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Monster Extraction Unit

By KellyM All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Fantasy

ONE

If this house is really as good as Bristol made it out to be, we won’t have to do anything for weeks.  We can all hide out at the apartment or actually go see a movie or something.

I can’t help but smile at the thought.

“Earth to Logan, you in la-la land or something?” Maverick asks, elbowing me. 

I glare at his smile.  “Yes, and you’re ruining it.”  I shake my head as he slings an arm around my shoulders.  On the other side of the van, Tyler’s giving us his usual I’m-going-to-kill-you-two mad face.

“You mean I’m making it better, right?” he asks, leaning closer to me now.

“You’re so full of yourself,” I mutter, rolling my eyes.  He’s still smiling as I lean forward, out from his touch.  I let myself smile a little once I’m at the front of the van, where Bristol’s driving.  

“Shouldn’t you guys be planning?” Bristol turns a glare onto me, then back at the guys.  

“Isn’t that the house there?”  I point over her shoulder, at a corner house on the other side of the street.  The houses here are at least two stories high, big buildings and equally huge yards.  

Bristol’s shoulders sag, already done with me.  I smile and slink back into the back of the van.  Mave and Tyler already have their gear on and ready.  Bristol jumps into the back and gets her laptop out as I gather my own gear.  

I barely get the earpiece in when Tyler asks, “Ready?”

Bristol nods.  Mave opens the back of the van and I follow suit, giving Bristol and Tyler their little moment as we head across the street.  It doesn’t take long until Tyler surpasses us, marching straight to the back yard.

Mave smirks at me before he heads after Tyler, straight to the house’s backyard.  

I glance across the street, like anyone would be up right now, and head for the front door.  If Bristol did her job right, I should be able to walk right in.  In the two years we’ve all been working together, there’s only been a handful of times when a person’s security system went off.

Or the one time I ran into a guy with a weapon, like the last job.

My hand drifts down to my thigh, where the pistol’s strapped.  My left shoulder still hurts whenever I move it the wrong way.

“You ready, Logan?” Mave asks over the comm.  He sounds worried. 

I shake the memory away.  “Of course.”

I grab the doorknob and shove the door open.  It’s freezing in the house, and the entryway’s huge and silent, but that’s all.  No random people, just Mave and Tyler on the other side of the house.

A sigh escapes.  I shake my head.  There’s no time for relaxing.  I shut the door and start to move through the front rooms.  We’re supposed to be in and out of here as quick as possible, before anything serious can happen.

In the entryway, I start pulling drawers open.  There’s a handful of old phones—might make some money there—but there’s only old papers and other random things.  

With a sigh, I head into the office just by the entryway.  There’s a computer—too big to carry out—and a laptop tucked into a drawer just under the computer.  I swing my backpack around and pocket it, along with some of the fancy pens and the stash of cash under the desk.  Someone’s rainy day fund.

I sink back in the swivel chair, sliding for a second, as I go through the cash.  It’s a thick stack of hundreds, adding up to a couple thousand dollars.

“Sweet,” I whisper before I toss it into my backpack.  We’re definitely living the sweet life for at least a month.

“What’d you find?”

I jump, my hand shooting to the pistol, but stop myself.  Mave’s standing in the doorway, his yellow hair almost a silvery color in the lack of light.  He smirks at me as he starts walking around the room, looking over the bookcases even though there’s nothing interesting up there.  Maybe a classic book or two, but we don’t usually work with books.

I shift off the seat and guide it back to it’s spot.  Mave glances back at me, a book in his hands, which he sets back down once he sees me moving.

“Don’t you have a job to do?” I mutter, about to head for another room when Mave gets into my way.  “Or do you want to bring me down so you’re not the only one who gets yelled at?”  I tilt my head to the side and arch an eyebrow at him.

“Tyler’s upstairs,” Mave says as he tilts his head to the side, smiling.  I roll my eyes and try to push past him, but he just wraps that arm around my shoulders.  “I have something for you.”

My chest goes tight but I shake my head.  “Can’t that wait?”  I grab his hand, starting to pull it off me when he gives my hand a squeeze.  

“But nothing’s more romantic than doing this in a stranger’s house.”  He turns me around so I’m in the office again as he reaches into his back pocket.  I let out a sigh, shaking my head.  There’s plenty of time to walk past him, but then he pulls out a little box.

“What are you—”

“Don’t jump to any conclusions.  I found this at the last job,” he says as he pulls the box open.  “Turn around.”

“Why should I listen to you?” I mutter, just for something to say.  It’s once I’ve turned that he messes with my hair, moving the pony tail out of the way.  Something cool lands on my chest, then settles on my neck.

He forces me to turn back toward him.  The smile he had disappears.  “We should’ve done this later.”

“You think?”  I shake my head but grab the chain, a thin, light thing, and follow it down to a circular pendant.  “You better not tell Tyler where you found it.”

“You’re so cute, worrying about me,” he says in a goofy tone, the one he uses whenever he’s messing around.  He lets out a laugh, then glances over his shoulder.  “We should head upstairs.”

“Is that supposed to be romantic or something?”  I smirk at him and finally get past, my hand still messing with the circular thing.  It feels like a coin.

“It can be.”  He jogs up beside me and winks.

I shake my head.  There’s a kitchen off to the right with an island big enough to house a king sized bed.  “You’re so full of yourself,”  I mutter as I head over to the kitchen.  Mave follows after me, even though he should go through the other rooms.  “Shouldn’t you go through one of the rooms upstairs or something?”

“What, are you trying to get rid of me now?”  He’s behind me as I pull drawers open.  If there’s anything, there might be some more cash, or some old phones like in the front.  “Did I embarrass you?”

“The only person you’re embarrassing is yourself.”  I shove the drawers closed and turn toward him.  The window above the sink lets in some of the moonlight, which falls over the lower half of his face.  “Seriously, aren’t you supposed to check on the rooms upstairs?”

He shakes his head.  “You’re no fun.”  He shoves his hands into his pockets and takes a few steps, until he’s at the end of the island, and turns back toward me.  But he doesn’t say anything, his shoulders just sag and he walks to the grand set of stairs at the back of the house.

I smile and start walking, my fingers toying with the necklace again.  Tyler would be mad if he found out Mave gave me something, instead of selling it.  But then again, it’s better than wasting the little money we ever have.

With a sigh, I head to one of the bedrooms in the back.  It’s big enough to hold our entire apartment, with a king sized bed and a wide screen TV, even a couch.  I head over to the dresser and start going through the clothes.  There’s a little baggie with what looks like coke, along with a wad of cash.

I can’t help but laugh, even if the drawer stinks.  

I pocket the cash and toss the baggie onto the bed.  Someone’s going to be very mad when they get home.

After finding a tablet—heavy duty case and all—and another stash of coke, I head into the hallway.  There aren’t any footsteps, no creaking of floorboards or doors.  It’s built better than our apartment, where we can’t even move without the old wood making some sort of noise.

But there should be some sort of noise.  Mave’s the one who can’t keep quiet to save his life.

I hold the comm on my wrist up to my mouth and press the speaking button.  “You guys upstairs?” I ask as I head toward the living room.  There’s a huge TV at the back wall.  We’d need to have Bristol go into the garage if we’re going to take it.

“Yeah.  There’s a ton of stuff up here.”  Tyler’s voice comes in through static.

I sigh.  Brisk’s probably having problems in the van.  As I head up the stairs, I pause.  There’s nothing in the area or in the house to interfere with the frequency.

I take slow steps as I finish heading up the stairs.  There’s no noise, no sound of drawers opening and closing or footsteps, or even hushed voices.  I head toward the right, where the floor opens up into the living room, with only a single doorway beyond it, when there’s the faint sound of sirens somewhere in the distance.

Warm dread shoots down my chest.  I bolt down the steps, calling out Mave and Tyler’s names as I go.

When I stumble against the back door, I look back over my shoulder.  Red and blue lights flash beyond the closed front door.  The siren’s closer, louder, and there’s no sign of either of the boys.

I bolt across the yard.  At the wall between the two houses, I check again for any sight of Tyler or Maverick.  There’s no sign of them.

My stomach churns.  I jump up, scrambling over the wall in time for shouting to reach my ears.  Men in black gear burst from the backdoor just as I slip over the edge.  

A jolt shoots up through my legs.  I swear under my breath and sprint toward the left side of the house.  I need to get out of here.  I need to find streets to head down.  I need to find Mave and Tyler, because those cops are close.

I scramble to a stop in front of the black gate barring the backyard.  Those men are yelling at me, calling for me—they know my name.

My heart starts to pound.  How the hell do they know my name?

I shake my head and grab the gate, yanking it open.  When a high pitched siren starts to go off, I swear and slam the gate shut behind me.  There’s tall hedge to my left, the rest of the house to my right—with lights flickering on.

The police sirens grow closer now.

I run past the hedge, rounding it as soon as possible.  More lights flicker on in other homes.  I stop only after the cul-de-sac comes into view.

I stumble a few steps and turn around.  The flashing lights are going off, blocking the mouth of the street.  I reach for the pistol strapped to my thigh, my heart pounding.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

There’s a guy standing behind me, decked in black.  He’s got what looks like a taser in his right hand.

I dart to the side just in time to avoid it and pull out the pistol, pointing it right at him.  His hand flies out and grabs my wrist.  There’s no noise as I pull the trigger.  The guy doesn’t even grunt, just tightens his hold.

My fingers move on their own accord.  As soon as the gun falls from my hand, I send my leg up toward his side.  He grabs it and kicks my other leg out.  I let out a startled cry as I land hard on my knee—there’s a loud crack, warm pain.

He steps around me, twisting my arm behind me.  I try jerking forward but he just tightens his hold.  I start to lunge for the pistol—it’s only a few feet in front of me—but he tugs me backwards.

“I’ve got it,” he mutters, sounding bored now.  I manage to look behind me, enough to see police officers pointing guns at me.

The whole cul-de-sac is lit up.  People stand outside in clusters, staring at the girl in the middle of the street.  Staring at the girl getting arrested.

My chest goes hot.  The guy tugs me to my feet and turns me around.  There are people everywhere, no familiar faces, no sign of Mave and Tyler, or Bristol and the van.  Just police and families, watching me with disgust or fear or pity.

Police form a wall between our path and the people—the stupid, filthy rich people who should be inside right now.  My right leg threatens to give out under me with every step, but the guy keeps pushing forward.

There’s a black SUV parked in front of the police barricade.  There’s a white guy at the driver’s side, and a guy almost as black as the night sky standing in front of one of the doors.  When we reach him, he pops the door open.

I clench my jaw.  I need to run, but the police barricade is in the way.  The guy tied my wrists with something that I can’t get out of.  That and my knee hurts like hell.

I take a deep breath and glare at the guy at the side door, looking just as bored as the guy behind me.

As the guy behind me forces me into the car, I look across the street, at the van parked there.  

My heart lurches.  “Mave!” I scream, tugging my hands away from the guy’s hold, kicking at the door, at the other guy.  I keep screaming his name until everything goes dark and blurry.

They’re alive.  They’re okay, and they aren’t getting arrested.

And they’re letting me take the fall.

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