I couldn't sleep. It was just one of those nights that I couldn't set my mind at ease. Something was wrong, I knew it. But what the hell was it?
I rolled out of bed, giving up slumber for a while, and shuffled to the old coat rack. If I was going to be up most of the night I might as well do something productive. I pulled my rusty-crusty-yet-trusty trench to the floor and began emptying all its pockets. A small GPS, a digital scratch pad I hardly ever used, a tiny legal pad that could've been mistaken for a ball of wood pulp, a couple dead pens, a buss pass, my work cell phone, and an alias wallet; all in their proper outside pockets. Everything in it's place. Now for the inside pockets: the real wallet, a pair of black gloves, my huge set of keys, the adjustable-maginification lens, odds and ends of a tracking nature... wait. Where was it? I searched the pockets once more. My personal cell, where was it?
I slapped my forehead. Of course! I left it on my desk! Eh, I could get it in the morning. But no, I felt I had to go get it now. I tumbled into some clothes, shrugged into my trench, and headed down the stairs, wishing that nagging feeling of foreboding in my chest would beat it.
Everything was quiet down in the lobby, which didn't bother me, but what got me was that the quiet continued outside, down the street, it followed me all the way to the station. There's a beauty to silence sometimes, like the first snow of the season, or just after nightfall; we've all experienced it at some point. On the other side of the tracks, there's also that eerie, ominous silence, like just after you thought you heard a noise in the middle of the night. That silence was the most applicable lack of noise in this context.
It felt like I could hear every creak, drip, scratch and groan echo through the quiet station, rattling my already inexplicably shaken nerves. "Get a hold of yourself, Johnson," I muttered to myself. "What are you so worried about? Shannon let slip she has a job tonight, but she's had jobs before, and I've never really given it much thought. Why should this one bother me?" I shook my head; there was just this vibe I had. One of those "something's going to go horridly, horridly wrong" vibes. I unlocked my office door uneasily.
"There, see?" I thought. "There's the cell, right on the desk." Hm. I would've found it in the morning no problem. Now I'm not a superstitious-supernatural-savvy person, or whatever you want to call it, but I couldn't help but wonder: what the hell drove me to search out my phone at this ungodly hour of the night?
As if in response, the phone began its spastic vibration-crawl as it buzzed against the desk. It registered an unfamiliar number, but the screen flashed its crazy little "video call" symbol. I caught the phone in mid-spazz and flipped open the screen. "Yeah?"
"Hello, Inspector." I was mildly surprised to see Shannon's face. She seemed more-or-less calm, but her breathing was shallow and gave an perception of exhaustion.
"Ms. Shannon! Do you have an idea what time it is?"
"Late, I know, I apologize. I wouldn't have called, but I'm in a bit of a jam."
"What kind of jam, Ms. Shannon?"
The camera view zoomed out, and I had to fiercely fight my instinct to drop the phone, but I couldn't resist the shock-gag reflex. Shannon, still in her "working" black garb, had been shackled at the ankles, wrists, and upper arms to an inclined table, flanked by two hodded figures.
"My God, Shannon! What happened?"
She tried to shrug. "My captors are forbidding me from telling you at the moment, however, they implore you to hurry. 'Make haste,' if you will. They should be faxing you directions right.... about..." My anciently defunct fax machine jerked to life just as she said "now."
"Your sense of timing is phenominal."
"Just get over here, Inspector. No pressure, but it's been hinted that my life may rely on it." The screen went dark
I snorted. "So no pressure, huh?" I pocketed the phone, snagged the faxed paper, and flew out the door.