Two nights after the incident with Elektra’s Creepers, as I had started calling them in my head, I was making my rounds like usual. There were a few teenagers that fled at my amplified announcement, but otherwise it was quiet.
I was nearing the center of the cemetery when, again, I heard voices. And the scrape of a shovel against the rocks. I was farther away this time, but it was coming from the same general direction as last time. I pulled my phone out of my pocket, looked at it for a moment. I did a quick scan of the area, and strained to hear what was happening. I closed my eyes, holding my phone in front of me. I blew out a breath, and texted.
“Backup. Elektra. Bring the Boss.”
I pushed my phone back into my pocket, knelt down, and checked the laces of my Chucks while continually scanning. I had to stay focused on the dinks that were apparently back, but I also had to make sure no one else had stuck around.
I continued to spiral toward the area, but took even more care with my steps. One perk of being a fairly small person is how easy it is to stay quiet, as long as you aren’t an idiot. I paused occasionally, trying to gather information as I moved. I caught glimpses of them as I moved around the area. She had maintained her supervisory roll, it seemed, but this time she had two guys to take care of the manual labor.
I hunkered down behind a gravestone just off the path of where reinforcements would be coming from. I had a decent line of sight in both directions. I didn’t want them to get too far along in their efforts, but I also knew three was going to be a whole lot tougher than two.
I caught sight of the three guys coming to help after just a few minutes of waiting. I shifted to a tree that could conceal both me and Paul. The other two sent hand signals and split. Paul filled me in on the plan. I nodded, then silently but directly walked toward Elektra’s grave.
“You guys must really like it here, huh?” I winked at the new guy when all of their heads jerked up. “And you even brought a friend. How nice.”
The girl smirked at me. “We won’t be here long. Run along before you get hurt.” She nodded at the new guy, and he started to climb out of the hole.
I let my eyes go wide. I took a small step back and held up my hands. “I’m just doing my job. No need to get cranky.” I turned my head to look at her again. “Though it does seem to be your natural state, from what I can tell.” I thought I caught a small twitch of the big guy’s mouth, but then he started moving toward me, so I had other things to pay attention to.
“Whoops.” I pretended to stumble, but managed to get closer to the girl. I saw flashes of Andy closing in from the left, which meant it was just about time to stop stalling.
“This is who gave you so much trouble last time, Ash?” The big guy let out a big guy laugh in the form of a burst of air through his nose.
“She’s small, but she hits hard, Drew.” The other guy from last time looked embarrassed, and defensive. Perfect.
“Would you two shut up and stop using names.” I didn’t need to see her teeth to know they were clenched tight as she spoke. “Just grab her.”
That was my cue.
I was still half bent, brushing at my knees. I launched myself at the big guy, my foot aimed for the side of his knee. He half went down, but he was tougher than the other guy, and more prepared. I made quick work of a knee to his kidney, and a quick jab to his jaw. He braced to come back at me, but I side-stepped and changed directions, now moving toward the girl. I knew Jerry, the boss man, was there to grab him. Paul had just come out to grab the girl as she stepped away from me. The other guy just held up his hands as soon as he saw Andy coming for him. Maybe he was smarter than I had thought.
It went from three on one to four on three in a matter of moments, and with no major injuries.
“Nice work, guys. Glad you could make it.”
They all shrugged while holding their new friends in place.
Boss man Jerry hadn’t even rumpled his boss man suit. Impressive. “I haven’t had this much fun in a while. Though you didn’t really leave much for me to do.” He grinned and held fast when the big guy gave a quick struggle at the reminder. “This is the final work for the evening, is that right?”
I looked at him, caught his meaning. “Yes, Sir. This is it for tonight.” No freshies.
“Good. You can stay and help. I think we’ll do the interview right here.” He looked over at the other two responders. “Cuffs on, then just sit them on the edge of the grave, would you?”
The girl tried to jerk out of Paul’s grip as he helped her sit. It didn’t work. The three sat on the edge of the partially dug grave, and we circled around so I was standing behind the girl, Paul and Andy were behind the dudes, and Jerry was facing us all.
“So.” He folded his arms. “Grave robbing. Again. I heard about you two.” He tilted his head at the originals. “Looks like you decided to up your game. Didn’t work so well, did it?” He looked around at all of them, taking his time. “What were you hoping to find?” His eyes rested on the girl. “Ash, is it? Or Ashley? What are you looking for, Ashley? No one comes back here after they’ve been caught once. It’s just not smart.” He kept his gaze on hers.
She tried her best to look pissed instead of scared. I gave her a four out of five on performance. She’d obviously had some practice at being bitchy. “We aren’t looking for anything. Just curious about Elektra.” She pursed her lips, cocked her eyebrow. “People always say how much we look alike, you know.”
I couldn’t help it. I snorted.
She turned her head to look at me. “Maybe not my face, okay? Or hair. Whatever. My build.” She drew the word out.
I grinned. “Okay.” I winked at her. I nodded. “We’ll go with that.”
Jerry looked at me. “You finished?”
“Yes, Sir.” But I was still smiling.
He straightened his suit, then began. He asked the usual questions. He would throw in random questions to throw them off their rhythm. The first guy, Jim, gave up the most, but even that was minimal. I had a feeling the girl was the only one that actually knew anything of value. And she was doing a good job of answering without answering.
Finally, Jerry nodded to the three of us. “Okay. I think we’re done.” After we helped the dips to their feet, he started to lead us all to the closest exit.
“Now, I hope I can trust you all to stay away from here. There’s nothing for you here. Find a new hobby.”
The three of us uncuffed them and stepped back.
Before Ashley could speak, the big guy, Drew, made a wise choice. “Let’s go.” He grabbed both of them by the arm and led them across the street. Ashley kept looking over her shoulder, and trying to jerk her arm free. He just shook his head, and kept his grip.
We all stood there, watching them walk away.
“I think they’ll be back.” I bounced up and down on my toes, a nervous habit of mine. “Right?”
Jerry turned and looked at me. “We’ll see them again. Just not here. Not if I can help it.” He looked at Paul and Andy. “I got mine. Did you get yours?”
“Easy, boss. They were clueless.” Andy’s smile was a mile wide.
Paul, serious as always, nodded. “Of course.”
“What are you talking about?”
They all turned to look down at me. Even Andy. It wasn’t fair, I thought. Even short guys look down on me. They all grinned.
“Nice work tonight, Jo.” Jerry put his arm around my shoulders as we started to walk back toward the shed. He filled me in as we walked.
To be continued…
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