Elaine parked her car down the street from the large factory that Nick Palatnokiv owned. She had taken note of what the other workers were wearing and went down to the uniform store to get something similar. The factory loomed in front of her as she walked up to the entrance and shoved her hair into a baseball cap to hide her identity.
The bright moon was hidden behind clouds covering Elaine from the video cameras as she walked up the concrete steps. She held her breath as she swiped the key card she had “borrowed”. It beeped red denying her access. Elaine’s breathing sped up as she tried again and again. Her palms sweaty she rubbed the keycard on her pants and took one deep breath praying that the keycard worked this time. She slowly slid the card and instantly the light beeped green and she heard the latch open. Blowing out the air she was holding she grabbed the door handle and yanked the heavy metal door open.
The cool breeze from the air conditioner greeted her hot face. Elaine briskly moved down the hall peeking into the different side rooms. They were filled with different supplies such as pallets, tools, hard hats and work uniforms. At the end of the hall Elaine came to the open warehouse. It was dimly light and eerily quiet, the hum of a forklift far to her left was the only noise. Cautiously Elaine made her way through the warehouse. She peeked into the various boxes she found but they were only filled with different shipping items. All had legit packing slip labels going to various businesses around the world. Elaine finally came to the staircase leading up to Nick’s office. She looked around knowing that this was the only place she could go to. She took the stairs two at a time and checked the handle.
Locked. Elaine took a step back to survey the door. She remembered seeing…and there it was; the keypad. She pulled a small flashlight from her pockets to see the keypad better. She thought she might run into this and saw a trick on tv once. Pulling a compact from her other pocket she blew the light powder on the keypad, noticing the keys the powder stuck on. She rubbed her hands together and began trying different combinations.
Elaine began to worry that an alarm might go off soon if she continued to get this wrong. Crossing her fingers she tried again one more time. Bing! The door clicked open. Elaine did a quick fist pump and quickly looked around again to make sure no one was watching and slid inside the room.
There was still the scent of cigars lingering. Elaine went to work and began pulling at the drawers in Nick’s desk then she went to the bookcases feeling around for something. Still nothing. Finally Elaine came to the lateral files. One by one she began rummaging through them. Finally she came to the company’s financial files. After going through several she finally found documents showing substantial amounts given to the In Their Hands charity run by Tommy’s father George Dunstram.
Elaine pulled out her phone and began taking pictures of the documents and check stubs in the files. As she placed the file back she heard a noise outside of the door. Quietly she closed the file and crept to the large window overseeing the factory and willed herself to peek out. In the dim light she could see two figures walking toward her talking quietly. She had to get out. She looked around the office for an exit. She ran to a door on the far end and opened it to find a bathroom. Crap! She ran to the windows trying to open them.
On the last one she found a latch and was able to inch it open enough to squeeze through and a ledge a couple feet down to climb out on. Suddenly the door clicked and opened behind her. The two men who entered jumped in surprise.
“What are you doing here? You’re not supposed to be here!” Elaine froze.
To Be Continued…