“Just me.” I looked Jet over. He looked like he always did, day, night, in the presence of living people or dead ones. Dark hair standing up at angles to his head, dark eyes, pale skin. Nice strong nose, medium-full lips. Shockingly white teeth. Jeans, black t-shirt, black jean jacket, sturdy black boots. If I ever got around to teasing him, I’d comment on the multi-purpose functionality of his usual attire. Like I was ever going to get around to teasing a guy I mostly talked to in the presence of piles of dead bodies.
“And the dead people?” Jet asked.
“Yeah, okay, they’re here, too,” I said. Munson and Matthews were back. They made eye contact with Jet, and we all moved through the back door and down the stairs into the basement.
As sick as it was, I was starting to get used to the way things went once we all got to a site. Munson, Matthews, and Jet spread out. They looked at and photographed each dead body, but didn’t touch them, except to check for a pulse, then take the ones that were face down and roll them onto their backs. It was like a well-choreographed modern dance number, with no sound. Touch the pulse-points, gently roll the bodies over, take a photo. Move on to the next body.
In four and a half minutes, they were done. I just stood back and watched.
“Right then,” Jet said, taking one last look around the room while the other two men spun slowly in circles, taking flash photos of the floors, walls, and ceiling. “Done?” he asked, as the other two stopped moving and folded their cameras into their jackets. Two nods in response.
We moved back up the stairs, almost at a run. Me first, then Jet, then Matthews, then Munson.
At the top of the stairs, we all stood just outside the door, inhaling and exhaling.
“Did you drive?” Jet asked.
“Sun dropped me.”
“Let’s go, then.” He nodded at the van. I nodded by way of reply. You spend enough time with people who just grunt and nod, you give up on speech yourself. Jet got in the driver’s seat, Matthews rode shotgun, Munson and I piled into the back. Jet turned the key in the ignition and we rolled out of the alley. At the street, he stopped and looked in the rearview mirror. I turned around in my seat to survey the warehouse, myself. Six hours earlier, I’d been talking to my friend Sun about how to do my hair so I could go dancing, do a little light investigating. I didn’t think the people I found at the club would all be dead before I got there.
With a “Whump!” and a giant flash of flame that filled my vision, the warehouse exploded.
“Damn!” Jet said, turning around in his seat to watch as flaming chunks of warehouse flew up into the air, then began to settle back down. Small chunks of dirt bounced off the roof of the van.
“Some of that stuff’s on fire,” Munson observed calmly, nodding at the burning debris settling around the van.
“Yeah, okay.” Jet said. He put the van back into gear and rolled forward, driving carefully around a couple of fiery piles that had made it all the way into the street.
“Anybody have gum?” I asked as the van picked up speed and moved rapidly out of the neighborhood. Without speaking, Jet handed a pack of Orbit Wintermint over his shoulder. “Thanks.” I pulled a piece out of the pack, unwrapped it, and popped it in my mouth.
“That make you feel better?” Matthews asked from the front seat. He was a little white guy, with light blue eyes, sparse blonde hair, pockmarks, skinny lips. Jet told me once that Matthews could kill people with his bare hands, and sometimes I thought I could see it in his eyes. Otherwise, he wasn’t much to look at.
“Only kind of,” I mumbled around the gum.
“Here, give some here,” Munson said from beside me on the bench seat.