Hard Boiled – Episode One: A New Day 1.107

capvatarCapin watched as ‘Blindside’ jumped across to the next building and away. “So,” he said, turning back to Bluewolf, “It was a pleasure, but I too must be off. Have a date with an old lady.” Behind the his mask, Wolf was giving him an odd look. “Nothing like that. It’s, uh, a business meeting.”

Wolf nodded, giving Capin a smirk. “I’m sure it is.”

“We’ll do this again some time.”

“I’m sure we will.”

The cape hanging tight from his shoulders opened up as Capin took that step up onto the ledge. It spread wide behind him as he jumped across, never touching the ground. He landed soundlessly on the snow drifted rooftop and headed north, disappearing into the dark warehouse skyline.

Capin seemed to be making good time. He checked his watch as he dropped down to ground level. He was keeping back in the shadows of a darkened storefront. A chilled wind blew across his open face, fogging up his breath. Several cars sped down the boulevard. Victoria was the official border for Hiland. The flashes from their headlights showed a rather tall brick wall running along the grass beside the road. Massive homes, complete with soft yellow lights glowing in their windows, loomed over the wall.

He waited, letting another three cars go, then darted across. Scaling the wall was no problem. Just up and over. He pressed back against the wall, getting his bearings. The upscale parts of town didn’t have that grid feel that stretched over much of Garrison. The streets around here curved and split, making it so you needed to know where you were and where you were going. But absence of streetlights and fences made lurking about rather easy.

“62686 St. Cross.” Capin quickly made his way around the rather large lawn. The driveway was freshly and probably professionally blown clean. “Lets hope that Miss Ellis is home.” The familiar warm yellow glow emanated from the lights inside. Capin crept along the deck, staying low under the windows. The slender figure of a woman was walking out of the kitchen deeper into the house. Capin moved around to the sliding glass doors and quietly let himself in.

He could hear her humming to not too far off. “All I have is piesporter, I hope you don’t mind.”

Capin moved through the kitchen into a large dark dining room. Home, but not alone. He crept quietly, keeping to the carpeted area. From his darkened vantage point he could see into the room. She had a rather shapely figure, long blonde hair rolling halfway down her back. She was blocking the view of her company, who was seated in a rather large and rather plush loveseat. A grin came to him at the thought of the appropriateness of it. Looks pretty good for 65 year old lady.

“It’s my favorite.” She bent over, setting the bottle and two glasses down before seating herself beside her friend. He couldn’t have been thirty. Young. Handsome. Well built. Probably named Hamilton or something. Judging by the look in his eyes, he wasn’t in it for just the money. She was beautiful. The only creases in her complexion lined her bright smile. ‘Hamilton’ leaned forward and easily wrestled the cork from the bottle and filled the two glasses. He picked them up and handed her one. “To you..” She smiled and tapped her glass against his.

Capin was getting that dirty feeling. This wasn’t part of his job. He stood up, the cape keeping him in the shadows. “Only two glasses?” He stepped into the light. “That’s ok. I don’t mind drinking from the bottle.” He gave her a wink.

Miranda Ellis’s jaw dropped and her eyes widened. She looked from one guest to the other and back. Hamilton was also genuinely surprised but kept his eyes on the intruder. “What’s going on here?” He set his glass down on the table and started to rise.

“Really, don’t get up.” Capin stepped forward, ready to meet the gentleman quickly, should he try and be chivalrous.

Miranda’s voice raised a few notes in her shock. “Who are- wh-what are you doing in my home?” Her hands instinctively grabbed a blanket stretched over the seat and pulled it over her plunging neckline.

Hamilton was already on his feet and making with the chivalry. “I don’t know who you are or what you think you’re doing here, but-”

“I said don’t get up.” Capin moved like lightning, his fingers jabbing Hamilton lightly starting under the chin and moving over his body in a series of points. The look of shock held in the man’s face as he was finally jabbed in the ribs. He just stood there, eyes open and arms ready to rise.

Capin turned his attention to Miranda. “Josh?” She tapped him behind. “Josh?”

“He’s fine. I didn’t want to have him going and hurting himself. So, relax. I’m not going to hurt you either.” Understandably, this didn’t make Miranda look any more comfortable. He took a moment, letting her breathe. There’s no way this woman is much over forty.

“Look,” she said finally breaking the silence. “Just take what you want and get out.”

Capin gave her a smile. “Oh, I plan to. Except all I want is to ask you a couple questions. I got your name from a mutual friend. Ritchie Berkowski.” There it was. That look in her eye. She knew the name. “Ritchie says you never call anymore. Why’s that?”

“Why should I contact him? Obviously you know what he does.” Her voice was dry and nervous.

“Ritchie’s business didn’t bother you before. Not till he sold your name to Mistress Psyche.” There was that look again. Only this time it was worse. The name itself scared Miranda and she sank back into the loveseat. “So…”

“I-I don’t know anything about her.”

Capin shook his head and crouched down. “While that’s a popular answer, it’s obviously not true.” He picked up the glass with the lips marked on it and handed it to her. “Try again.”

Miranda Ellis looked down into the wine glass. She just stared at it, as if the answers were there hidden at the bottom. The glass came to her lips and emptied. “She… She contacted me. By phone I mean.”

“What did she say?”

“That she could help me. That I could be the woman I was and leave that dirty Berkowski behind and hold my head up high again.” Finally she was looking up from the empty glass. The blue in her eyes was magnified in tears. “I’m not a young woman. You have no idea what it’s like to age. To wake up every morning to more gray, more wrinkles and less energy. To have all the boys hanging on your every word only to have it all fade away with time. Do you have any idea what it’s like to have everything and the nothing?”

The fear of the moment had faded from her. She spat out, “I would have to deal with that… that creep Berkowski, just to have somebody to be with. To be seen with at functions. To have someone to hold me, like i was that girl. It’s degrading… You can see it in their eyes. Their kind words are only money in their pockets. It’s not real. She gave me something real.”

Capin wasn’t sure. She was almost successful at drawing his sympathies. Truth was he didn’t know. But loneliness didn’t excuse somethings. Kidnapping was one of them. “What did she give you.”

“Look at me! She gave me my life back. My youth. The greatest plastic surgeon in the world couldn’t have done this.”

Capin looked her dead in the eye and then turned his gaze around the room, first to Josh, then to the mantle and table tops. She had pictures of herself everywhere. Young and full of energy. He felt that tingling up his neck from the cape. This is getting weird.

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