Three weeks pass. I still went over to Jacob's for dinner with Catherine. She seemed happy to play with his two kids, Jimmy and Connor. Ever since Diana died Catherine had become very quiet. Often I was woken from sleep by her crying, crying for her mother. Diana died over a year ago and neither of us could get over that bitter fact. Things were made worse by the increase of Freak attacks.
It started over a year ago. Out of the blue, strange people began to appear. At first it was just a little thing like seeing Bigfoot or an UFO, something that could be ignored. Then more started to pop up. Creatures that sometimes looked human but had inhuman powers. Soon they were everywhere and they were dangerous. They destroyed and attacked without warning. The country was in a state of panic, the whole world was. Every country was reporting attacks from Freaks. The terrifying part was no one knew where they were coming from.
I'm at home now. Light tapping fills the room as my fingers move across the keys of my laptop. I close it after I finish up the last of my reports. With nothing else left to do I lie back on my bed staring up at the ceiling. Unconsciously my eyes wander to the closet. No, I'm not going to think about that. I look back at the ceiling. A minute later my eyes are back on the closet. Fine! Getting up I opened the closet door then start to murmurs round until my hand grips the handle. I glare at the briefcase irritated as I sit back down on the bed. What's so important about this case that a man would give it to a complete stranger who was so terrible that he would kill himself rather than be caught? "Don't look inside of it." Curiosity wins me over. A matter of seconds I pick the locks keeping the briefcase closed. My palms are sweaty as I nervously open the case. I'm perplexed. Inside the hefty case, lying in a bed of black foam is a tiny flash drive. Pinching it between my fingers I bring it up to my face to examine. I've never seen a function like this before. It's slender and shaped like a diamond. I most certainly can’t plug it into my laptop or any computer that I know of. Shrugging I put it back into the briefcase. Setting it aside I think over my discovery. What is so important about that flash drive? The man said they were going to kill him for it. I should destroy it, but I want to know what's so valuable about it. I want to find out what's on it. I make a decision.
The next morning I go to the bank. If someone was willing to kill for a flash drive, it’s the last thing I want inside my house or anywhere near my daughter. I open a safety deposit box and leave the briefcase there. Nobody should be able to get it. It will be safe there until I can figure out a way to access the information on that flash drive.
Over the course of several weeks I start to forget about the briefcase. Life gets back to its normal routine. I go to work every morning, Joyce takes Catherine to school for me then picks her up and stays with her until I get back from work.
"Jesus Christ!" I punch the steering wheel of my car. I left five minutes late from work and I got bogged down in midtown traffic, dammit. Resigning to the fact that I’m going to be stuck here for a while I switch on the radio. I roll my eyes as Lady Gaga assaults my ears. I don't understand people like her; they're all just ridiculous. I change the station.
"Tell me Deborah, what do you think of all this hullabaloo? I mean really, what is up with all the Freaks?"
"I know David, but it's becoming a popular thing. And the trend has started to become a hit in Japan, like Seampunk or Cyber Goth. they're calling it –"
The nerve of these people! Do they think these attacks are just an act for their personal amusement? That these creatures are something that can be made into a flashy icon? I would rather listen to car horns then to this! Turning off the radio I drive in silence the rest of the way home.
I pull into the driveway of my house. I get out of my car. As I do so I spot Joyce’s car parked at the curb. Joyce really is a great neighbor. She's been helping me out since Diana died. I stride up to my front door expecting to find it unlocked. I find it more than just unlocked. As my hands touch the doorknob the door slowly creaks open. That's not right, why’s the door not closed? Something's wrong. My hand goes to the holster under my coat and draws out my Glock 17. Swiftly I creep into the house. I find the living room empty but there are signs that people were in here. Catherine's blue slip-ons are by the door and the pillows on the couch are messy looking, like someone was sitting there. This is wrong. The house is supposed to be filled with the clatter of dishes, Joyce and Catherine chatting, and the TV blaring. There's nothing but silence. No, wait. Faintly I can hear the TV in the kitchen.
My heart is bounding as I enter the kitchen. "Joyce..." With my weapon pointed to the ground I move to her, scanning the room as I do. She's laying face down on the ground. I stop short when I see it. Its thick and almost black but still recognizable as red. "God." Someone shot her in the head. Trying to keep calm I raise my gun. Not touching the body I rush to my daughter's room. I sweep the hallway keeping my eyes peeled. When I get to her room, I'm praying that she will be okay. "Catherine?" Her room is empty. I search it, a sickening feeling starting to form at the pit of my stomach. She's not here! "Catherine!" In that moment I forget all of my FBI training. Frantically I run through the house. "Catherine, Catherine. Where are you!" My vain cries are meat with no reply. I can't lose Diana and my baby girl. I scour the house over and over again. Finally I fall against the hallway wall and slide to the ground. "Not my baby,” I whisper to nobody.
Sitting on the floor I think about who would kill a nice elderly woman and take a seven-year-old girl. I need to call the police or better yet, call work. God I'm so stupid, that's the first thing I should have done when I found Joyce dead! With shaking hands I dial Director Kirby's number. The phone rings two times but in the middle of the third ring my ear is assaulted with a deafening static, "Shit!" I yank the phone away from my ear.
"Don't hang up." My finger freezes right over the End button. "That's right stay right there and listen."
"Who are you?" I ask, voice shaking. The voice just laughs.
"Who I am is not important. It's what you have that is. Bring the briefcase to the Boston Harbor at eleven thirty."
"How do you know I have it?"
"Again that's not important. You’re starting to make a habit of asking pointless questions. All you need to know is that I know that you have the briefcase in your possession."
"Why would I give it to you?"
"Because I had dear old Joyce killed and right now I have your sweet little girl sitting on my knee." My blood runs cold. "Yes I have your Catherine, Agent Anderson. Here, she wants to say hi.” There’s a sort pause.
“Daddy?” My hand tightens around the phone at her quivering voice.
“Catherin baby, your going to be okay. I’m going to come get you.” It takes all my effort to keep the fear out of my voice. She starts to cry.
“Daddy, I’m scared. They killed Joyce!”
“Baby, don’t cry. I’m coming to get you. I promise that I’ll get you home safe.” I assure her.
“I want to go home-“ Her sobs are cut off. The strange voice returns.
“Your such a good daddy Agent Anderson. Yeah know, can I call you Keith? Agent Anderson sounds so formal. We're just two friends having a talk." Rage burns through me.
"God so help me, if you harm my child-"
"Bla bla bla, I'm just trying to be nice. But if you love your little girl you'll be there. If your not I'll have no problems with offing her myself."
"I'll be there with the briefcase."
"I'll be waiting. Oh and don't tell any of your authority friends because I'll know."
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