The door to the apartment clicked open as Snowy yapped happily and burst into the room. Tintin dropped his heavy suitcases to the floor and slid off his coat. He quickly flopped himself to his bed with a long, relieved sigh.
"Home at last," he murmured.
Snowy barked again and climbed up to Tintin's bed, huddling comfortably near him. "Get some rest, boy," Tintin laughed. He sat up and flipped open his laptop, scrambling through files to find his article to be emailed.
"You know, Snowy," he spoke out with his gaze on the screen. "It's been exhausting and definitely challenging, but I don't think I would mind being sent out to trips for more articles."
Snowy howled in disapproval and lazily buried his face in the covers. Tintin smiled in amusement. "I have to admit, it was actually exciting. Maybe it's because I've never done it before, but still, I enjoyed it."
He clicked on a button and sent his article. He stared blankly at the screen, fantasizing on where he might go next. America, perhaps? Or maybe China? Egypt? Peru?
There were so many possibilities.
Tintin closed his laptop and got off from his bed. "Come on, Snowy, we can't stay for long," he said. "I still need to finish that research I delayed the other day. The articles are due next week."
Snowy cracked one eye open to see Tintin back in his coat and shoes. He howled again, pleading to stay.
"It won't take long," Tintin promised. "We'll be back before dinner time."
After a few moments, Snowy finally complied and caught up with Tintin at the door.
The street was crowded with zooming cars and countless groups of people were moving along the sidewalk. Tall, gigantic buildings shaded over the city as Tintin and Snowy made their way to start the research.
"Alright, Snowy," Tintin mumbled, scrolling through the notes in his phone. "We're closest to the northwest residence right now, we can start from there, and then move straight north. We can drop by that dinner takeaway there, too, and head home."
Snowy barked impatiently at the words "head home".
Tintin hummed. "That's not going to finish much of the work, though. Maybe we should take a shortcut to—"
He stopped himself when a loud, sudden siren wailed from the distance, moving closer before finally zooming past them. His eyes widened slightly at the two police cars speeding away in the main road before taking a sharp turn to the left.
In an instant, with a ghostly smile playing over his lips, Tintin turned on his heels and ran after the cars.
"Come on, Snowy!"
The terrier was quick to follow. They dashed away towards the cars, trying to keep up, but they were eventually too fast for them to follow. Tintin was gasping for breath when his legs couldn't carry on running. His eyes were still on the cars as they took another turn on the road, the distant sirens still clearly audible.
"If they're going down that road, there's only one place they could possibly be heading to," he managed to breathe out. "But we won't make it in time…"
Snowy seemed to have the same thought when he barked and gestured at a narrow alleyway, squeezed in between two buildings across the road. Tintin turned, and finally beamed.
"Shortcut! Good boy, Snowy!"
So they crossed the road and jogged through the alley, making a few turns to paths even narrower than before. But when they finally reached the main road again, Tintin was grinning.
The local bank stood in all its glory, surrounded by police cars as the alarm in the building shrieked very loudly.
Tintin switched on the camera on his phone with a grin of excitement. "Look at this, Snowy. Bank robbery," he murmured as he crept towards the bank. "Just our luck – finally a real story!"
He leaned against a tree, a few meters away from the scene, and quietly observed everything as he took snippets of images. Several policemen cleared the area and the others secured the building, searching for the culprit.
But something else in the commotion caught his attention.
One of the policemen stepped out of his car, burying his hands in the pockets of his trousers. His eyes momentarily swept the area before he strolled away from the building and into the woods nearby.
Tintin lowered his phone with his gaze following the policeman. "What's he doing there?" he whispered.
He looked to his left and right, then gestured to Snowy as they ran off after the policeman.
They sneaked between the trees, hoping they hadn't lost hi m yet. The policeman was back in their line of sight, conversing with another man in a trench coat and a hat. Tintin held his breath and silently moved closer to the men. He took a spot behind a tree, making sure he was well-hidden, and leaned forward slightly, listening to their faint voices.
"You're late," the man in the trench coat scolded angrily.
The policeman replied gruffly, "I was with the others. You're still lucky my team was around when you rang."
Tintin took a shot with his phone.
The man chuckled bitterly. "So they're your "team" now? J.M. Dawson and his "team" of police idiots?"
Dawson clicked his tongue and pulled out a flash disk from his pocket. "You're the idiot, Allan."
Tintin took another shot.
Allan took the flash disk, flipped it in his hand and shoved it in his pocket. "No, that wasn't me who took care of Dawes. I'm not sloppy like that."
"So this isn't your mess I'm cleaning up?"
Allan glared at him.
"What did you do to Kuraki then?"
Allan raised an eyebrow. "Bunji Kuraki? Taken care of."
"He's dead too?"
Tintin froze at the word. Who was this man? A murderer?
"No, too dangerous," Allan responded. "Japanese policemen and all. They're actually smart."
Dawson scoffed. "Well, I haven't got much time. They'll be looking for me."
"They won't find out, right? About Dawes?"
Dawson laughed, turning away from the man and walking away. "Next time your boys are out making a mess, I don't want to be the one cleaning it up!"
Tintin took one last shot and went back into hiding. His tensed as Dawson passed by, heading straight out of the woods, oblivious of his presence.
He breathed a sigh of relief, and when the coast was clear, he raced back to the bank, clutching tightly to his phone.
He didn't know what he was getting into.