The Darkest Hour Pt. 2
Jeff rushed from the alley way, as he tucked his bloodied blade back into its sheath. He gave a quick glance back at the girl he had just murdered for Jim. “This damn thing better be worth it” he mumbled under his breath as he reached into his coat pocket and fingered the USB drive. He was about three blocks away when he heard someone yelling for help and to call 911. He knew he was far enough away to not be noticed. He rounded the corner and continued down the street until he reached the entrance to a parking garage. He glanced around to make sure he was not followed and that there was no one around. After checking he walked to the elevator and punched floor six on the pad. The stainless steel doors closed slowly. The elevator lurched as it moved upwards. He watched the floor numbers light and dim as the elevator traveled up. The bell dings alerting the passenger that his floor was now available.
Jeff stepped out of the elevator and began walking to parking row c. There were only two cars on the entire floor. A black Ford F-150 and a dark green Honda Accord. The passenger rear door on the Honda opened and a man stepped out. He pointed to the other side of the car. Jeff nodded. The man returned to the inside of the car and shut the door. Jeff took a deep breath and opened the car door and sat down, closing the door behind him. The man sitting in the rear seat spoke in a low, but harsh voice “Did you do it? Where is it?” Jeff retrieved the USB from his jacket pocket and handed it over to the man. Jeff noticed a small blood stain on the USB, but didn’t dare say anything. “She is dead?" The man asked without making eye contact with Jeff. “Yes, I stabbed her and held her until her life left her.” The man nodded his head.
The man in the front passenger seat turned and looked Jeff in the face. “Did you look at the contents on this drive?” Jeff shook his head no. “Good, you would have had to die just like Miranda did if you had.” He tossed Jeff a small book bag. Jeff picked it up and gave it the once over. “There is 200,000 U.S. Dollars contained in the bag. Do not ask for more. If we need you, you will hear from us. Now go!” Jeff didn’t wait around to see what would happen if he didn’t.
He got out of the vehicle and started walking back towards the elevator. “What the fuck is on that thing?” he thought to himself. Enough of something bad to get that beautiful girl killed. He thought back to the pitiful look on her face as he let her fall into the snow. He found himself walking back down towards where he left her. There was an ambulance and police cars nearby. He told himself to not go down there, rookies go back to the crime scene, not a professional hit man. But something was beckoning him to return. Something that he couldn’t quite put his finger on. He continued to walk to the scene. As he got closer he began to hear the murmurs coming from the crowd. He walked up behind a couple standing there talking about the scene. He heard the man tell his female companion that apparently she was stabbed and that the business owner watched the whole thing from his balcony. Jeff felt his stomach churn. “Could I have made that kind of mistake?” he thought to himself. He quickly stepped around the couple and bumped into a man standing next to the ambulance. “I am so sorry sir” he responded to the man. The citizen nodded his head at Jeff. “I have to the get the fuck out of here, what am I doing?” he muttered to himself. Jeff walked a short distance and ducked into a pub.
Jeff walked to the bar and ordered a draft beer from the heavily mustached and tattooed bartender. The barkeep handed over the frosted mug full of cold draft beer. Jeff took it and killed the entire contents in a few swigs, sitting the mug back down, feeling the cold burn of the alcohol down to his gullet. He nodded to the bar tender for another. He glugged that one down. Took a slow deep breath. “What have I done?” he muttered under his breath. He knew that returning to the scene was a major no-no in this line of work. But what was it that drew him back to the scene? Why return? He reached into his pocket and took his wallet out removing a $20.00 bill and tossing it onto the bar. “Keep the change” he told the barkeep. He stood up and put his jacket on and began to walk out of the bar. “Hey! You left this!” the barkeep yelled to him. Jeff turned with a puzzled look on his face. The barkeep handed him an envelope. “This isn’t mine.” He stated. “Well you left it in your chair, damn sure ain’t mine.” Jeff looked at the envelope. He recognized the address and handwriting on it. He pulled it in to get a better look and smelled perfume emanating from the envelope. “Fuck” he tucked the envelope and walked out of the bar.
Jeff knew the scent of that perfume. It was the same perfume Miranda wore. How the hell and what the hell is this envelope. Who knew about this shit? He felt his mind race and his pulse increase. Did someone see the assault and murder? Impossible. I know I covered all the bases, and that shit about a witness from a balcony, no way. He continued to walk to the same parking garage where he met his associate earlier. He again checked to ensure he was not followed and proceeded into the garage. This time punching in the number 7 on the elevator. The elevator lurched up again. He wanted to open the envelope and see what the contents were so badly, but knew he needed to wait until he was secure in a location more suitable and less security risks. The elevator door opened and he stepped out feeling the cold once again cut against him. He hurried to a silver Chevy Silverado parked in the corner lot. He fished his keys out of his pocket and rubbed his fingers over the bass fish key ring his son gave him for Christmas. It was the last gift he ever received from his son before he passed away with leukemia. He opened the truck door and sat down. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He fired up the engine and let the truck idle. Jeff picked up a Swiss army knife from the center console and slit the envelop open, causing more of the sexually arousing perfume to emanate into the truck. He flipped open the letter.
I know why you felt that you needed to protect Mr. Arnold, but you need to know the truth. I know that it was you that killed my sister. There is no need for panic at this time, nor anger for I understand why you did what you did, but we must meet. You truly do not understand the amount of danger that you are in and that you put the United States in. Please take this very seriously. If I do not hear from you by midnight, I will be forced to allow your life to be taken as a matter of protection. Please meet me at the restaurant located at Duval and Water Street. I will approach you. Simply order water and an egg roll. I will wait until I feel safe and approach you. Again please take this very seriously.
Jeff let the letter rest in his palm. He felt a strange feeling that he had not felt in years, fear. He reread the letter again and again. Looking for anything that he might have missed. How could someone possibly know unless his employers had given out the information? But he knew that they would not have done that. He knew too much about their operation to even attempt that. But who? Someone knew and someone found out very quickly. What choice did he have other than to meet this unknown person?