St. Louis, Missouri
256 Suburban Avenue
Rose got out of Elena's Mercedes C230. She closed the door behind her. Inside, Allison glared at the older woman. "What was that for?" Allison asked.
"You're staying here," Rose answered.
Elena closed the driver's door. "She's right. Sexton's wounded. He's unpredictable right now. He might give up. He might come out shooting. Think of him as a wild animal that has been injured."
"That dangerous?" Allison asked.
"That dangerous," Rose confirmed. "We won't be long. If you think something is wrong, leave." She drew her Colt M1911 pistol and verified that its clip was full.
Elena checked her own pistol, a Czech manufactured CZ-83 and smaller than Rose's weapon. "This could just as easily be a wild goose chase," she said. She returned her gun back to its holster. "We're not going to take chances. Right, Rose?"
"No chances, right." Rose put her gun back into its holster. "I'm not starting anything."
"Good." Elena started walking towards the Malcolm home.
A two-story house made with brick, with aluminum siding on the upper level, it stood nestled with the other houses along the street, neither standing out nor shrinking away from the streetscape. Rose and Elena crossed the road and crept towards the driveway, where a light blue 2003 Toyota Celica sat. Using the car for cover, the women slipped into the backyard.
Rose stopped and knelt down. She fingered a blade of grass. "Blood. Not fresh, maybe in the past day?"
Elena nodded. She looked around. "Hard for the neighbours to see anyone here. Good place to sneak in without anyone calling for the police or the paramedics."
Rose got back up, staggering slightly when her right knee threatened to collapse under her weight. She caught herself, using her left leg to keep her balance. "Of all the times," she complained.
"Lean on me," Elena offered.
"I should retire after this."
"You'll go insane after a day with nothing to do. How's the knee?"
Rose sighed. "It's been better. And it'll do. We better get inside." Elena helped her partner to the back porch. Rose flexed her knee a few times. Satisfied that the joint was going to cooperate, she put more weight on it. "It'll do."
Elena scaled the three steps up to the back porch. She pointed out more drops of blood to Rose. "This could be from Malcolm, Rose."
Rose pulled out her Colt as she joined Elena. She flattened herself beside the back door. "It could. I doubt it." She tried turning the door handle. "Locked."
"I've got it." Elena got out her set of lockpicks. After a few moments of work, she had the door unlocked. "A little tougher than the average house security." She brought out her CZ-83. "How do you want to do this? Nice and quiet, or sound and fury?"
"Nice and quiet," Rose answered. "Sexton might do something stupid if we give him any sort of warning, like start shooting."
Elena opened the door, giving it a small push to open it a crack. The sounds of music playing softly came from the living room. Rose slipped into the house, entering the kitchen. She shook her head at the mess left; pots and pans on the stove, dirty dishes stacked in the sink. At the table, a box labelled "Gauze Bandage" sat beside a pair of scissors and a bottle of rubbing alcohol. Rose kept to the side, away from the line of sight from the next room. Elena kept close behind, her pistol pointed at the floor. Rose counted to three on her fingers, then whirled into the living room.
A blonde woman, in her late twenties or early thirties lounged on the couch, sipping from a coffee mug, her attention buried in the newspaper. The woman flipped the page, her back towards the intruders. Rose crept towards the woman, her Colt held in both hands and pointed at the ceiling. The woman on the couch took another drink from her mug. Finding it empty, she set the paper down and got up. She turned and stopped dead still seeing the two women with drawn guns. A moment later, she screamed.
"Damnit," Rose growled. She levelled her M1911 at the woman. "Shut up!" she ordered.
"Where's Sexton?" Elena asked.
"Elaine?" a man's voice called from upstairs. "What's going on?"
"Sexton, get down here now!" Rose roared. A door slammed upstairs. "Elena, watch her. I'm going after him."
Elena aimed her gun at Malcolm. "Nice and quiet."
Rose ran over to the stairs. A door opened on the next floor. "Sexton, it's over!" the woman called.
Sexton appeared at the top of stairs, his Remington shotgun bearing down. Rose dove to the side, back into the living room. The shotgun boomed. "Get out of here, Velasco!" the rogue agent shouted. He chambered another round, the ka-chak! loud in the deafening silence after the gunshot.
Elena pulled Malcolm down to the floor, shielding the woman with her own body. "Everyone in the neighbourhood heard that shot, Sexton. The police will be here soon."
"Who do you think they'll arrest? Me?" Sexton laughed harshly. "You two broke in. I'm just defending myself."
Rose crawled to beside the stairs, out of Sexton's sight. "Not with all the evidence we have."
Sexton fired the shotgun again. Rose covered her head with her arms. A few moments later, she heard glass break. She got up and then ran to the second floor, taking the stairs two at a time. A draft came from the master bedroom at the front of the building. Rose entered the room. Bits of glass were strewn on the window sill. Making her way around the unmade queen-sized bed, Rose peeked outside.
Sexton ran down the street, past the now empty Mercedes. A blue Chevrolet Cavalier turned the corner. With his shotgun level, the rogue agent forced the vehicle to stop. Sexton pulled the driver out of the car and got in. The Cavalier's tires squealed and smoked as Sexton stomped the gas pedal.
Rose ran back downstairs. Elena was already outside. The Chevrolet zoomed past. As Sexton passed Elena's C230, he fired at the car's wheels. The back tire deflated. Rose ran into the street and fired at the rapidly retreating vehicle.
Elena tapped Rose's shoulder. "Let him go."
Rose lowered her Colt. "Twice. He got away twice."
The faint wail of approaching sirens could be heard in the distance, steadily getting louder. "We better get out of here," Elena said. She looked at her Mercedes. "On foot," she groaned.
Allison raised her head, peeking out from inside Elena's car. "You're safe," she said. She opened the door and jumped out. "What happened?"
"We were seen," Elena said. "We have to get out of here."