It was a little hard to see in the bushes, but Marecia knew that if she moved she would be spotted. Adjusting the binoculars, she caught sight of someone in the window on the top floor. Actually, it was two someones. She couldn’t quite tell, but she thought maybe it was a man and a young girl. The overhead window ledge cast a shadow over their heads. She could see their hands perfectly, though. The man shook his finger at the girl, and she crossed her arms over her chest. He put one hand on his hip and continued to shake his finger. She spread her hands wide and leaned forward a little, and Marecia imagined she could see the girl yelling, holding the world between those hands. The man pulled her forward and embraced her, then walked away. The girl threw up her hands stalked off in the other direction.
“…when we hit the north wall. Then we should be okay to move in.” Christopher finished, making a flourish on his drawing in the dirt. “Okay, Marecia?”
Marecia aligned her features into a stern expression. “That sounds highly complicated,” she hedged, hoping none of them could tell that she hadn’t heard a word. “There’s got to be another way.”
“Well, we could always circle around the front and take out the security there…” as Christopher went off on another tangent, Marecia’s mind wandered back to the windows of the apartments. She simply couldn’t hide it anymore. She was no killer, and she never intended to be.
“There’s got to be another way…” she murmured.
“What was that?” Christopher asked, sounding annoyed.
Marecia tucked her binoculars away. “Remember when you burned those cupcakes in home ec that one time?”
Sighing heavily, Christopher faced her squarely. “Yes, Marecia, you’ve never let me forget. What of it?”
“You forgot them at the end of the class, and there was so much smoke no one knew what was going on. Remember how fast the entire school cleared out?”
“Yes, yes! The teacher yelled at me for an hour straight and made me apologize over the intercom. What is your point, Marecia?”
Taking his gun from him and laying it on the grass, Marecia smiled. “I think it’s time for another fire drill.”
“Max, are you in position?” Marecia asked, trying to keep the nerves out of her voice. She was excited that she had subverted the violent method, but a little terrified of what Immer would say if he could see her now. She could see him quietly flashing his angry eyes at her, softly asking what she was thinking, and didn’t she trust and respect him?
“Shut up, Immer, not everything has to be your way,” she muttered, and focused on her mission.
“Sander? Robbin?” They confirmed that they were in position. She wished she could see them herself, but there were no cameras where they hid. It hadn’t been hard to get into the apartment building and hack the security feed. Marecia was sure that few other people had their buildings under military-style lockdown like Immer did. Max, Sander and Robbin had simply said they were there to visit a Mr. McBride.
“Alright, Sander, you’re a go for the sparks.”
Walking casually down the hallway, Sander dragged a match across the rough wall and dropped it onto the carpet. Descending the stairs, he repeated this five more times on five different floors, dropping matches in garbage containers and magazine racks. Soon Marecia could see smoke pouring out of some of the windows. A couple seconds later, Sander pulled a couple of alarms and started yelling “Fire! Fire!”
Max waited in the shadows of the lobby, watching people run out in screaming, maddened droves. The smoke stayed in hot pursuit. When the last person stumbled out, Max waited another five minutes, and then reached for his radio. “Okay, Robbin. Time for the white-glove test.”
Robbin, on the top floor of the building, played with the controls of the detonator. “Sweeping the second floor.”
“Wait, wait! I’m on the second floor,” Christopher objected, racing for the stairs at the end of the hall. “Give me a minute, will you?”
“You better hope this works, Marecia,” Max snapped. “We could have been out of here and done dinner by now.”
“Stop whining,” Sander chided. “This is much more fun.”
“Okay, Robbin, you’re a go,” Christopher said as he reached the ground floor. Max stepped out of the archway and handed him a bomb.
They both pretended not to flinch as the floor above them shook and dust rained down around them. Max pulled Robbin behind the receptionist’s desk as a handful of security guards and custodians raced out the door.
“Second sweep,” Marecia instructed.