Out in the Rain

      Talia picked her way through the shattered revolving door.  Singed bills fluttered in the pre-storm breeze as she ducked beneath police tape and took in the scene. 

     The bomb had taken out the vault door and blown half the back wall away. 

     It was impressive work. 

     She weaved between uniforms until she spotted Detective Summers kneeling next to one of the still-smoking bodies. 

     Summers looked up from the corpse and their eyes met. 

     Talia could read Summers’ slightest reactions–one of her implants translated microexpressions.  Surprise, followed by hurt, then relief flashed across Summers face.    

     The relief was a surprise. 

     Things must be bad. 

     Summers stood and walked over.  "What are you doing here?" 

     No smile, no secret welcome wink.  And her voice sent a spike of longing through her heart.  Talia was glad that Summers didn’t go for implants.  She crossed her arms.  "I heard the explosion.  Thought maybe I could help." 

     Summers shrugged.  "Bank job gone bad.  Not your normal gig." 

     Talia’s normal gig was cheating spouses.  But she’d helped out on dozens of cases.  Before. 

     Summers’ cell phone buzzed, and she pulled it out of her pocket.  "I should take this." 

     Talia’s phone was wired into her skull.  So was her signal interceptor. 

     She hesitated for a second, then hacked into Summers’ feed.  It was simple.  She’d told Summers to update her hardware a million times. 

     "But we’ve had these tickets for weeks!"

     An unfamiliar female voice.  Unwelcome jealousy curled in Talia’s belly. 

     "I warned you about making plans."  Summers was using her placating tone.  Soft.  Loving.  Wrenchingly familiar. 

     She’d moved on. 

     Which, Talia reminded herself, was what she wanted.  She tuned the call out, downloaded the surveillance video, and turned back to the crime scene.  She scanned for things that unaugmented eyes might miss.  She scanned the blast pattern, the floating bills, the mop abandoned in a spreading pool of tepid water. 

     The pieces fell into place. 

     After a few minutes, Summers wandered back over.  "See anything?" 

     Talia shrugged.  "Seems simple enough."  

     "My boys think they were set to blow the safe, got suspicious of each other, started shooting, and lost track of time." 

     Talia arched an eyebrow.  "Do you buy that?" 

     "No.  And neither do you.  No one just forgot about a bomb.  And the surveillance feeds cut out too conveniently." 

     A year ago, Summers would have needed Talia to tell her that. 

     "What’s your theory, then?" Talia asked. 

     Summers shrugged.  "Don’t have one yet." 

     "You’ll get there," Talia said.  She walked out of the bank. 

     Summers didn’t call her back.

     It started to rain. 


     She stood on a bridge, her face bare to the thunderstorm.  The swollen, gray river rolled on under her feet. 

     She didn’t know why she’d gone to the bank in the first place.  She’d called things off.  She didn’t want to be tied down.  Didn’t want to be needed. 

     She didn’t know what she wanted. 

     Summers approached, wrapped in a sensible coat and clutching a bright red umbrella. 

     She stood shoulder to shoulder with Talia.  Rain drummed on the umbrella. 

     Talia missed the rain on her face, but the feel of Summers shoulder against hers was worth it. 

     "Tell me what happened," Summers said. 

     "You’ll figure it out.  Maybe you have already." 

     Summers’ shoulder shifted in a shrug.  "Maybe.  Tell me anyway." 

     "Your corpses didn’t know about the bomb.  Someone else planted it.  It was in the wall.  Buried deep.  Whoever planted that bomb–that’s who cut the vid feeds, tricked the robbers into turning on each other, and took your missing money." 

     "How did you know about the money?"

     It was Talia’s turn to shrug.  "You’re looking for the janitor.  Used to work nights, got promoted to dayshift.  Got the money out in a bucket." 

     They stood together for a while, listening to the rain. 

     "It’s not serious," Summers said. 

     "I don’t know what you’re talking about." 

     Summers laughed.  "Why do you think I keep that old phone?" 

     "You knew I’d listen." 

     "I hoped." 

     Talia’s heart ached.  "You’re better off without me." 


     Rain fell.  Cars hissed by. 

     "Maybe someday I’ll get tired of waiting for you."  Summers pulled a second umbrella out of her pocked and pressed the first into Talia’s hand.  "Or maybe someday you’ll have enough sense to come in out of the rain." 

     Summers walked away.

     Talia stayed and watched the river rolling by. 



About Jamie

Jamie Lackey lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and their cats. She has over 160 short fiction credits, and has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Escape Pod. She has a novella and two short story collections available from Air and Nothingness Press. In addition to writing, she spends her time reading, playing tabletop RPGs, baking, and hiking. You can find her online at www.jamielackey.com.

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