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VISIONS OF ANGELS
Missing Scene: The Fix
Five months later Hutch's cravings take over momentarily, but his will is stronger than his need.
He ran with all the magnitude his soul could carry through the forbidden swamp lands, taking in long concentrated lungfuls of air as he tore through the jungle, the hounds of hell hot on his heels, their steel-trap jaws nipping at his ankles like some god-awful science experiment gone haywire. Hutch looked over his shoulder as he ran. He couldn't see anything behind him except a swirling, dense, foggy vapor. He could hear twigs snapping and dry leaves crunching beneath heavy footfalls. He felt rather than saw the hot, wet, dripping breath of something chasing him.
The unknown demons were cloaked in the shadows of the tall, prehistoric-looking cypress trees. He could feel sharp talons extended outward, slashing at his spine. Each time Hutch looked back over his shoulder he stumbled and fell to the muddy earth, only to have to rise back up on weakening legs and run again. He still couldn't see the phantasm that was hunting him down like he was a rabid beast. Damnation, destruction, and desolation had his scent now and they would not detour from it. He could feel claws whistle past his eardrums as he ran from the unseen ghosts. Spitting and growling, they hissed all around him and the tall blond man fled for his very life. The pastel blue shirt that he wore was delicately embroidered with a guitar across its back. The soft cotton material stuck heavily to his skin. It was soaked with the perspiration of his yearning.
Hutch began to weaken; his long legs feeling like wet noodles, were unable to carry him much farther. Still he willed himself to move on as he splashed through the soggy green sludge. The swamp was thick with weeds. Tall stalks of velvety brown pussy willows set free their white fiber seeds and they soared about catching in his throat as he tried to suck in air, causing him to cough. All around the region smoky gray vapors kept hidden from him his foe. A stabbing pain swiftly shot through his chest and he shrieked in pain, wrapping his arms tightly around himself as he continued to falter through the moist forest.
He continued to run but was feeling as though he were losing ground, losing this race. If this wasn't hell he didn't know what was. His blond strands plastered to his face as he dodged trees and boulders that came up out of the swirling mist from nowhere. The blond ran erratically without destination. Where was he going? What did he need? What was stalking him in the night, calling out to him with such intense wanting? Something deep down inside him summoned his spirit and called out to him with such ferocity, such a strong aching need, he choked on it like a chicken bone caught in his throat. Hutch knew he was powerless to defend himself against such a potent demon, and he called out to the one person who could save him. "Starsky."
The fair-haired man finally came to a sudden heart-palpitating halt. His brown leather loafers slid through the mud and just tipped over the edge of an enormous chasm. Hutch caught himself as he bent over the edge peering downward. Both his arms flying out to his side and twirling around to balance his body and keep from going over the cliff. The pit below was dark and stones clattered and echoed through his soul as they fell into the bottomless abyss. He looked across to the other side. It had to be at least fifty feet. Vertigo hit him hard and he froze teetering on the edge of the world. He could still feel the claws of hell racking at his back. Suddenly a wooden planked suspension bridge appeared before him, connecting one embankment to the other. A few boards, however, were missing and the thick twined rope that made up the bridge's handrails looked tattered and shabby. He gazed at the rickety overpass for what felt like an eternity. The gray mist before him slowly began to turn purple. Out from the fog a blue-eyed angel appeared to him. The song of psychedelic beads chimed through the air as Hutch heard the winged women call out his full given name without moving her lips. Several more heavenly hosts appeared also calling out to him gently, softly like the wings of a bluebird. A numbness took over the flaxen-haired man's body and he struggled to breathe, gasping to catch his breath and clutching at his chest. Hutch continued to look upon the apparitions, confusion filling his mind, betraying his soul.
One guardian angel in particular was the most beautiful and serene creature he had ever seen. Her outstretched wings were like radiant ivory fleece. Her face was like finely sculptured bone china. She was basked in heaven's light and her hands gracefully reached out to him. She beckoned him to cross the bridge where it was safe. Where the hounds of hell would not be allowed to follow and where the longing need he felt deep inside could thaw like the peaks of the white-capped mountains in spring.
Hutch gasped as profuse sweat dripped from his brow. He hesitated feeling a sickening nauseous wave of desire, and he took two steps backward. He couldn't go, couldn't move across the bridge to where he knew he would be safe. An empty scream shrilled out just behind him and he felt something rip into his flesh. The earth beneath his feet rumbled and the bridge rocked, breaking away and falling into unfathomable depths. He looked up to see the visions of angels evaporate like the rain in the desert heat, gone in a split second. He fell to one knee feeling utterly conquered. The sweat-drenched blond screamed down into the chasm as he watched the bridge disappear. "Nooooooo." Like a sonic boom going off in his mind everything went pure white.
Hutch bolted straight up and fell off his bed to the floor. He was wrapped in his sheets and soaking wet from head to toe. He trembled fearfully feeling cold and hot at the same time. Wiping the drops of perspiration from his eyes he glanced around him. He was in his room. It was all just a dream. Or was it? He still felt the hounds of hell ripping at his back. He rose quickly, untangling himself from the crisp, dark blue sheets that imprisoned him. Hutch began to pace the room quickly at first then slowing and pausing often to peer out the window. Finally he recognized the feelings that kept ramming through his arteries. The cravings were back in full riot gear and they were trying to take control, to own his soul. Hutch ran a hand through his damp hair. He grabbed a handful of blond strands keeping a hold of them in his clenched fist for a minute before letting go. His hand dropped weakly to his side. He looked at the phone on the nightstand, back out the window, and then to the phone again. Damn, he knew he should call Starsky. Anger raged through him then regret, disgust, fear, pride. The cravings stirred deep in him and he grappled with them helplessly like a worm on a hook.
His partner's words resounded through his ears. "Day or night Hutch. Day...or...night... I don't give a damn what time it is you call me. You got me buddy? Partner? Friend? You...call...me...." The last three words enunciated clearly and soldered like lead in Hutch's brain.
Hutch shook his head feebly. He couldn't do it. He just couldn't bring himself to call Starsky this time. Maybe it was his pride. He knew that would come before the fall, but something inside made him hesitate. He couldn't put his best friend through another sleepless night of torture.
For some odd reason, as Hutch continued to pace the apartment aimlessly, his mind kept wandering to that legendary ending of the classic storybook tale Old Yeller: the growling Labrador baring his teeth threatening his beloved young owner, the heartsick boy pulling back slowly on the trigger, ending the dog's life. Releasing the animal from his need, his craving to bring harm to his loved one. Somehow Hutch had become the rabid dog lusting for a bite of the forbidden drug. Fighting friend or enemy to get it. And Starsky was the young boy forced to kill his best friend. A final painful act of mercy and of undying love. He just couldn't put Starsk through that pain.
Hutch ripped his black leather jacket from its hook on the back of the door and stole out of his Venice Place dwelling. "S-sorry partner." The words breathy and shallow. Only Hutch's .357 Magnum, which still hung on the door in its holster, heard the earth shattering repentance that lingered in the room long after he was gone.
Hutch walked down the now black lacquered street, the loneliness beneath his feet nearly swallowing him whole. He had no choice. The demon cravings roared through his body. It felt like an eighteen-wheeler trucking hard and fast down the highway blaring through his veins with need. He regretted the fact that Starsky would find him somewhere in the form of a human ball, curled up in a heap of unrecognizable fur, a matted mess. Little more than roadkill. His partner would be forced to nurse him again, bringing him back among the living, or maybe he would just put him out of his misery this time like the story goes. The darkening, gray, pale washed sky was now a syrupy haze and heavy with rain. A shallow rumble resounded and it all came tumbling down in copious silver beads.
The blond found himself on the dark side of town, the wrong side of the tracks, a prince who now wallowed with the pigs. He berated himself, but the harsh need drove him forward. His thirst for the stuff was like a cornfield's thirst for rain in the middle of a two-month drought. The rain now was little more than a drizzle as his long lanky legs strode along the lonely street to his destination.
The old abandon marina was dark and desolate. Old fishing vessels were tied to the wooden docks, some half sunk into the canal and coated with years of rusty armor. They groaned eerily as they rocked gently, slapping against the wooden dilapidated deck. The blond startled some as he kicked an empty beer can unknowingly and it echoed over the water as it jingled across the ground. Hutch startled harder still when at the same time he heard a loud squawk fill the moist night air. He looked up to see a large mouthed pelican staring down at him. The bird eyed him precariously and Hutch swore he caught the look of disappointment in the sea bird's eye, not that unlike his partner's.
Again his mind rebuked him, but his steps didn't falter as he headed toward the three-silhouetted figures in the distance. He cautiously approached the unsavory looking longshoremen. He didn't take notice of their facial features. He only took notice of the tattooed pin points that ran up and down all three of the men's arms like some fanatical connect the dot game. His gaze was so intense Hutch failed to realize he now stood shoulder to shoulder with the drug peddlers.
"What you need Jack?" one of the men spoke out.
Hutch stood drenched from rain and sweat. Dark smudges circled under his tired forsaken eyes. The three seaman became tense as they waited for the blue-eyed man to speak up or forever hold his peace.
"Well?" one of them finally spoke with impatience.
Suddenly a grave look of horror struck across the tall blond's face. What the hell am I doing? I can't do this. Not now. Not ever. Not after what Starsky and Huggy and Captain Dobey did to bring me back from what Forrest's creeps did to me. He kicked himself all over god's green earth for not keeping his bargain with Starsky. He should have called his partner when the demon cravings struck a chord in his veins drawing him in like the harp draws the angel.
"Maybe he's a cop?" one asked the other poking, his companion in the ribs with laughter at such a ridiculous accusation.
"Maybe he's deaf, dumb and blind," another sang out with a roar of amusement.
"Uh, sorry my mistake," Hutch finally spoke, holding his hands up in a submissive way as he was wrenched from his reverie by the crude remarks.
Hutch turned on his heels and walked away from the deep-seated need he still felt. His only need now was to get to Starsky's place. He was cut short of his stride and roughly pulled into a chokehold by the apparent leader of the three seamen. The other two began to search his attire.
"You owe us some money Jack. Taken up our valuable time is gonna cost ya." The men dug deep into pockets, finally producing a leather case, flipping it open, revealing to everyone the gold-crested shield. "What's this?" he spoke in surprise. "We got us a cop."
The ogre that had Hutch in a chokehold tightened his grip and Hutch gagged.
"You trying to bust us, cop? We don't take kindly to people trying to take down our little, shall we say, enterprise."
Hutch could feel the man's hot breath on his neck and smell the stench of heroin flowing through his arteries.
"We're gonna have to learn you, boy, on the do's and don'ts of the underworld." The man's spittle flew into Hutch's ear as he spoke.
Something inside Hutch shifted and clicked into place; he instinctively let an elbow fly into the abdomen of his captor. The man doubled over in pain and Hutch spun around, reflexively lifting his foot high, kicking said man in the chest and sending him airborne to the wet ground.
Unfortunately, Hutch was out numbered three to one. His valiant efforts were stopped short as he was nabbed by the other two men and held fast. The man on the ground slowly raised up, wiping at the blood that formed at the corner of his mouth. He took a step toward Hutch. Hutch took quick note the man had an army-styled crew cut and was very well built, like an army tank. "That," the man stated firmly, "was your second mistake of the night." He spoke as he drove a hard right punch to the gut of Detective Hutchinson, who immediately doubled over in agony.
"Owf." A word not found in any dictionary here or abroad escaping his lips.
For no better reason other than to prove they owned this side of town, Hutch was held steady while the largest of the three unsavory men began to work him over. The man powerfully over and over again hurled punches to Hutch's gut, face, and chest. Hutch took each searing punch like he held the world champion punching bag title. He spit the taste of blood from his mouth and smiled broadly as he hung between the two men.
"That the best you g-got?" Hutch sung out in defiance, egging the tanker before him on.
The blond must have been a glutton for punishment as this infuriated the man before him. Hutch was let loose and shoved hard to the wooden dock. A heavy boot kicked him, digging deep in between his ribs several times. "Aww!" Hutch cried out as he tried to lift himself off the planks. "V-very inventive," Hutch chuffed through the pain. If he couldn't beat the cravings maybe the cravings could be beaten out of him, he thought, grinning at his aggressor with mutinous charm and egging him on even more.
The blond stood swaying in the breeze, deep purple bruises painted all over his body.
"How's this for the mother of invention, cop?" one of the thinner seamen spoke, pulling a pocketknife from out of nowhere.
"Y-you better know how to use that t-thing," Hutch drilled, breathing heavily.
The man lashed out with the knife toward Hutch who successfully dodged the gleaming blade. Again the unsavory shore man dove toward Hutch, knife in hand. Hutch tried to scramble out of the way, but he was weak from the battle and the knife's sharp tip cut into his shirt, slicing a thin line across his chest. "Arrrrr," he screeched as he stumbled back a few steps, quickly placing a hand to his chest. A warm sticky feeling filled his hand.
The shore man had caught a whiff of blood and it set him off like a panther on the prowl. He raised the knife high over his head and started toward Hutch with impassioned green eyes. Hutch stood unprepared, clutching his chest and staring at the demon before him, unable to defend himself. Starsky's face flashed through his mind and he unconsciously said a goodbye to his partner. The deathblow never came, however, as the man was whipped to the ground by his comrades.
"What are you, crazy? He's a cop. One thing to show him who's boss, another to kill him."
The three stood only a moment, just now getting a handle on what they just committed. It seeped into their drug-laden brains like oil spreading over water. "You just keep away from here, cop, from now on," one spoke as they all three backpedaled into the shadows, leaving Hutch beaten, weak and scrabbling to keep his legs underneath him.
Hutch stumbled through the streets keeping a tight grip to his chest as he went. It wasn't a deep wound but it burned and blood oozed steadily from it. What was he, some sort of lunatic? How could he let his craving get so out of control? He nearly got himself killed. What would that have done to his partner?
"It would have killed him," Hutch answered his own mind's ramblings, shaking his head and gripping the brick walls, trying to make his way to Starsky's place.
Hutch barely managed to climb the steps to his partner's home. He staggered and swayed in front of the door. His strength was squeezed from him like a juiced orange peel and all he could do was let his head fall to the doorframe with a thump as he stood there in the deserted hallway.
Starsky jolted from sleep; something wasn't right. He jumped from his bed unnaturally awake, hearing a thump at his door. He moved to the chair where his gun and holster were hung and drew his weapon as he shuffled toward the sound. Starsky stood shell-shocked as he opened the door aiming his gun at the head of his partner. Least, he thought it was his partner. The bruises and shadow-twisted face resembled Hutch. Both men stood, swirling blue eyes fixed on one another for a split second.
"Hutch?" Starsky questioned, pulling his gun up away from its true aim.
Hutch staggered in about three paces and stopped, unable to go another step. "So-sorry S-starsk," he stammered just as his eyes rolled up into his lids and his legs gave out on him. His flaccid body spinelessly sunk toward the floor without a worry as to where it might land.
Starsky caught him in his arms, dropping his gun to the floor as he did so. Both Hutch's arms dangled in a subdued manner at his sides as Starsky maneuvered the half aware man across the room. "What the hell happened, Hutch?" he asked in a panic-stricken voice as he pulled his partner's nearly limp body over to the couch and eased him down on his back.
Hutch could feel his shirt being pulled open and something cool and wet being pressed to his chest. He drifted in and out, only slightly aware of his partner's tender care.
"Can you hold this, buddy?" Starsky asked as he placed Hutch's hand over an ice bag that was positioned on his left eye. As he studied the battle wounds, Starsky asked again, "Geez, Hutch, what the hell happened?"
"H-had a little disagreement," Hutch panted out holding the ice to his eye and wincing as peroxide was dabbed along the stripe on his chest.
"Disagreement? Looks more like you tried to renegotiate the whole football league's paycheck on your own," Starsky quipped. He then took a closer look at his partner's face. The undisputable black rings under his eyes, the sweat burdened shirt and the blue vein that popped out at the corner of his temple were all Detective Starsky needed to solve this mystery. "You had a craving, didn't you, Hutch?" No answer came from the couch but the blond's body trembled from the words. "Why in hell's name didn't you call me, partner?"
Hutch, in his panic at the question, not knowing how to answer, tried to spring off the couch, tried to escape his partner. He didn't make it as the room just then decided to take him on a little ride. He was trapped in the revolving glass doors and it spun him round and round. Who the hell stole all the exit signs, he thought to himself, as he bobbed back and forth pathetically.
"Hutch, easy now. Come on, partner, lay back." Starsky eased Hutch's head back down onto a pillow, placing the ice pack back and running a hand through the blond's hair.
Hutch let the ice pack fall from his bruised eye. Starsky winced at the sight of the puffed lid. "I-I to-I took a wrong turn, Starsk. Won't happen again." Hutch's breathing was rapid and short. "Promise."
Starsky wasn't quiet satisfied with that answer and he was all set to go charging in with guns blazing till he saw the look of sorrow and defeat on his partner's face. Hutch's cloudy blue eyes were setting like the sun, and his breath snagged in his throat as he groaned with pain. His body shuddered, feeling like a squashed bug and Hutch hoped his partner wouldn't add his footprint to the wounds.
Mercifully Starsky bit down on his tongue, driving away the scolding he was about to give his friend. He could see Hutch was guilt-ridden and had suffered enough. The curly haired man sat on the couch next to his partner just holding his hand. Hutch was worked over but a hospital wasn't in the forecast.
Hutch slit open his blurry eyes, not hearing the tongue-lashing he expected, and sensing his partner's worried gaze on him. His head felt like it were going to explode and his whole body ached. He was grateful for not having to explain himself. He didn't think he had the strength for the confrontation, anyway. "I'm going t-to be okay, Starsk," Hutch slurred out through swollen split lips.
"I know you are, partner. I know. I'm right here, now just sleep." Starsky gripped the hand in his tighter.
"N-no more." Hutch's eyes began to slide shut as he spoke in soft undertones almost to himself. "No more phantoms chasing m-me." His head slowly began to loll to one side. "Got m-my guardian angel b-by my..." he took a deep quivering sleepy breath, "s-s-s-s...i...d...e." The last word the blond spoke drawn out in a long exhaled breath before his head slumped deep into the pillow and he was pulled into the realm of sleep.
Starsky reached up, lightly touching his friend's cheeks. He would always guard Hutch with his life. He sat that way watching Hutch's face, as he almost appeared to be smiling in his sleep, the demons gone for now. Starsky shuddered at the pain Hutch endured tonight. "No more, buddy. No more. Not as long as I'm around. I love you, partner." The faint words spoken from his heart, were blown out to sea and scattered to the four winds. And the angels heard and they saw the love between them and they smiled.