Puffs of air floated in front of Elaine’s face as she watched her apartment from the shadows of a bush across the street. Wet snow was falling and sticking in clumps on the ground. The weather forecaster said they were expecting a blizzard tonight. It was the perfect cover.
She knew that the place would be watched by the police, but now it was a race against Nick and Jose to get the flash drive. It would be difficult to avoid both of them and the police unless she created a distraction. Elaine peered up at her dark living room window. She could see shadows moving around inside. Her boots crunched in the light snow as she crept along the snow covered grass. She blinked away the snow flakes that caught in her lashes.
Elaine carefully made her way to a spot directly across from her apartment window, leaning against a brick pillar connected to a gate. She had only one chance to do this correctly. She glanced around before stepping out onto the frozen sidewalk. She planted her feet, pulled her arm back as far as she could then hurled a brick directly at the window. Glass shattered onto the fire escape and sidewalk below as an alarm pierced the quiet night.
Elaine jumped back behind the pillar and pressed herself into the shadows to avoid being seen. She pulled a scarf over her mouth to hide the puffs of warm air her breath made. The night burst into confusion, shouting police officers raced into the building while the people inside yelled at each other. She heard more glass shattering and feet pounding down the metal steps of the fire escape.
“Stop right there!” There was a scuffling of feet on pavement and glass followed by grunting and clicking of hand cuffs. Radio static filled the air. “We apprehended two of the men trying to escape.” More static. “Great, bring them to the front.” The radio clicked off. “Let’s go.”
Elaine heard more grunting and shuffling as the captured men were moved by the police. She waited a few seconds before peeking around to find the area empty. She looked up to the now lit window to see an apologetic officer removing handcuffs from Jose! Jose’s face was contorted in anger as he yelled something about ruining his investigation. They both turned from the window giving Elaine a chance to sneak off into the night. Her plan couldn’t have gone better.
The bus ride to her office building was less eventful, which Elaine was grateful for. She felt the weight of the past few weeks press down on her. She couldn’t even remember the last time she had a decent night’s sleep.
She looked up at the dark building and smirked to herself. She had hoped Jose hadn’t remembered that after leaving the police station over a week ago, he had taken her to her office first before taking her home. She had wanted to pick up her laptop when they had come across the chaos Nick’s henchmen had left her office in. In her shock she had dropped the manila folder on her desk, which is why Jose hadn’t found it at her apartment. It would only be a matter of time before he realized his mistake so she needed a distraction to keep him busy so she could get it first.
Elaine pushed open her office door and peered into the dark room. Light from a lamp post outside the window shone through just enough for her to pick her way around the littered office. She didn’t want to chance turning on the lights. She immediately spotted the manila folder lying on a pile of papers on her desk. She picked it up and tipped it over, a small grey flash drive landing neatly in her hand.
Relief flooded her. She finally had it and now had to figure out what to do with it. She turned and jumped at the shadow blocking the door. The light switched on blinding her for a moment. Jose’s face came into view through the glare.
“This ends here.” His voice was like a low growl and his eyes flashed menacingly. The door closed silently behind him except for the click of the lock.
To Be Continued…