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[Fiction] When you care enough to send the very best [comp]

Lou Anne Burgess

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March 23, 2017

Boston, MA

“I can help the next person.” The open window at the line of postal employees was quickly filled by a young man with a box full of rather over stuffed envelopes.

The line inched forward. Lou Anne glanced at her watch glad that she didn’t have any place pressing to be. She looked again at the yellow postcard the mailman had left in the box. It still didn’t reveal the sender of the package that necessitated her trip. I’ll have to tell Wayne just how long this took to get. I wonder if it’s an accident or if he’s filled a huge box with newspaper to cushion something really small again. Behind her, a babe in arms started to wail, his mother shushed him ineffectually.

“Next person please.”

The line advanced over the next twenty minutes and Lou Anne finally stood before an older man that had been working much quicker than most of the other employees. She dutifully handed over the yellow postcard so they could retrieve her package from the back. He returned, numerous ‘this end up’ stamps and the green and white stripes of a registered delivery caught Lou Anne’s attention and surprised her. “Sign here please Doctor Burgess.” She signed. “And here.” Lou Anne looked at the form, and couldn’t figure out why she needed to sign a change of address form.

“Sir, uh..” She didn’t have to finish her question. She could see his color rising as he turned a deep pink.

“Uh, that’s all ma’am. Thank you.” He hurriedly pulled the form from her hand and ripped it into fourths before balling it up and disposing of it.

Somewhat stunned, Lou Anne took the package from the counter and started for the door. A little boy, running ahead of what appeared to be his father held the door for her as she exited towards her car. She smiled and thanked him. Walking through the lot, she looked closer at the package. It was from Captain Wayne Burgess in Colorado Springs. Getting ambitious in your old age aren’t you Wayne? She had just reached her car when she realized that the Sender’s address didn’t match Wayne’s. It was close, but it was wrong. The handwriting doesn’t match either.

Her blood ran cold as alarms went off in her head. The next moment, the package lifted telekinetically out of her hands and flew to the center of a grassy area next to the Post Office’s parking lot. Whipping her portable OpDevice out, she called the Boston Police Department. “Yes, this is Doctor Burgess, I have a suspicious package; yes; no, I don’t think so; yes. I’m at the Fort Point Post Office. No, the package is on the grass beside the lot. Okay, thank you.” She waited.

* * * * *

The bomb squad had been there about ten minutes. A police cordon had been put up which of course made people come over to look at what was going on. Another group of people were watching from across the canal with binoculars and cameras.

They had just finished a robotic examination of it for power sources, explosives and transceivers when someone behind her asked Lou Anne, “Do you think we’re the only ones here hoping it doesn’t go boom?” She turned and saw the EMTs had come up behind her to get a better, but safe view now that one of the men was advancing slowly towards the box.

“Probably. But it’s worse for me, it was my package. I’m Doctor Burgess.”

“Yeah, I recognized you from our NRT dossier. You’re a trauma Doc right?”

“Among other things, yes.” She turned her gaze back to the scene on the lawn. The squad member had reached the package and knelt down, he carefully opened the box. When the third flap was opened, a small, flanged metal tube-like object was visible, a viscous liquid sprayed in a wide circle for a few feet around the box. The bomb technician made his way to his feet as the liquid that had sprayed out quickly passed from inert through smoking and into a full blaze.

The flames covered the man from mid chest to mid shin and they appeared to be burning just as viciously on his vertical frame as those on the ground. The bomb squad technician flew back away from the circle of fire and closer to where Lou Anne and the EMTs were rushing from the crowd control line. Only seconds had passed. The box had burned away, the metal object it had contained looked to be melting or burning, but it was difficult to tell.

Other members of the squad had rushed towards the burning man and the medical team with fire extinguishers. The fire extinguishers did little more than spread the flames around. They worked frantically to get the hood off and the oxygen tank out of danger from the flames. By the time the pulled him from the bulky protective suit, (on his side so that the flames which continued to burn would hopefully not fall through the suit onto his skin) his ice jacket and upper thighs were burning.

The police were busy keeping the crowd calm and trying to provide a shield around the rescuers to protect the privacy of the medical team and their patient. Other members of the bomb squad were working to control the blaze and keep it from spreading. A tense fifteen minutes later the bomb squad technician was loaded into the ambulance and on the way to the hospital.

* * * * *

St. Petersburg, Florida

The six o’clock news reported that Officer Jim DeFeo was hospitalized in serious, but stable condition. The Emergency Medical Team was credited with saving his life. The remote control went sailing through the screen shattering both in the process. Carla looked around the room. Everything of value had been removed and only the furniture remained. Except for the chair she sat in, all of it was soaked with gasoline.

She picked up the cordless phone and dialed. “Hello?”

Carla smiled. “Hi sis. How’d you like my present?”

“Carla, this has to stop. You need help. Turn –“

“You’re right Lou Anne. I’ll tell you what. You kill that whore Rachel and fuck a football team and I’ll think about turning myself in. Hey! Maybe we can be cell mates. I’ll keep an eye on the news.”

The flame leapt out of her body as she pressed the end key. The fumes in the room ignited blowing out the windows. The sick little whore probably didn’t realize how expensive that was, custom stuff like that took money. I’m almost broke now, but damn! That was worth it. Too bad that policeman with a proper family was hurt and not her. Still, points to me for sending a really nice present. They’ll talk about that one for years. A smug and satisfied smile played on her face for perhaps a minute. Then she heard the fire sirens approaching.

She teleported from the house.

The hungry flames claimed the recliner moments after she left.

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