"The price of being a sheep is boredom. The price of being a wolf is loneliness. Choose one or the other with great care." ~Hugh MacLeod.
She was dying.
She was literally dying.
Her mind was shriveling up and decaying with every passing second.
She could think of a billion other things she would rather be doing at the present. Including but not limited to: mud wrestle a saltwater crocodile, walk into a hurricane, or listen to Bon Jovi on repeat for 7 hours straight.
Anything, anything would be better than nothing.
Which is what she was doing now. Leaning against the hood of her car on the edge of the muddy Lake.
Ever since Jack had started diving (or drowning- she still hadn't seen him come up for air yet), she had done nothing but stare out into the open water and wish she was anywhere else.
It didn't help that there was an overzealous junior deputy attempting to cozy up to her.
Make that multiple junior deputies. . .
Once Jack had disappeared under the waves, they had flown to her like moths to an intelligent, gorgeous flame, each trying to outdo the others with witty banter and flattery.
A deadly combination if used right.
Unfortunately for these officers, V.C. didn't even twitch.
After striking out, each deputy scurried away to sulk nearby the open lake.
The current deputy was bragging about his station in the precinct. Like it wasn't a run-down shack that would succumb to gravity at any given moment.
"Once Stan retired, he has basically guaranteed that I'll be the next Sheriff," The deputy bragged. V.C. was hardly even listening, but the man's gloating was getting under her nerves.
She uncrossed her arms and pushed off the hood of the car. Cocking her head sideways at the man, she questioned, "Then, how do you plan to compete with the increasing population in your town with such a small police force and the trouble of finding and retaining officers without having a sustainable way to create income?"
The man blanched and fumbled a non-declarative reply, backing away and almost slipping on the slick ground. He was quickly replaced by another officer.
But this time, it was Thomas.
He didn't try to flirt with her, a welcomed relief. She doubted that he could even spit out a flirtatious sentence without blushing into silence.
But, instead, he struck up an intellectual conversation with her.
"What do you plan to do if Commander Rhodes finds the weapon?"
V.C. shrugged and recrossed her arms, gazing out across the lake. "First, if the serial number isn't filed off, we can trace it to its owner. But chances are, this guy wouldn't have been so careless. If it is filed, I'll do what I did with the 357 Magnum: try to use electron back-scatter diffraction which is basically --"
Thomas cut in enthusiastically, "-- A way to restore serial numbers through atom examination. Its the technique developed by Keller and White in 2015! I've never seen it happen before, but I've read studies on it!"
Nodding back at him with a wide smile, V.C. congratulated him. "Good show, Officer Piersson! Exactly, it may not restore all of the numbers but may be enough to run a search through the system. Then, take striations from the gun barrel and match them to the bullets we have. Pretty cut and dry stuff."
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Eridanus Flooding (WATTY 2018 WINNER)Mystery / Thriller
Commander Jack Rhodes is a retired Navy Seal. Well. Retired isn't what he would call it. More like fired. Yes. Fired would be the correct choice of word. No one retires at the age of 32. When a mission went wrong, leaving Jack as the only survivor...