The Reluctant Negotiator

I never really expected to become an actual hostage negotiator; it was an accident, a very scary accident.

Monday, October 4th 800 hours
I made it to the bus stop in time to watch as it pulled up, taking my grubby hiking gear and putting it on the upper racks, I sat down to the only window seat as the bus sped along the road. I was hiking in Rouge Park, I camped for a few days also, and I was headed back to my apartment in downtown Toronto. The bus stopped a few minutes later and a young woman got on, she walked over to my seat, looked at the rack over head and asked, “Do you mind if I?” She motioned toward her backpack. “Oh, not at all,” I said, I got up and helped her move my stuff so then she could put her backpack up there. “Do a lot of hiking?” she asked, relatively interested I thought. “Yeah,” I answered, “I just finished camping for a week at Rouge.” “Huh, I’d never survive a day in the woods, I’m too much of a city girl,” she said, laughing. I smiled. She was pretty nice, especially after spending days in the woods, and on the trail. “So, what’s your name?” I asked. “Mara, Mara Monaham,” she answered. “And you?” “Emily Hobbs,” I answered. “So, what do you usually do for recreation?” “I usually shop, well, I shop a lot actually.” “So, you listen to Ludo?” I asked, looking at her bright orange shirt, which had one of the band’s songs on it. “Yeah, they’re the best band ever.” Mara answered. I agreed with her. “Yeah, I have them on my mp3; my sister got an autographed copy of one of their CDs.” “You did?!” she asked. “Yeah, my sister did, she lived in Maryland at the time. Went to Recher theater one day, they were there.” “Wow, that’s really cool,” she said. Her eyes wide with excitement, “I’ve always wanted to see them.” “What was your favorite song?” I asked. “Probably In Space, I’ve always listened to it.” Mara said. “My favorite is probably Such as it Ends. I like the tune to it. In Space is my second favorite. I listened to it all the time when I went to Alaska.” “You went to Alaska? Really?” Mara asked. “Yeah, cruise and land tour.” I said. “Juneau, Denali, Skagway, I’ve seen them all.” “Man,” Mara said in awe, “I wish I went there. Is it pretty?” “Definitely, I loved it there. The air was so clean, and it was so colorful. I went helihiking with the family, and we went salmon fishing.”

“Catch anything?” she asked animatedly. “Nope, but my sister caught about six fish.” “You and your sister sound close.” “Mmm, not too close, we are exact opposites of each other. She got a degree in engineering, and she’s working for this big firm down in Florida.” “You should really try and catch up with her.” “Yeah, well, it’s tough trying to get our schedules to coincide.” “What do you do for a living?” “I’m a psychologist, actually.” I laughed, and Mara laughed as well. The bus pulled into another stop, a tall man with dark brown hair, cut in a crew cut walked onto the bus. He looked at Mara for a second, and then sat in the seat behind us. Mara tensed beside me, “Something wrong?” I asked, worried now. “Nothing,” she said, her hands twitching toward her purse. She looked at me for a second, “so, how often do you camp at Rouge?” “Pretty much every few months, I have a bit of vacation time in my job.” I looked at her, and took a furtive glance over to the man. He looked at Mara, and then looked back down. He seemed to be regretful, or guilty. Mara looked at me for a second and then looked at the man. The bus pulled into another stop, and the person sitting next to the man got out and left. Mara tapped me on the shoulder, “I’m going to talk to that guy, the one behind us. . .” I nodded, not knowing what to say. Her voice was very tense, as if she was ready to attack him. She moved over to the seat across from the man. “Hello,” she said curtly. The man looked surprised to see Mara, “Do I know you?” he asked, surprised. “I believe so, my name is Mara, the girl that you raped last month,” she answered. “I’m sorry, I don’t know what you are talking about. . .” the man said, tension leaking into his voice. He put his hands into a defensive position. “Look, if you want anything then take it, I didn’t rape you.” Passengers were starting to stare at Mara and the man, and I was staring too. I was wondering what Mara was talking about. I was pretty good at figuring out situations, but this time, I didn’t know what to think, so I watched in rapt attention as the whole situation unfolded. “I don’t want your money,” she hissed, I looked at her. Her hands were creeping toward the purse. Adrenaline surged through me, but I didn’t know whether to run or fight, so I just stayed glued to the seat. The bus slowed down considerably. “Then what do you want?!” the man asked clearly confused, and a little scared. “An apology scumbag!!” she yelled and drew out a gun, a 9 millimeter by the looks of it. She had it pointed at his head, “On your knees, bastard.” Mara looked dangerous, the bus pulled over on the shoulder and everybody got out, everyone but me that is. I started to back out as quickly as I could. “Stay!” she yelled at me, pressing the gun to his temple as hard as she could, “Stay or I’ll blow his head off!” I stayed rooted in the aisle, my heart trying to free it’s self from my unmoving body, my stomach acting like one of those toy dogs that flip all the time. “Ok. . .” I said as calmly as I could, “ok, I’ll stay.”

I looked to the gun, and then back to Mara, “Ok, Mara, come on, just drop the gun, a gun’s never solved anything.” “No, I’m not going to drop it, he ruined my life.” She said, angrily. Her hand tensed around the gun. “Calm down Mara, calm down,” I said, “you’re a nice person, I know you’re not going to hurt him.” “He hurt me, I was humiliated,” she said, her voice quavering. “I didn’t do anything!” the man protested. I could see the guilt in his eyes though. He was lying, and he didn’t care that he was about to be shot. “SHUT UP!” She screamed, “JUST SHUT UP!” She got ready to fire, I was sure of it. “Mara, no,” I said, “Come on; just put the gun down, please. We can get out and no one will get hurt.” She pointed it at me. “Stop talking!” she ordered, glaring at me with utter contempt. The man tried to grab the gun. “No!” I yelled, staring at the man in disbelief. It seemed as though everything was in slow motion. BLAM! The gun went off with a huge report. I felt a white hot pain pierce through my arm. The windshield behind me shattered. I heard people screaming from outside of the bus. The man kneeled back in his place staring at me, and I was staring back. I took a steady breath to keep me from screaming too. I risked a glance down and saw that the bullet had pierced my arm, just above the elbow. I gritted my teeth and raised my other hand slowly to apply pressure to the wound. The wound was gushing blood; I was starting to get panicky. I knew that that would not help. I tried to stay as calm as I could. “Look! I’m sorry okay! I’m sorry I raped you,” the man said finally budging in his own iron will. “It’s a bit too late for that,” was Mara’s steely response. Just then, I heard sirens in the background. I looked out the window and saw several squad cars followed by two ambulances and a fire truck, approaching the scene. Then I saw a mobile command unit of the Toronto Emergency Task Force approach. “Oh, oh no, no way,” Mara looked out the window also, “this can’t be happening.” “Mara, please, just try and calm down,” I said pleadingly. I saw several unmarked SUVs come onto the scene. People in grey uniforms with vests that had POLICE on them came out and got into position. “Oh my God,” she looked at me, “this can’t be happening, are you okay?” I nodded, I wasn’t feeling great but I felt fine enough to answer positively. “Mara, I’m just going to sit down here, okay?” I motioned towards a seat to my right; I was starting to feel a little bit faint. She nodded; the gun was re-aimed, back to the man. He looked pale, and he was shaking. I thought he might faint. “Mara, is he okay?” I asked motioning towards the man. “Yeah, he’s fine.” Her voice went flat. Suddenly a voice sounded in the direction of the squad car.

“This is the Toronto Emergency Task Force, is everything alright in there?” a man in the same uniform stepped out with a megaphone. I looked around, and saw a couple of the men come into the front of the bus. They held position there. A phone rang in Mara’s purse. She slowly answered it, keeping the gun ready. I heard her talking. “No, I don’t want to talk to anyone but Emily. I don’t trust you. You let my rapist go free for several weeks. . . No, call me again, and I will shoot him.” She hung up and pointed the gun at the man. “Mara, please, let them talk to you I honestly can’t help you out since I’m basically a hostage. You can’t stop this Mara, please, drop the gun, let’s walk out of this both alive, and then we can go see Alaska.” She just glared at him. I heard a slight squeak as the bus door opened. Two men with sub-machine guns and helmets rushed in, but stopped short. Mara had grabbed the man and pushed the gun right up against his temple. “Stop! Stop or I will kill him!”

900 hours
“Mara, calm down” I said, “I know you won’t shoot, you aren’t that kind of person.” “Please, calm down,” one of the men said he then talked into their earpiece, “One hostage is injured.” “I shot you.” She said, looking at my arm, which was now practically covered in blood. “That was an accident Mara, they happen, but look, it’s not serious, I’m going to live. Kill this guy, you’re going to be in for murder, or they’re going to shoot you right here.” I was downplaying the arm thing, it was really beginning to bother me, I probably was shot in a vein or something I never saw so much blood. I tried to gain my freedom. “Look, Mara, could I get out? My arm, it’s not really that great.” “No, I can’t talk to anyone other than you, I don’t trust them.” She responded, looking at the police. “Mara, please, they have much more authority than I do.” “No, they can’t, they couldn’t help me when I was raped, and they can’t help me now. You leave, and I will kill him I swear.” I looked back at the men, one of them was talking in an earpiece, “Sergeant, the primary subject wants to negotiate with one of the hostages.” He listened for a second, “Copy” he said. He whispered to me so that only I could hear, “The negotiator wants you to wear an earpiece, is that okay?” “Okay,” I said. “What are you talking about?” Mara demanded. “Mara?” I asked, “Is it okay if I wear an earpiece, it might help me to tell them your demands so everyone can get out of this safely.” “Okay,” she said, “but keep in my sight, okay?” “Okay,” I said, “Scouts honor.” I smiled a bit. She returned it. A minute later, a female officer, with brown hair in a braid, came onto the bus and handed the male officers an earpiece with out a word. She stayed there, her gun trained on Mara. I took the earpiece and put it into my ear. A voice sounded in my head, “Hello?” “Yeah,” I said. “Okay, who is this?” “Emily,” I answered, “Emily Hobbs.”

“Okay, Emily, this is Sergeant Tom Warner, I’ll be in your head the whole time to guide you, just try to connect with Mara. Listen to her, and try to calm her down. If you can, try and ask what she wants.” “Okay,” I answered, deciding that we already were practically connected, so I went on with the demand part. “Mara, please, what do you want?” I asked. “I want him to pay for what he did to me.” “Emily,” the sergeant said. “Try and see what the name of the man is.” “What is his name?” I asked Mara, looking at the man. “Don Hayes.” She answered coldly. The man’s face paled. “Sergeant,” I said, “His name is Don Hayes.” “Thank you Emily, you’re doing a good job, just keep her calm,” In the background, I heard him ask for a rap sheet on Don Hayes. “Why does it matter?” Mara asked, her voice suddenly hard, “Why do you care about what his name is?” “If Don was accused of any other rapes, they could know about it.” I answered, “He could get convicted, and you won’t see him again.” “I just want an apology from him,” Mara said, her voice filled with remorse. “I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.” “I know Mara, I know,” I said calmly. “I know you didn’t mean for anything to go wrong.” “Emily?” the sergeant asked. “Yeah,” I answered. “Don Hayes has 5 charges against him. The cases against them look good, if convicted, he will spend up to 40 years in prison. Okay?” “Okay,” I said, “Mara, the police officers checked out Don’s rap sheet, they say that he has charges for rape already filed against him. The cases look good, if he gets convicted, he will be put into prison for a very long time. You won’t get to see him again.” Mara asked, “Really? He’ll go to jail?” “Yeah,” I answered, looking at Mara, straight in the eye, “Yeah.” “He won’t go free?” “The top prosecutor in Toronto is working on it, there is no way he can go free,” the sergeant said in my head. “No Mara, he won’t go free, the top prosecutor of the city is on it. There is no way he can get out of this one. Now what do you say Mara? Please, could you put the gun down?”

1000 hours
Mara seemed to take this in for a very long moment, she sighed, using her free hand to rub her head. I was contemplating talking to her some more, but the sergeant warned against that, “Easy,” the voice commanded, “just give her some time, don’t push her, she’s emotionally distraught, just keep there for support.” “Okay,” Mara finally said after a few tense moments, she set the gun on the floor. “LET ME SEE YOUR HANDS!” the officer with blonde hair yelled. Mara raised her hands. The other officer grabbed the man and got him on his feet. The female officer helped me up. “Can you walk?” she asked.

“Yeah, I think so,” my voice shaky, I felt a little faint. I staggered a little bit as she escorted me out of the bus, I sat on a stretcher. As the paramedics took my vital signs, I saw Mara being put in a squad car, and Don being stiffly escorted to another. My heart was racing, and my blood pressure was lower than usual, which wasn’t too much of a surprise. As the medics bandaged my arm, I saw an officer coming towards me. He had a big build, and he was bald. “Hello, I’m Sergeant Tom Warner; I was the person who was talking to you on the bus. How are you doing?” “More or less fine,” I answered my voice quavering a little bit as the effects of adrenaline went haywire in my system. “I wanted to congratulate you, you did a good job today.” He held out his hand, I shook it with my good arm. I gave him the earpiece back, the medics had me lay down on the stretcher and they put an IV into my arm.

1800 hours
I walked into my apartment, never had I been so glad to walk into my home. It took hours to get past the excited reporters, apparently, I was a hero. I sat down at the door, my back leaning heavily against the wall. I took a deep breath, nearly in hysteria. I nearly died today; I was surprised I only came out with an arm in a sling. I calmed down and dialed a number on the phone. “Hello?” a voice asked on the other end. “Hey sis, it’s me.” I answered.

The End

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful