From the outside there was no damage to the police station.
Everything looked fine
Martha strolled in
She noticed the wet floor first, then everyone's demeanor.
It didn't take long to spot the burn marks.
They covered a small door down the hallway to the right
Walking up to the front desk she asked
His voice was gruff
"What happened here?"
"Is everyone alright?"
The Officer paused in thought
"They took a couple people to the hospital, no word yet about them."
Which was exactly what Martha was doing
"I'm sure they're fine - nothing to worry about."
We should go find those people, they will still be here...
Probably in the holding cell.'
['There is more to do here, obviously']
Once they were done trading places, Rossin turned toward the front desk again
'Well, start there - let me switch.'
.go(Location of the prisoners facing the wall)
The man behind the desk got up, and ushered them to follow.
They passed the burnt out room
A large portion of the walls were black.
And currently there was yellow tape barring the entrance.
The entire surveillance system seems to have been burnt
Martha only nodded
She followed Rossin and the officer to the back of the station
Rossin entered the room with the holding cell
Three people stood facing the back wall
Once they had entered the room, the officer turned and walked away
The officer shook and returned to normal
He looked around the room
'At least no working cameras this time...'
'That is all it took?'
Martha wasn't going to make the same mistake again
He nodded his head again: so she flipped the switch
'And I can switch back now?'
Rossin trailed off.
Martha looked down - seeing the blood stains make almost a designer pattern
'We should probably change your shirt - it is still...'
"It's already five now, do we have time before the red-eye?"
'We can stop somewhere on the way.
You only need a shirt.'
Her stomach growled, she looked down - annoyed - she had just eaten
"Do I need to pack anything, or?"
Rossin gestured towards the door.
They started walking out of the station
'Yeah, get used to that.'
"Always being hungry?"
'The food in first class is excellent.
We will grab some calories wherever we get the shirt.'
Rossin nodded, glancing at the watch
"My home it is, everything we need."
Which was an understatement - it was completely out of the way
'Cutting it close, your place is not exactly on the way...'
Martha exited through the double doors
They walked into the falling sun, not at sunset - but still turning orange
"Well, I'm done with people for right now, solitude: so off to my fortress."
Kent was at Martha's house - the police tape had been cleared
He pushed open the unlocked door
And found it dark inside - no signs of life.
In the kitchen he looked at the traces of blood identified on the counter top
He looked around and found nothing of particular interest
No clues as to where she was, or what she had been doing.
On the drive over he called her work.
She was a teller at the local supermarket.
They hadn't seen her for well over a week now - they assumed she quit
It was a nice single level home - not spacious, but clearly not cheap either
He sighed - walked to the house next door
Cutting across the lawn to check on the neighbor
He waited only a short time after knocking on the door.
An officer he knew with a brand on his forehead open the door
Kent stared at the brand, it had a name on it, below a strange symbol.
When he wasn't directly looking it slipped from his mind, unable to stick
'How does a teller make enough to afford this place?'
Kent stared blankly at him
"Can I help you?"
"...What are you doing here?"
He looked back into the room
"I live here?"
"I'm sorry, is there anything I can help you with?"
"Why aren't you at the station?"
Reluctantly Kent pulled out his wallet and flashed his badge
"Are you a cop, do you have a badge?"
The officer dabbed at his cheek
"You know I am, what's that on your head?"
"What is it?"
The officer felt at his forehead
Kent pushed in the door
"What are you doing here?"
"I told you, I live here - what are you doing here?"
Behind the officer with the brand the son came up
"No you don't, I know where you live."
"What's going on?"
"This guy is saying I don't live here?"
"Do you recognize this man?"
"He's my father."
"Your father died yesterday - this is officer Rogers."
"My dad isn't a police officer, and he's not dead."
"A body in the morgue says differently."
With his face?"
No - it's a different person: this is officer Rogers, not your father."
Unless you have a warrant - I'm going to have to ask you to leave.
You're scaring my boy..."
The door slammed in Kent's face
Stared at it, stunned
"He's not your boy, god damn it.
Rogers, what are you playing at?"
'What the fuck was going on?'
'And why was the son playing along.'
He knocked on the door again
This time it opened only slightly - a chain drawn taught
'Also related to Martha?'
"Have you seen your neighbor recently?"
Rogers shut the door and Kent walked away
He drove off
Pondering where Martha might be, just minutes before she arrived
"She was in our house, she ran off, I don't know where..."
Kent's first question at the police station was the location of Rogers.
No one knew, besides himself.
He was supposed to be on shift.
Those that knew him - could care less about his current whereabouts.
No one seemed to remember anything odd happening that morning.
In fact they were normal now.
Talkative even, with no memory of anything odd of course
Kent sat across one of those that had been facing the walls.
They sat in the interview room
"Do you remember her exact words?"
"No, she was talking to herself.
Something about an eye.
A red eye."
"Was there anything else she mentioned?"
Kent nodded, steepling his fingers under his chin
How much sleep he had gotten
"I don't know man, she was talking to herself - then she was gone."
'Too little, regardless how much...'
The man across from him shook his head
"And you don't remember anything about the walls."
When Kent told him about how he was just facing the wall.
Bewilderment was the response.
More and more Kent questioned his sanity.
And when he wasn't...
He was becoming deeply troubled by who or what he might be dealing with
"Not even a little bit."
"You sure she said something about a redeye?"
Kent stared blankly
"Yeah, I think her eye's hurt or something."
"Redeye is a type of plane...
A time when...
You know what...
'They did a number on these everyone here.
Who the hell are you dealing with here, Kent?'
He leaned in
"Hey, also: there's a surprise party happening down at the donut shop on fifth.
Only certain people are supposed to be in the know...
You know, but you know..."
"Smith let me in on it, now you.
He's bringing the icing - "
Kent got up to leave, he knew where he had to go.
He looked at the clock - 9:25pm
He wouldn't be able to make it in time.
'No, parking there is a bitch...'
"Feel like driving?"
The blue lights stopped flashing, the cruiser door opened.
Kent stepped out
"I'm going to be late."
The beat cop waved him off and drove through the airport traffic
"You'll be fine..."
He had time to get through security
He walked in through the sliding glass door to the ticket counter
It was bent at a slight angle - showing the direction towards the ports.
His gaze drifted in that direction.
For a moment he thought he saw her.
Martha - at the top of the escalators - on her way through security
He walked that direction - not bothering to pick up a ticket
Standing up the escalators, his gaze fell on Martha
'The Redeye planes leave at what, 11?'
She was passing through the new giant metal detectors.
Kent was pretty sure those machines would give everyone cancer in a few years
He pulled his hat down just a bit.
He turned away whenever she looked in his direction
She made her way down the terminal and to the right, out of sight
He laid his badge through the metal detector, along with his pistol.
They paused the machine and took him aside
He explained he was tailing someone - and needed to get through quickly.
That there was no danger, none that he knew about.
It took precious minutes to persuade them.
A long talk and a phone call to the station later: they let him through.
They didn't let him keep his gun, that was surrendered in that back room
He jogged in the direction he saw Martha move last
Nearly 10 minutes ago now
He repeated in his head
He looked at the flight boards as he ran down the terminal
'Yes it was her.'
He stopped and looked at the board more carefully
He was next to terminal 23, and it was going up.
He scanned the board for flights leaving that direction.
11 o'Clock - New York, 11 o'Clock - Florida 8:15, New York again...
All at terminals down to his right
He stopped when he saw her
She was talking to someone, a well dressed man with black hair.
They were in a coffee shop, discussing something
Kent took a chair next to them - behind Martha and out of sight.
He leaned back a bit and listened in - pretending to be on a cellphone call
Saying yes, and other affirmations repeatedly while he listened in
'Where was she going?'
"I'll grab the 11:00, do you need me to...?"
"I can manage."
"Have you ever flown first class?"
"Can't say that I have.
It was always too expensive - but that's not really a problem now is it?"
"Get used to luxury - and get used to being paranoid.
With 'rich' people, there's always a chance there's one of us among them.
So if you ever need to hide, fly coach."
"Where should I meet you, when we land?"
"Baggage claim, they're boarding now...
You sure you can do this...
There was a pause
"Was a fluke - I got...
There was a scuffling of chairs, and Kent turned around to see they were gone
Both were going to the same place.
And he was faced with a choice
Don't get distracted again."
To his right was a flight board
He studied it
There was no other place they could have meant.
He would be going to the same place regardless.
And tailing Martha - maybe she would see him on a cramped plane
He fished in his pocket - pulled out a coin
'Continue following Martha?
Or tail this new person for a while?
Someone who has never seen his face.'
He flipped the coin in the air and caught it.
Then he slammed it into the back of his other palm
He looked at his watch, 7:55pm
He made his way to the boarding booth for the 8:00 flight
He flashed his badge
'Heads - Martha, tails - this new fellow.'
They typed for a bit on their computer
"I need a seat in first class.
Following someone who may or may not be a dangerous man, no need to panic...
But I need that seat."
Their voice quavered just a little bit
"All the first class seats are taken...
But if you wait, there might be a no-show...
Or there's a seat in the coach that's just behind first class."
They nodded, and he took a seat at the terminal
The boarding call came on over the speakers.
Crackly though mostly intelligible.
Kent sat in the middle of the row of chairs and watched the man
The man held a phone to the boarding booth's attendant's face.
The attendant's eye twitched a little bit and they waved the man passed.
The next in line snapped fingers in the attendant's face
The blank stare lifted from the attendant
After everyone had boarded he went back up to the attendant.
He held up his badge
It was a few minutes of talking before the attendant pulled up the seating arrangement
"I'll wait, if there's room in first, I would rather keep eyes on him...
If not, coach will be fine."
"There is room in first, and one in coach, B4, and E2..."
He chose B4, the seat in first class, and boarded the plane.
He hoped he didn't make a grave mistake
His phone vibrated in his pocket.
He looked at it
'Keep an eye on him.
Department is footing the bill.'
"Do you know how much a first class plane ticket costs!?
What the hell are you doing?"
Kent looked at the text, deciding how to reply.
His captain was a no-nonsense ex-military drill sargent turned to policing after an honorable discharge.
He had a wife and a daughter, and kept a picture of them on his desk
Kent started typing
"Following suspect - you would do the same in my shoes.
Something big, something bad..."
He wasn't even sure what he was dealing with.
What could he tell his captain to get him to go along with this...
"Keep your family safe, away from the station."
If he pressed a bit on the family button...
He couldn't do anything about security cameras, he couldn't think of an excuse to turn them off...
Not that that would do much good, he reasoned
'The tech was watching the screen...
Can you get them to turn off every TV?
Every cellphone, Kent?'
"Keep cellphones out of station.
I need your trust: when was the last time I was wrong...
Will update soon.
Radio silence needed."
Kent sent the text message and boarded the plane
If he was wrong, or if he couldn't produce some miracle evidence...
There goes his job
Kent thought back to Rogers answering the door of her neighbor.
Rogers believed he was her neighbor...
No one recognized the dead body left behind as the neighbor...
For everyone else, it seemed, Rogers had suddenly never exists / her neighbor was always alive
'But if you are right, Kent...'
Kent sat in the back row of first class, watching Felix in front of him
'Maybe they can do the same for Tom...'