Warm Death

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Chapter 7: First Contact

Chapter 7: First Contact

Collins called in the next day, “Alex, did you get the locations I texted you?”

“Yes. I already found something. There are two incidents where the first of the pair are at the same location. Your suicide was preceded by an outage on Munroe Street, which is also linked to your bar fight.”

“Can you monitor all of these spots, in some automated way?”

“I already did, but you understand even in this radius, there are dozens a day.”

“Mmmm. Yeah. I certainly cannot detail anyone. Only one case is a felony. Any luck finding a better ID on him?”

“I will keep feeding you cases. Maybe we will get lucky.”

Alex jumped in, “Hold it! I just saw Monroe Street drop again. Are you nearby?”

Collins hailed a cab, while responding, “keep on the line. I’m five blocks away.”

Collins hopped out on the curb, drawing his weapon. Above the storefront, the upper apartments had been vacant for months. This was not the greatest neighborhood but was under renovation. Currently, it was not anyplace a middle-class businessman would live. He walked up the brick steps to the apartment directory. Only five of the rack of doorbells had new name tags. The cellophane covering the other names were illegible, yellowed and cracked. The apartments were almost certainly vacant. He rang all buzzers in sequence and waited to be buzzed in. The braaaaz ultimately came, along with a couple broken, staticky “whose there?” responses. He slipped into the lobby. Clean enough. Hardwood floors without dry rot, a few umbrellas in a wicker basket, a long bench littered with delivery food flyers. No overt evidence of drug use. He paced about, flipping through the stack of unassigned mail. He must be getting too paranoid, he mused. Perhaps the signal is not so strong. He dialed into the lab.

“This place could be unique in New York; it is as non-descript as it comes. Are you sure about the GPS? ”

Alexander sighed out aloud, “the signal was within 30 meters of this spot. Have you looked upstairs?”

Collins felt a bit foolish, not thinking in 3 dimensions. He responded, “Ah, right. I’ll poke around and call you back”.

He crept up the stairs and found a door ajar, leading into an abandoned office or study.

The lights were not on, but enough afternoon light poured in through the window to see clearly enough. Dust drifted in the light rays and thinly covered the hardwood floors. He relaxed, as he saw nothing that would be of interest to anyone here. He pushed open the door to see a bookshelf, a very worn recliner, a couple wooden chairs, and a rolled-up rug. He saw that someone had dragged the rug from the door to the far side of the room, from a wake in the dust. Holding his gun, he pushed the door all the way open with his left arm.

He felt a sharp pain as a needle was thrust into his neck. He spun around and fired into his attacker as he fell. “Got him!,” he thought to himself as he hit the ground. The last sound he heard was Alexander’s voice, interrupted as his cell phone was crushed.

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