Twilight fell as the pair of detectives made their way back to town. Red flames shot toward the heavens and illuminated the black sky.
“What in the world,” Lilly gasped.
Konan slowed down as they drew near to the city limits; people had piled tires up in the middle of the road and set them on fire. Plumes of smoke billowed into the air.
Everywhere they looked young people rushed vehicles. Some threw Molotov cocktails at cops in riot gear. Tear gas canisters were fired in hopes to break the group into easily managed clusters.
“We’ve gotta get out of here,” Konan snapped as he dodged a protestor that leapt in front of the vehicle. “Get out of the road, stupid!”
Lilly grabbed for the handle above the car door, as Konan gunned the accelerator.
They made it to the precinct in record time, well, record time for Konan’s driving. Protestors tried to follow them into the parking lot, but the security guards kept them at bay.
Konan and Lilly rushed to the elevator, and then crossed the skyway with the same urgency. Once inside, Konan pressed the button to take the lift to the top floor.
“I wouldn’t do that, Konan.”
“Do what? We need this mirror tested.”
“I know, but they reamed me out good for just showing up. Call them first before you go up there.”
“No. They can quit being so overly sensitive. Come on, I ain’t got time for this crap.”
Lilly shrugged and boarded the lift. She’d tried to warn him, but as usual, Konan ignored the warning. The doors closed and the lift ascended the chute.
When the doors opened, Lilly expected to get bum-rushed by the security guard that had accosted her earlier. Instead, they were greeted by a young technician named Haley.
“Hello, Detective Konan. Long time, no see.”
“Hey, Haley. This is my partner, Lilly Thompson. Lilly, this is Haley. We worked together at the 112th.”
Lilly nodded and stuck out her hand, Haley gripped it warmly.
“I’ve heard quite a bit about you, Detective Thompson. It’s a pleasure to meet one as accomplished as yourself.”
Lilly smiled awkwardly at Haley, her cheeks turned crimson from the compliment.
“Um, thanks. I don’t know about how accomplished I am but…”
Haley brushed the rest of the sentence off with a wave of her hand.
“Please. Konan doesn’t think highly of many people. He wouldn’t say it if he didn’t believe it to be true.”
“Alright, Haley. That’s enough of the fluff. Can you test this mirror? I need every print and blood splatter analysis if you don’t mind.”
“Are you telling me how to do my job, Konan? Do I instruct you on the fine art of catching murderers?”
Lilly snorted, and Konan turned to look at her. Haley giggled and gave her a wink.
“Fine. Point taken. How soon before we know anything?”
“A couple of days at least. I’ll get the results as quick as I can, but don’t bug me about it.”
Konan turned and started for the lift; Lilly trailed after him. On the lift she faced her friend.
“That Haley is something else, ain’t she?”
“Yeah. She is a handful.”
“I swear it’s the first time I’ve ever seen you speechless.”
Konan stared at the floor and kept his mouth shut. Lilly recognized his awkwardness and decided to needle him a bit more.
“She’s pretty to boot. That red hair and those hips. She’s a complete package.”
Konan looked up from the floor and locked eyes with Lilly. His mouth drew down into a frown, no mirth showed in his eyes.
“I met Haley on my second murder case. Her mother and father were gutted. I found her sitting next to their corpses trying to wake them up.”
“I don’t have any children, Lilly. Haley is probably as close as I’ll ever get to having one of my own. When it comes to forensic evidence there are none better. I paid her way through college.”
“And now she works here,” Lilly added.
“She works here now because I made it impossible for her to stay at the 112th. My troubles inadvertently became hers.”
“I only said it in jest, Konan.”
“I know, but you needed to know about her. I haven’t found the time to tell you about her.”
“How old is she, Konan? Aren’t you afraid that all this hatred and vitriol will damage her?”
“She just turned 18 last month. Do I think the work will damage her? More than the trash that Hollywood releases daily? Worse than the 24/7 barrage of bad news from the news corporations?”
“Okay, I get it.”
The doors dinged open, and the detectives walked into the murder room. From what they’d seen on the way in no one would go home this evening.
Hatred had set the world on fire.