Lila trudged her way up the stairs toward her front door where she nudged aside the usual conglomeration of fliers and other useless items thrown onto the doormat. Reaching into her large handbag, she scrabbled around finding nothing but a bunch of old wrappers, receipts and packets of instant coffee mix.
Rolling her eyes and muttering epithets under her breath, she glanced around to see if anyone was watching before reaching up to run her hand along the piping that ran next to the door and up to the roof. She pulled loose a magnetic key holder from behind it, quickly removed the key, and unlocked the door, hurriedly replacing the holder to its former position.
Sighing, she pushed open the door, and deftly sidestepped her cat Pearson, who as usual was waiting at the door to greet her. Lila dropped the mail she had tucked into her elbow onto the table and plopped down into a chair. Pearson stared fixedly at her lap, waiting patiently for her to notice. She leaned back to make a place for him, and he leaped up to walk in a circle, kneading and purring before settling onto her lap.
One of the letters on the table caught Lila’s eye. It had her name written in wide black letters in black marker, with Ian’s name scrawled underneath in blue ink. Hesitantly Lila reached for the letter, examining it carefully before ripping the flap open with the tip of her finger.
She drew out a piece of paper with a series of numbers printed on it. On the left side of the paper was the column title “Expenses,” while on the right appeared the word “Contractor.”
The figures were astounding; it was more money than she would see in her lifetime she was sure. Some of the names looked familiar to her – she had worked on projects for a couple of the organizations. As she scanned the list, she noticed a phrase written with a bold flourish at the bottom of the paper:
She wrinkled her forehead confusedly. What did that mean?
Pulling off the top sheet of paper, she found a printout of a news article beneath. The main gist of which was that a minor contracting firm had gone out of business due to putting all its money in a project to develop small drones for deployment in hostile environments to gain atmospherics before troops or civilian groups moved into the area.
Apparently there had been a fatal accident with one of the drones exploding directly over the seat of a senior official during a product demonstration. Lila pulled out her Smartphone and keyed in the official’s name. Immediately she pulled up a list of conspiracy theory sites from which she randomly selected an entry.
A few minutes later, Lila gazed into the distance and scribbled a name beneath the phrase: