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The Rookie Club: Dead Center Part 26

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Jamie nodded slowly. "Okay, then someone else. You can tell me who."

He shook his head.

Tony shifted against the doorway but said nothing.

Jamie turned to the candy bars. "I think my favorite is Twix. Is that yours?"

He shook his head quickly.



She lifted another. "Snickers?"

He hesitated, then shook his head again. "Reese's," he said, p.r.o.nouncing it "Rees-eys."

She lifted the peanut b.u.t.ter cups, cold to her touch, pushed the package toward him. "There are two in there-one for each name. You tell me your first name, you get one. Another for your last name."

His gaze narrowed. "You going to call those folks with the foster houses?"

She glanced at Tony, then back to the boy. "Tonight you can stay here with me and Tony."

She didn't want to promise anything else. If the boy knew what a foster home was, he'd been in one. And that meant there might not be a family waiting for him.

He started to reach for the candy bar.

She pushed it toward him.

"Zephenaya."

She frowned.

The boy looked up at her, furrowed his brow. "That's my name. It's from the bible."

"Your first name?"

He nodded. "You can call me Z. That's what Shawna calls me."

"Shawna's your friend?"

"No," he said as though not knowing who Shawna was made her stupid. "My sister. You know. That's why I came here."

Jamie nodded. Now they were getting somewhere. "Where is Shawna?"

He shrugged. "Last time I saw her was with you."

Jamie frowned. She didn't remember her. Child victims weren't usually handled by s.e.x Crimes. "How old is she?"

He didn't answer. Instead he focused on the candy bar and took small drinks from the c.o.ke.

Jamie tore open the Reese's Peanut b.u.t.ter Cups and pushed them toward Zephenaya. "Here, Z. You can have one."

He reached in and took one of the brown cups out. Using both hands, he unwrapped it like a present.

"How old are you, Z?"

"Ten," he said matter-of-factly.

d.a.m.n, he was small.

"How old are you?"

Jamie laughed and Z smiled sheepishly.

"She's almost forty," Tony called out.

She shot him a glare. "I'm thirty-four, thank you very much."

"Forty," Z said. "What's that come after?"

"Thirty-nine," Jamie told him.

He nodded slowly, chewing. "Forty. I forget that one." Z glanced out at the back of the house and Jamie wondered what he was thinking about. She glanced over at Tony, but he was focused on the kid, a half smile on his face.

He hesitated then and looked up at her. "I got something to tell you."

"Okay."

"It's about your dog."

Jamie felt her stomach clench. Not trusting herself to speak, she simply nodded.

"I was here when he got hurt."

She nodded again. "What happened?"

He shook his head. "I didn't do it."

"Who did?"

"A man. A white man with a knife."

He looked over at Tony. "Wasn't him, though. Another white man." He turned to Jamie. "Wasn't the first time someone been in your yard, neither. Another time a man was looking in your windows, but it wasn't the same one as hurt the dog."

Jamie considered who might have been watching her house, suppressed a shudder. "The one with the knife, what did he look like?"

"Lightish hair and kinda small. He came around the house when I was getting ready for bed. It was real late. I was tired and my eyes get all itchy. I'd gone to take a-to do some business by the tree and he came around the house."

The description sounded like Scott Scanlan. "He had a knife?"

Z nodded. "A big one-long like they have in the scary movies. He was right by the garage. I think he was going to steal your car, lady." He looked around and blinked. "Then your dog came up. The dog didn't bark or nothing, but I think just seeing that dog scared him and he jabbed that knife right into his back." He blinked hard and licked his lips. "I didn't move. I just stayed real still 'cause I didn't want him coming at me with that knife." He started to quiver.

Jamie put a hand on his shoulder.

He looked up, blinked twice.

"Then what happened?"

His gaze steadied. "He went around the house and took off in his car. Your dog followed him, but he wasn't doing too good-limping real bad and bleeding. He went up to the porch, and I didn't know what to do 'cause I didn't want you to know I was living back there."

Jamie blinked at this news. The boy had been living in her yard? For how long?

"So I rang the doorbell and ran."

Jamie stepped closer to Z, squatted down so she was below him. "You saved my dog's life."

He looked at her, nodded slowly as a smile took shape on his lips. "I guess I did."

"Thank you."

"You're welcome."

"You think you would recognize that man if you saw him again?"

He pushed out his lower lip, took it in two fingers, and pulled on it lightly. Then, dropping it, he said, "I think so. You got a picture of him?"

"Not yet, but I'm going to get one while you're getting cleaned up."

"I'm glad you're not mad at me that your dog got hurt."

She shook her head. "Not mad at all. When you see someone you don't know, the best thing you can do is to hide and keep quiet until he goes away. Or come to an adult like me or Tony."

Z finished the first Peanut b.u.t.ter Cup and licked his fingers. Jamie watched him, forcing herself not to cringe at the dirt on those hands. He looked over at the second half.

"Delman."

Jamie stared, felt her mouth drop open.

"It's my last name. Zephenaya Delman."

Jamie couldn't speak. Heat burned in her neck and cheeks.

"Can I have the other Reese's now?"

She blinked hard, nodded.

Z took the candy and peeled off the dark wrapper. Jamie watched him eat. She glanced at Tony, who frowned at her. She shook her head.

She couldn't say it, didn't want to be the one to tell Zephenaya that she did know his sister. Shawna Delman had been the first cop raped, more than six months ago.

A month later, Shawna Delman had overdosed on heroin.

No, Jamie couldn't bring herself to tell Zephenaya that his sister was dead.

Chapter 30.

Hailey sat at the small round table at the far end of the main lab on Monday evening, waiting for Sydney. At least she'd have closure on one case today. By all the evidence, at approximately eight thirty on a Thursday morning, Abby and Hank Dennig had killed each other inside her parked minivan.

Hailey had spent more time than she could afford, trying to imagine how two people who had once loved each other could come that far. Homicide had taught her that love and hate were often bedfellows. In the Dennig case, though, she was making educated guesses. Guesses-educated or not-were not a pleasant process. Without a witness, though, there was no one to confirm her theories.

Stephanie Rusch worked in the far corner of the lab. She wore a white coat and held a small set of tweezers to separate evidence onto slides for the microscope. Hailey wondered how the night at Tommy's had changed her relationship with Scott Scanlan.

Sydney crossed the lab, sat down across from Hailey. She flipped papers, pushed them out into a halo of white on the black table. She took a long drink out of a traveler coffee mug that said "Skamania Lodge" and set it down without looking at Hailey.

Hailey guessed Sydney was a few years younger than she-maybe thirty-six-but her reddish blond hair and freckles made her look like a woman barely into her thirties. She was trim and athletic, played soccer, Hailey knew. Her husband was a soccer coach in the East Bay and they had two boys who were avid players. But Hailey didn't know much more about her. At Rookie Club dinners, Sydney tended to sit with the CSU techs and people like Devlin in Personal Crimes-crimes where no one died. She stayed clear of the women who worked the violent crimes, like Homicide and s.e.x.

Even in their close group of women, there were still divisions-by department, by cla.s.s of crime. Maybe it came down to how dirty the job was.

In that case, Homicide was about as dirty as you could get, and Hailey tried not to be bothered by being a bottom-feeder in the world of police work.

The irony was that even with her line of work, the nastiest people she'd met were not the murderers but the people at her father-in-law's campaign functions. Even the thought of him now made her anxious to get Jim off her back.

With the Dennig case closed, she just prayed she'd be able to put Natasha's case to bed. Things were adding up. Roger had gone out to Jamie's house and taken some casts of the footprints and tire tracks from the boy's attack. They had another warrant for Marchek's house, and she knew they were closing in on him. Once they had him, she was confident he'd spill everything he saw the night Natasha was killed, if only to gain some leniency in his own case. Buying favors was an ugly part of the system.

"Okay, let's start with hair," Sydney said, her pony-tail bouncing over her shoulder as she reached for the first report.

Hailey opened her notebook, pen poised.

"We found seventeen hair samples-fifteen human, four dog. We were able to eliminate eleven of them to the victims and the children. And the dogs."

"You'll keep the others on file?"

"Until storage bursts, absolutely."

Hailey nodded. She knew the storage of evidence-especially long-term-was a growing issue within the department. Proper preservation required dry temperatures with low humidity. Blood and tissue samples, s.e.m.e.n, and anything living, necessitated refrigeration. The lab had a huge walk-in refrigerator, but it was already near capacity-and had been for close to three years. Even after cases were tried and convictions made, evidence still had to be held in case of appeal.

"We got forty partial prints from the inside of the car alone. Another sixteen from the outside."

That wasn't many for the outside of a car. Hailey would have expected more, especially with kids. "Washed?"

Sydney nodded. "Probably within ten days, and some rain, too, I'd guess."

Hailey nodded.

"Then there's the rest of it." She pushed the report to Hailey, who scanned the list of other items taken from the car-fiber samples, carpets, threads from another two-dozen places that had to be individually sorted and identified under the microscope.

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The Rookie Club: Dead Center Part 26 summary

You're reading The Rookie Club: Dead Center. This manga has been translated by Updating. Author(s): Danielle Girard. Already has 52 views.

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