Moon In Scorpio

Chapter 11

Her shift finished for the day, Kate waves to Corrine, slips her helmet on and lets the rumble of the Harley sooth her nerves on the way home. Its three days since she visited the building in the Bowery, and it's over a week since her foiled attempt at what she had assumed was the Rodgers household but had turned out to be the Castle loft.

The next payment is due and she needs to hit a target. She always scouts out, gets an idea of routines and patterns, but tonight she's going to have to go in blind. She hates going in without preparation but unless she can come up with the money it will be another month's delay. And she's getting so close, she can feel it in her bones, a few more bits of information and she should have enough to piece it all together, or at least have some decent leads.

As soon as she's home she strips and changes into her yoga outfit. For the next forty minutes she goes through her routine; stretching and breathing exercises until she feels herself ready for her graveyard shift excursion. She takes a shower, slaking off the day's grime and the perspiration from her workout. After that she gets herself a simple dish of pasta with just a touch of onion, tomato and a drizzle of olive oil. It will give her energy for later on whilst being light on her system. Then she draws the curtains and climbs into bed, her last thoughts before sleep takes her down involve a cut out figure that comes to life and makes her breath catch in her throat.

She awakes to the darkened room, yawns and stretches before glancing at the luminescent clock on the night stand. 1:57 am it tells her, she slips her legs off the bed and goes into the bathroom to brush her teeth and freshen up, she grins at her reflection in the mirror, always have fresh breath when on a job.

She heads to the kitchen and grabs a bottle of water before entering the sitting room and switching on the TV; another of her foibles, always make sure you're well hydrated before going out on a job. She checks the news channels, making sure nothing unusual is going down in the Bowery district. Once she'd headed straight into an area saturated with police and firefighters when she hadn't heard of a fire only two streets from her intended target. Now she always made sure to check beforehand.

She goes through her sports bag, transferring the required items into the backpack. Tonight it's all about short vertical climbs, so she won't need the grapple launcher or the auto-reel. She fills the small spray bottle with water and carefully inserts the nitrogen canister into the padded pocket of the backpack. Once everything has been checked, she places the sports bag back at the bottom of the closet and picks up the backpack.

She pulls up a couple of streets away from the building, running the bike up onto the pavement and parking it in a dark area under a fire escape and a few feet from a dumpster. She attaches the helmet with the helmet lock, pulls her boots off and slips them into the saddle bag before extracting her climbing shoes and a baseball cap. Slipping her shoes on she then tucks her hair up inside the cap before taking a careful look around and walking away down the street.

She walks past the front of the building, noting the security guard's head showing above the desk. He doesn't look to be very alert, but she doesn't hang around to check him out. She crosses the street, continues along the pavement checking the office block next door from the opposite pavement. There are no lights on in the building, so she continues round the side and observes the fire escape. She spends ten minutes crouched against the wall, listening to the sounds, gauging the traffic. Then she's up the escape and standing on the last level. A quick check and the grappling hook is sailing over the parapet above her, its rubberised prongs barely making any noise. She pulls the line in slowly until she feels it catch. A couple of tugs and then her full wright and the hook's firmly secured. It barely takes her a few minutes to climb the brickwork onto the roof.

She pauses, checks her surroundings. The street lights below lend a glow to the cold night air which increases the sense of darkness on the roof. She keeps to the edge, body crouched below the parapet and makes her way along the front till she's reached the wall of the next-door building. Again the grappling hook comes into play, a smooth swing of the arm and the hook lands with a gentle thud on the roof above.

She pulls it tight, lets her weight rest on the climbing rope a moment before pulling herself up. Reaching the top she stretches her hand out, hooks her fingers on the ledge and soon has her other hand beside it. She pulls herself up and swings a leg over until she's straddling the low parapet. She releases the grappling hook and loops a length of rope around a protruding piece of stonework. On one of her first jobs she'd left the hook in place and on leaving had been unable to release it. Now she always made sure it will be easy to release or substitutes it with a piece of rope.

She walks round the rooftop, leaning over the front parapet and checking the building below her. It only takes her a few minutes to set up her ropes and ascenders. Soon she's climbing down the front of the building and is hanging in space outside the darkened window with the Bertoni's Bakery sign over her shoulder. The suction pad adheres to the glass and the cutter makes a slight fingernail-on-blackboard noise, barely perceptible even to her as she makes the circular cut in the pane. She gives it a firm tap and pulls the suction pad away, dropping the circle of cut glass into a pouch. The next item she removes is the small spray bottle containing water which she holds near the hole and sprays into the cavity of the double glazing, making sure the panes are well soaked. Carefully she swaps the water spray for the canister of liquid nitrogen which she then squirts into the cavity. Within seconds both panes of glass have cracked and quartered into minute pieces turning the glass opaque and brittle as egg shells and only just holding together.

She swaps the nitrogen cylinder for a can of spray-on liquid latex with which she covers the outer pane of glass. She gives it a few moments to solidify and then gently taps it before pulling from one corner. The shattered glass peels away with the latex and she carefully rolls it up. Another layer of latex on the inner pane and that soon joins the first one. Now she has an opening wide enough for her to slide through and into the room.

She stays close to the wall, remembering the locations of the movement sensors from her previous visit. There were four, each set in a corner of the room pointing towards its centre; totally useless if you were already in the room and against a wall. Dropping to her stomach she quickly moves towards one of the corners, keeping close to the wall. Once underneath the sensor she stands up, removes the liquid latex spray from her pouch and squirts some over the lens. It doesn't take her long to disable the remaining sensors and soon she's depositing the circle of glass and latex encased glass shards under one of the cabinets. There is no point in carting the stuff away with her. All the products she uses are bought in small quantities over the Internet and from out of state using a false ID and a drop box. Any connection to her would be irrelevant.

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