Life Outside My Cube

My life, a work in progress.

The Yellow Light of Dawn

Fourteen minutes into the mission, and things were looking pretty good for Ranie Scott, considering. He was squatting with his back to a brick wall, just inside the compound, waiting for his breath to come back. Not moments before he’d had to silently – he hoped – climb the 12-foot chain link fence topped with new barbed wire, not before having to disable the electric current running through the fence from the control box just inside the one rear gate. The electric fence was a major oversight by Lance Beach, the spotter on this job, and one that would have stopped him, if not fatally, at the outset. He’d have words with Beach in the morning.

The small spark of a damp weed against the fence had alerted him to the fact that the fence was wired. He was fortunate that tonight’s lightning storm provided cover, both auditory and visual, for the disabling of the high-voltage charging system with his silenced HK45. The rain didn’t dissuade him from his task; in fact, the mission had been on hold, waiting for just such a night, as it considerably helped by increasing the night’s background noise to a more comfortable level for maneuvers. On a still night, the rattle of a chain link fence or the metallic ting of snipped barbed wire fence could echo dangerously. He’d seen no movement in any of the lighted windows of the main house, nor seen or heard the guard dog who was loose somewhere. At least Beach had alerted him to that.

The rain would keep the dog under cover. It would also keep common burglars at home, so the lone security guard inside would probably be less vigilant. Scott’s senses, however, were tightly tuned, not distracted by the rain, thunder or occasional lightning that had assisted him just prior to his fence climb. He stood, sheltered for the moment by the garage roof overhang under which he’d squatted, and made out the corner of the machine shed that blocked the doghouse from view. He padded quietly to the far corner across the cement drive, hugged the shed wall, and pulled a ziploc bag from his thin backpack. Opening it, he pulled the cord lashed around the thick ham bone, and winding back, swung it around the corner toward the doghouse.

Quickly sprinting back to the other side of the machine shed, he silently jumped up on the outside pallet rack that held myriad tires, scrap parts and used 55 gallon drums. He crouched for several minutes to give the dog time to settle in with the bone, then stretched himself down and quickly walked toward the east wing of the manor house. Only three windows were lit – a second floor pair covered by sheer curtains and a first floor frosted window that glowed somewhat blue. The former he knew belonged to the master bedroom, the latter the small security room. Beach had determined that the lone guard, a 56-year old retired security van driver, spent most of his time on duty browsing the internet. An alarm system, but no cameras, was his only monitor of outside conditions.

Undoubtedly the guard had by now noticed that the electric fence wasn’t functional, but Scott guessed he was too comfortable inside on a night like this to bother coming outside to check on it. He’d probably connected the charging system failure with the fortuitous lightning strike, an assumption he’d come to regret by morning. The owners of the house probably had complete faith in their security arrangements,   an assumption they’d come to regret by morning too. The dog had probably assumed that meaty bones just naturally dropped out of the sky, an assumption that would never be corrected. Scott, Beach, Woodsey and the new kid Spatz had diligently thought through all these assumptions, and would be counting their cash in another state by the morning.

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