An Excerpt: Veteran, Chapter One~2nd in the City Streets trilogy.

Sitting at his office work station, Dylan Colby grew impatient. He glanced at the corner of the screen. At least the time display didn’t disappoint. Nearly time to call it a day. One last meeting and his workday would be over. But this meeting wasn’t going to be an easy one. He regretted that it had to happen, but it was time. He must be very clear about that. His focus returned to the screen. Satisfied with the final notations, Dylan saved his changes then attached the documents to an email. He selected “Send” before he could change his mind again.

This meeting would be the last time he’d waste effort on this particular endeavor. Futile interactions were an expense he could not afford. There simply were too many others requiring his attention. Their past conferences had not been noted on the office calendar and neither was this one. They had agreed on this at the onset. They arranged to meet at the end of the work day at one of a few select locations which included his office.  Except for Dylan, the office was empty. Quiet, dark, and cavernous. Like a tomb.

Dylan stood, stretched, and reached for his water container on the desk. He wanted to see the matter finished. Then he could head to the gym. Where the hell were they? Tardiness irritated him nearly as much as excuses. There would be some bullshit excuse which would serve to steel his resolve to be done with it. His after-workday-workouts helped to purge the frustration from his psyche as well as from his central nervous system, of this he was sure. God, he prayed, please let me be on the treadmill within the hour.

Engaged in his thoughts, Dylan headed to the break room to fill his water container. He boasted an enclosed work space in the back of the office because of the nature of the business conducted there. Private it was, but a distance from the kitchen, the entrance, even the men’s room. Not even a window nearby. But he liked the location of his workspace. He thought of it as his inner sanctum. Street lights illuminated the perimeter of the vast office space, but the interior was encased in blackness. He liked it this way. On evenings when he was still working when the cleaning crew arrived, he disliked that they turned on all the lights. Time to stop working and turn the place over to them, he told himself at those instances. At least they were efficient.

The street remained wet from rain earlier in the day and the temperature hadn’t been warm enough to dry the puddles that formed.  Light from the windows reacted to movement, catching Dylan’s eye. As he returned to his office, he glanced at the clock deciding to wait only five minutes more. If they didn’t show he’d have to deal with it another time. What a colossal pain.

At the doorway to his office, a force grabbed him from behind in a strong and vicious embrace that pulled him backwards and off his feet. Before he could register any reaction, Dylan felt a sharp knee punch to the groin. He would have doubled over with pain and nausea but his upper body was restrained. Incapacitated, Dylan became a rag doll as strong, gloved hands grasped his head on either side. In one quick motion, the hands twisted his head to the left, quickly separating the occipital bone at the base of the skull from vertebrae protecting the spinal cord, irreparably damaging soft tissue. Dylan fell to the floor of his office, dead.

The killer retrieved the metal water container from the floor where it landed during the attack.  Stepping over to Dylan’s desk, gloved hands used the water container as a cudgel, smashing the monitor, the CPU case, the keyboard, even the router. The killer surveyed the damage to the office, glanced at the body of Dylan Colby, then left. The cleaning crew would arrive shortly.

*Copyrighted material. Do not reproduce without permission.

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