The household apartments weren’t very creative in their name, but they were well designed. Four towers, five stories tall, connected to each other at the top by a community garden. They had an open concept floor plan and large floor to ceiling windows. Right now though Sandra didn’t care how well planned the apartments were she just cared that she had finally made it home to hers.
She kicked off her shoes and let herself fall against the door with a heavy sigh. What a week it had been and it was only Tuesday. There had been a prison break at the Cubes and they were still trying to get numbers on how many inmates had escaped. But right now it looked like at least two dozen high-level offenders were out roaming the city streets. The public was breathing down their necks to fix it and to top that all off it looked like the escape plan was the work of InSyndicate. The parabolic pulse charge, the grenades, the multiple files that had been wiped, it was all part of their MO. It was all so frustrating. The police barely knew anything about them except that they obviously had access to a large supply of resources and people, and that they always seemed to be one step ahead of her and her department.
Sandra was broken out of her thoughts by a loud bark. She opened her eyes as a rough collie made his way over to her.
Smiling she knelt down to pet him. “Sorry, Rufus, I’ve been away so much soon you aren’t going to recognize me.”
Rufus’ tail wagged happily from the attention before he moved to wall next to her, nudging his leash that was hanging there.
“All right I’ve been cooped up inside all day too.”
She quickly switched out her business suit for fitness ware and a pair of well-worn running shoes and went over to the small park nearby. With having to be so close to the precinct in case of emergencies finding a real green space to go to in the inner city was rare. Sure there were trees sticking out of the glass and concrete on almost every block, but finding a place with grass and plants that hadn’t been stuck there in a neat organized row? That was something else. It reminded her of home in a way.
She ran with Rufus along the pathways for a solid hour and then picked up a wrap on the way back to her apartment from a vendor on the corner.
She had just started eating when her phone rang.
“Now is that any way to greet your old man?”
“Sorry, Dad, I didn’t check who was calling before I answered.”
“And why does your voice sound like that?”
“Because I’m eating you caught me in the middle of dinner.”
“I don’t believe this, doesn’t check her phone ID to see that her dear old dad is calling and then talks to him while eating at the same time. Is that the kind of daughter I raised?”
“Considering you had me on a horse before I could walk and always let me test your homebrew I’d say that is exactly the kind of daughter you raised.”
He chuckled. “You know me too well, Sandra, so how are you?”
“Tired and busy, what about you?”
“Lonely and bored.”
“What all the eligible ladies in town aren’t beating down your door?”
“No, they’re too busy planning Leona’s retirement party.”
“She’s retiring!? Who’d she teach the pizza recipe to?”
“I can’t tell you that under penalty of death.”
“Oh, come on it’s only the best kept secret in town.”
“And it’s going to stay that way. Of course you are a detective you could look into it.”
“Department doesn’t have the resources for me to use to my personal whim. Not that I’m not tempted to though.”
Her dad laughed.
“I meant just you yourself could look into it by coming to her retirement party. Beth and Julie will be there.”
Sandra smiled at the mention of her childhood best friends. It had been too long since she’d talked to them.
“When is it?”
“A week next Sunday.”
“I’ll try to be there. It’ll be good to see everyone again. Maybe I can even make it up early on Saturday and we can cook dinner together you and I. It’ll be just like old times.”
“I’d like that, sweetheart, I’ll talk to you soon and I love you.”
“Love you too, Dad.”
She hung up and headed up to her apartment. Once inside she set her phone on the charger on her nightstand, brushed Rufus, and got ready for bed.
Sandra snapped her eyes open with a start. The clock on her bedside table told her it was 2:55AM. She lay there for a moment unsure of what had awoken her; until she saw the stream of light spilling across her bedroom floor from the restaurant sign across the street. Her blinds were open. The bright lights from the street kept her awake so she never slept with them open.
Her heart rate accelerated, but she stayed where she was, watching and listening.
Rufus growled as two shadows suddenly fell across the floor. A hand came up shoved the covers back. She struggled to get up as another hand grabbed her wrist. Still she managed to get her feet under her and stand up on the bed, and was helped as Rufus bit the man holding her on the leg.
His grip loosened and Sandra yanked her arm free. Using that momentum she smashed her elbow into the man behind her.
He yowled and stumbled back, allowing her to turn around and kick him swiftly for good measure. Unfortunately at that same moment her other assailant got free spraying Rufus with a chemical that sent him whimpering away, before he swiftly collapsed on the floor. Then the man turned and grabbed her by her hair, yanking her backwards, and spraying the chemical directly at her too.
Sandra gagged as her nose filled with the noxious odor. She coughed and fell sideways, and then the world went black. That was fortunate for her because she couldn’t feel the pain as the one man she had jabbed and kicked retaliated by jamming a device into the back of her neck until he hit bone.