.O, the older male was explaining a few things to him that he felt he ought to know, little life lessons that Caden thought were interesting but might not apply to himself, when the shot rang out. Caden felt a sharp pain in his side, confusion furrowing his brow as his hand immediately moved towards the pain. He pulled his fingers away, they were warm and sticky with something red staining his hand. It took a moment for him to realize that it was blood, and yet another moment to realize that it was his own. Caden looked down in confusion at his hand, unsure why he was bleeding as the sharp pain had vanished and he couldn’t feel anything at all. All the noises around him began to fade and turn to static, sounds blurring together as his vision did the same and it was hard to stand up. So he didn’t, his knees buckling and soon Caden could feel the cold concrete underneath his body. His skin was pale, slick with sweat and he felt his lips move, he knew he had said something but couldn’t quite grasp what it was as his vision began to spot and he fell into darkness.

“Tell my dad I’m sorry.”

Shaun was at his desk going over plays on his clipboard when he got the call. He almost ignored it, not recognizing the number and figuring it was some kind of telemarketing survey, but deciding he could use the distraction as he answered it and pressed the device to his hear. “Coach Ryder.” he spoke, running a hand through his hair. “Mr Ryder, my name is Captain Owen Holloway from the 31st Precinct..” Shaun sat up straight at that, his heart plummeting into his stomach. “That’s where my son works.” he interrupted dumbly, unable to stop himself as all his worst fears began to make themselves known. “I know, sir. And there’s no easy way to say this so I’m just going to say it. Ten minutes ago, your son was shot in the line of duty. He is currently in an ambulance on the way to General Memorial Hospital..” Shaun hung up the phone, the man was still speaking but Shaun couldn’t listen anymore, couldn’t concentrate on anything other than those four words that no parent should ever hear. Your son was shot. Your son was shot. They bounced around Shaun’s skull, his skin had gone pale and the only thing that coursed through his veins was fear. Somehow he managed to tuck his phone to his pocket and get out of his chair, knowing he had to find Crystal, to tell her what had happened. But his pace was slow, the male was still in shock and walking on some kind of cloud, not realizing that the cloud was getting smaller and the rain was about to hit. He was a hallway away from her class when the urgency set in and Shaun sprinted towards his wife, throwing the doors open and interrupting her class- but he really didn’t care. “Crys, we have to go. Now.” Shaun spoke, swallowing back the sudden wall of tears that had formed a lump in his throat and he spoke those three little words that he never wanted to say, that he had had nightmares about and that had worried him to no end. “Caden was shot.” The tears began to fall then, he couldn’t stop them and had given up trying. “Crys we need to go.” Shaun repeated, unable to stand being away from his son any longer.