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 A Prophecy of Shadows


Chapter 9

Callie had sat in the bushes for most of the day Sunday since she was almost certain they’d be returning soon—neither one of them were the sort to miss work for any reason. The first niggling of doubt was starting to settle in as evening approached, but just as she was about to give up and leave, she heard a car coming down the street. Sure enough, it was Jessie’s Lexus. Grabbing her camera, she maneuvered around until she had a clear shot of the driveway. Even though she had the items she needed for the rituals, she really, really wanted the picture of them together. It would be the icing on the cake for reinforcing the spell. Seeing them get out of the car, she held her breath as she brought the camera up, focusing the lens. Watched them meet at the trunk, Cam getting the luggage out. ‘C’mon,’ she thought, almost afraid to blink. ‘Just move a little to the side.’ Suddenly, it happened. He set the suitcase down, Jessie stepped around it and they embraced, laughing, kissing, pulling back just enough that they were facing each other.

*Click* *Click* *Click* Callie pressed the shutter button repeatedly, stopping momentarily to zoom in a little more. *Click* *Click* ‘Yes! It’s about freaking time!’ Her entire body relaxed as the realization hit her—she finally had exactly what she needed. She spared them only a passing glance as they disappeared inside the house, turning off the camera so she could slide it into its case. Making sure no one else was around, she emerged from the bushes and came down the backside of the hill, around the corner to where her car was parked. Sliding into the drivers seat, she let out a sigh, smiling to herself. ‘Finally,’ she thought as she shifted the car into gear, heading back home.




"I still can’t believe how sneaky you were, arranging all that with my parents beforehand." Jessie set her purse down on the table as Cam carried the luggage into the bedroom.

"You ought to know by now, I’m very thorough when I make plans" he said with a laugh.

Heading into the kitchen, Jessie flipped the switch on the coffee maker. "I’m just glad we don’t have to go into work until Tuesday. It always takes me a day to recuperate." Opening the cabinet door, she called out, "You want some coffee?"

"Sure. You think we ought to give Bertie a call, let her know we’re back?" he asked as he joined her.

"She’s probably already see the car in the driveway, but I’ll give her a shout in a minute." Jessie headed for the patio door. "I need to check on the gar…" Her voice faded as she froze in front of the door.

"Jessie? What’s wrong?" Cam was by her side in an instant.

"The door…I know I locked it before we left, because I double-checked it."

Cam pulled out the small Glock he carried when he realized the door was unlocked. Going silently room to room, they quickly assured themselves that whoever had been there was gone. "You notice anything missing?"

Jessie went through the house, taking inventory, her frown deepening as she went. "TV’s here, DVD player, computer, printer." Going into the bedroom, she rummaged through her jewelry box. "Nothing taken out of here." Walking into the bathroom, she flipped the light switch on and did a quick run through of the medicine cabinet. Took out the half empty bottle of Vicodin Janet had prescribed her when she had been recuperating. "Well, they weren’t looking for drugs, because surely they would have snagged these." She stopped once again as she closed the medicine cabinet, her attention focused on the countertop next to the sink.

"What?" Cam asked, seeing her puzzled expression.

"Who in the hell would want my brush?"




They were already halfway to Cam’s apartment by the time Jessie finished talking to Sam.

"So?" he asked as she flipped her cell phone closed.

"She said Anderson from Security used to work as a crime scene DI, so she’s going to grab him and see if he can lift any prints from the door."

"That’s all fine and good, but you’re not staying there until we get a security system installed."


"Forget it, Jessie. You can call me overprotective, but I’m not going to risk having some psychotic asshole showing up with you there alone."

Going by the mutinous set of his jaw, Jessie knew there was going to be no arguing with him. Still, she was a little irked. Had every intention of telling him so, too, but the farthest she got was opening her mouth.

"I know you can protect yourself, Jessie. Your training is above reproach; that’s not the issue. Just…just humor me, okay?"

She sat back in a huff. "Fine." Truth be told, she was at odds with herself at the moment. Having been on her own for a number of years, she was more than capable of taking care of herself, and that part was bristling at being told what to do. However, she could empathize with Cam’s point of view, too. He wanted to protect her, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. It was just going to take some getting used to.

The last few minutes were spent in silence, but Cam wasn’t too concerned. He knew if he gave her enough time, Jessie would see things his way. He just had to let that analytical mind of hers work it through.

Each of them was lost in their own thoughts, walking down the hallway to his apartment. Coming up to the door, though, Cam was brought up short by Jessie’s hand on his arm, her gaze fixated on his door.

"It’s not locked," she said quietly.


"Look where the door meets the jamb. You have to push or pull on your door to get it locked…when it is locked, there isn’t a gap."

Sure enough, there was a slight gap—the door wasn’t locked. Things had just gotten a little more complicated. "Call Sam," he said, eyeing the door. "Tell her it wasn’t a random break-in."




Despite Anderson’s best efforts, he hadn’t been able to get any distinguishable prints from Jessie’s place or Cam’s. The only thing Jessie could find missing was the extra brush she kept in the bathroom. Cam was just as perplexed when the only thing he could find missing was his pillow. Despite the odd items taken, the one thing they knew for sure was that it wasn’t an indiscriminate event. With that in mind, everyone was in agreement some type of surveillance was in order. And that’s where Sam and her expertise came in handy.

"Okay, everything is set up." Sitting in Jessie’s living room, Sam opened up her laptop and keyed in a few commands. "I have cameras angled on the driveway, front porch, back of the house, as well as both side yards. The one I have mounted in the window will have views of both the front door as well as the window itself." She pulled up each camera view for them to see on the screen.

Cam leaned down to take a closer look "The pic looks good, but how well does it do picking up facial features?"

"One way to find out," Jack said. Opening the front door he went outside, walked down to his truck he had parked in the front of the house, then returned a few seconds later.

"Pretty impressive." Cam said. "What about at night?"

"The cameras are low lux CCD…I can get a good image in near darkness, but with the ambient light from the porch light and the lights at street level, the images will be even better. If need be, I can go infrared, but I think this should do it."

Jessie stepped out onto the porch and looked at the window. "I can’t believe you’re getting such a good picture from that tiny lens. I wouldn’t even know the camera was there if I hadn’t seen you install it myself." She came back inside and shut the door. "Can you take it from the top again how this all works?"

"Okay, the cameras are positioned and running 24/7. I’ve got a wireless router hooked up, which is password protected, and the cameras transmit their signal to the router. Now, connected to the router on one of the five ports is the computer that’s running the whole setup, using Zoneminder and Linux. We can access the cameras to see what’s going on real time from any computer."

Jessie looked at the images on the multi-split screen. "Is the feed being recorded, and if it is, how much can be stored before it runs out of room?"

"I set up motion sensors; when one is activated, that’s when actual recording begins from all the cameras, although live images can be viewed at any time. That way we have footage to pull if someone or something comes within the perimeter. And, running out of room is not an issue."

Cam gestured towards Sam’s laptop. "You said we can access this from any computer…can someone else besides us run across it?"

Sam shook her head. "Each camera has a private IP address, and I also have a user name and password set up in order to access the system. We can pull up the split screen and see several feeds at once, or pull up each camera individually. Plus, I can program Zoneminder to send a message if the motion sensor is activated, so we’re notified immediately and can access the cameras remotely."

"What about Cam’s place?" Jessie asked.

"I’ve done the same thing there—wireless router, computer running on Linux with Zoneminder, and the cameras. Although with him living in an apartment, I only set up three cameras." Sam typed in the private IP along with the required security code, and three separate feeds appeared on her screen. "I’ve covered the front door and part of the living room with one camera, and the balcony and the bedroom window with the other two. There are only three possible entrances to his apartment, but one would have to be pretty damned determined to get in to climb up to the balcony or window. If someone comes snooping around, the cameras will pick it up."

Jessie tugged nervously at her lip with her teeth, the views from the cameras driving home the point that they had a serious problem on their hands. "Sam, I can’t thank you enough for going through all the trouble to set this up."

"This was nothing. The hardest part was trying to decide where to place the cameras. Piece of cake, girlfriend."

Jack fished his keys out of his pocket. "Speaking of cake, since we’ve got everything wrapped up here, let’s head on over to Bambino’s. We can get a Mama Mia Special, some cold Heinekens…"

"…and they’ll have the hockey game on." Sam finished for him as she shut down her laptop.

"Hey, that’s just icing on the cake," Jack replied, grinning. "Come on, I’m buying."

Jessie was the last one out of the house, glancing at the camera as she locked the door. The computer inside the house made a slight whirring sound as the motion sensor activated, and the program automatically began recording the footage.

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