“I’m about to do something very dangerous,” I confess into his voice mail. “I’m going after him. Right now. By myself. If you weren’t ignoring my calls, you’d be able to try and stop me, but I guess you won’t hear this in time. In which case, just know I have to. Everything that’s happening—it’s all connected to my attack. I know it is. I’m done pretending and I can’t wait any longer. Goodbye, Jon.”
* * *
I drop by the police department. I scan myself through and snag an elevator that’ll lead me up to Commissioner Flynn’s office. My excuse for the visit? The latest allegations raised against Bernstein and the criminal investigation that will be opened up.
Flynn looks as though he’d rather visit the dentist for a root canal when he sees me. A resigned sigh leaves him and he welcomes me into his office. His tie hangs loosely around his neck, his uniform shirt riddled with wrinkles. His face is little different—lines of stress etched into his skin and puffy bags under his eyes.
No wonder Flynn was a wreck at the masquerade. Every minute, he’s wondering if it’ll be his time. If NorthamNeptune123 will finally expose him and the sex tape he’s ashamed of.
But I’m unconcerned about Commissioner Flynn. I’m here because he’s going to unknowingly help me.
I take my seat with my briefcase and purse at rest on my lap. I waste no time blathering on about Mayor Bernstein’s scandal and how we’ll be proceeding forward. Flynn waffles between appearing as if he’d like nothing more than to tell me he doesn’t give a damn and he’d like me to leave, and being relieved I haven’t brought up you-know-who.
I clear my throat. “You wouldn’t happen to have anything to drink, would you? Tea maybe? I’m a little dehydrated today.”
“Is bottled water, alright?”
“That would be perfect.”
Flynn moves with the sluggishness of a sloth, rising from his office chair like every muscle of his aches. He crosses the office to the mini fridge he keeps in the far corner. What he fails to notice is that while his back is turned, I’ve slyly connected our devices using my tracking app.
The same tracking app I’ve used to eliminate wrongfully freed criminals.
He turns around as I fold my hands in front of me and offer a forced, innocent smile.
“Thank you,” I say when he hands me a chilled water bottle. I swallow a couple mouthfuls and sigh in refreshment. “Much better. This summer has been one heatwave after another.”
He makes a disinterested grumble in answer. He doesn’t give a fuck about Bernstein’s investigation. Even less about a polite conversation discussing the weather.
Time to test the waters.
“Have you heard from him?” I ask vaguely, studying every detail of his reaction.
He shakes his head. “That obvious I’m on pins and needles? The sicko must get off on the mind games. We’re all doomed.”
“It’s possible he’ll reach out again.”
“Not soon enough. I’m tired of being jerked in different directions. He usually contacts me every Thursday. So far, nothing.”
“You can always reach out yourself. See if he’s willing to try another meet up tonight.”
“The thought’s crossed my mind.”
“He was angry we failed his test. You’ll have to plead with him. Tell him you’re willing to play his game. Tell him you trust him. He seems to want to know we need him. It’ll appeal to his ego.”
“I just might.” He rubs his face in thought, falling silent of any further attempts at conversation. He’s said as much as he’s willing to say. I’m going to have to hope for the best and wait it out to see if he’ll take the bait.
I pop to my feet. “I’ll be in touch with more information about the investigation.”
He mumbles a halfhearted goodbye and requests I shut the door behind me on my way out.
* * *
Hours pass before Flynn takes the bait and does as I suggested. I’m biding my time at the Java King across the street. In the time it’s taken Flynn to follow my advice, I’ve only left to go grab my spare change of clothes from my office, and ensured I’m concealed carrying, my Glock tucked in my purse. An extra precaution I take for what may go down.
The red dot on my tracking app blinks telling me Flynn’s on the move. He’s promptly leaving his office at the police department and moving through the city. It’s true he could be going anywhere, but I can’t take any chances. If I have to surveil Steven Flynn for days in order to find out NorthamNeptune’s identity, I will.
At first it seems like my pursuit today will be a dud—Flynn catches the subway and gets off on the Fifth and Warring stop. I tail him at a distance, keeping a low profile, always with enough people and space that I’m able to blend into the background. He walks half a block from the subway stop and heads for the EZ Pawn.