The Silenced
house, it slowed to a crawl.
    “They’re stopping,” one of Donovan’s men said.
    The car came to rest twenty feet from the house’s front door.
    “I’ve got movement inside the building,” another voice said. It had to be Dailey. He was the one set up across the street, monitoring the thermal readings coming from inside the house. “Subject is descending from second floor … holding at bottom of stairs … okay, moving again, toward the front door.”
    Just then the two back passenger doors of the sedan opened.
    “Subject has stopped again,” Dailey said.
    Must have heard his visitors , Quinn thought.
    “Okay, he’s moving to the window north of the door. Two bodies out of the car. Driver still inside.”
    “Everyone continue to hold,” Donovan instructed. “But be ready to move. If we have to, we take them all. Team four, you guys might have a little more work than planned.”
    Quinn keyed his mic on and off, creating an electronic click indicating he understood.
    Understood, yes. But he hoped to God that Donovan was wrong. The more people involved, the more chances things would go wrong, and getting caught with several bodies in a small town in Maine was kind of hard to talk your way out of.
    The two from the car gathered together near the front of the sedan.
    “Binoculars,” Quinn whispered.
    Nate pulled a set of binoculars out of his backpack and handed them to Quinn. By touch, Quinn flipped the night vision switch, then raised them to his eyes. As he peered through the lenses, he felt his phone vibrate once in his pocket. A text message. It would have to wait.
    He focused in on the car. As reported, the driver had remained behind the wheel. He was young, with short hair. And though Quinn couldn’t really see his face, he could tell the kid was annoyed. Probably doesn’t like being left out .
    Quinn moved his attention to the driver’s two friends. The man had broad shoulders and a hard face and looked to be in his late forties. Short for a guy, maybe five-six tops, but with the vibe of someone who could get things done.
    Quinn tried to get a look at the woman, but she was turned toward the house.
    He followed the duo as they approached the small porch. Then he got what he’d been waiting for. The woman began to turn, unknowingly offering her profile to him. Just as her face came into view, everything went bright white.
    Quinn pulled the binoculars from his eyes and blinked rapidly.
    “Dammit,” he said.
    He tried to look around, but all he could see was the afterimage of the flash.
    “Are you okay?” Nate asked.
    “Someone turned on a light,” Quinn said.
    “On the porch.”
    “I can’t see a goddamn thing.” He held the binoculars out in Nate’s direction. “See what’s going on.”
    The binoculars were good enough for most pedestrian uses, but as a professional tool they didn’t cut it. Quinn would have gone with a model that automatically adjusted as incoming light sources increased. This was what happened when someone else took care of your equipment needs.
    “The door’s still closed,” Nate said. “The two from the car are standing a few feet away, looking at it. The guy has his hand behind his back under his jacket.”
    “Hasn’t pulled anything yet, but I’m guessing he is.”
    Quinn continued to blink. “And they’re just standing there?”
    “Yeah,” Nate said. “Wait. The woman just took a step toward the door. Looks like she’s saying something.”
    The voice of one of Donovan’s men came over the radio again. “They’ve made contact.”
    “Continue holding,” Donovan said. “He may turn them away.”
    Quinn blinked again, then shut his eyes and concentrated on the split second he saw the woman’s profile before the flash.
    The moment he reopened his eyes, he keyed his mic. “Donovan. They’re not friendlies. The woman showed up at the last assignment I had for Wills. They also appear to be armed. I repeat, they’re armed.”


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