Prelude



There was little to see in the midnight gloom of the storage area, but Stew could hear movement near the ventilation windows at the far end. Left hand high, his right cradled the .357 magnum revolver against his thigh as he toed-and-heeled his way down the aisle toward the sounds. Stewart Brindle silently cursed his failure to bring a flashlight as he waited for contact with the string hanging from the florescent fixture some twenty feet from the area of movement.

As the dangling cord caressed his palm, his sock covered foot entered an area of spreading moisture. Hay fever, and a bad head cold prevented Deputy Brindle from identifying the odor permeating the dank vault. Reflex pulled down on the light switch, pointed his stare toward the floor, and jerked his right foot away from the cold liquid. The distraction prevented him from seeing the three dark clad figures emptying red and yellow canisters onto the concrete floor in the preliminary flash of light. The flash gave the fourth figure enough time to raise the old shotgun and trigger the end of the group's existence.

The shotgun blast hit Stewart squarely in the chest. The pellets, and the force of exploding fumes pushed him the length of the sixteen unit apartment building. He was dead before he hit the ground.

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