Genevieve chewed on her bottom lip absentmindedly. She stood outside Amber's residence with anticipation, and her hand reached out to ring the bell.
It was her lunch break in a way, and Genevieve had utilized the free period of time to uphold her promise and visit a colleague. She glanced down at her pistol which led her to wonder if it was appropriate to bring it along. After all, she's presumably meeting a sick friend, not a threat.
The sound of a key twisting in a doorknob grabbed her attention, and she looked up just in time to see Amber crack the door open. Recognition flashed across her features as she stepped aside to let Genevieve enter.
"You shouldn't have bothered, love." Amber mumbled slowly, and her gaze managed to sweep all over her appearance before it stopped at the firearm tucked in her waistband. Genevieve's police uniform clearly gave away the fact that she was coming from work, which showed how she was making an effort to visit her.
A confused look formed on Genevieve's countenance after she saw and heard Amber, but she directed her gaze elsewhere to hide the expression. It seemed as though Amber had pulled an all nighter of some sorts. As for her voice, it sounded more like a slur of tiredness than one of an intoxication.
"Hey, that's what friends are for."
She strolled further into the house and approached the living area, before settling down onto a couch. Amber followed suit and sat opposite to her after she lazily straightened out her nightgown.
The first thing Genevieve noticed was the eye bags hanging from under Amber's orbs. She didn't look sick. Rather, it seemed as though she couldn't get a lick of sleep last night. Her tone of exhaustion only pushed this narrative further.
"Is everything okay?" Genevieve began carefully, and her eyes still scanned Amber's fatigued body language. She just shrugged in response.
"Not really. I got the news yesterday that momma passed away, so I couldn't really sleep." She muttered, and Genevieve didn't miss the way she averted her gaze. Nonetheless, a sympathetic expression took over Genevieve's face, and she leaned forward to rest a hand on top of Amber's in consolation.
"My condolences to you, Amber." She stated softly, and her eyebrows knitted together in a look of concern. Amber redirected her line of sight back to the kind officer at the reassurance.
"Let me know if you ever need anything."
She stared at Genevieve intently, almost as if she was trying to communicate with her through the eyes. That went on for a moment or two and when she realized that the officer might become skeptical, she snapped out of it and looked somewhere else.
"How are things back at the station? I heard a robbery took place, and I'm so sorry I wasn't there for surveillance. It's just that I couldn't focus because of-"
Amber's rambling cut off when she was deliberately interrupted, and she looked back at Genevieve to see a gentle smile on her lips.
"I understand, it's okay. Relax."
Despite Genevieve's calm exterior, her mind was starting to combust. The first red flag was Amber's tone and demeanor, and the second one turned out to be her awkwardness. She was being oddly formal with Genevieve and kept on looking away. Almost if she didn't want to maintain eye contact.
As much as Genevieve wanted to question her further, she decided not to push it. Perhaps she'll have someone investigate on Amber and have her watched, but it was best to leave right now.
"I'll get you something to eat. Does lasagna sound good?" Amber murmured upon standing up. She didn't wait for a reaction and began to trudge towards her kitchen.
"No no, Amber." Genevieve shot up from the couch as well. She had reached out to grab onto Amber's shoulder and stop her steps, but her hand paused halfway. Her eyes were trained on the dull girl's back as she watched her disappearance inside.
"My break is over. I'll be leaving now so don't bother with that. I'll see you later, okay?" Genevieve called out, and when Amber didn't respond, she started her journey towards the main door.
'Why would she take a sick leave for this? She could have easily asked for a few days off to mourn for her mother, instead of lying to the commissioner like that'.
The sounds of rapid thuds suddenly resonated from behind her and her train of thought skid to a halt. They drew closer and seemed more like stomps, and she had turned around just in time to see Amber charging in her direction.
"Oh-" Genevieve just barely dodged the swipe of Amber's attack, and a stinging settled on her upper arm. She took careful steps backwards and her gaze dropped to the kitchen knife coated in her blood, which was tucked away in Amber's deathly grip.
'What in the hell?'
Genevieve's immense shock and confusion clouded the throbbing of her new wound, and an expression reflecting her emotions took over her countenance. While she had expected things to go south in this visit, she never thought her colleague would try to slice her open.
"I'm sorry." Amber murmured weakly, before approaching her again. From the corner of her eye, she had spotted Genevieve reaching for the firearm in her waistband.
Only one of the two could make it out alive. This thought forced a quick and last minute decision, and she acted upon it by pouncing onto the officer. The gun flew out of Genevieve's hands while they both landed on the floor with a harsh thump. It was a combination of the cut on her arm and the impact of the fall that elicited a sharp hiss of distress from Genevieve.
Amber was quick. She recovered swiftly and leapt up to climb onto Genevieve in a straddling position. Her knees were pressed into Genevieve's upper arms which effectively prevented her from using them freely. The end of the knife was pointed downwards as it began its descend towards her neck.
Genevieve was at a tremendous disadvantage here. Her gun had slid far away from her, and it wasn't like she could reach for it even if it was nearby. The only parts of her body she could move around to defend herself were her wrists and palms. So, she did just that. A shriek erupted from her when both her hands sprung up to grab the attacker's wrist. One of her knees had begun to dig further into Genevieve's wound, and the sudden wave of pain nearly weakened her grip on Amber's forearm.
"I'm so sorry." she gritted out, a desperate but apologetic expression taking over her features. Genevieve was making a valiant effort of stalling her death, which frustrated Amber even more.
"He said if I didn't kill you, he'll kill momma."
Genevieve barely made sense of her words. Her glare was focused on the weapon pointed in her direction, and the only thing running in her mind was to get out of her current predicament. Both of them exerted an equal amount of force on Amber's wrist, so the knife stopped midway in the air. It's movement fluctuated by a minuscule from time to time, but it never reached her.
"Stop." Genevieve managed in a strained voice.
"We can help save your mother. We can stop Shadow."
It was like those words struck a chord in Amber, and all her movements stopped completely. Even her push on the kitchen knife vanished. She stared at Genevieve blankly while she pondered, and upon reaching a conclusion, her blank expression morphed back into the previous one of frustration. But before she could resume her force on the sharp object, Genevieve acted twice as fast.
She twisted the knife in Amber's direction and shoved it into her. It got stuck into the left side of her chest, and she stumbled off of Genevieve with a hitched gasp.
The officer took this opportunity to ditch her lying position and crawl towards Amber, who was currently clutching the handle of the knife. Despite Amber's attempt to kill Genevieve, their friendship was engraved into her mind and she couldn't help but feel horrible for stabbing her. It was clearly out of self defence, and yet all Genevieve could think of was nothing but her friend who slowly bled to death.
"Stop!" She shouted, before swiftly prying Amber's hand off of the knife that was currently lodged into her. Beads of the metallic liquid that escaped her wounded chest already started to stain her nightgown in a deep red.
"Don't pull it out or you'll bleed a lot. I'm calling the ambulance, just hang on."
Just as she said, Genevieve pulled her phone out to dial 911. Upon explaining the situation and rushing out the address, she ended the call and turned her attention back to a half conscious Amber who was lying on the floor.
"Amber. Hang on." Genevieve patted her cheek to keep her awake, to which she responded with a pained groan.
"Listen to me, Amber." She breathed as she moved Amber's head towards the side to see her face.
"Shadow said he'll blow up a place. Something about a sky-colored bird. Tell me what it is. Please." She pleaded, and her heart stopped when Amber closed her eyes.
"Amber?" Her patting had turned into light slaps, and when she didn't reply, Genevieve let out a frustrated scream. There was no hope now. Not only did Amber seemingly die, but she never got to know what Shadow meant by that riddle.
There was no hope.
The incoherent mumbling of Amber pulled Genevieve out of her rising panic attack and she snapped her gaze towards her.
Even more unintelligible rambling followed so she leaned in further, with her ear near Amber's mouth to hear what she had to say.
"The mayor... brunch soirée."
Genevieve furrowed her eyebrows in confusion, but the horror that dawned upon her was nearly suffocating when Amber clarified.
"He has a formal party today... for his daughter's birthday. On Maple Street." She took a short pause to gulp.
"I think- I think the main event starts at one o'clock."