531 words (2 minute read)


Chapter 6

Nancy nodded as she waved Dr. Alinski in.

"Understood, ma’am," the director said, keying off her comm screen.

Alinski entered and took a seat opposite her.

"You saw the news I’m sure," Nancy began.

"Everyone has seen it."

"So you know who is coming?"

"Am I to assume this detective is related to the former vice-director?"

Nancy nodded.

"Her daughter."

The woman’s face flinched, her reading glasses still perched on her nose wobbling.

"Is this going to complicate things?" Miriam asked.

Nancy shrugged.

"I don’t know. Why would it?"

"I mean, is this detective going to be on a vendetta against our facility?"

Nancy frowned.

"I’m sure she might hold a grudge against this place, but that was when she was an infant."

"Don’t underestimate the pull of revenge," Miriam whispered.

Nancy eyed her counterpart for a moment.

"It’s been thirty years. And she’s a professional. We all are."

"That doesn’t mean she won’t be looking into it."

Nancy grimaced.

"We’ll cross that bridge if she comes to it." Nancy eyed her counterpart. "If."

Dr. Alinksi nodded once, glancing at the screen.

"I assume the board isn’t too happy."

"That is one of the sourest bunch of women I’ve ever met." Nancy sat back, arms crossing across her torso. "But no, they aren’t."

"Have the police announced the victim’s name yet?"

"Not publicly."

Dr. Alinksi’s lips pressed tight.

"But you know who it is?"

Nancy nodded.


"It’s going to cause problems."


"Both of us."

The woman’s head turned to look out the window. Nancy watched her, brow furrowed in thought.

"Miriam, I need you to level with me."

Dr. Alinski’s head snapped around to look at Nancy.

"I had nothing to do with it."

"But you two are not known as being friends around here."

The woman’s eyes closed as her cheeks reddened. It was the only time Nancy could ever recall her showing any emotion. When her eyes opened again, Dr. Alinski had returned.

"Our differences were professional."

Nancy shook her head.

"Some would disagree with that assessment."

Dr. Alinski shrugged, standing up.

"I don’t care what people think. She and I never had anything more than an argument."

Nancy stared at her counterpart for a moment.

"You understand, I just have to be sure," she finally said.

The woman nodded.

"You have my word. She and I may have disagreed, sometimes loudly, over methodology, but it never went further than that."

Nancy stood, pointing at the door.

"I’ll stand with you if they come ask questions. For now, we need to present a united front. I tried to keep an investigation to an internal agent, but because of the high profile nature of the case, the board acquiesced."

Dr. Alinski shrugged and moved toward the door.

"Let them come. We have nothing to hide."

The door slid shut behind her, leaving Nancy alone, pondering the woman’s last words. She resumed her chair, eyes darting to an icon flashing on her panel built in to her desk. An email had just arrived. Tapping on the icon brought up a translucent display showing the communique. A letter that contained only three words.

I warned you.