When we went back to the apartment building I made sure to wear a mask so that the door man wouldn’t recognize who I was. Luckily it worked and we were able to get in without a hitch. Building management had decided what the people had been seeing was rats and called for exterminators. So, Kelly’s agency took that as an opportunity to sneak in. Having their resources really came in handy sometimes. They knew as well as I did that whatever was in there was not rats.
When we were going through the front the doorman did look at me for a second and I thought he was going to realize who I was but he didn’t. That was good, too, because if he did he wouldn’t have let any of us in.
The manager of the apartments was waiting for us in the lobby. He was a short man with his hair slicked back and he wore a cheap blue suit. The man looked like a little sniveling weasel. I don’t really like to make quick assumptions but I was usually right. Most of the time, anyways.
“They are everywhere,” he said. “I’ve been getting complaints all week about these things. I can’t have my building getting this kind of attention. I need you to take care of this now.”
Kelly stared at him. I thought for sure she was going to punch him in the face.
“Can you show us to the basement?” she asked him.
“Right this way,” he replied.
He led us to a service elevator and took us to the basement level.
“If there’s an infestation they will most likely be down here,” Kelly explained.
“I think one of my normal maintenance people might have noticed that,” the manager pointed out.
“Not if they don’t know where to look.”
“Is there any access to the air ducts down here?”
“Yes. Over there.”
“Are there any cameras down here?”
“Good. Wes, will you?”
“Gladly,” I responded.
“Huh?” the manager asked right before I punched him unconscious.
“I’m going to go put him somewhere out of sight,” I informed them.
“Good idea,” Kelly agreed.
I put the little jerk in a closet. I was pretty sure that no one was going to find him in there any time soon. I went back to the rest of the group. Everyone was grabbing all of their weapons and dividing them up. I already had mine on me concealed in my costume.
“What do you think we’re dealing with?” Kelly asked me.
“I’m not sure yet,” I admitted.
“Why did we even bother bringing him in?” Lenny asked. He was one of Kelly’s men who really didn’t get along with me.
“Well, Jenny,” I teased, “it’s because I am a paladin. I’m faster, stronger and smarter than you.”
He walked towards me.
“Stop,” Kelly ordered.
Lenny did stop, which is good for him because I would probably just break his nose.
“Let’s just start looking around,” said Kelly. She tossed me an ear piece. “Stay in contact. Let’s take the first four floors and split up in to teams. Wes, you go with Lenny.”
“With all due respect, Kelly,” I began, “I’m going by myself. I work better alone.”
“You could do that. I could also go tell the doorman that you snuck in with us and have security escort you out of the building.”
I looked back and forth between her and Lenny. He was shaking his head and was just as upset about the situation as I was. I could have stood there and kept arguing with her but in the end that was only going to slow everyone down.
“Fine,” I said.
“Good,” Kelly sighed.
“This is bull,” Lenny complained.
“Drop it. We need to ‘distract’ security.”
Just then the lights shut off and all power was gone out of the building. For a second the backup generator came on but it immediately went off. The basement was completely dark now and none of us could see a thing.
“I don’t think we have to worry about security seeing us,” I said. “Also I’m not worried about you getting them to escort me out either.”
Whatever was in there had cut off the power and what was worse than that, they knew that we were there as well…