Chapter Three (Part Two)
The apartment building is deathly quiet and has an unlived-in feel to it. Trip cannot repress a shudder as she presses on the buzzer. Nothing. Then she notices that the door is propped open. Once again, she marvels at the stupidity of her fellow man. Sure, it makes her job easier, but it also makes it more dangerous for the residents. The purpose of having security is so that not just any Joe can walk in off the street. Trip slips the piece of wood from the doorway and shuts the door firmly behind her. She takes the elevator up to the fourth floor then gets out. ‘Go to your left immediately when you enter the apartment,’ DiCalvo’s voice says in Trip’s mind, unbidden. She picks the lock and slips inside, carefully shutting the door behind her. For the first time ever, she doesn’t linger but simply flips the light switch. She just wants to get this job over with. She hates rushing, but something is compelling her to keep moving. Nothing. No lights. She frowns and gropes her way to the left, her hands safely encased in gloves. The light works in the bedroom, and she heaves a sigh of relief. She looks around, hoping the jewelry box is in plain sight. It isn’t. She starts tossing the room, starting with the dresser drawers. She hears the wail of a cop car faintly in the distance.
There’s nothing in the dresser but expensive clothes and lingerie Trip would kill to own. Just because she’s a tough woman doesn’t mean she doesn’t enjoy feminine fripperies. This Sylvian must be a high-maintenance gal with the thousands of dollars of clothes she has. Trip goes through the vic’s drawers twice before concluding the box isn’t there. She opens the closet, but there are only clothes. She is frowning by now, exasperated that this isn’t as easy as she was told it would be. The jewelry box isn’t under the bed or in the desk drawer, either. In fact, Trip can’t seem to find it anywhere. Her sense of unease grows as the siren’s wail grows louder. She looks around the room for a hidden door or a safe or something, but there is nothing. If there is, it’s hidden so well that she can’t spot it in a glance.
What the hell is going on here? The siren sounds as if it’s just outside the building. Trip’s heart stops, making her hurry to the window. The bedroom is facing the front of the apartment, and the police car stops right in front of the building. There are more sirens in the distance. Shit! Trip runs from the room, leaving the light on. The feeling she’s had all day grows until it’s spreading throughout her body. She can’t go out the front door because she just knows this is the apartment the cops are coming to. She rushes into the kitchen and flicks on the light. She nearly shrieks out loud when she sees a body lying on the floor, covered in blood. The knife is still sticking in its—her—sternum, and her eyes are staring dully at nothing at all. The vic must have been a pretty girl in life with her long black curls and green eyes, but now she’s just a corpse. No longer Sylvian—just a body. Trip’s eyes flicker to the table where there are two glasses just like the one DiCalvo offered her—one filled with whiskey, the other with water—this very afternoon.