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The Rookie Club: Dead Center Part 25

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Jamie sat in the chair beside Washington and scanned the list. The names were numbered one to thirty. She recognized maybe a third of them-Tim, Scott Scanlan, David Marshall, Hailey's captain. "Christ. How far back does this go?"

"Not as long as you'd think from looking at it," Washington said.

"A couple of years, I think," Hailey added.

"Who put it together?"

"Daniels."



Jamie glanced at the list again. "Well, at least he's not on there."

Hailey didn't speak at first. When she did, her tone was sharp and acidic. "Neither is Deputy Chief Scanlan. Doesn't mean he didn't screw her."

"You think there are a lot of omissions?" Jamie asked.

"I'm sure IA was thorough," Washington said. "Surely Deputy Chief Scanlan was purposefully left off the list."

"But they didn't leave Scott off."

Washington nodded. "But Scott isn't known for his discretion. And his job's not on the line either."

"Not to mention that unlike Scanlan senior, Scott's not married."

No one spoke as Jamie skimmed over the names. No Ben Jules. That was a relief, but like Hailey said, what did it mean? "How did Daniels put this together?"

Hailey frowned. "I guess one IA's unofficial projects is to follow this sort of activity, to watch that it doesn't cause conflict of interest, probably also to make sure the press doesn't get wind of it. Especially for the higher-ranked married guys."

Jamie turned to Washington. "Did you know they did this?"

He shook his head. "I had no f.u.c.king clue."

"David Marshall?"

Hailey nodded. "Married. So are Ken Oliver, Paul Wyeth, Eric Rickens, O'Connell, White, Pilitzky..." She waved her hand. "More than half."

Jamie looked at the names again. "Christ. In two years, she had a new guy every month."

"And that's the ones they knew about."

Washington stood up. "I'm heading home unless you guys need me?"

"No," Hailey said. "Thanks for coming in."

Washington left and Jamie shook her head. "You have to a.s.sume there are more men like Deputy Chief Scanlan-ones they wouldn't write down. This is like the needle in the haystack-Devlin's haystack."

Hailey found another paper and slid it across the table. "I did get this."

She looked down at a report from the lab. "What is it?"

"Roger's cast of Worley's head. It looks like Tim was struck with something about an inch thick, made of a heavy polymer material. Rectangular in shape. He took one side in the skull. The corner just scratched the skin."

Jamie frowned. "Polymer? What the h.e.l.l was it?"

"I don't know. Roger was on his way back to Devlin's office to look for a match."

"A letter holder or something?"

Hailey shook her head. "Not heavy enough. Had to be three or four pounds. Paper weight, maybe?"

Just then, Jamie's cell phone rang. She recognized her home number. "Hey."

Tony's voice was breathless. "Christ, Jamie. Thank G.o.d."

She halted. "What's wrong?"

"Marchek was here, Jamie. In the yard."

Jamie stood from the table. "Marchek? Are you sure?"

"Positive."

"Are you okay? Is he gone?"

"I'm fine. Marchek's gone-took off in a white van, but there's a kid here. He was in your yard-he's hurt."

She frowned, listening to the way Tony dragged his S's. "Jesus, Tony, you've been drinking."

"He's bleeding. For Christ sake, Jamie. He's hurt!"

"Is he breathing?"

"Yeah. He's breathing, but there's blood all over him and I can't find the source."

"Call 911."

"I already did, but I need you."

Jamie turned and ran from the room. Hailey started to follow. "I'll call you," Jamie told her. To Tony, she asked, "Where are his parents?"

"He looks homeless, Jamie. I think maybe he was living in your backyard."

Homeless. Christ. "How's his pulse?" She took the stairs, two at a time, running as fast as she could.

"Steady."

She heard a whine in the background.

"The ambulance is here."

At her car, she yanked the door open, shoved the key in the ignition, revved the engine. "Can you ID Marchek? Did you see him?"

"He was wearing a ski mask."

She pounded the steering wheel. "s.h.i.t."

"Don't rule it out, though. I saw his eyes."

She shoved the car in gear, sped out of the lot. She shifted into second, heart ramming in her chest. "They'll take you to Marin General. Go with the ambulance and I'll meet you there, Tony. You'll be okay. I'll be there as soon as I can. Call me if you need to. Hang in there."

There was an explosion of voices in the background.

Jamie listened as paramedics beamed questions and Tony tried to respond. A kid. Christ. Why was he in her yard?

Jamie closed the phone with a snap, tossed it on the seat beside her.

Marchek had been at her house that very night. While she was out walking the streets and smoking, Marchek was stalking her house. Jamming the pedal to the floor, she sped toward home. She shuddered as she considered why Marchek had been there.

He'd come for her.

Chapter 29.

Jamie and Tony didn't speak during the ride home. The young boy sat silent in the backseat. The doctor had discharged him from the hospital with a clean bill of health. Social services had been notified, and Jamie had agreed to keep him until other arrangements could be made. The other option was to send him to the jail for the night. She couldn't do that. Wouldn't. He was only a kid. And despite the fact that she had no experience, she could manage. She requested additional surveillance, but Jules had denied it. Without any hard evidence, the cost was too much to approve. Otherwise, the department would be patrolling every sc.u.mbag 24-7. She didn't like it, but she understood.

The boy looked somewhere around seven, but he was probably older. She knew from experience that homeless kids were usually small for their age. And she knew he was homeless. There was no doubt about that-his uncut lice-ridden hair, his dirty face. Plus, he ate two entire hospital dinners. Any kid who'd spent time with a family that fed him mac 'n' cheese wouldn't have touched the gray turkey and soggy green beans.

When they got home, Jamie found a pair of sweatpants and a long-sleeved T-shirt for him. "They'll be too big, but at least they're clean."

The boy held them to his chest, looked around.

"I'd like to know your name if you're going to stay here. I don't want to call you 'it' or anything."

The boy didn't break a smile. He glanced at Tony, then back to her, wide-eyed.

"I'm Jamie. And this is Tony."

The kid said nothing, didn't move. Only his gaze hopped back and forth between them like the white ball in a ping-pong match. "Are you still hungry?"

Silence.

She started to back toward the kitchen and the boy watched her.

"He ate a lot at the hospital," Tony said.

Jamie nodded, remembered a victim from her first year in s.e.x Crimes-a homeless girl of about thirteen who had been repeatedly raped and sodomized then left for dead. She'd lived-or rather nearly died-in some discarded cardboard boxes until trash day came and the garbage men found her and called the police. After her initial exam, during which she'd had to be strapped down so the doctors could look at her, she ate her way through roughly three times more food than Jamie ate in a day. Then she'd thrown up and started again. The doctors had forced her to slow down for fear that her shrunken-down stomach would burst from the pressure. This kid didn't look as bad as she had, but Jamie thought a little more food might do the trick. Actually, what she had in mind was better than food.

She pulled open the fridge and searched for her stash of c.o.kes. She found two left and set them on the counter. She dug in the bottom drawer of her freezer for the emergency candy supply. Inside it were a half dozen a.s.sorted candy bars-b.u.t.terfinger, Snickers, Twix, and a couple of Reese's Peanut b.u.t.ter Cups.

She emptied the bag on the counter beside the sodas, pushed the freezer closed with her backside.

When she looked up, the boy was halfway across the room. Tony leaned against the doorway and watched.

"I've only got two," she said to Tony, motioning to the c.o.kes. "You want one?"

He shook his head, smiling just slightly. "No, thanks. I'm going to stick with water for a while."

She pulled a stool to the counter and cracked open a c.o.ke. Then she took a long drag on the soda, making as much noise as possible. She looked at the boy. "Oh, sorry. Do you want one?"

He hesitated, nodded, but still made no move to come closer.

She pushed the other can toward him. "Here you go."

The boy watched them both. Jamie continued drinking her soda as she fingered the candy bars.

From the corner of her eye, she could see the boy inch toward her. He stopped at the counter without touching the drink.

"It's all yours."

He picked it up and mumbled what she thought was "Thanks," then gave his full attention to the sweating red can.

She thought about his speech. Okay, so he did talk. This was good.

Using two long, dirty fingernails, the boy popped the top open and lifted it with both hands as though it were too precious to hold with just one. After his first, quiet sip, he smiled.

Jamie laughed. "Good, huh?"

He nodded and set his gaze on the candy bars.

"You can have one of these, too."

His eyes widened.

"But you have to tell us your name."

The boy frowned.

"I need to know who you are. I can't have a stranger living in my house. And I know somewhere there's someone who's probably really worried about you."

The boy looked at the c.o.ke can and blinked, his dark eyes gla.s.sy.

"I bet your mom's missing you."

He shook his head. "No, she ain't." He straightened his back, stood proud. "She left."

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The Rookie Club: Dead Center Part 25 summary

You're reading The Rookie Club: Dead Center. This manga has been translated by Updating. Author(s): Danielle Girard. Already has 48 views.

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