Petrichor

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Chapter 3 - Midnight ride

Next day- the Press and public alike were briefed, news crews celebrated the agency and the local cops... 'Heroes take down animal trafficking syndicate' was the headline, felt corny as hell, oh well - gotta go with the flow.

I updated the director and wanted to continue the missing kids case here and requested an extension. "What do you mean...uh Winter, the case is getting wrapped up as we speak. You got the guys, we have a body and testimony, come home bud - good job", he elucidated "the higher ups want this gone, you get it? The public pressure is high... we're slapping the charges on the poachers for kidnapping of the kids."

Enraged - disappointed - frustrated, i tried my best to persuade, "Sir I assure you I think there's more to this and I'm certain those bastards had nothing to do with the dozens of kids still missing, we accidently solved a case we had no idea existed in the first place, please reconsider...", "ITS DONE", he bellowed, "its settled, I'm... I'm sorry - sometimes we gotta accept the results, you really did good there pal, but we're pulling you off this. We cant escalate this further - its decided".

I hung up, rubbed my forehead- throbbing and heavy, need some pills - rattled the bottle, took three. Will need a refill.

Flights scheduled for tomorrow morning, cant sleep - got out for a drive, its past midnight, headed to the food district, wanted to see only place I really liked in this sinkhole, perhaps the cute sandwich girl is there with her cart. The whole place seemed out of sorts, although crowded and busy with shops and vendors during the day, it doesn't have a lively nightlife. "Uhh what was i thinking..." I mumbled, her cart wasn't there. Walked up to guy selling coffee nearby and started chatting with him while sipping an expresso.

"The sandwich girl? Yeah she's really strange", he began descanting "she aint a local, she started selling her stuff here about 10 months ago and she keeps to herself, no one really knows her well, and besides... she sells that weird pork sandwich...", "what do you mean weird?", I cut in. He proceeded "well Sir... you see... most vendors here sell either vegetarian food or stuff with chicken, here up in the hills, we have a short supply of meat and livestock farming - so pork is considered a delicacy for the rich but strangely enough she can afford to sell street food with pork... she brings in a lot of customers. She's been here for only 10 months, us locals are jealous to say the least." Hot, my body started to sweat and I could feel myself trembling..." what else do you know about her? Do you know her source... from where she buys her product? Does she have helpers?"

"Um... well not exactly", he began scratching his chin and squinted as he spoke "apart from bread and veggies we've never seen her buying anything local, atleast not the expensive meat, someone buying pork to sell here for that cheap would be the talk of the town for us vendors here... and regarding help, she did have some street urchins helping her to prep the food, maybe she has a good heart, the poor kids would work anywhere for some money, some even worked at that hideous factory here from what I heard, but what's strange is, she would have a different kid helping her almost every week or two... never saw a kid who lasted too long", he leaned over "maybe she was too hard on them and they couldn't stand her and quit", he chuckled. "There's one more thing, when she would leave everyday she was always considerate enough to dump her wastes and leftovers separately, that pork waste smells and the stink is even worse than the fish market i hear, she would go up the block and dump her stuff in the landfill".

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