I settled back into the closet compartment, watching the dual screen monitor. The camera not only showed what Shannon saw, but there were sensors in the earpiece that could display her movements.
After a few minutes I caught a quick glimpse of the sign for the Euchronism Company, Research Department. This must be the place. Once inside Shannon paused, crouching in a corner as the sound of shoe rubber on concrete echoed through the foyer and moved past her. I counted twenty seconds before she was on the move again. Kicking off of a wally she grabbed hold a catwalk above the hallway. She swung herself up and, to my surprise, followed after the figure that had just passed her. He entered a room at the end of the hall, closing the door behind him.
She's not going make it, I thought.
Shannon took a flying leap off the catwalk, arms outspread, and actually flattened herself out, just barely slipping into the room above the door. As she came in she took a quick look around; I could see the broken safe that should've held the garnet. Up until that point I didn't think the microphone on the camera was working, but she must've scuffed her foot or something on the landing, because the sound of broken glass shattered the silence.
"Hey!" She looked right at the figure she'd followed. The poor guy stood there trembling. She took a few slow steps towards the petrified figure and merely waved her hand in a small arc. He looked at her with a kind of dazed expression. Shannon muttered something, to which the guy replied by slumping. Nodding, satisfied, she stepped over the man and replaced the garnet in the safe. Without further ado she glided towards an open window and gracefully tumbled back into the night.
I slumped back, in absolute awe. There was such skill, such grace in her work. I could scarecly believe this was the same Shannon that worked with me, but at the same time it was totally obivious who it was. She seemed to enjoy the thrill, the anticipation her work brought to her. It was the research, the tracking-down, the execution of the job that made it meaningful. Every step was a thrill.
Isn't that what kind of led me to my job as well?
It seemed like an infinate second passed when I heard the soft click of a closing window. Slowly I slid out of the compartment, shaking my head in astonishment. Shannon took off her hat to shake out her hair as the black melted away from her complexion.
"Ms. Shannon," I remarked, "you truly are one of the most remarkable women I have ever met."
"I take it you're impressed, Inspector?"
She nodded in thanks. "I'm glad to hear it."
"What was it that you did to that guy when you waved your hand?"
"Oh, that? A kind of hypnosis, really. It's a skill I picked up myself; he won't have any recollection of my presense, and will have the inexplicably overwhelming urge to look in the safe when he awakens."
I shook my head again. "Well, I have the inexplicably overwhelming urge to head home and get some shut eye."
She laughed. "Yes, it's totally bizarre to need sleep at two in the morning," she replied.
"G'night, Ms. Shannon."
"See you tomorrow, Inspector."
I walked halfway down the block, then turned to look back up at the window of Shannon's apartment. I couldn't help but shake my head.
"I tell ya," I said to the empty street, "nothing normal about that girl. Nothing normal happens with her."
And, boy, what happened later that week sure wasn't normal. It wasn't even normal by a New Yorker's standards. Especially by the standards of a New Yorker's who's seen everything.