Security guard Evan Dunstan pedaled faster. He didn’t have to check his watch. He knew he was behind schedule thanks to Jenson Freakin’ Morlee, the world’s biggest supervisory douche bag. What in holy hell had he done to piss Jenson off this time? Or was the moron so bored that he thought it would be fun to make the bike patroller ride across Southwest Trades & Technology’s entire campus just to unlock a damn door for the janitors? The foot patrol guard in this zone could have handled the request. Judging from the radio silence, the newbie hadn’t had a busy shift.
Evan raced down the walkway next to the stream that ran along the eastern perimeter of campus. It had rained an hour ago then stopped. But the April night air still felt so damp and heavy that Evan figured the sky would crack open and dump on him any second. Thank god his shift was nearly over.
He’d almost reached the footbridge when a large dark blob in the stream caught his attention. Shit. When would people stop dumping bags of garbage in the damn water? With a new subdivision being built north of campus, a light industrial area to the west, plus six crowded dorms on the premises, the culprit could be anyone. Evan skidded to a stop and frowned. Although floodlights from the engineering building cast some light on the narrow stream, it was too dark to clearly see the bag. Wait a sec. Something was off. What was that white stuff protruding from the bag?
Propping the kickstand, Evan removed the small flashlight attached to his belt then stepped nearer the water. Oh shit! It was a hand! A freakin’ hand! And legs! He moved the flashlight up the body until he spotted the grey fringe circling a bald head that glowed like a moon. Evan shivered. Was the guy alive? He wouldn’t have to perform CPR, would he? That first-aid course last year didn’t go so well after he broke that manikin.
“Hey!” Evan called out. “Can you hear me?”
No response. Sweat broke out on Evan’s back. He glanced around for help but no one was around. Where the hell was the foot patrol guy anyway? He was supposed to help monitor water levels whenever it rained. On his knees, Evan extended his arm and touched the wrist. Oh, man. Ice cold. He lifted the man’s head out of the water and gasped at the vacant eyes. Scrapes ran across the bulbous forehead and nose. Evan yelped and recoiled, landing on his butt.
The widely despised George Krenn, head of the plumbing department, was about to give him nightmares for the rest of his life. Evan felt the dampness seep through his cargo pants, but he was too busy freaking out to care. Shit. Why hadn’t he ignored the blob and kept on riding? Oh, god. This was bad.
Evan spotted a booze bottle on the edge of the bank. Scrambling to his feet, he walked cautiously along the wet grass and then poked the bottle with his toe. Vodka. Krenn’s favourite, and it was nearly empty. So, the asshole had gotten wasted once again. Only this time he lost his balance then fell and drowned in three feet of water. Figured. Krenn was a reckless guy with a God complex.
Evan’s shift ended in less than ten minutes. If he reported this, there’d be questions, then cops, then more questions, and report writing. He hated writing reports. Worse, he’d miss his only chance to hook up with Cecelia, the hottest woman he’d ever met in his life. All because of a nasty dip-shit who’d tried to get him fired two weeks ago?
“Oh, hell no.”
Evan struggled to his feet and scanned the area again. Still no one in sight. No surprise, he supposed. Evening classes ended over an hour ago and there were only two cars in the parking lot next to engineering. Obviously, no one was in the sports field on the other side of the stream. Maybe the emptiness was a good thing. Even if the newbie found Krenn, Jenson would make the whole team stick around to account for every second of their whereabouts.
“Alpha One to Alpha Two.”
Speaking of that ass-wipe...Jenson hadn’t seen something, had he? Oh, no. What about the cameras? Camera twenty-one kept tabs on the east entrance to engineering and twenty-two monitored the parking lot. But both could be panned to cover the field and portions of the stream. Evan wiped his hands on his pants then pressed the button on his shoulder mic.
“Go ahead,” he replied as calmly as he could.
“Have you locked up engineering yet?”
“Change of plans. Head to admin. CFO needs help with the alarm code again. Alpha Three will take care of engineering.”
Grateful to get away from this horror show, Evan pedalled as fast as his rubbery legs would allow. Why had Krenn been near engineering anyway? The plumbing building was much closer to the west side of campus. Come to think of it, Evan had seen him up here a couple of times over recent weeks, but Krenn wouldn’t have appreciated being questioned about it. In fact, most guards had learned to avoid the rude bastard.
Evan stopped the bike. If he didn’t calm down and get it together the CFO would notice that something was wrong. And that could come become a problem. Besides, rules dictated that all requests were supposed to be written in the guard’s notebook as soon as they came in.
Evan wiped the sweat from his brow. He tried to keep his hand from shaking as he carefully printed the time of the lockup request. When he was done, his face still felt flushed. Nothing he could do about that, or the sweat trickling down his sides. Taking a deep breath, Evan began pedalling.
At the administration building, he plastered on a smile that was supposed to say, Everything’s cool. No dead bodies around here. None at all. Chief financial officer Nigel Gardner stood inside the building near the glass doors. As Evan approached, Gardner stepped outside. For an accountant who worked with numbers all day, Gardner sure had a hard time remembering four-digit codes. This code changed a week ago and he still hadn’t gotten his act together.
“Sorry, Evan,” Gardner said. “I know I’m being stupid, but it’s been a long day.”
“No worries.” Evan swiped his card through the slot then pressed the digits. Nothing happened.
“You okay, Evan? You look a little jittery.”
“Hands are cold. Forgot to bring my gloves.” Which was true. He’d left them in the lunchroom after dinner. Jenson wouldn’t let him go back to retrieve them. Evan forced himself to concentrate on the number pad. On the second try, the red light went on, locking the door and setting the alarm. “There you go. The code’s four, two, six, one.”
“Thanks, Evan. I’ll try to remember.”
While Gardner hurried toward the parking lot, Evan scribbled down the time he set the alarm. Man, he’d be late for shift change. Evan hopped on the bike and listened for mention of the stream on the two-way radio. Each time the radio crackled and a guard reported in, Evan held his breath, terrified that Krenn would be discovered. He’d almost reached HQ when the rain started again.
“Thank you,” he murmured to the sky.
Guards would stay inside during a downpour. With luck, Krenn wouldn’t be discovered for hours. Evan entered the locker room, where the afternoon guards were already passing radios and keys to the graveyard team. The newbie who should have checked the stream before the shift ended, leaned back in his chair and laughed at some joke. Newbie was either a born actor or he had no clue that a dead guy was floating in his zone.
Evan tossed his notebook, jacket, and utility belt in the locker.
“Why is your butt all wet?” his replacement asked.
“Slid on a wet patch and fell.” Evan handed him his keys and radio. “Quiet night. Nothing to report.”
“For god’s sake, Evan,” Jenson said, glaring at him with those pale narrow eyes. “You didn’t damage the bike, did you?”
Evan turned away. “It’s fine.”
Jenson’s red hair and beard reminded Evan of a picture he once saw of Vincent Van Gogh, only meaner. Evan had long suspected his short supervisor resented Evan’s six-foot, two-inch, broad-shouldered frame. He also believed that Jenson would take Krenn’s death hard. Jenson was one of the few people on campus who liked Krenn, but then those two had a lot in common.
Grabbing his street clothes, Evan decided to change in the car off campus. He needed to get out of here before the shit-storm came. His buddy’s birthday party was already underway. It was a stroke of luck that his buddy’s girlfriend was studying nursing with Cecelia, and that the girls had become friends. Security rules prevented guards from asking students out while on duty. But there was no rule about off duty and off campus action. No way in hell would he let this evening’s disaster ruin his chance with the world’s most gorgeous woman.
* * *
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