05 August 2008

Unholy Crusade, part two


The rain bleeched down, chilling the air and destroying any evidence that was still to be found on the pockmarked concrete floor. Seth stood in the middle of the warehouse's yard, his umbrella providing only minimal cover from the downpour, and surveyed the scene. Thomas wondered if the old man saw something here that he and Cartwright could not.

'Let me get this straight,' said Cartwright. 'We're here looking for evidence that a dead person wandered in here and killed a man we've been hunting for years?'

'That's pretty much it,' said Thomas.

Cartwright shone a torch around the floor, not sure anymore what he was looking for.

'But that makes no sense. The dead don't go around killing people. I'd have noticed.'

'Oh I don't know about – hold on! What's that?'

Thomas' shone his torch at the wheel of a truck. Cartwright followed suit.

'I don't see anything,' said Cartwright as the two men headed toward the truck.

Thomas crouched by the wheel and felt under the cab. 'Got it.'

He pulled his hand back, opened his fist and shone the torch onto the palm of his hand.

Laid on the worn leather of his glove was a bullet, silver and flattened on one end. The specks of dried blood covering its surface liquified in the rain and ran off onto his palm.

Thomas slipped the bullet into a clear plastic bag and called out: 'Mr Baron! We've got something you need to see.'


Seth turned the packet over in his hand and stared at it. Silver alloy. Compacted tip.

'Hollowpoint?' he asked.

Cartwright shook his head. 'Unlikely. It hasn't fractured.'

'Something doesn't add up here,' said Seth. 'If it's solid, there's no payload. If there's no payload, he couldn't kill her. We're missing something.'

Seth clenched his fist around the bullet in its packet. The younger men looked at him expectantly.

'Maybe the police found something?' Thomas suggested.

'Maybe. Get their report.'

Seth stuffed the packet into the inside pocket of his jacket and headed back to the car. The other men followed close behind. As he reached the car, he turned.

'And put out a search for anyone matching Lune's description. Maybe we can find where she's been hiding.'


The police report revealed nothing of use. Seth dropped it onto his desk, ran a hand through his hair and sighed deeply.

'So close,' he said, talking to himself.

He looked over at the window, saw his reflection; the night sky turning the glass into a mirror. His gaunt face, all thin wire glasses and grey-black stubble, stared back at him through tired eyes. God, he looked old. When had that happened?

He reached into the lower drawer in his desk and pulled out a bottle of Glenlivet. The bottle had been a birthday present from his son. It still had a message attached, tied around the neck with a piece of string.

'Happy fiftieth,' the message read. 'Here's something to finish off your liver with.'

He had intended to open it when he caught the bastard who killed his son, but that would not happen now. He was in the police morgue. That bitch Lune had got to him first.

He looked at the bottle. It glinted in the light from his desk lamp. He was about to open it when someone knocked on his door.

'Come in,' he said, slipping the bottle back into the drawer.

Cartwright entered, holding a pale blue file.

'You're still here?' said Seth. 'I thought everyone had gone home.'

'This just came in.' Cartwright handed over the file.

Seth flicked through it, scanning the pages quickly; absorbing the gist. He looked up and smiled.

'I've already called Thomas,' said Cartwright. 'He'll meet us there.'

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