I looked over the text again, reading every word as if it would disappear at any moment. I knew putting Elena and Charles on that mission would be dangerous. I knew that they would receive repercussions because of me but I was selfish and stubborn and my ways would never change.
It didn’t matter that Elena and Charles had successfully completed the mission, adding another notch to my successes. They had disobeyed orders due to my command and are probably meter maids by now. I should have been the one punished, not them, but my boss, Captain Reed, knew it would have done no good. I had seen too much in my life for punishments to have a lasting effect on me.
My phone dinged alerting me to a new message. I rubbed a hand down my face and looked around the nearly empty coffee shop. It was late. The sun was setting and most people tried to get inside before darkness fell, leaving them vulnerable to the horrors that accompanied the dark. Hover boards and transports flooded the street and sidewalk outside as people hurried to their sanctuaries.
But not me. It would be the start of my shift in less than an hour and the new message glaring at me from my phone could only mean one thing. My new assignment was about to begin. Knowing my record, it was probably one that had been closed years ago, but with my contacts it had been reopened just for me. Knowing that I’d be the only one to crack it open and solve the cold case.
I opened the message and let the files flow through the contact sensor on my phone and into my mind. A smile graced my lips as I tuck the files away in my mind for safe keeping. This case was going to be easy, I thought as images of possible suspects floated through my mind’s eye.
“Agent Collins, what a wonderful surprise,” a male voice said from behind me.
The man, dressed in jeans and an old band t-shirt, took the chair across from me. He looked better than the last time I had seen him which happened to be exactly 48 hours, 7 minutes, and 36 seconds ago. He had obviously showered and his 5 o’clock shadow had disappeared.
His face held a smile while his blue-green eyes held mischief. He was relaxed which made me tense. There was something in his nature that put me on edge and it wasn’t because of his unbelievable good looks.
“Jack, you look like you’re doing well today,” I replied curtly, recognizing the man and the mission that had jeopardized my team of Elena and Charles.
Jack smiled a large smile. “Thanks. It’s amazing what a shower and a change of clothes can do. I just figured since I seen you sitting here that I’d stop and tell you how thankful I am of you and your team,” Jack said as he reached out a hand for me to shake.
I smiled warmly at the younger man and grasped his hand firmly. I was use to the thank you’s, but when Jack grasped my hand a sense of dread flowed through me. Files began to open in my mind. Case files, missing persons, deaths, and suspects floated in a whirlwind around my head until a picture of Jack came to the front. Wanted as a suspect in murder, the file said.
I snapped back to the present, ready to snap the cuffs on Jack’s wrist but to my disappointment he was already gone. I ran onto the sidewalk, avoiding hover boards and the few that still chose to walk, my eyes scanning each face, but it was too late. Jack had vanished, leaving me reeling at what I had done.
I had aided the escape of a man who was a suspect in my new case. I cursed myself. If only I had listened and followed directions I wouldn’t be chasing him now. If only I hadn’t sent Elena and Charles on that mission to free him.
I wanted to scream in frustration. I wanted to slam my head against the steel wall of the restaurant for my stupidity and yet it was already too late for the regret. The longer I stood here wallowing, the less time I had to find and capture Jack and the more time he had to get away.
I shook my head. I wouldn’t let that happen again. I would find Jack and bring him to justice. I will avenge all the people he killed. A murderer was not going to walk away again. Not on my watch, I thought as my watch chimed, alerting me of my starting shift. Not this time.