Death’s Game 21: Maria Sanchez, 2

The warehouse looms in the center of what used to be an industrial park, surrounded by several other rundown and ready-to-fall-over buildings. The roads are filled with potholes and random stretches of gravel or dirt interspersed within what remains of the beaten-down pavement. Every time someone drives through, which is surprisingly frequent considering the state the buildings, I cringe as I watch their cars bounce up and down, just waiting for an axle or tire to blow.

I remove my binoculars just long enough to take a sip of coffee. The midnight air is cool but dry. I’m dressed in all-black, lying prone in some bushes across the street. There are no lights in view, save for the two hanging above what I’ve come to know as the main entrance of Gerard’s building.

At first, this was exhausting. Not the casing of the building itself, which I did so many times in Victoria’s life, but the thought that Catarina or Thomas could be here at any moment, which had me looking over my shoulder at every sudden noise in my periphery and studying the faces of every person who entered or left Gerard’s building to see if they glanced in my direction. A few of them did, but each time they either got in a car and left or harmlessly walked into the building.

By now I’ve been watching this building all day and, as much as I hate to admit it, I’m starting to get the feeling that Samantha was right about Gerard training me. Otherwise, it seems like he would have sent one or both hunters after me long ago. As it stands, I’ve been left completely alone, and the only person I’ve seen who could have been remotely important was a tall, young, and well-dressed man who, from the deference he received from those around him, was either Gerard or someone reporting directly to him. The man went inside a few hours ago and never left. Only a handful of other people have come or gone since.

What I’ve seen today would have been illuminating in my old life. Every city has a seamy underbelly that caters to its thugs and malcontents, the kind the police won’t touch and that the news turns a blind eye toward. Our city is no different, and from the looks of it just about every one of them runs with Gerard. The constant comings and goings of black sedans and SUVs throughout the day was a dead giveaway, as well as the pounds upon pounds of what appeared to be illicit narcotics and firearms I watched them carrying in and out.

Not a lick of any of that matters in my new life, though. I don’t care what kind of mob they’re running here or what Gerard is planning to do with it. Could be they’re trying to replace Deane Turner as the source of all their money by selling weapons and narcotics. Could be they’re catering to another patron entirely, the kind Gerard was running with when he met Albert for the first time. Whatever. All I care about is getting inside and taking him down. The rest is noise.

My watch says 12:50AM. It’s nearly time. They rotate guards every few hours, chatting for several minutes out front as the new ones replace the old. I’ll make my move while they’re distracted.

Chapter 20 here.

Chapter 22 here.

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