By RMWillis All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Horror

The Mistake

Heather didn’t know when Dan had eaten last, but after seven hours of having his brain reprogramed it’s no wonder he’d woken up hungry. She took him to eat in the food bubble; it was under the dome where every major restaurant chain could be found, and just happened to be in the direction of her home on Mons Hansteen.

He hadn’t believed her when she had talked to him about his fear of heights, which is exactly as it ought to be. A reckoning done correctly should leave no trace of ever happening. After they ate and made their way to his rental in the Hansteen Crater she ported the video of his reckoning from her data-pad to his so that he could review it before their next meeting.

Brutus was hiding under her bed when she got home; that’s where he went when he was mad at her. “Oh come on Brute,” she said cooing at him. “I know I was gone a long time but I didn’t want to be, I was working.”

He glared back at her through half-open eyes the tip of his tail lazily tapping back and forth. She begged, pleaded, and even bribed with his favorite fish flavored treats, but he refused to come out. “Fine!” She said, exasperated with him. She threw the treat at him, stood up, and straightened her hair. She picked up her personal data-pad and flopped into bed hoping Malcolm was still in the office.

It was late but he was a workaholic. She smiled when his faced appeared on the screen. “What no Rita?” She asked.

“Oh no, she promptly left five.”

“Why am I not surprised?” Heather said, not attempting to mask the sarcasm in her voice.

Malcolm shook his head, “Be nice. She gets a ton done in her eight hours.”

“Yeah well, she could try smiling once in a while.”

At that Malcolm laughed, “I think it’s just you. She smiles at me all day.”

Heather rolled her eyes, “If you say so.”

“So what can I do for you? Things working out with your new apprentice?” He asked.

Heather shrugged, “Okay I guess. He’s really green though. I don’t think he’s ready for a case like Cordley’s.”

“Oh no,” Malcolm said shaking his head. “He’s your apprentice, but it’s still his case.”

“Come on Malcolm!” She said sitting up. “The kid hadn’t even seen a reckoning chair before today. Hadn’t even seen one damn it.”

Malcolm smiled knowingly. “Everyone has a first time--.”

“True,” she said cutting him off. “But not on a case like this. He should cut his teeth on a shoplifting story. I should be handling Cordley’s story and you know it.”

He quietly shook his head which infuriated her even more.

“Give me the case Malcolm. I’m the best, I know it and you know it.” She pushed her hair back before continuing, trying to appeal to his logic. “We don’t want Dan to screw up his first assignment. It’s not good for him or the offender, and with something as sensitive as a rape murder we can’t afford mistakes.”

He cocked his head. She was getting through!”

“Think of the headline now.” She moved to the edge of her bed planting her feet firmly on the floor. “Interim Director under investigation for offender’s psychotic episode.” She stood up. “You don’t want that do you?”

“No,” he said.

YES! She had it, “I knew you’d see it my way.”

He shook his head, “I meant no, you still can’t have the case.”

“What?!?” She stopped dancing in place. “Are you out of your mind?”

He sighed heavily, “Look, you are the best, there’s no disputing that--.”

“Damn right.”

He continued despite her cutting him off. “But you’re not going to be around forever and cases like this don't come up very often anymore. We’re going to need someone who can handle them twenty years from now.”

She flopped back down on her bed and didn’t even bother fixing her hair, she was so made she could taste iron in her mouth.

“Listen,” Malcolm said calmly. “The kids good, give him a chance. Hell one day he may even be better than you.”

It had been a long day and that was the final straw. She was tired, she hated going to the city, she’d put in more hours in one day then she had in the past week, Brutus was ignoring her and now Malcolm was insulting her. She’d had enough. “That’s all bullshit Malcolm, and you know it.” She shook her head, hair flying everywhere. “If you think the boy is such a prodigy then he can do the story himself!” She swiped her hand across the screen to blank it out and threw the data-pad on the bed.

She ignored the rings as she crawled into the steaming tub.

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