November 7th, 2008
Taking a deep breath to calm her jangled nerves, Emily whispered the word to release the wards and the gate swung open with a squeak that seemed loud to her ears. Wincing, she froze as her eyes darted toward the front door even though she knew no one was home to hear the gate.
She'd had this house under surveillance for almost three months, thanks to a couple cameras that she'd…um…borrowed from work. Late one night shortly after she'd stormed from the house, she had returned with the battery-operated cameras and attached them to some trees in the woods across the street from the house. One was focused on the front of the house as a whole while the other she focused on the front gate and door, although both had primitive artificial intelligence chips that allowed them to focus in and follow movement at their discretion.
Every night for the next two months, she had snuck back into the woods to change the cameras' batteries and to download the data from their hard drives onto her flash drive. Then she would head back to her apartment where she would spend hours upon hours going over footage that made her want to stab herself in the eye with a sharp stick because that would have been more entertaining. It seemed like the majority of the footage consisted of seeing how the house looked at different times of day and in various weather. There was not even much in the way of foot traffic to break up the monotony since the house was located on the edge of town.
However, she was able to establish Edmond's routine fairly quickly. Around the same time everyday, in the mid-afternoon, he would leave his house and return after an hour. She assumed he was going on a daily walk. Other than that, he never left the house. He had groceries delivered and collected the mail daily, but that was it. The man really was a recluse.
It wasn't until one night in the last week of the first month after she started her surveillance that she discovered a deviation in his regular routine. That deviation occurred again in the last week of the second month of surveillance. In both instances, he had left his house around eight o'clock and returned around midnight. The only things that differed were the days of the week.
It was now the last week into the third month of her surveillance. She had spent the last several nights hiding in the forest across the street waiting to see when he would leave on his rendezvous. Finally, tonight it had happened. He had left the house about half an hour ago and headed for the bus stop a block away.
And now she was wasting precious minutes frozen like a startled deer in front of the gate. But, then again, it wasn't as if she had ever broken into someone's house before. Even with all the prep work that had gone into this job, she still worried that Edmond would return at any minute despite the fact that in every other routine she had observed him perform he was as regular as clockwork. Nonetheless, she was only going to allow herself an hour of investigation. She wanted to be long gone before Edmond returned. So get moving, Emily! she thought to herself.