He lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply, blowing the smoke out into the night air. Across the street, in the house he was watching, a light went on and a silhouette moved across the curtains. She was there. The curtains twitched, and he stepped back behind a tree, cupping his hand around his cigarette to hide its tiny telltale light.
Did she know he was there?
The curtain fell back into place, and the light went out. He held his breath for a moment, wondering if she was coming out, then a new light played across the window, bluish and flickering. The TV.
Still, he had to be vigilant. It was all too easy to turn a TV on and leave it talking to an empty house. He moved back around the tree and narrowed his eyes against the gloom. From this spot, he could see both the front and side doors. She could only get out the back if she climbed out a window. He smiled. He had this advantage, at least.
If he was right, it would only be a matter of time before she went out on the prowl. When she did, he would be right behind her, and he would catch her in the act. He would prove that he was right, and she was a killer.
His hand dropped to his hip, and his finger twitched. There was an empty space there where his holster should be. The Chief had called him a liability. Had called off the stakeout, calling it harassment. Had taken his badge and his gun and suspended him, told him to cool off and not to darken the station doorstep until he had his head straight.
He clenched his jaw. His head was straight enough, and there was no time for cooling off. Four dead already, and if his theory was correct another three were on her list. Badge or no badge, gun or no gun, he had to stop her before somebody else died.
It was only a matter of time.
© Kari Fay
(Author’s Note: This week the Three Word Wednesday prompt words are Badge, Darken and Liability, so immediately my thoughts turned in a sort of noir-ish direction…)