“I do not know how they, whoever they are, narrowed it down, but I made my observations known, given the buyers, it had to be some place with some form of parking garage where drones and cameras, not to mention average people would not see everyone entering. Two days before the hit I was notified the auction would be in an inner city shopping complex which had went belly up. It had an attached parking garage with a gerbil tube for pedestrian traffic. There were occasionally construction workers and Realtors visiting the structure so it still had both electricity and running water. There was no security left in the place, well, no cameras, only a few guards which I assumed would be working for whatever group was holding the auction.”
“I stashed a back pack with the weapon and bullets and entered the place with a camera.”
“To get evidence” she asked somewhat uncertain.
“As a cover story. Most people have seen Web sites and stories about abandoned shopping malls. People sneak in and take all kinds of eerie, sometimes haunting photos of these once grand gathering places.” I saw her nod in confirmation. “If I happened to stumble into legitimate security, that was my cover story. Even if they called the cops I was looking at paying a trespassing fine and maybe having my digital camera taken. I had only paid a hundred dollars for the thing so I didn’t care. I also didn’t run into security. Well, I saw them, they didn’t see me. I had little doubt my cover story would keep me alive if auction security.”
“An abandoned shopping center, especially a multi-story one is an eerie place in and of itself. They are never really quiet. There is always some kind of noise from somewhere, especially the birds which seem to find their way inside. At any rate I found the general area where the kids were being held and saw what must have been some of the premium buyers being taken back. It looked like the auction was going to be held on the upper level of an anchor store, one which had its own escalators and such. Personally I could not believe how many of the racks and shelves were still in the place. It was like the workers took all of the merchandise home one day. There was even still a cash register sitting on one of the counters. This place obviously hadn’t been completely closed down yet.”
“Forgive me, but how did you get in?” Melony queried.
“Honestly, once the location was known I was given keys. I don’t care how they got them. The keys were labeled and they worked. Could have been a Realtor, could have been a now unemployed guard. The alarm system had been disabled because of the construction workers. A site only gets so many free visits for alarm trips, then you have to start paying thousands of dollars for each false alarm. When you have construction workers going in and out, working on wiring, etc. it is just way cheaper to turn the alarm off and pay a few guards from a service to walk around. Obviously nobody thought enough about that cash register to try selling it on eBay. Anyone stupid enough to come in and try taking the wire out of the walls to sell the copper would learn the hard way it wasn’t disconnected.”
“So, I went back to get the rifle because I had a clear line of sight from the opposite anchor store. Well, standing on a counter top I did. There wasn’t even any glass in the way. I watched the negotiation for a while through the scope. One of the buyers took an item into a dressing room to ‘try it on.’ There were now only two guards up front with the negotiator. The rest of the kids had already been removed by the other guards. As long as they weren’t between myself and the exit, I didn’t really care.”