Nocte Bellator: Night Warrior

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Chapter 9

Maia thought of all the places Sutton could have possibly gone. The first place that came to mind seemed the most obvious, but also the most likely.

She walked through the big glass doors to the building Sutton worked in. At the very least it's where she would've started.

Her work place has state of the art computers for her to do her research on. Even if she wasn't here, maybe she was bound to tell one of her co workers where she was headed after.

She made her way across the shiny tile floors to elevator waving to the secretary on her way. Once she was in front of the elevator staring at her fuzzy reflection, she hit the up button. With a ding the doors opened. There were already a few people in the elevator so she stepped aside to let them off before stepping on.

She quickly hit the button to bring her to the twelfth floor where Sutton's desk was.

The slow hum of the elevator signaled that she was moving. After a few stops in between of letting a few people on and off the elevator and what felt like an eternity later, Maia finally made it to the twelfth floor.

She stepped off, turning to the left, but it wasn't long before she noticed that Sutton wasn't at her desk.

Damnit.

Maia sits down at her desk anyway. Everything was incredibly organized. It took all of two minutes of rummaging through the paperwork on her desk to make it a mess. But it doesn't matter, she doesn't find anything of value.

Sutton would never be stupid enough to leave that kind of information out on her desk anyway. Everyone in this office wears masks. They will come to you with a smile on their face but if they see or even think you're on to a good story, they won't hesitate to swipe it out from under you as soon as you turn your back. And Sutton was an amazing journalist and investigative reporter. She was always on to something good. It was every man for themselves here. Sutton had started working here when she was just twenty and in past three short years she had worked her way up. She was one of the youngest journalist in her department. Needless to say this at times put a target on her back.

"Hey!" A cheery voice says from behind Maia. "You're Maia, right?" The voice says but it's obvious by her tone that she knows exactly who she is.

Maia turns around to face her. "Yeah, I was looking for Sutton." Maia tells her while quickly piling all Sutton's papers back together in a neat pile on her desk.

"Oh you missed her, she left maybe less than an hour ago." She says. "Do you know where she was going? She left in such a hurry." And there it was, trying to undercut Sutton when Maia had only been here less than five minutes.

"No, I don't know where she went. I came here hoping to find her." She says. "But since she's not here, I will be on my way."

Maia up and leaves before the woman can ask her anything else. At least she couldn't be too far behind her. And at least Sutton wasn't dumb enough to go out alone at night. But in the next few hours the sun would give way to the stars, which meant Maia had to find her and do it sooner rather than later.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Maia supposed the next best place to look would be where they had previously left off. They had managed to find that Chance frequented a certain bar on the rougher side of town. Maia just hoped that Sutton wouldn't go in alone, even though she was already investigating alone.

Maia hopped the first bus down town. Sitting towards the front so she could make a quick exit when her stop came. The seats were run down. The fabric ripped in places with foam sticking out. Maia could see bits of foam strewn about the floor of the bus like someone had nervously ripped the pieces. Maia was tempted to do the same but refrained.

After a ten minute bumpy bus ride Maia steps off on to the side walk. This side of town sent chills up her spine. The houses and apartments were unkempt. It was like she went from living in a place full of life and color to dull black, white and gray. Like she wasn't even in the same town, even though she was just a ten minute bus ride from home.

The bar was only a block or two away. She began walking, she wanted to run but she feared running would draw too much attention. She walked awkwardly fast trying not to waste time but she was losing daylight.

Maia knew if she could just make it to the bar she would find Sutton. She had to be okay. Last time they staked out this bar there was a little cafe across the street with outdoor seating. She remembered it was the perfect cover.

She made it to the small cafe. There was little lighting. But Maia could see a few people sitting at the tables along the sidewalk.

She makes her way passed every table and guest but none of them are Sutton. Panic was ensuing now. Maia anxiously grabs the end of her pony tail, twisting it around and around and around fingers.

She looks across the street at the bar, which was just starting to get busy. People were mingling around the front entrance. Would Sutton have really gone in alone?

Taking a deep breath, Maia makes her way across the street to the bar. The entrance was blocked by a large group of people. Maia tried to politely go around them to get inside but no one would step aside for her.

She finally decided enough was enough and went to push through the growing crowd.

Someone grabbed her arm. "Where are you going in such a rush?" A gruff man with a thick beard and multiple earrings asked.

Maia aggressively pulled her arm out of his grip. Ignoring the man completely, she turned the push her way through the crowd, but he grabbed her again.

"Come on baby. Why don't you stay and hang out for a while?" He says with a smile that made Maia's stomach turn.

"No thank you." She says firmly, ripping her arm from his grip yet again.

She turned again to go inside but he grabbed her again more aggressively this time. "You think you're better than me, you little bitch?"

Maia knew she could throw this guy on his ass but there were far too many witnesses.

She did a quick glance at the crowd, assessing the situation.

"She said she wasn't interested, ass hole." A familiar voice called from behind her.

Maia let out a sigh of relief. She didn't think twice when he let go of her without issue and quickly took a few steps back running into the front of someone.

"Oh, I'm sorr--." She began but stopped herself short when she saw the face of the person she ran into.

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