The dark city revealed itself in flashes of light, street lamps strobing through the police cruiser’s windows. The old brick buildings appeared peaceful, but my stomach roiled and my fists clenched.
This was it. Two intense years of criminal justice, seven grueling months of academy training, and another ten weeks of field training all led up to this chilly March night.
My first night as a cop.
“Looks quiet,” I said hopefully to my partner, Norris Don’t-Call-Me-Chuck Jones, aka Jonesy.
“Looks,” Jonesy said. “Be alert.”
“Copy that.” Somehow I clipped it like Joe Friday. I forced myself to relax. “I hope it stays quiet, though.”
Jonesy grunted in response. He was the epitome of grizzled cop, a twenty-five year veteran who’d driven the streets of Redfox Village longer than I’d been alive. He was deft with a gun and I couldn’t be in better hands.
So I forced myself to unclench my fists. Surely I wouldn’t blow it on my first night?
Problem was, my last name was Ruffles. While good fairies listen to other families, Ruffleses have a direct line to Imp Central.
Jonesy cornered onto Grant, anchored by the solid Redfox Village library and substantial StoneGiant Bank. I bit my lips as I scanned the shops marching resolutely up the street in orderly rows. I was overreacting. What could possibly disturb the tranquility of this law-abiding Chicago suburb?
Sure enough, that was when I saw the flash of movement ahead.
“Something’s wrong.” I saw it again, out Jonesy’s window.