The Price of Entanglement - Chapter 8, pt. 2

Transient

“It’s just a scratch!”

“You were shot! On your first day in the field!” Quinn sounded more upset than she was, Jo thought. But then, she was probably still in shock. She had the rest of the day off, and the next several as well. Everyone in the office had been shaken up by the story of what had happened.

He was right, she’d been shot; but she was also right. It was literally just a scratch. There had been some blood, but the gun had been a small caliber weapon, and the round had grazed her neck, barely even drawing blood. The doctor who’d treated her after they got back to HQ had told her in no uncertain terms just how lucky she’d been, and she believed it. Small caliber or not, if it had passed just a few inches to the left, she’d be dead.

“Stop fussing,” she growled. He’d dropped in after he was done work; she wasn’t surprised he’d found out. She hadn’t said anything, but word would spread fast after an event like this one.

“Hey, c’mon, this is serious. And not just because of the wound. What did you find that was worth killing someone for?”

“Nobody killed anybody. Not yet, anyway,” she said with a twist of her lips. She sighed. “Okay, fine. It was a box, like a safe deposit box or something. It was all metal; brass, or bronze, maybe. Probably brass. It was old, it’s hard to tell.”

“It was old, and just laying around in a building that’s been in use since the town’s founding? I used to shop in that drug store with my parents when I was a kid. Damn,” he said, surprised.

“Well, it wasn’t exactly out in plain sight. It was in the basement, in some sort of cubby-hole up by the ceiling. It was almost impossible to spot.”

“Huh. And what was in it?”

“Papers. Old documents, really well preserved.”

“That’s it?” His face betrayed disappointment, and a touch of consternation. “A box of old records almost gets you killed. I hope.”

“Er … you hope?”

“Yes. I hope it’s almost. Someone’s out there who’s willing to kill for something in that building, and they probably think you have what they’re looking for. Who knows, maybe you do have what they’re looking for. Let’s hope they don’t try again.”

She shivered to hear the thought spoken out loud, though she’d thought it herself a few times in the hours since she got home. “Thanks, Que-ball. That’s a great picture to put in my head.”

“At your service, as always,” he said with a slight smile, though worry still shone in his eyes.

“I haven’t had a chance to look at the documents yet. I’ve been too busy fending off you and Gran,” she said. Gran had reacted even worse than Quinn, though in a decidedly different way. It had started out a good day for him; he was completely lucid and his memory was relatively sound. He’d gone gray when he heard she’d been shot, and not even seeing how superficial the wound was had helped. He’d withdrawn, shaking, then alternated between holing up in his room and trying to dote on her. It was sweet, but exasperating, and frustrating; her being shot had struck a chord, but she didn’t know why. A bad feeling began to creep over her.

“You mean you have them here?” Quinn’s eyebrows crept up toward his hairline.

“Just copies. They’ve got the originals locked up. They’ve got people going over them for the official analysis of course, but since I was shot in the effort to get them, they let me have them to look over while I’m off.”