"What exactly are meant to be doing here? I mean, apart from ignoring Sensei, that is..." I trailed off my whisper, the night wind freezing my nose. Looking over at Leo, Mikey, Donnie, and Raf, all crouched on the metal container, I felt like-I belonged. "Again, what exactly are we doing here?"
"Just put the damn mask on. You'll see." I shook my head at Raf's reply, but I listened to him and put the faded, cut up animal mask on that only covered up my glasses and nose on. Fiddling with the laces of my boots, I heard the voices of people and engines approaching from far off.
"Can you hear that? From over there." I pointed, and leaned forward on the balls of my feet, trying to get a better hearing of what type of engines they were. Truck, car, motorbike...And something else, something I couldn't place my finger on. "Hear what-oh. Them. That's what we're here for. Suspicious activity, regarding technical mechanics on and offline. Vicious means, bad-slash-kind of good people disappearing for days at a time without an explanation, all caught on surveillance cameras." Donnie pulled down his fitted on goggles, and double checked the lights that were quickly arriving in the sectioned off zone that were in. "Seemed like they arranged to meet here, thanks to the phone linking system you set up." I let out a quiet laugh.
"Hey, it's what I do. So, we just take them out?"
"No, you'll go round the back when they reach here, go into the cars and grab any necessary stuff while we're beating their asses. Deal?" Getting my agreement was really easy. Slowly crawling toward the end of the container facing away from the fast approaching headlights, I felt nerves stirring in my stomach-but I pushed them down to make way for excitement and apparently, giggles. I grabbed hold of the jutting out part of the metal, and eased myself over the edge, being careful not to make a sound as I dropped down onto the ground below.
"Psst. Tealeaf. Mikey said to give this to you." I nearly jumped when Donnie's voice called out-then actually jumped when something was thrown at my head and proceeded to crawl over my hair. "Quick, catch it. He said it was to be a decoy if you got in trouble. Be careful." Not giving any other explanation, he scooted out of sight as I pulled the-thing-out of my hair. It looked like a small mechanical mouse-something that I'd worked on a couple of years ago, but never managed to fix. The mouse, or MM for short, was meant to serve as something that made the victim think it was being attacked by something stronger. Seemed liked Mikey had managed to straighten out the wires that used to stick out from its tiny brain.
Holding it tight in my fist, I skulked round the back of the container and waited until I heard the engines cut off and waited a little more. Then the sounds of fighting began. Breathing in a deep breath, I ran to the cars that were about a minute away. I saw glimpses of the fighting as I ran between the containers-it looked brutal, fun. Before I knew it, I slammed into one of the many cars that filled the space before me. There were so many of them.
"Right...Important stuff. What's important out of this stuff? Ooh wires. I could do with more of those. Hehe, they left the cars unlocked. Noobs. Amateurs. Oh look, shiny laptops! That could be important. And a bigger bag! I'll be needing that, thank you very much! How can you be so mean, yet so generous to us at the same time? Gah, who am I kidding. I love you guys. You're amazing and you don't even know how helpful you are to us."
While I was snooping for stuff, I didn't hear him until the clink of metal on metal heel brought my attention to behind me. I was hanging half in, half out of a car, my stomach on the seat while my hands were under it, searching for-something. Standing gradually, straightening out the sling on bag I found on my shoulder, I smiled as I gripped the MM tighter. He didn't know what he was in for. "You're welcome. For us being soo helpful to you. Those friends of yours out there? Please tell them to stop, or we will have to use much more extreme ways to force them under control." His voice was familiar-but it couldn't-couldn't-have been him. I got my answer when I turned.
"Rico. Rico, Rico, Rico. I thought you were just he kind, sweet pizza man. But I was wrong. Anyway, how did you get into this job exactly, seduce them with your dough baking skills?" On the outside, I made myself seem calm, cool. But on the inside? I was surprised. Rico was always the friendly man, the quiet, shy man, the quite attractive man who made everyone feel like they wanted to be his friend just by looking at his lean, smiling face. The pizza making man now looked confident, but obviously didn't recognise me. The mask.
"What-how-who are you? Which customer are you? Billie? Madison?"
"No," I raised the nose of my mask as I continued, "it's Roddie." I used that fake name every time someone asked. I was hardly going to give them my real name-Tally-was I? "And I think it's really upsetting that you won't remember me unless I don't have my mask on. Thanks." Rico smiled chillingly, and took a step forward. It made my heart stop, the way he was still and then jerkily stepped forward-a bit like one of those weird, expressionless puppets I saw a few years ago. It was kinda creepy to see Rico like this.
"Oh, small, defenceless Roddie, vulnerable, no? Little do you actually know me, and me, you. Amelie will be so pleased to hear me say what a little thief you are, what a heartless ribcage you have, no?" It was unsettling to hear Rico's usually comforting voice so-so-so unemotional and cold. I mean, this was a guy who worked for one of the cities kindest old ladies I'd ever met. Heck, I'd say Amelie was the kindest old lady I'd met.
"Why, Rico?" I asked cautiously, not wanting him to do anything unexpected-well, more unexpected-just like the freaking gun he was pulling out of his pocket. "Rico, please. Put the gun down. I don't care who you work for, or what your work is. I'll put everything back, just so long as you don't shoot." His grin grew further along his face as he started to point it at my face.
"Tough, you heartless, selfish, little gir-" Rico never finished his sentence, as his smile dropped from his rapidly paling face, his eyes drawn to his chest area. Dark red started to blossom and spread on his grey shirt. Looking up, he said, "D.S. Look for him, and your questions will be answered." The he fell to the floor. I was-numb inside. Then it hit.
"Rico? Rico! Rico, tell me! Tell me, goddamn it! Rico!" Dropping to my knees, I turned him over with some struggle. His once tanned, unblemished features were now snowy pale and cut up from the asphalt. I couldn't find a pulse on his neck. "What do you mean? Wake up, Rico! What's D.S? Goddamn you!"
"Sis? You knew him?" Glancing up, I saw Raf walking towards me. Nodding, I looked at the MM in my opened hand. It squeaked once, and proceeded to power itself down. "Yeah. I did. He was the, um-he was the guy who made the pizzas. He said to find someone? D.S? Rico said that my questions would be answered. Before-before he died." The reality that he was planning on shooting me finally sunk in. "Rico-he, he was going to shoot me. He was going to shoot me Raf! This crazy, madman was going to-" I stopped myself, dropping the MM to let my head fall into my hands. "Man, I feel-I don't know. Sorry, I guess. At least Mrs Golderhep-Amelie-the owner of the pizza place-won't find out about this, at least. So, uh-you manage to get all of them?" I wasn't gonna lie, I felt shaken up. Someone who I considered a friend was-was dead.
"Yeah, we did. We'd better go. Before Sensei gets back and finds out we did this?" Nodding weakly, I picked up the MM and re-adjusted the new bag. Standing, I double checked my old bag and the new one to make sure I had everything I thought was important-it included a lot of wires, a lot of phones, a laptop, a set of gleaming grey headphones, and something that appeared to be a list of names that probably contained the people that were likely here today. Or the people that had disappeared. Who knows?
"Hey, can I get a climb back?" Raf rolled his eyes, and turned so I could grab onto his sword straps and get a ride home on his shell. "Thanks bro."