Chapter 27 Wednesday, 1730 hours, (5:30 PM)
Joshua knew Operation Zoo was nearing the last act. Before it happened, he wanted to fondle his art collection one more time. He went across to the large storage closet that was the weapons room. When he got there, he found that the door was open. In fact it was splintered and the room had been broken in to. He rushed in and was shocked to see Brian and Evan loading boxes on to a dolly.
They looked up and froze under Joshua's cold stare.
"I thought you'd learned your lesson," said Joshua.
Evan cast his head down, but Brian looked straight into Joshua's eyes.
"These weapons are mine," said Joshua, "and I won't tolerate anyone stealing from me. Corrective action will have to be taken."
Joshua could see Brian beginning to sweat. "Good. He has a lot to sweat about."
"Consider yourselves on report," said Joshua, "I'm afraid I'll have to lock you in with the hostages. I'm too busy to deal adequately with you right now." Joshua got a distant look in his eye. "I've already chosen the next sacrifice, but perhaps I have not chosen as well as I might."
With that, Brian drew his sidearm and tried to level it at Joshua, but his hand was shaking so the gun pointed in no definable direction, and there was a genuine danger that it would go off by accident.
Joshua thought to draw his sidearm, but his attire was always sharp and correct, so his holster was snapped shut.
"Brian, I trusted you," said Joshua, "and this is how you repay this trust. Why are you doing this."
The flood gates opened. Brian told Joshua that he'd once admired him, but not any more. The admiration had turned to hatred. He hated Joshua for making him a murderer, and for making something pure - a love of animals - into something vile. Then Brian almost apologized. He was sorry he had to do this when there was a special relationship between them. Brian paused for breath.
"Special relationship? What are you talking about?" said Joshua.
Joshua had no idea why he said that, for he too felt a special relationship with Brian. Joshua noticed Brian's eyes start to tear over.
"Evan, Let's get out of here," Brian shouted.
Joshua did not try to stop them as they ran by and out through the broken door.
"It's falling apart," said Joshua sadly.