The number of cars in the area had diminished. There were a few people dead inside but the building was clear aside from the stragglers. Where was Talia? The balding woman should be recovering the remaining drugs. She fished her phone from her pocket. No message from Annice. Was everything okay? Who did White Rabbit kill? Who was he behind the mask?
Khailani confirmed the time on the phone. 3:07. At 3:12 she’ll phone Annice and get updated on the situation. If no response, she’ll pack it up and meet her at her home.
She had been wrong. The one guarding the entrance wasn’t him. So, were all the pranks and warnings coming from this gang after all?
3:08. How did the real White Rabbit find her in this building? Maybe it was a coincidence they were both after her?
Khailani’s stomach dropped. She was no one special. A discharge from the military. Paid her time for drug trafficking. A little lost on her path of life, but she wasn’t some secret rich person or a monster in disguise…Her parents were still living. Her sister and brother had relatively stable lives. So why her?
Still 3:08…Peering through the scope, she spotted White Rabbit at the factory’s entrance. He sighted her. Even with him knowing her position, Khailani fired.
Of course, it missed him.
Snatching up her phone and gear, she abandoned her spot. What was his goal? Who was he working for? He called himself a hitman, so who was his target? Her phone vibrated. She noticed a message from Annice.
“We’ve been had. Talia dead.”
Khailani texted back, “R u ok? Saw white rabbit. In building.”
She leaned against the guardrail and dropped her things. 3:09. Now 3:10. She crouched and held the phone to her forehead.
Talia? Dead? She was acting strange lately, but she wasn’t reckless. Khailani recalled her sudden urge to touch the head nailed to Annice’s door. Maybe she did lose her sensibilities?
Khailani checked her phone. 3:10. She should call…
“Shit,” she whispered, grabbing her things and continuing down the building. Once she reached the ground floor 3:14 flashed on her phone. No new messages from Annice.
“I’m surprised you shot at me,” White Rabbit answered.
She hung up.
She dialed Ritsa. As the phone rang, she disassembled the rifle and grabbed the pistol. Checking the ammunition, she snapped the cartridge back into the gun.
“Hi, this is Ritsa,” she hummed.
“Ritsa! Thank God. It’s me Khailani!”
“Khailani? I thought you’re with Annice. Is she okay?”
“I don’t know. Oh Ritsa, I don’t know. I tried calling her phone but White Rabbit answered. I was hoping she found a public phone and called you.”
“Shit. I tried to tell her this was a bad idea. Four is four too few. I’m calling the police.”
“I’d rather know that my wife is alive and have her arrested versus dead and her body on a pike in some warehouse, Khailani.”
“Give me five minutes. I’ll confirm myself. Don’t call them.”
“Five minutes Khailani, and I’m calling them.”
They ended the call. Khailani called Annice’s phone again.
“I was unsure if I should call you back or not,” White Rabbit answered. There was a gunshot in the background and Khailani’s eyes widened.
“What did you do to Annice?”
“She’s fine. I did nothing to her. She wasn’t on the hit list.”
“Where is she?”
“How should I know? She drove off somewhere. Didn’t you guys have some rendezvous point?”
“Yeah, she’s supposed to pick me…up. Annice!”
“Don’t forget you’re dropping your vigilante’s hijinks.” He hung up.
The two embraced.
“Khailani. My god. Are you okay?”
“Me? I was worried about you! I got a text saying Talia was dead and then White Rabbit answered your phone!”
“It was crazy. The gang leader was sniped, and we both thought it was you. Then there was another shot too close to the phone, and I lost contact with her.”
“Here. Talk to Ritsa. She was about to call the police.”
“Shit. Ritsa baby? Yes, it’s me. I’m shaken up, but I’m fine. Yeah, I’m with Khailani. I’m fine. I’m fine. I love you too. I’ll tell you about it when I get home. We’re leaving the scene now. Bye baby. Love you too.”
Annice dramatically ended the call. Handing the phone to Khailani, she said, “Come. Let’s drop off this truck.”
“I didn’t shoot Talia,” Khailani said.
“Yes. White Rabbit told me Talia was responsible for killing our own girls. There was no attack from an enemy. She also supposedly had a hand in killing the man last night.”
“I don’t know yet. I suppose the police will solve that one for us if they can.”
“We have to tell Dean.”
“Tell him to go home. He’ll understand that this mission was a bust. I’ll break the news to him and the others together.”
The two drove in silence for a few moments.
Khailani dragged her finger across her gun bag. “This will be my final heist.”
Annice said nothing, so she continued, “White Rabbit didn’t tell me if he was the one who issued those threats, but he assured me that he’d come after me if I continued…I think you should disband the KVG…I don’t want you ending up like Talia.”
“I’ve…considered it. I knew our luck would run out eventually. Just didn’t think it would vaporize so quickly.
“White Rabbit gave me a card.” Annice handed her a business card with a telephone number on one side and the initials IBC on the backside. “He told me to give them a call. There’d be a benefactor willing to help out everyone in the KVG while taking care of the drug hustlers on our streets.”
“Sounds too good to be true especially if White Rabbit gave it to you.”
“Honestly, I’m tempted to hand it over to the police. Let them swab for prints and arrest the bastard, but maybe that’s the trap.”
“Heh,” Khailani leaned into her seat. “Are we cursed to live in never-ending fear?”
“No. Even if White Rabbit is a monster, I think he genuinely wished for us to live crime free lives, and I think calling that number will be the first step. You may no longer affiliate with the KVG, but I’ll make sure friends are taken care of, KVG or not.”
Khailani handed the card back. “Just be careful Annice. Please be careful.”
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