Even though it may save time to get an early start on the search warrant, I suspect the request will wait on desks till the morning. I turn down the hall to the lab wing of the station.
The lights are all off.
It’s 8:00 pm. How can the lights be off? Where’s night shift?
I try each door and find them locked, the glass walls show them empty. A light at the end of the corridor draws me moth to flame.
One lone technician is in there, working in the Centrifuge Lab. I recognize her, but don’t recall her name. “Hey, where is everyone?”
“It’s Marcia’s engagement party. They all left early.”
“But we’ve got a case. They just left it? We’re trying to catch a killer here. Time is of the essence and they go to a party?”
“We’ve logged everything, Detective. The centrifuges are working non-stop. A lot will be clear tomorrow.” She drops a file folder onto the table in front of me. “Here’s everything we have so far. They’re waiting on this thing.” She thumbs at the machine behind her. “So I got to stay night shift and babysit it. You’re welcome.”
I drop down with a harrumph.
“You look tired. Why are you still here?”
I scratch my eyelid. She speaks true. It’s eight and I’m exhausted.
“Good question. What’s your name?”
She sits across from me and opens the folder. “Alice Downs.”
I tap the pages. “All right, show me what you got” She pulls out a few papers.
“We started with the DNA evidence in the piano room. As expected, the mother and father and Noah had been there. They found DNA of the girl and another relative of William Black.” She pointed out two blank sequences. “Two unknowns.”
“What about the body? Or bodies? Did you figure out what made the bones… melt?”
“No. Not yet. Strange case.”
“What about the paint on the piano, and the sulfur on the clothes?”
“I don’t know about that. It might not get done till tomorrow. They started with the DNA.”
We would expect family in that room. But the two unknowns are promising. And the relative of William Black is no doubt Nick.
“I’ll be working here till the morning. By then we should have something new.”
I leave the lab with the folder and drop myself at a spare desk in the empty lobby. I rub my eyes again, then grab my notebook from my pocket.
Last thing is jottings from my interviews and so much has happened since then.
I reconstruct my notes, making a timeline.
– Around 3:00 Jamie Lewis tells her mother she is going to Noah’s house
– Reuben Garcia hears arguing, then no talking until he’s called to the library
– 4:22 William Black finds Noah and calls 911
– 4:32 I arrive, count 19 people in library
– 4:40 I investigate crime scene
– 4:50 I investigate downstairs, log laundry and bedroom as evidence
– 5:00-I search upstairs
– 5:10-5:40 People are missing. I Interview William Black, Jack Rinshaw, Ruthie Lewis, Jose and Reuben Garcia, and Brooke Black.
– 5:45 I investigate the laboratory
– 5:50 Jamie Lewis found at home
-6:00 I leave the crime scene, have my face off with Nick and the Russian goons, meet with Maura at the morgue, spend a few minutes with…
A hand grabs my shoulder.
I raise my head from the table and look around. Where am I?
“Go home, Reynolds.”
It’s Sergeant Boice.
“Was I asleep?” I chuckle, but it’s never good to sleep on the job.
He taps the folder in front of me. “This case will wait. We need you up and running in the morning. Get out of here.”
“I tried to call you. Where’ve you been?”
I show him my phone.
He whistles. “How’d you do that?”
“Oh, you know. Spy stuff.”
He doesn’t break a smile.
“Sorry, I couldn’t take your call. What did you need me for?”
“We found a journal in the boy’s room. Pretty incriminating against the brother. Possibly why he had a weapon under the bed.”
“So he suspected Nick?”
Benjamin? I flip through my notebook and see it. That’s right. William had mentioned an argument.
“I was going to have you hunt down Benjamin Black. He’s a leading suspect, in my opinion. But it’s late. You can take care of it in the morning.”
“It’s only 8:30.”
“No, it’s 10:30. I’m leaving.” He starts for the door.
I look at the wall clock. Have I been asleep here for two hours?
“Hold up, Sarge.”
Boice stops and glances back.
I do need to get home. A good sleep should give me a fresh view on things in the morning.
But that journal might clear up a lot about Nick, William, Brooke, Benjamin, Jamie, and the weapon under Noah’s bed. I should just thumb through it before going home.
Wait. I don’t have a car. I haven’t even filed a report about the shootout. My brain is foggy, I’m exhausted, but I won’t be able to sleep if my mind keeps asking me what that journal says.
(Chapter 3 scene list)
Copyright 2021, Darlene N. Böcek