Chapter Three

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Kita hadn't said a word as they neared the coast. She was upset over what had happened with the patrolman. It was her first time in handcuffs. I thought I'd be handcuffed someday, but not like that. She'd hoped the humor would lighten her mood, but it just reminded her that she'd never had a girlfriend.

What bothered her were the repercussions. The patrolman was going to wake up and get help eventually. He'd seen Kita's face and Arcee—not that anyone would believe him. But, there was the wrecked patrol car.

"Newport port area ahead," said Arcee.

"Huh? Oh, ok."

"Are you ok? You've been quiet."

"Just thinking. I'm uneasy about what happened with the cop."

"He hit you. I hit him back. Does that upset you?" Arcee asked sounding concerned.

"No. I've never been in trouble before, and it might lead to bigger trouble later."

"We can talk about what do after we find a safe place to shelter. Don't worry. I won't let anything happen to you."

Kita closed her eyes and sighed. She'd been told that once before. And, Dad died. I want so hard to believe, but...

Arcee took an off-ramp then turned onto the main surface street that led to the port. A side street took them into the warehouse district. All the warehouses they passed had lights on and semi-trailers parked out front. They traveled around the district looking for something abandoned.

"How about that place? It has broken windows and soot trails from the windows to the roof," said Kita.

Arcee pulled into the lot and drove up the loading ramp to the door. Kita hopped off and tried the roller door. It wasn't locked and went up easily.

Kita and Arcee entered the warehouse. Blackened and burnt pallets of merchandise sat in neat rows. The warehouse walls showed signs of flame and the concrete floor was blackened. A white residue covered everything.

"Definitely a fire," said Kita. "Something must have gone wrong with the fire suppression system to let it burn so much." Up near the ceiling were the pipes and sprinkles.

"Or maybe it didn't start small," said Arcee.

They idled through the debris to the back of the warehouse, Arcee's headlamp lighting the way. A large door blocked their path. Arcee transformed and opened it revealing another section of the warehouse. It was bare except for a shipping container in the middle and some one-story offices in the corner. The area showed no signs of fire.

"They wanted just enough to burn, but not all of it," said Arcee.

"Probably insurance fraud, but they can't have gotten away with it if we figured it out," said Kita.

"We have a lower burden of proof to meet."

"Yeah, I guess so. I'm going to go check out the offices and see if there's anything worthwhile."

Kita crossed the cavernous space and tried the door to the offices. It was unlocked and led to a narrow hallway. She found the light switch and tried it. The overhead fluorescent lights flickered on. The first office contained a desk that partially hid a chair and filing cabinet in the far corner. A window near the desk connected the office to the warehouse. The second door led to a bathroom. Kita tried the faucet and discovered the water was running. She checked the stall. The seat was gross, but there was toilet paper. I guess I can hover to pee.

The last office was empty, except for some broken down cardboard boxes. Kita yawned. Sigh. Right now, any kind of bed looks good. She gathered up the cardboard. Arcee met her at the door.

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