for the story so far
“Cool,” said Rom as we walked in the door. He stepped directly up to the keypad and his fingers flew over the keypad. “Disarmed, 10 seconds,” he smiled.
“Shit,” said Sam. “I thought it would take you awhile at least.”
Rom grinned. “I can hack the camera systems in about less than an hour. However, some of your sensors have been triggered.”
He moved away from the screen and Sam stepped up.
“Damn,” he said, “I’m going to check it out. Alastair, you stay with Indy.”
“Nah, Rom’s an ex-green beret too. He stays with Indy, I give you back up.”
Sam went to a cupboard that I hadn’t noticed before. It was well concealed. He opened it and withdrew an SA80, a 9mm and a long knife.
“What do you want,” he asked his brother.
“Geez, you didn’t fall far from the tree did you?” Alastair stated observing the range of weaponry. He selected another SA80. “I prefer the next model up but this will do,” he also pulled out a small crossbow and a knife. “I’d love to practice with your sniper rifle one day,” he said with envy.
“Like hell,” Sam growled territorially. It sent a shiver through me. “There is a steep slope to the west that I have rigged with sensors. The disruption indicates that the intruder came in from the roadside. We will search the slope last. After last night the slope will be very slippery. It takes a while to dry out so watch your step.”
He pulled a dark jumper on and pulled out some camo makeup. Meanwhile, Rom had armed himself with a 9mm.
“Do I get one,” I asked.
“No,” all three of them said.
“A person not trained in firearms is more dangerous than one who is,” Rom added kindly.
Sam went to a drawer and pulled out a couple of small canisters.
“Pepper spray,” he said handing me the canister. “Sometimes it works but,” he cautioned, “on psychotic people, it is less reliable.”
The second thing he handed me was a small horn. “This is your best bet. It will let off a heck of a loud noise and give you a few seconds to get the hell out of where you are. There are enough for two bursts but the second horn will be less effective.” Sam pulled me close to him and held me. “If you have to use it, blast it and run at the same time. I won’t let anything happen to you. It’s probably just a deer,” he said.
I didn’t say anything. There was no point. He kissed me firmly and urgently.
“Stay with Rom. My main computer is in the study.” Sam said before he and Alastair melted away. Rom locked the door and reset the alarms immediately outside of the house.
“Come on, let me set the hack going and then I’ll see if we can find the fixings for a hot chocolate.”
Rom shepherded me into the study. I sat in a seat and stared at the fireplace. At some stage whilst I slept Sam had laid the grid. I could turn it on if I wanted but that was too much effort. Damn it, I cursed at myself, I was not going back into depression. I was not. I stood and pressed the button. I grabbed the nearest book from the bookcase and started to read it but my attention wandered.
“Indy,” Rom startled me. “Here’s a laptop. Why don’t you start decorating that townhouse of yours?” He handed me a laptop that already had the search engine open. “Ikea usually has some clever ideas.” He left the room and returned with a hot chocolate for me.
“You haven’t started,” he observed.
“I really hadn’t thought I would be renovating anytime soon.”
“Life throws surprises up. What are the property values doing in the area?” He asked.
“There’s talk of building a university hospital on one of the large vacant industrial sites in the next suburb so if the values haven’t increased yet, they will if the university place goes ahead.”
“You’re going to need a new kitchen and you might mentally need to redo the bathroom,” Rom suggested.
“I don’t need much,” I protested but my heart wasn’t in it. I was 26 and had spent $200 on furniture. Could I do that again? Where was I going? In about three years I’d have the house paid off and I could move to the next place. When I rented it, would I rent it furnished?
“You might not need much, but your house is an investment.”
“That anyone can enter and smash up,” I replied bitterly.
Rom laughed. “You need to do a reasonable job of the renovations, if you need a new kitchen, get it. Resurface your bench tops, it doesn’t have to be top of the line, but you need to go better than the laminate you had there it will be cheaper in the long run.”
“Bloody know it all men,” I bit at him. He laughed again, watching me until I started googling the value of rented accommodation, furnished versus unfurnished. Would it be better to rent a place furnished?
My phone rang. God, it had been such a long time since I could remember answering it. Rom flicked open his laptop.
“I have a trace on your phone at the moment. Answer it,” he ordered me. Rom was all business now. I glared at him and picked up my phone from the desk.
There was nothing but breathing.
“Why are you doing this,” I demanded, not really expecting a response.
“Did you like your house? I saw you there. I know where you are now. Why don’t you come outside?” He sounded playful, creepy but playful.
My hands were shaking.
“Who are you,” my voice also shook with fear. I was scared. I knew Sam and Alastair were out there, and Rom was armed inside with me, but this was honestly worse than sleeping in the open, on streets.
“Don’t you remember?” He hung up.
Rom was busy, furiously tapping the keys on his laptop. They offered distraction, the rapid thud of the keys, the hum of the laptop.
“Damn it, I did not get close. He could have been outside, he could have been overseas. I wish I had a decent machine.”
“Use one of Sam’s,” I suggested.
“Sweat pea, we’ll get him. What did he say?” Rom pushed me.
“He wanted to know if I liked the house, and to ask me to go outside. Then he got weirder. He asked if I remembered him.”
I rose quickly and sprinted for the laundry before throwing up in the sink.
I sat at the kitchen bench and looked at the clock on the oven. 0400 hours. I’d been up almost 24 hours.
Rom came in.
“I’m going to bed,” I announced and headed up into Sam’s room. Green berets may be able to go for days without sleep but too much had happened in the last 24 hours and I had work in a few hours.
Rom answered his phone promptly.
“We’re coming in, disable the alarms,” Alastair told him.
Thirty seconds later they were gathered in the kitchen.
“What did you get,” Rom asked.
“Nothing, someone drove up the driveway in some sort of truck earlier today. I drove over most of the tracks when we came home. They pulled off the drive in the only spot available and went some of the ways on foot. Whomever they were, they were good; ex-military. They left very few tracks, if it had been dry, Alastair wouldn’t have picked up the tire tracks.”
“I don’t think they came close to the house, I think they were testing your security. We should boost the perimeter. You are well treed on the front but a motion sensor on the drive entrance would give you a greater warning for vehicular incursions.”
“I’ll get one installed when I take Indy to work.”
“Not sure she’s going to go,” Rom stated in his calm manner.
“Why not? Indy’s pretty intense about doing her own thing.” Sam looked at Rom.
“She got another call from the stalker.”
“Were you able to trace him,” Sam pounced.
“No, he wasn’t on the phone for long enough, but Indy said that he seemed to think she knows him from years ago.”
Sam nodded. “Where is she?”
“She went to bed,” Rom responded.
“Sounds like a good plan for all of us, we will all think better after a rest. Have you got a spare bed in this lovely building site,” Alastair asked.
“Nope, and you aren’t sharing with Indy and I. The sofa is comfortable.” Sam grinned and cleaned up the few cups in the kitchen.