by Morris J. Marshall
Chapter 16: Elevator Thoughts
For the second time in two weeks, Tran entered the DBC Financial building. This time it was evening, and a young security guard was sitting behind a long desk near the wall. Tran approached him and flashed his badge.
“Is everything okay?” the guard asked.
“I think so,” Tran lied. “But if I’m not back in fifteen minutes, can you call 911 and have the police sent to DBC Financial?”
“Sure thing. Is there anything I can do in the meantime?”
“Does this elevator lead to the roof?”
“No. Go to the twenty-fifth floor and change to the elevator across from you. You’ll need this.” The guard passed Tran a small silver key.
“I’m not sure I’ll use it, but I’ll return it when I get back.”
Tran approached the clear glass elevator and waited for it to descend. His throat clicked as he swallowed. The last time he’d been here, he’d had three cops with him. He wondered if he should have asked Bill to join him as backup as he patted the right side of his hoody, feeling the hard outline of the Glock.
Out of nowhere, he wondered if he might be panicking for nothing. He’d been wrong before, like the time he’d arrested a company owner for tax fraud. The guy had allegedly overwritten the depreciation expense on his factory’s machines, then invested the extra tax refund in the stock market. It turned out that the depreciation had been correct and the auditor, wrong. Maybe Tran would find Krista working in her office and his worry for nothing. She’d look up on his arrival and say, “Hon, I’m so sorry I forgot about dinner. I must have lost track of time.”
The elevator stopped on the first floor. Tran pressed the button for the thirtieth floor.
A dull fear that had nothing to do with heights settled in his stomach. He never should have let Krista come to work at DBC. Not after what had happened to Gavin and the others. He had no authority over her, of course, but he probably could have talked her out of it, if he’d tried. He could have put a trained undercover cop on the inside. Then Krista wouldn’t be in this mess, if there even was a mess. Still... Tran appreciated Krista’s sense of determination. It was what had first attracted him to her.
He got off the elevator and walked down the hall to DBC Financial. The doors were unlocked upon his arrival and swung easily inward when he nudged them with his shoulder.
The wall clock in the lobby read 7:50. Visible through the window behind the receptionist’s desk, the Toronto skyline shone brightly against a black backdrop. The CN Tower was lit red in honor of Valentine’s Day. Tran sighed. This wasn’t the Valentine’s date he’d envisioned when he asked Krista out.
“Hello?” he said. “Anybody here?”
He went from office to office, knocking on each door. When he came to Carla Travini’s, it was already open. The chair Tran had sat in the day of Gavin’s death had been upended. Black scuff marks covered the walls and door. Tran heard a familiar ring tone coming from somewhere beneath Carla’s desk. He bent down and fished out Krista’s phone, but the caller had already hung up. Tran recognized the last caller as Bill McLeod.
“Ms. Travini? Krista?”
The only reply was the wind blowing against the bay window.
A small mug with a ring of lipstick smeared on the rim sat on Carla’s desk. Tran dipped his index finger in the coffee. It was still warm.
He reached inside his hoodie and removed the Glock from its holster. The gun felt foreign in his hand, and it occurred to him that today, for the first time in his career, he might have to use it on duty. No amount of target practice could fully prepare you for the real deal.
Tran left Carla’s office and walked back down the hallway to the elevator. He took it down to the twenty-fifth floor and changed to the roof-bound elevator. As he inserted the security guard’s passkey, he took a deep breath. He hoped he wasn’t too late.
Copyright © 2017 by Morris J. Marshall