When Erika stepped through the door of her apartment still furious about her encounter with Alistair, Hope was on the kitchen floor, “reading” a magazine upside-down. She dropped her keys on the counter carelessly and knelt down to her daughter’s height.
“What are you looking at, dear?” she asked. Hope looked up quickly to smile at Erika, her soft black hair covering her eyes when she returned to the magazine. “Oceans.” she replied “There’s a lot of blue.” Smiling, Erika picked up Hope and sat her on the counter, forgetting about Alistair and what he said. She was surprised when Mathew came around the corner, but remembered that he was supposed to be there. “Hey Mathew, has she been good?” Erika asked him.
Mathew took care of Hope when she came home from school every day, as he left work earlier than Erika, who continuously worked late-nights. He looked at her, then at Hope, who looked up from the magazine once again to smile at him. “Very good. She keeps to herself though, like always. Reminds me of someone I know, actually.” Erika shrugged slightly before taking her coat off and placing it on the coat hanger beside the door. Mathew followed her, sliding his feet into his work shoes with ease. He said goodbye to Hope, who quickly waved her hand in farewell before he stepped out into the hallway. Erika stopped him before he could go any farther.
“Hey Mathew, I just wanted to say thanks. You know, for taking care of Hope and everything.” Mathew looked back from the hallway to the grey-eyed woman leaning against the side of the door.
The second the engine shut off, Erika became stone. She sat completely still, not daring to even shift in her seat when she had an itch. She glared at the darkness of the alleyway in silence, waiting for her target to appear, and when a man in a red hoodie emerged from the shadows, her heart raced. He walked with a limp, oblivious to the detective in the car he passed. Erika saw his erratic movements and realized that the suspect wasn’t shown to have a limp, but she didn’t care. She would get him, no matter how he walked.
Like poison, Erika slid out of her half-open door and into the damp, murky night. The cold air dulled her sense of touch, but she hardly noticed as she followed the man as her mind was elsewhere; somewhere dark and without feeling. She walked, keeping a reasonable distance between them, but as he turned a corner to head into another alleyway, she quickened her pace. His limp was how Erika easily caught up to him when they were both cloaked from prying eyes, and she couldn’t wait to get started.
A buzzing feeling against her leg was what woke her up from her sleep. Erika opened her eyes lazily to see the roof of a vehicle, and for a short time, she wondered why she was sleeping in the back of her car. Nonetheless, she sat up and maneuvered to the driver’s seat to answer her phone, which buzzed again furiously. It was a text, and upon reading it, Erika wiped the sleep from her eyes and drove to the crime scene, head buzzing with a migraine.
“Took you long enough to get here. Didn’t you get my texts?” Matthew crossed his arms as Erika stepped out of her car, worn and tired. She looked at him and scoffed. Matthew got off the topic, but switched to another, as he knew it would be next. Just as Erika opened her mouth to speak, he interrupted her. “Hope’s fine. She’s at school.”