Mindy could hear Brooke's breathing. It was much too loud and much too quick for a situation like this. She looked at the black-haired girl from the shadows at the opposite side of her apartment. Brooke looked absolutely terrified, her eyes plastered wide on her face, arms tightly crossed with her fingers digging into the fabric of her coat on her upper arms. It didn't help her at all that she was drenched with rain, her clothes and hair clinging to her body and face as she stared into the dark floor right before her. She looked much like a wet rat caught in a trap.

            "Calm down, Brooke," Mindy hissed, and Brooke jumped at the sudden noise from so close by. The only noise a moment ago had been the loud wailing of police vehicles a few streets away. They were coming closer every second, but Mindy couldn't inform Brooke of this fact. To let Brooke know, if she didn't already, would be to risk her going hysterical. "Nothing's going to happen."

            "That's what you think," Brooke growled, and looked up from her hands, which had previously been doing the "here's the church, here's the steeple" hand motion that children learn, over and over again. Obviously, she couldn't see as well in the dark as Mindy could, or else she would have known that she was glaring at a lamp.

            Mindy said nothing in reply, and looked around the apartment. It was her place that she had brought Brooke to, and obviously it was her place that was going to be sacrificed because of the other girl's stupidity. It was a small, dingy apartment, barely furnished with a bed, a lounge chair, and a desk, along with some other basic kitchen appliances that had already been installed in the room when she had moved in a month ago.

            "I don't like this," Brooke muttered, peeking out the window that she sat in front of. She had taken her seat in the lounge chair, and so Mindy was sitting on the desk. There was nothing important on it anyway.

            "Why? It's not like they're going to get us," Mindy commented. She had dealt with cops many times in the past. When you worked for your money – especially when you worked as Mindy did – you just couldn't always avoid it. "And it's not as if you're the one who's going to have to find a new apartment after this whole fiasco is over."

            "It's not my fault that you decided to bring me here instead of to one of your other hideouts."

            "Well, it is your fault that you decided to go and burn down some old building, wait and stare at the pretty lights until the dogs came calling, and then run crying to me for help."

            "I wasn't crying." Brooke scowled in the darkness.

            "Well, you at least should've had the sense to bring an umbrella along on a night arson job. I mean, seriously. A fire? In this weather?" Mindy added a little snicker to her words, in the pure hope of teeing Brooke off.

            It worked perfectly. Brooke frowned further and then hissed, "It's not too hard of a rain to start a fire! You don't know anything about arson, so shut up! There was a lot of paint thinner in that place! It went up like a match!"

            "Fine, whatever." Mindy raised her hands as if she was being arrested, to show that she didn't want to start anything with Brooke.

            Brooke said nothing, only looked back out the window again, her silver bullet eyes skeptical and searching. If she hadn't been such a rude and paranoid person, Mindy might have even considered working with her. As it was, they were still good friends, even if Brooke never acknowledged it.

            From Brooke's point of view, this entire situation was a domino row of disasters. Not only had she loitered too long at the flaming building because the beauty of it destruction had captivated her, but she hadn't been able to lose the cops. That led her panicking more, and panicking made her clumsy. She'd overturned at least two trashcans on the run. It was only by luck that she'd found Mindy when she had.

            She was suddenly broken from her thoughts when the sirens reached a deafening volume, and were joined by the sounds of the motors. Several black-and-white cars skidded up to the buildings, howling like dogs after a treed raccoon. Their flashing red and blue lights just about blinded her, and she nearly turned the chair over flinging herself out of it and onto the floor.

            "Looks like we have some visitors." Mindy sounded almost bored with the entire situation in general. Brooke had no idea how she could stay so calm at a time like this. Her own heart was racing so hard that it almost hurt, her lungs seizing up inside her and forcing her to take hard, shallow breaths. She was on her knees below the window now, crunching down as small as possible at the joint of the wall and the floor, and she tilted her head back to look up at where the lights stained the ceiling like watercolor paints.

            "What are we going to do? We're going to die." Brooke's voice was rising from its whisper in a desperate howling whine. Her hands were shaking. This was one of those times when she wondered why she had ever taken arson for money as a profession in the first place. Money made people do stupid things. "I don't want to die. They're going to kill me."

            "Brooke, calm down. They're cops. They can't fire on us unless we fire on them first, right? And shootouts aren't my style, so you can pretty much cross that out. I'll get you out of this. Don't you worry." Mindy stood up now, and walked over to the window. She ducked down a bit so as not to be seen clearly, and grabbed Brooke by the collar of her black trench coat. It didn't seem like it shielded Brooke from the rain at all, as it was soaked throat.

            Brooke barely paid attention to what Mindy was telling her. Her stomach was turning itself over and over, her throat trying to push itself up through her mouth. Adrenaline was racing through her body, causing the shaking in her hands to proceed to the rest of her body. She wanted to grab the windowsill, but she was paralyzed.

            "It's easy to get out of here," Mindy continued, hoping that her talking would calm Brooke down at least enough to where she wouldn't have to drag her out. "That's why I picked this place. Across the hall there's another room, and it's empty. There's a fire escape outside it. We go down the fire escape, and my truck is out back.

            This got through to Brooke, just slightly, and she looked up. "Really?"

            "Yeah. You think I didn't have an escape planned?" Mindy gestured with her hand, and Brooke stood up, with a little help.

            Mindy made her way to the door, with Brooke following closely behind her, and opened it, sliding out into the unlit hallway. She grabbed the cold metal of the knobs of the door to the moty apartment across the hall, and pushed it open, letting Brooke proceed first before she went in herself and locked the door behind them. Across the dank room was a small window, and a fire escape was clearly visible. The window was the only source of light for the room, with not even a bulb in the socket.

            "See? Would I lie to you, O Buddy o' Mine?" Mindy smirked slightly and walked over to the window, unlocking it and prying it open. She hopped out through it, her boots making a slight bang as they hit the rusted metal of the fir escape.

            "I guess not." Brooke walked over and went through the window with a bit more difficulty, stumbling and nearly falling when she went through. In no time the two had descended the stairs, and were at the large black truck parked beneath the stairwell.

            "I'm so reliable." Mindy unlocked the truck quickly, and then hopped in, motioning for Brooke to follow. She was already planning the next few weeks in her head.

            She couldn't come back here, because that would risk getting caught. There was nothing she wanted in her apartment anyway, so that wouldn't be a problem. No one would notice her absence and report it to the police; she had no living relatives that she knew of. She hadn't had any in a long time. But that was all right; she got her sleep at night by taking away the relatives of others. She was a firm believer in the golden rule. Do unto other as you would have done unto you. People had taken away things dear to her. They would have the same done unto them.

            "Maybe we should work together after all." Brooke climbed into the cab of the truck as well, and grinned, her silver eyes narrowing. "Floor it."

            "Hey, when we're in your car, then you can floor it all you want." Mindy started up the truck and then looked towards Brooke with a small grin that mirrored hers and a raised brow. "Sure, I may be a murderer, but I can't be losing my driver's license, now can I?"

            Brooke laughed. Mindy's foot pressed down on the gas, and they sped away just as the cops were entering the building they had just left. Despite the rain, it really was a beautiful night.