Detective Bruce Sanchez and FBI Agent Abel Williams stood at the top of the dark parking deck. Even with a muffler covering his face, the cold air bit into Bruce’s throat. His mind wandered for a moment. I better not be getting the flu. If this murdering idiot doesn’t show up, there’s going to be hell to pay for somebody.
Detective Sanchez peered through his field glasses. Bushes illuminated by streetlights, empty dirty sidewalks, and shadows between the lights sat stagnant and alone. He lowered his glasses and let out a frustrated sigh.
“Bruce,” said Abel. Bruce immediately came back to reality. “Stay alert. It’s almost showtime.”
Bruce’s stifled voice strained through the muffler, but there was no way he was taking it off his mouth. “What’s this guy’s name again, Samir?’
“No, that’s my guy.” Abel sounded annoyed. “This guy’s name is John. John Clark.”
“Are you sure this superbug he supposedly stole is even viable now? Heck, I’m not sure I’m viable in this weather. Didn’t he need Dr. McCray to pull this off?”
Abel shook his head. “No. The doctor was involved in researching this bug. They’d hoped to make him steal more samples from the lab. When Samir tipped us off about Henry, he said they were going with what they had before they got caught.”
Bruce scowled and thought, What kind of crazy messed up world are we living in now? People are trying to release their own form of biological weapons on their neighbors. For what?
An elbow into Bruce’s ribs pulled back his attention. Abel pointed to the bottom of the street, and Bruce turned and raised his field glasses. Three men were walking up the sidewalk towards the city’s newest skyscrapers. One carried a medium-sized metallic suitcase. At three in the morning on a freezing night, they stuck out like sore thumbs.
Abel spoke softly, “Bruce, get ready to go on my mark.”
“Wait.” Said Bruce.
Abel asked, “What, why?”
Bruce squinted into his binoculars. “This feels too easy; what if it’s a ruse?”
Abel stood silently, staring at the slow walking men below.
He finally said, “Samir’s intel is good. He told me they would be coming up this way with the virus contained in a metal suitcase.”
Bruce asked, “What if Samir’s been turned?”
Abel’s frustration was audible even at a whisper. “We’ve been through this. He wouldn’t have told us about Henry if he was turned.”
Bruce put down his binoculars and stepped back from the edge of the parking deck. Abel lowered his field glasses and stepped closer to Bruce.
Abel’s brow furrowed, “Look, I let you make your arrangements, why are you holding us up?”
Bruce began to pace with crossed arms slapping his shoulders. “I don’t like it. They’re out there in the open, in the cold, doing a slow walk.”
A man’s voice came through their earpiece. “They’ve stopped. It looks like they are taking a smoke break.”
Bruce pointed to the edge of the parking deck. “Who takes a smoke break from walking, and in this weather?”
He stopped pacing and stared at Abel, waiting for an answer. Abel slipped back his coat sleeve and checked his watch. He spoke into the microphone. “Everyone hold position and continue to monitor the group.”
Bruce asked, “What’re we going to do if they don’t move?”
Abel’s eyes looked past Bruce. “I don’t know.”
The two men returned to their location at the edge of the deck. A cold blast of air hit Bruce in the face, and he was beginning to regret his decision to tell Abel to wait. Below the three men lit up a second round of cigarettes.
Abel muttered, “I don’t like this.”
Bruce said, “It looks like a setup for an ambush.”
Both men began to scan the surrounding structures.
Abel muttered into the microphone, “Snipers, check the buildings in your line of sight.”
Bruce backed away from the ledge again and walked back and forth, pounding his shoulders. Abel joined him, and the two men danced about and waited for the snipers to report. Within a few seconds, one after the other announced everything was clear.
Another sniper reported, “Wait, I see a shadow on top of two buildings. Changing to night vision.” A moment later, he said, “Night vision isn’t showing me a lot due to interference from the city lights.”
Abel asked, “Have the shadows moved?”
After a few moments, the sniper responded, “Negative. It could be a trick of the eye. I see some exhaust piping that could be causing it.”
Abel responded, “Keep an eye on it. If nothing moves after five minutes, refocus your attention below.”
Abel turned back to Bruce, “Let’s get a closer look.”
Bruce nodded as he hopped in place. The staircase’s stagnant air felt warm compared to the cold breeze they had stood in; by the time Bruce and Abel had arrived on the ground floor, both men had their mufflers removed and were panting.
They exited the stairs and slipped over the short wall around the corner from Samir, John, and their friend. Bruce and Abel squatted down in the shadows and attempted to walk on the packed ice that sat frozen against the parking deck. The darkness of the shadows and the solid ice made walking difficult.
Bruce and Abel carefully peered around the corner with their field glasses. Samir was making the unknown man police the cigarette butts.
Bruce whispered, “That doesn’t make sense.”
Abel asked, “What?”
Bruce answered, “Why pick up their butts? There are security cameras everywhere. It isn’t like we can’t determine they were here.”
Abel shrugged, “They care about the environment?”
Bruce put down his field glasses, “Really? Besides, it’s going to snow later tonight, they’ll be covered.”
Abel whispered, “You’re spending too much time on the small picture.”
Bruce gasped, “What if they’re already infected? They don’t want to leave any DNA lying around that might clue us in on their condition.”
Abel put down his glasses, “God, I hope you’re wrong.”
Abel put his binoculars in his jacket pocket, and Bruce did the same.
Abel whispered into his microphone. “Okay, everyone. Pay attention. This is it. We go on three.”
Abel paused. Bruce removed his pistol and was slowly chambering a round as quietly as possible.
Abel spoke back into his hidden mic. “Alright, one, two, three.”