A Dangerous Scheme – Laura Beers

MR. GUY STEWART found criminals to be intolerably stupid. It was the dead of night, and he was chasing after a suspect in the middle of the rookeries, rather than being home in a warm bed. How he wished he could just shoot this man and be done with it. He wiped the sweat off his brow with the back of his hand. He had been chasing this man for nearly ten blocks and had no idea how this was going to end. Surely, at this high speed, the suspect must be near exhaustion. The suspect darted into a darkened building, and he quickly followed behind. He heaved a sigh when he saw the man start up the rickety stairs. “Just let me arrest you,” Guy grumbled up at the man. The man didn’t reply, not that he had expected him to, but continued to race up the four flights of stairs. Guy followed behind, pleased that the man was going to trap himself on the roof, ending this pointless chase. As he stepped onto the roof, he saw the man running towards the edge of the building. “No!” he exclaimed. He hadn’t expected the man would take his own life.

But to his surprise, he watched as the man sailed through the air and landed with a thud on the neighboring roof. Botheration, Guy thought. Now he would have to do the same thing, or he would lose the suspect. He sprinted towards the edge of the building and jumped, hoping he had calculated the distance correctly. He landed on top of the other roof and took only a moment to collect his bearings. Guy ran through the door and started down the stairs when he heard a woman screaming for help. His steps faltered, knowing he couldn’t just pass by and not assist the woman. But if he did stop to help her, the suspect would be long gone, and he would have to answer to Corbyn. Groaning, he turned towards the woman’s screams and threw open the door. The suspect he’d been chasing was holding the woman in front of him, pointing a pistol at her temple. He was a rather unfortunate-looking man, with a large head on a small frame. “If you come any closer, I will kill her,” the man declared, his eyes betraying his fear. Guy retrieved his pistol from the waistband of his trousers and stepped into the small room. “If you kill her, then I will kill you,” he said. The woman whimpered in response.

The suspect forcefully backed the woman over to the broken window and looked out. “You have to let me go.” “I’m afraid I can’t do that.” “I did nothing wrong.” “You plotted to kill the prince regent.” The suspect shook his head. “I did no such thing,” he said. “I was drunk and just spouting nonsense.” “If that is the case, then you have nothing to fear.” “I’m not going back to prison!” the suspect shouted. “The rats gnaw at your toes when you’re sleeping.” Guy brought his pistol up. “Then it would have been smart if you’d avoided breaking the law.” The suspect ducked behind the woman, like the coward that he was. “But I did nothing wrong,” he declared.

“You must believe me.” “I don’t,” Guy replied. “It has been my experience that innocent men do not run and hold women hostage.” “You left me little choice in the matter.” Guy clenched his jaw. “Unfortunately, this will not end well for you,” he said. “I will either kill you or arrest you, and I would prefer not to kill anyone today.” “I will pay you if you let me go.” “How much are you offering?” he asked, feigning interest. Looking hopeful, the suspect said, “Five pounds.” “No,” he replied. “That is not enough to tempt me.” “Ten pounds?” Guy pretended to mull it over as he debated his chances of shooting the suspect without causing any harm to the woman. It was not looking good, he realized. The coward was keeping only his head exposed, and even though his head was larger than most, it was still a small, moving target.

“What do you say?” the suspect asked. “Nah,” Guy replied. “I would rather keep my job than let you roam free.” The suspect’s eyes narrowed. “You are making a big mistake, Runner.” Taking a step closer, Guy clarified, “I am not a Runner. At least, not anymore. I got tired of the red waistcoats.” “Then who are you?” Guy smirked. “I am just a man who likes to uphold the law.” The suspect cocked his pistol. “It doesn’t matter who you are,” he stated. “Step back and let me leave this room.” Guy shook his head. “I can respect that you are rather mulish, but I’m afraid I can’t let that happen.

” “Then I will kill the woman!” the suspect exclaimed. “That would be a mistake on your part, since it would be signing your own death warrant,” Guy remarked. “Either my bullet will do you in, or the noose will.” The suspect turned the pistol towards him. “Perhaps I will just kill you and be done with it.” Guy noticed the suspect’s hand was shaking, and he could hear the quiver in the man’s voice. This man was no killer, but desperate men tended to do desperate things when backed into a corner. “If you don’t put down the gun, I will kill you,” Guy said firmly. “I tire of this game.” He could see the indecision on the man’s face when he heard Lord Evan Corbyn’s commanding voice coming from the doorway. “Put your pistol down, or I will do you the honor of killing you myself.” Guy turned and saw Corbyn pointing his pistol at the suspect, his hand not wavering in the slightest. “I would do what the man says, before you end up dead,” Guy advised, turning back towards the man in question. The suspect’s eyes grew wide, and he ducked further behind the woman. “If you try to shoot me, then you will hit her.

” Corbyn let out a dry chuckle. “You underestimate me,” he remarked in a steely tone. “I never miss.” “It’s true.” Guy met the suspect’s gaze and attempted to reason with him. “Give up now, or you won’t leave this room alive.” “But—” the suspect attempted. “I know, you did nothing wrong,” Guy mocked, speaking over him. “But I would be remiss if I did not point out that you are breaking the law right now.” Corbyn took a step into the room. “This building is surrounded, and you have no chance of escaping. If I have to count to ten, then I might just shoot you before I finish.” The suspect’s eyes darted between both men before saying, “I give up.” He lowered the pistol to his side and released his hostage. “Wise choice,” Corbyn remarked.

Guy cautiously walked over to the man and grabbed the pistol, which he tucked into the back of his trousers. Then, he grabbed the man’s arm and forcefully led him towards the door. He left Corbyn behind to speak to the woman and led the man down the stairs and out of the building. They stopped on the street as Hobbs pulled up in a wagon. “Toss him in the back with the others,” Hobbs ordered. “You heard the man,” Guy said as he pushed the suspect towards the back of the wagon. Another agent stood guard as the man stepped up into it. Corbyn came to stand next to Guy as the wagon drove away. “It took you entirely too long to arrest that suspect.”


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Updated: 24 November 2021 — 02:48

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