Mr. Dark 4

By: Lauren Landish



I pulled myself back over and out onto the roof, finding my folded up miniature glider. I stepped off, letting my speed gather before pulling back and swooping off into the night, and I headed to my planned extraction point, a large self-storage company three miles away that happened to have five shipping container sized units rented out to me. "I'm away and safe," I told Sophie. "I'll be home before midnight."

"Good, I'll have our bath waiting for us," Sophie replied into my ear. "So did you get the little package in there?"

"Yeah, they're going to love that," I chuckled. The package was technically a virus, although all it did was change all of the system sounds of any Windows unit that downloaded it to Do You Wanna Build A Snowman? Sophie and I were having fun poking our targets.

Tonight's raid had been the data collection center for one of the biggest rackets run by the Confederation in the city. While insurance fraud had been one of their most profitable scams for years, recently the Confederation was getting pressure from Owen Lynch, who was using his political connections to revamp the state's insurance laws, limiting payouts. To counteract this, the Confederation was going back to an old stand-by, one that had been in use since the Roman Empire days, padding work claims and then short shifting the system. With hundreds of public works contracts, especially in the construction industry, they could easily say they sent eight people and only send seven. That doesn't sound like a lot, but when every crew was ten to twelve percent understaffed, it totaled millions of dollars a year.

I had downloaded all of their contracts, hoping to track down who was legit and who was a scam. And of course, left my little calling card. "Remind me again when I get back," I said as I approached the self storage site, "I've got to do some musical research."

"Oh, what for?" Sophie asked. She could keep her headset in even as she moved around the house, and normally did whenever we were separated like this.

"I've got to find something more bad-ass than a song from a Disney movie as my calling card. Isn't there any heavy metal or something that uses the word snow?"

"I think the Red Hot Chili Peppers did something," Sophie said. "And of course, you could always use songs by the Canadian reggae guy, Snow."

"Ah hell no," I groaned. "I'd rather stick with Disney songs at that point."

"Well, get home quickly," Sophie said. "I've got the bath ready for you, with all your favorite oils and herbs on standby. And of course, two hands that are more than ready to give you a massage."

"I'll be there as soon as I can. I love you."

"I love you too."





Chapter 4





Tabby





I was kind of nervous as I waited outside my apartment for Scott to arrive. I was wearing one of my more polite first date outfits, a knee length decorated denim skirt and a white Bohemian-style top. It wasn't quite a poet blouse, but I couldn't call it a peasant blouse either. Either way, I liked it, and had worn it for years.

Scott was three minutes early by my watch, or as my Daddy used to say, right on time. He pulled up not in the pickup truck I'd expected, but a Buick Verano. I was surprised, I hadn't taken Scott for being a Buick type of guy.

"Hi," he said, getting out. At least he was wearing what I'd expected, black denim jeans and a khaki shirt with a green nylon flight jacket. He wasn't quite GQ, but he wasn't straight country either. Instead, he was somewhere in between, and he was handsome as hell doing it. "You look amazing."

"Thank you," I replied, giving him a little curtsey with my skirt. "And may I say, you look quite dashing as well. Is that jacket real?"

"If you mean is it really a military jacket, yes it is," Scott replied. "I had to laugh when I heard designers were coming out with six and seven hundred dollar imitation flight jackets when I was able to go down to an Army-Navy surplus store and get the real deal for under a hundred and fifty bucks. You like it?"

"It looks authentic on you," I replied honestly. "No froo-froo crap for you."

"Thanks," Scott replied. He led me around to the passenger side door of his Buick and held the door open for me like a real gentleman. "So what does it mean that I'm driving a Buick then?"

I waited for him to come around and sit down in the driver's seat. "It means you're looking for luxury, but are also smart enough to not over extend yourself by signing a lease for a BMW or Audi or some other sixty thousand dollar car," I replied. "I call that smart in my book."

Scott grinned at me, and turned over the engine. "Thanks. Now, how about some Italian?"

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