Things were decidedly feeling very…… odd.
I didn’t know if it was a bi product of complete exhaustion from lack of sleep or simply just something my mind was making up from boredom on the job. It seriously could have been either, or even both. But as time went on, I knew something was definitely, not wrong, but different and different was not a good thing. Like those moments when the hairs rose on the back of your neck or you have this sense of being watched.
Who, or more importantly, why would anyone be watching me? I’m just the lowly traffic cop walking the beat completely without any opportunity to make a single enemy. Could this town be any more boring? If I knew this is what it was going to be like to be an officer, I maybe would have joined the army. At least there you got to participate in humanitarian efforts and do some real good throughout the Simworld. Here I could easily find a quiet corner, somewhere I would never be seen, to sleep through my entire shift and nobody would ever know. If that doesn’t say boring, I don’t know what does. Just to be clear though, I’ve never actually done it, but I could. I really honestly could.
I do however, really like the townsfolk. They address me by name and there are very few I don’t know by theirs. It helps to get me through the day, having people to talk to and gives me a real ear to the ground on what is going on. I’ve learned more secrets about the people in this town than any one person should ever know. You have NO idea!
So when I was pulled into the chief’s office, I just assumed I was getting another promotion or even a pay raise for a job well done.
This is important to remember, because this meeting here, was the beginning of it all. I just didn’t know it at the time. See, that eerie feeling of being watched? Well its turns out I wasn’t so wrong after all. However, instead of it being some evil out to get me, it was in fact my superiors trying to determine, I think, who I was and if I was as I portrayed myself to be. In this meeting they asked me personal questions that I felt by labour law, were inappropriate to be asking.
Was I currently dating anyone?
Had I been dating Katie Barton and was I still?
While living with Caerul and his wife, did I have any interactions with his family?
Was I a regular at the underground club here in town?
Did I feel happy in my job?
The questions were all over the map and didn’t seem to follow any kind of pattern that gave me any indication of what they were truly getting at. They asked what I thought of living in Monte Vista. Did I have plans to stay? Who were my parents and what did they do for a living? Why did I come to live in this town? Why did I choose to be a police officer? ……….
I sincerely walked out of that office after an hour of being politely interrogated, feeling like my head was spinning and having no idea what it was about. A week went by and I heard nothing more about it, so I figured I must have satisfied them in some matter or another. With that said, I was most disappointed about not getting a raise after all that. So I doubled my efforts on the job, interviewing more people and gathering as much information as I could.
“No officer really! I wasn’t breaking INTO the car. I was just helping the owner out by making sure the doors were locked so it couldn’t GET stolen.”
“Uh huh. Name?”
“Awww, Jin c’mon, give a guy a break!”
“Do you see the uniform? Its officer Bell to you, so once again-NAME!”
I wasn’t quite sure if being known by my first name from the criminal element was a good thing.
A few days later my phone rang at two in the morning and I picked it up to a whispering voice on the other end.
“Jin, it’s Katie. I need to see you. Tonight. Can we meet?”
“Sure I will come pick you up.”
“NO. Don’t come near the house okay. I will sneak out and meet you at the corner. Come quietly. As quietly as you can cause I don’t want anyone to see us.” Then she hung up.
I found her standing at the dark street corner dressed in a long black coat with a hood to cover her hair. She slid into the front car seat, closed the door quietly so that it just clicked, then slumped down below the dashboard.
“Do you have somewhere for us to go?” she asked. I nodded and she whispered back “let’s go.”
I took her to my new little quiet pad off in the country away from everything and everyone else.
“Man, have I missed you Katie!”
“Really? I’ve been gone for two weeks. I just got back tonight. It was a long two weeks, I kept thinking about you.”
“Words to my ears. I thought you had forgotten all about me. Come here.”
“Okay Jin. That’s enough. I know exactly what is on your mind but we don’t have time for that. We really need to talk. I need to tell you what has been going on.”
“Then, maybe can we get a little cozy?”
“Jin be serious. We have important things to discuss and I don’t have a lot of time. I need to get back before anyone notices that I am gone.”
“What could possibly be more important than a little bit of loving?”
“Well first off, my name is no longer Katie. It’s Lily. Lily Stone.”
I looked at her trying to determine if she was joking or not. “I don’t understand. Wha- Why?”
“I don’t know how much I can tell you because I only know a little. What I have figured out is that my father has gotten himself into something. It must be big, because he is nervous. It all started when we came into that money which lead to myparents purchasing the villa. Then he started working longer hours and being out all hours for “meetings”,” she finished with finger quotations “The name change? The plastic surgery? It’s all to provide me and my sister with new identities.”
“Lily Stone,” I said with a nod of understanding.
“Yes. So you and I? We have never met, so if you see me in public, you can’t treat me like Katie. I’m not Katie anymore and you must remember that. If my father even found out the we were together now, I have no idea what he would do. So with that said, I don’t think you should come by the house at all.”
“Okay, but, just hold on. This just seems a little far-fetched don’t you think?”
“If you think it sounds far-fetched,” Katie, I mean Lily replied. “Try living it. Maria has had the hardest time with it. She flat-out refused to have anything to do with the plan and her stubbornness caused great conflict in the house. I’m scared Jin. I think, I think we may all be in danger. More danger than we know.”
“But-” Just then Katie’s phone went off and she picked it up.
“Hello?” then a pause before alarm crossed her face. “Okay, I’m coming.” Katie hung up the phone and abruptly stood up. “I have to go! My father is up and Maria is worried he will notice I am gone.” I followed her out the door and drove her back to the same corner where I had picked her up. I sat there, watching her keep to the shadows as she made her way back home and around to the back door.
I didn’t know what to do, so I returned home and to my bed, but sleep did not return to me. Days passed and I had no word from her. No way to contact her, no way to see her and make sure she was okay. I had to go on faith that if something went really wrong, she would find a way to get word to me.
About a week later, I received a call from my boss, asking if I would come to his house after supper for a short meeting. When I agreed, he asked me to come alone and tell no one where I was going. “If anyone asks, lie and lie well,” he said to me.
When I arrived at the Chief’s house, he ushered me into his small study and sat down in the chair across from me.
Even though he looked like he was trying to be casual, I could clearly see he had something on his mind to discuss with me. High hopes of finally receiving that promotion began floating through my mind and I was already thinking about the advantages the extra pay would afford the family.
“So Jin. How are things? How do you like living in Monte Vista?”
Okay this was feeling like deja vu all over again. “Well, that depends,” I replied.
“Oh,” he replied. “How so?”
“Monte Vista is a nice enough town for the dullness of it all. I know the mayor doesn’t want it to become like the bustling big cities, but a little action would be better than the lack of anything to do in this town.”
He chuckled “Yes well that is true.”
“This could cost me my job by saying this, but I honestly think you could protect this city with a quarter of the police officers that you have now. It’s not like Monte Vista is a hub of criminal activity.”
“Is that what you really believe?” he asked me.
“Well yeah. I mean seriously boss, how is a guy supposed to get a promotion when there is no way of proving yourself in a town with no crime?” (I thought it was worth sneaking the promotion hint in there just then)
“Jin,” he said sitting up. “It seems we have much to talk about. I’m sure you’re wondering why we have taken such interest in you as of late.”
“We needed to know Jin, what your situation was and what kind of person you are. We were trying to ascertain what kind of ethics you have.”
“Okay, but why? Have I done something wrong?”
“No Jin, not at all. In fact you are exactly right. Exactly what we need.”
(Bring on that promotion!)
“What I am about to tell you will be hard to believe, but before I do I want you to fully understand what you will be getting yourself into, if you decide to get involved. We’ve chosen you Jin for many different reasons. You’re fairly new to the town as well. So while people know you to see you, other than your family and close friends, you aren’t really known. We also believe you to be young with perfect ideals for the police force.”
“Oh, ah good? I mean good,” I replied. Now I wasn’t so sure what was going on.
“The thing is Jin, I needed to be sure that you haven’t been corrupted, or be corruptible for that matter. We have a serious situation in Monte vista and not everyone involved has chosen the right side. Because of that, good people in this town have been drawn into this situation and can now no longer be considered innocent. they’ve been corrupted, by one person, someone we have yet to identify. Once we do, we can cut off the head of this conspiracy and save the town of Monte Vista. Until we do, things we continue to get worse and the lives of the townsfolk are in grave danger.”
“So what exactly are you saying? What are you asking of me?”
“We need someone to go undercover, to find out the identity of this person while finding out the identities of all involved and how they fit into the conspiracy. You would have to work alone and you couldn’t tell anyone what you were doing. Not anyone on the force, nor any member of your family or circle of friends. It would be crucial that you follow this guideline as we still don’t know all the members involved. We do however know that there is a mole in the department. We haven’t been able to pinpoint who exactly yet, but we do have our suspicions.”
“How to you propose that I do all of that without someone getting suspicious?” I asked.
“Ah, well that may be the most difficult thing we would be asking you to do. You would need to leave the force, but in some dishonorable way. It would set the idea in these people’s minds that you could be corrupted. That you could be a person who would be an asset to the operation. However, you would need to understand the difficulties this would cause for you in this town. People you love and trust will have a hard time reconciling the Jin they will learn about with the Jin they know.”
He paused, I was sure to let the information really sink into my brain. Could I do that? Disappoint all the people I loved in this town? What would Caerul and Cameron think about me and how would I handle not being able to tell them I was working under cover? Mrs Monty too?
Yet the idea of those same people being in danger scared me more. I didn’t feel I had a choice now, for with this limited information I was already involved. I needed to know, to protect my family.
“I’m in,” I replied.
“Listen Jin. You need to be sure, because once you start down this road there is no turning back. Perhaps you want to take a day to think about it.”
“No. I understand the risks and I won’t need any time to think about it.”
“Okay, good. Something told me you would accept and I am very pleased. Well while you are here, we might as well get started.”
CC Used In This Chapter