Mistress Of Justice Excerpt

The drapery man had been warned that even though it was now well after midnight, Sunday morning of the Thanksgiving holiday, there would very likely be people in the firm here, attorneys and paralegals, still working.

And so he carried the weapon at his side, pointed downward.

It was a curious thing — not a knife exactly, more of an ice pick, but longer and made of a blackened, tempered metal.

He held it with the confidence of someone who was very familiar with the device. And who had used it before.

Dressed in the gray coveralls bearing the stencil of a bogus drapery cleaning service, the big, sandy-haired man in a baseball cap now paused and, hearing footsteps, stepped into an empty office. Then there was silence. And he continued on, through shadows, pausing for long moment, frozen like a fox near a ground nest of skittish birds.

He consulted the diagram of the firm, turned down one corridor and continued, gripping the handle of the weapon tightly in his hand, which was as muscular as the rest of his body.

As he neared the office he sought, he reached up and pulled a paper face mask over his mouth. This was not so that he wouldn’t be recognized but because he was concerned that he might lose a fleck of spit that could be retrieved as evidence and used in a DNA match.

The office, which belonged to Mitchell Reece, was at the end of the corridor, not far from the front door of the firm. Like all the offices in the firm, the lights were left on, which meant he wasn’t sure that it was unoccupied.

But he glanced in quickly, saw that the space was empty and stepped inside.

The office was very cluttered. Books, files, charts, thousands of sheets of papers. Still, the man found the filing cabinet easily — there was only one here with two locks on it — and crouched, pulling on tight latex gloves and extracting his tool kit from his coverall pockets.

The drapery man set the weapon near to hand and began to work on the locks.

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