P IS FOR PANDA

Sand emerged from the dark stairway into the bright sunlight outside the aquarium.

It had taken them three hours to get to the park at Kristiansand after the discovery of the abandoned delivery lorry. It had taken another hour to convince the management to evacuate the park and get the tactical team in place. Then they had searched the various enclosures until an officer had spotted someone matching Dag Moen’s appearance entering the aquarium. They had breached the storage room just in time. Dag Moen was stood over Gabi about to shoot her. Sand was first into the room, he got off two shots at Moen as he fired and then fled through the opposite door. Other officers had fired. No one was sure if they had hit him.

Now the tactical team spread out from the aquarium searching for Moen. The amusement park and zoo was not a good place to try and track someone. Too many paths, buildings and enclosures.

Over the radio Sand listened to the various calls from officers as they methodically searched each area. He walked with his gun at the ready. The monkeys were chattering noisily with the excitement of the gun fire. For them this was a much more interesting day than the usual children gawping at them.

Sand rounded their enclosure. The large gorilla sat majestically, watching him pass. He moved past the sleeping pride of lions, basking in the spring sunshine for warmth. Something caught his eye, something out of place. The gate to an enclosure was open. Please be nothing dangerous, Sand thought as the idea of being mauled by a tiger crossed his mind.

He reached the gate. The sign read ‘Red Pandas.’ Sand stepped into the enclosure. It was a microcosm of a forest habitat. The grass was long, above him trees and branches were positioned to provide running and climbing for the pandas. Sand kept his gun raised as he crept through slowly.

There was a rustling noise to his left. He spun round. A red panda looked back at him, nibbling on a shoot of bamboo. Sand raised his gun above his head, the panda scuttled off along a tree branch. Sand kept moving through the faux forest land. The deeper he moved into the enclosure, the thicker the vegetation got. He had to lower his gun to sweep away the grass and branches form in front of him. Sand was a city cop, he wasn’t used to working in this environment.

There was some grass in front of him that looked trampled down. He couldn’t tell if it was from a human footprint or a panda one. He realised this was hopeless on his own. He reached for his radio hanging from his belt.

‘This is Sand,’ he said. ‘I’m in the red panda enclosure. The gate was broken open. Get a team over here to search it.’

Just as he finished speaking the blow caught him on the back of his head. The thud of metal against his skull sent him into the long grass. He recovered quickly, turning as he fell and bringing his gun up as he landed on his back.

Dag Moen stood over him, gun aimed at Sand’s head. ‘We have a stand-off, Detective Sand.’

‘You won’t get out of here. There are too many police looking for you.’

‘I wouldn’t be so sure, Anders,’ Moen gave him the same malevolent smile he had given Gabi in the basement of the aquarium. ‘I didn’t choose this enclosure by accident. Everything I do is part of my plan. You should know that by now. Did you enjoy your trip to Alta? Quite a thing that igloo hotel.’

They both heard footsteps coming through the grass. There is only so much a tactical squad can do to be silent.

‘What about my partner? Wasn’t it part of your plan to kill her?’ Sand asked.

Moen shrugged. ‘She is irrelevant in the grand scheme of it. The main thing is to hurt you and give my father his revenge.’

‘Why don’t you shoot me then?’ Sand said.

‘For the same reason you haven’t shot me yet, Anders,’ Moen smiled. ‘Because we’re both having too much fun.’

Sand saw Moen flick a white object at him at the same time as he kicked dirt at him with his foot. Sand flinched. Before he could recover, Moen was gone, vanishing into the undergrowth.

The tactical team found Sand brushing himself down as he got up from the ground. He pointed them in the direction Moen had gone, but he knew it was too late. Dag Moen was gone and they would have to wait for him to resurface again.

Sand looked at the white envelope that Moen had thrown at him. He opened it and pulled out two playing cards. There was nothing else with them. Another part of his sick game.

Sand got the feeling they wouldn’t have to wait long for Dag Moen to show his hand.


A2Z-BADGE-100 [2017]

This is part sixteen of my A to Z Challenge 2017. More information on the challenge, and other stories and blogs taking part in it, can be found HERE.

Throughout April I  hope to publish a section a day, relating to a letter of the alphabet, which in the end will make up a continuous story, all based round the objects found in this children’s jigsaw:

3570513_R_Z001A_UC17690531

Other entries in the challenge, and a version of the final complete, joined up story can be found here: A TO Z CHALLENGE 2017.

52 responses to “P IS FOR PANDA”

  1. Mhm… I hope there’s more to it, because I’m not really buying the ‘too much fun’ part of it.
    Good read as always 🙂

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter – 1940s Film Noir

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He’s having fun, I’m not sure Sand would agree with him either 🙂

      Like

  2. Great action. Looks like Moen is giving them the runaround. I’ll have to catch up with the previous parts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Nick. Hope you can find time to read how we got to this point in the story! Much appreciated.

      Like

  3. Now cards come into the picture? What is Moen upto? To know more, continue reading 🙂

    1. At least we know who Sand is up up against now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, we do. Although the mystery of ‘why’ still continues. Why the letters? Why the panda area? This is the longest I’ve had to wait to reach the end! 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah, two playing cards – the queen and the joker? That was some showdown in the panda enclosure!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have it, a Queen is a strong possibility amongst the cards – couldn’t quite work a royal family in there!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve a lot of catching up to do… need to go back a few posts. Sorry for not being up to date. Maisie has me worn out 😩

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, don’t worry, it’ll still be there after the end of the month for you to read at your leisure.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll definitely do that. Heading on hols next week so I’ll read all when I get back x

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Very nice, Maisie going with you? 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. She’s looking for her suitcase ….but… no 😜😱

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Make sure you leave her everything she’ll need while your away 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Yeah… the rest of the family 😂😂😂

                Liked by 1 person

  6. Well I am having fun reading your story, but don’t think Sand is having too much fun! 🙂 Good job!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He has to go through a bit more turmoil yet before we reach the end of the alphabet. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Poor guy. He will deserve a medal when all this is over and Moen is captured!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ha, definitely – if he ever catches him that is, and survives 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Ha Ha! Not to tell yo how to write your story, but you do know Sands has to survive, right? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Two cards……Maybe some clue to Moen’s his next move?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope so, maybe he could give me a clue!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Can’t wait to see what Q is for now

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The pace is picking up…. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ooh, ooh, I bet I know what one of the cards is! Fun story, Iain, I’m really enjoying it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you – you can see where we’re going tomorrow 🙂

      Like

    2. Thank you – you can see where i’m heading tomorrow 🙂

      Like

  10. Villainy 101: Shoot the good guy when you’ve got a gun to his head. Oh, Dag…should have studied up on that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Like he says, he’s having too much fun – and we’re only at ‘P’ – I’m sure he’s aware of that too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmmm…now there’s an interesting twist…

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Yay, Sand and the panda live to see another day. I don’t suppose anyone would bet against at least one of those cards being a queen? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Short odds on that being the case 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Two morals.

    The first is never go in without backup.

    The second is when you have the drop on the bad guy and he has the drop on you, pull the bloody trigger. Don’t dialogue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But where’s the fun in that? (starting to sound like my bad guy now!)

      Like

  13. Playing cards can very sinister. I don’t trust them. I’m not envying him one little bit!

    Another day in Amble Bay!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it. Sand may well be contemplating a visit to Amble Bay to recover after this.

      Like

  14. Good game of cat and mouse! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Well I see how you’re going to work the next letter in, I’m wondering what they mean already 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. An obvious one for Q, the Squirrel is looming large though!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Good one. This keeps getting more and more interesting! I wonder which two cards were left behind for Sand..

    Like

  17. I was hoping the panda would come back around and clobber Moen. A panda named “Queen”ie who would leave Dag’s ears “ring”ing. Then Sand could “squirrel” his gun away and “tie” Moen up. I’d be stumped at “umbrella,” though. Good thing I’m not writing this. Your version is much better 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a fair chance it will have started raining by the time we get to Umbrella 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  18. He’ll show his hand … right after he gives Sand a couple cards. Ha! Nicely played, Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. How did he get past all those police? Quieter than a tactical team, huh?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He has the local knowledge that they don’t. All part of his plan 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Now what could be on those playing cards?! I suspect I know one thing that it could be, but the other, I’m clueless. And what could those clues mean?! What a puzzle!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All will be revealed 🙂

      Like

  21. Oh wow, Moen is in the mood to play more games. Hope Sand doesn’t get disillusioned and make mistakes.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. It’s all so much fund until caught.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: