The vibrations of his mobile phone on the bedside table woke him up. Crow Martins, a detective working with the Investigative Intelligence Agency (IIA), glanced at the alarm clock on the table - 2.15 am. Then he remembered he was off duty for the day. He sat up. A look at his phone revealed it was an encrypted call, certainly from the IIA office.
"New evidence just came in. A partial print."
Straight to the point, no small talk. His partner, Aria Wilson is a pragmatic and intelligent woman. She took her job seriously and that's why he's enjoyed working with her for the past four years. In the beginning, she had a crush on him but respected that he was married.
They had been pursuing a serial killer, with code name Mant-ha for three years but he kept eluding them. Sneaky bastard. For every murder, he left behind the murder weapon with his name on it. Such arrogance!
The most recent case was the clean murder of the CEO of Flashpoint Tech Corporation. The IIA had received intel that the fifty-two-year-old man's life was in danger due to his company's merger. Before Crow and his team could get to the building, the middle-aged man had slumped on his desk. Heart attack.
Clean kill. The syringe left on the desk had no print, no trace to the killer. The autopsy report came back clean, with no sign or residue of any drug used. It was almost like a normal heart attack except for Mant-ha taped to the syringe. The killer was taunting them.
"How?" Crow asked.
"At Senator Cooper's house about an hour ago. Didn't want to wake you till I was sure."
Crow rubbed his temple. He'd barely gotten two hours of sleep after working the past two days straight. "And the senator?"
"Stroke. He's in a coma."
As the leader of his team, Crow knew the Mayor would not let him rest till the case was solved. "We have to piece all the evidence together. I feel the answer is in there somewhere but we keep missing it. I'll come in soon. Give me some minutes…", he replied.
"Whoa. Hold up, superman. It's your day off. Let me do this. Spend time with Sammy or she's going to be pissed. We can figure this out in the morning. "
"Very sure." Click. Crow sighed and looked beside him. Sammy, his wife must have gotten up when he fell asleep. She had never complained about the hours he put into work in all the two years they had been married.
She kept herself busy with odd jobs, from an office cleaner to a nanny to a masseur and whatnot. She did not have a steady career, though he had tried to persuade her not to worry about money as his income was enough to make them both comfortable. Her response was she would go crazy without something to do.
Crow put on a t-shirt and a boxer and stepped out of the bedroom. His three-bedroom apartment was quiet and dark. Crow stepped lightly into the living room. Empty. Where could Sammy be? He checked the study and found it empty. He moved to the garage. Her Audi R8 coupe was parked beside his Audi S3.
Crow turned to walk back into the house when a light peeked from the wall, indicating there was a door behind it. He tapped the wall, then pushed it and it gave way to a hidden closet space he was unaware of. He could not believe his eyes. Spread out on a small table were medical supplies, drugs and syringes with the name that had taunted him for years - Mant-ha.
Pinned to the wall was a big map of the state. Some locations were circled with red markers, one of which is the Mayor's residence. Besides the red circle was the word "nxt trgt". Crow froze in the closet. Next target? What are all these?
Crow felt like he'd been punched in the stomach, and air forced out of his lungs. This is a nightmare. Then he heard a sound behind him and turned. Sammy, dressed in a black and white maid's outfit, pointed a Glock 19 at him. He could see the safety was off. Dread and fear took over as adrenaline pumped through his veins.
Crow Martins felt like a mental cobweb was just dusted off his brain. The puzzles fell into place. The murders, the odd jobs, the fact she was always a step ahead of the IIA, Mant-ha coined from her full name Samantha…
"Here," Sammy pulled out metal handcuffs from her pocket. "Sit and cuff your hand to the chair". She raised the gun to his heart area.
Crow was speechless as he stared at her. The reality that he'd been living with a stranger for the past two years hit him like the water from a cold shower. Sammy raised an eyebrow. "Make it fast, darling. I don't have all night. And don't doubt me, I will use this gun." Her beautiful, mahogany-coloured eyes hardened.
"Why?" He whispered as he cuffed one of his hands to the chair. Sammy stepped back towards the doorway, her gun still pointed at Crow. She looked at him, her expression sad for like a second before she quickly masked it.
"It's just a mission," Sammy said quietly. She turned, walked out and shut the closet door. Samantha Martins left the house with just her handbag without looking back.
I hope you enjoyed reading this short story. It is based on The Ink Well Fiction Prompt #6: 50 Story Ideas - A man discovers his wife is a killer-for-hire.