Blackout – Chapter Twenty

NOT EDITED

Chapter Twenty

9:07 AM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, LAB

Bo lifted his head as Jacob set a folder down in front of him. “This is everything robbery’s got on the basement guy. Completed sketch from the husband at the top,” Jacob said as he stepped away from the table. He lifted himself onto the counter, a coffee cup held to his chest. “Think we can make anything come of it?”

“Have you looked at it?” Bo asked, pulling back the top cover.

“Nah. I only know the shit they were talking about this morning. I had a meeting to hash through before that,” the lieutenant said.

“Mm.” Bo skimmed a finger over the copy of the original sketch, head cocked to the side. “I don’t recognize him, if that means anything.”

“Well, means he’s no one that’s ever been in here,” Jacob said. “Probably doesn’t leave home much. You know, when he’s not lying in wait in people’s basements.”

“Something like that,” Bo agreed. “I’ll run both of the sketches through the system, see if either turns up anything useful.”

“And if they don’t?”

Bo offered a shrug. “I try a few different combinations of the two and see what happens. If nothing turns up, Jensen and Ryan can talk to the husband and the wife, talk to the original witness,” he said. “We’ll do what we can. He spent a lot of time at the Weaver’s house. He was planning on spending a long ass time at these folks’ house, as well. We have time to find him. We do.”

Jacob nodded. “We do,” he assured.

“Where is this couple staying?”

“Hotel, edge of town. Hillcrest, I think,” Jacob said. “I can ask the robbery guys on the case if you want?”

“No, that’s okay. If the sketches don’t turn up anything, Jensen and Ryan can talk to robbery. They’ll do what they can,” Bo said.

“Right.” Jacob cleared his throat, raking a hand through his hair. “Sitting in the Weaver’s basement the other day?”

“Yes?”

“It was nice.” Bo lifted his eyes to the lieutenant’s face, one eyebrow raised. “I mean, as nice as it can be sitting in the basement of a crime scene.” Jacob let out a breath, taking a sip of his coffee. “I miss my detective days. Sitting behind a desk all day instead of going out to scenes and working with you? It just isn’t the same.”

“I know. I miss it, too,” Bo said honestly. “But unless you’re planning on getting demoted, I think this is as close as we’ll get to casework together.”

“Yeah, I know.” Jacob chuckled. “I’ve considered it, you know. Asking to be dropped back to Detective. Hell, I’d work under Jensen, no problems at all. But I figured Allie’d kill me.”

Bo snorted. “Probably.” He offered a smile. “Jake, I know a lot of cops that would kill to be working behind a desk at your age. A lot of cops are working toward high paying desk jobs as quickly as they can get to it. Less time in the field, more time in here. It’s safer.”

“I’m not worried about safety and all that shit, Bo. I’m fine. I just hate sitting behind a damn desk all day. It was nice at first. Felt like I needed it for a while. It stopped a lot of the chit chat about my heart attack. It was nice.” Jacob shrugged. “Now I’m just bored.”

Bo chuckled softly, shaking his head as he pushed himself to his feet. “You’re in your forties, you have five kids, and you’re bored?”

Jacob smiled, leaning forward on the counter. “Sounds kinda crazy when you word it that way.”

“Well, it is a little crazy,” Bo said simply. He crossed the room and unzipped his camera bag. “I’m going to chalk this up a mid-life crisis, Jake. You won’t make as much if you bump yourself back down to detective. They’ve already taken budget cuts, yes?”

“Yeah, but I don’t care about that.”

“Your daughter’s going to college next August. You have to care about it,” Bo said.

“I know. I like to pretend my little girl isn’t growing up, though.”

Bo smiled softly. “I know, brother.” He twisted the lens into place on his camera as he walked back to the table. “Stay lieutenant, Jake. As long as you aren’t in a meeting, you’re always allowed to tag along to crime scenes and lunches. We can always take lunch early or later if you need us to. Jens and I don’t mind, promise.”

“Really?”

“Really,” Bo confirmed. “You’re still my best friend, Jake, my brother. Believe me, I miss having you around all day, too.” He snapped a picture of the first sketch before glancing up at Jacob. “Just, you know, let Jensen know when you want to head out for lunch. He’s usually the one who decides when we eat, anyway.”

“Sweet. Thanks, brother.”

“Not a problem,” Bo assured. He snapped a picture of the second sketch and lowered himself back into his chair. “Is Katie doing all right with college applications?”

“She’s struggling a bit with the personal essays, but she’s getting there. I think she’s planning on dropping by your place at some point in the near future for help. Proofreading or otherwise, I’m not too sure.”

Bo nodded. “That’s fine. I’m always willing to help family,” he said. He sent the pictures he’d taken to his laptop and set the camera down on the table. “I do believe I’ll be gone for a few days on or around the eighth. I’m entirely free to help her until then, and even when I’m gone, she can give me a call or send me an email and I’ll do what I can do.”

“Thanks, Blondie. I’ll make sure to let her know,” Jacob said. He took a sip of his coffee, sapphire gaze on the floor. “Jamal got you doing dirty work again? Is that where you’re heading?” he asked.

“Just doing my job,” Bo said.

“You don’t have to lie to me, Bo.”

“It’s not a lie.” Bo looked back up at the lieutenant. “It is my job, or, at least the job I’m training for. I’ll be in Jamal’s chair in less than two years. Random absences are… going to be commonplace.”

“Yeah, I know. I just don’t like thinking we have to hide shit from each other,” Jacob said.

“I have to hide things from… everyone that isn’t Jamal, and even he isn’t aware of every single thing that’s ever happened to me or around me,” Bo said.

“Yeah… I know.” Jacob cleared his throat, drumming his fingers against his cup. “What’s he got you doing?” he asked.

“I’m not sure. I’ll be filled in on all the nitty gritty details on the sixth,” Bo said.

“Does your husband know?”

“Not yet. I’ve been caught up in sleep deprivation for what feels like forever. I damn near forgot about it,” Bo said. “I’m going to tell him tonight, maybe this afternoon. I try to give him as much of a heads-up as I can on the Pitman missions. It does both of us some good that way.”

“Still hate being apart, huh?”

“Oh… you betcha.”

Jacob chuckled. He smacked a hand against the counter before jumping down. “I’m gonna head on upstairs. Got a few things to wrap up, but I’ll see you for lunch, all right? And keep me updated on this sketch shit and the Pitman shit, all right?”

“Will do, Jake. I’ll see you later.”

Jacob threw out a two-fingered salute, which Bo returned before the lieutenant walked out of the lab, the door swinging shut behind him.

Bo sighed softly, dropping his gaze back to his laptop screen. He couldn’t believe he’d been so wrapped up in the case and a lack of sleep, so wrapped up that he had allowed himself to forget about the deal with Jamal. A prison break. He knew it’d be dangerous, no matter who was being broken out.

He was putting his life on the line for Jamal Pitman wasn’t something he was opposed to, but it was nothing he should be forgetting about. Jamal was a dangerous man, and he lived life as a dangerous man. It was a life Bo would be taking over not too long from now.

Simply forgetting about that because of one case and a few nights of missed sleep was… well, dangerous.

That was a kind of slip-up he couldn’t risk again.

9:30 AM; CLINSTONE, MARY MCCULLOUGH’S HOUSE, BASEMENT

The man sat down on the couch, sighing as he turned on the television. That couple running out of the house had been a mistake. The husband wasn’t supposed to spot him. He was just supposed to come down, flip on the breaker. That was hit. The man had planned on killing the husband that night, but he had heard the killer somehow.

That pissed him off.

He had to start with a new house, a new basement, a new woman. The old basement was too dangerous. Going back to the old house was dangerous.

Although the news wasn’t reporting anything, the man was rather certain the couple had gone to the police. Nothing else would make sense. You didn’t spot a random man in your basement and then not go to the cops to report that shit.

The man turned up the television and set the remote on the arm of the couch. Finding another family was easy, another woman. He didn’t care if it was a family, not really. It just seemed to be more fun that way.

It wasn’t finding the woman that was the hard part. Hiding in the basement for days or weeks was the hard part. It was a long process. He considered it fun, of course, but that didn’t change the fact that it was a tedious process.

Next time, he wouldn’t hide quite as long.

Next time, he’d get the job done without as much play. He’d miss toying with his victim, but he’d make up for it with… a bit more flair in his violence.

That would serve him just fine. He was sure of it.


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