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Time just keeps moving, even when everything is still, it keeps passing. Long after Michael stopped crying, the clock on the wall kept ticking in the darkness, the clicks sounding almost as loud as the commotion outside. I kept holding Mike, sitting on a crate, soothing him ever time he sniffled. It's amazing how someone who is panicking can still comfort. After still more time, the words he said were even more frightening in his childish voice. "Rosie, are we going to be killed?" "No, Michael," I said. "We're both just kids. No one's going to shoot us." My voice quivered, though, thinking of the bullet Aunt Sophie took for me. No matter who it hit, it was aimed at me. If Mike had been a little older, he would have sensed that I didn't believe my own words. But, in the peace of being under 6 years old, he believed me. I could feel rather than see him smile, and he asked if we could go upstairs to get him some Animal Crackers. He was getting hungry. "Please?" he whined. "I didn't eat all my breakfast today." No way am I going to get shot over Animal Crackers, I thought. I explained to him that if he ate, he'd need to go potty, and if he did go up to the bathroom, we wouldn't be here when Mrs. Bachelor comes back for him. He saw what little logic there was behind that statement, forgot that Jocasta didn't know we were here, and began to doze off. I envied him. Sleep was one thing I could use right now. After several more minutes, during which I discovered sleep wouldn't come to me, I stood up slowly and slipped Michael off of my lap and onto the crate. He twitched a bit and didn't wake up. I felt around, looking for something to do. Idleness is even more frustrating when leaving the room could kill you. I found this old antique lamp, a favorite of Mom's that Dad had finally convinced her to pack away. It was a gas lamp, if you can believe it, so I slowly turned the knob and a dim orangish light filled the basement. Mike still slept, thank goodness. As I walked towards a box called "Rose memoirs" I stepped on a piece of paper and slipped. It was written on fancy monogrammed paper. I began to read it.
To Lieutenant Greene,
Congratulations! You have been accepted to the Vice Squad of Sunset Valley. Your duties as an undercover protector of our city will begin this Monday. You will receive a new uniform, be payed §147 by the hour, and receive a new set of teammates. Your performance as a Vice Squad member will depend on your physical strength, the way you interact with your partners, the quality and gravity of the reports you give, but now the quality of your work is more important in your day-to-day work. We hope you are up to the challenge.
You will work from 9:00 a.m to 14:00 p.m. every day of the week except for Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Your work includes keeping in touch with the Forensics department, conducting investigations, and numerous other things you will learn as you go along. Everyone on the force joins me in saying we know you will do well, and we hope to see you become an International Super Spy to help the world whenever it calls.
With my sincere congratulations,
Sargeant Walter Marrionson
I squinted at the date at the bottom of the page. Thirteen years ago. What level was this new Agent Greene in the force now? Had they "become an International Super Spy to help the world"? I moved to the left, to a crate marked "Career". I grabbed a hammer and pryed out the nails in it. After several minutes of hard work, I had it open.