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On Duty

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The rice on the desk had moved.

That was the only indication that anything was wrong. Not something that I would usually pay attention to, but ever since SecureHomes Inc. has taken the Wiltshire residence on as a client, weird things have been happening.

It was just gone two in the morning, my eyes begging to shut, the coffee I'd snagged from the 7-11 down the road already cold. But I could have sworn that the rice had moved. There's protocol for this.

I punch in the proper code to report an anomaly, and sit

And wait


And sit


As I'm sitting there waiting for it to process, movement in the foyer catches my eye. I switch the camera to full screen just in time to see Timothy come through the door. I watch him remove his scarf and hat and complete his daily greeting to the empty house, none the wiser to any suspicious activity going on in his home.

I check back in on the report.

‘No Anomaly reported’

I should feel relief, that it turned out to be nothing. But I am painfully aware of the pit of dread that has settled in my stomach.

Turning the camera back to Timothy, now in the Kitchen, is all I can do to follow the lines of his thin form as he bends to grab a pot from below the counter. My eyes tracing a path up along his spine taking in the wide set of his shoulders catching on the small hairs that curl behind his ear, I wonder what he does when he's not home. Where he works, who he sees...

The camera signal jumps. Shift through blue and black before coming back to the regular picture. At first nothing seems amiss but then I see it. The cup on the counter, it's moved. And then the feed cuts out completely.

I jump from my chair. Not quite sure what to do, but it feels like I should be taking some sort of action. There is no virtual way that I can contact Timothy to warn him, SecureHomes Inc makes it incredibly hard for their employees to get any personal information about their clients. I dont have a phone number or anything.

Without much of a second thought I grab my keys bursting out of the little security trailer and hopping in my car. The only thought on my mind is to warn Timothy, he might be in danger. I drive the route I have driven every night this week. And make it to the house in 8 minutes flat. My heart racing like a jackhammer. Leaving the keys in the ignition I sprint up the drive, and burst through the door. Just as I had suspected, but had hoped wouldn’t be true Timothy turns holding one hand in the other blood dripping down his wrist.

He looks at me wide eyed, startled. On instinct I reach for the dish towel on the counter and as gently as I can, press it to his bleeding finger.

“I’m from SecureHomes, I saw the camera cut out, and came as fast as I could, what happened?” I ask, trying to keep my voice even as the panic slowly abates.

Timothy is still staring at me seemingly in shock.

“I-” he chokes out

“I was startled and the knife slipped...How- How do you know where I live?”