Читать онлайн "Sudden prey" автора Sandford John - RuLit - Страница 10

 
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''Well, he escaped in Wisconsin and killed a guy. A prison guard. Chief Lester said you should come down to Homicide.''

''I'll be down in two minutes,'' Lucas said.

A HEAVYSET PATROL COP, WITH A GRAY CREW CUT, WAS walking down the hall when

Lucas came out of the office. He took Lucas's elbow and said, ''Guy comes home fromwork and he finds his girlfriend with her bags packed, waiting in the doorway.''

''Yeah?'' The cop was famous for his rotten jokes.

''The guy's amazed. He says, 'What's going on? What happened?' 'I'm leaving you,' says the girlfriend. 'What'd I do? Everything was okay this morning,' says the guy. 'Well,' says the girlfriend, 'I heard you were a pedophile.' And the guy looks at his girlfriend and says, 'Pedophile? Say, that's an awwwwfully big word for a ten-year-old… ' ''

''Get away from me, Hampsted,'' Lucas said, pushing him off; but he was laughing despite himself.

''Yeah, you'll be tellin' all your friends…''

LESTER WAS TALKING TO THE HOMICIDE LIEUTENANT, turned when Lucas came in, dropped his feet off the lieutenant's desk and said, ''Dick LaChaise cut the throat of a prison guard during the funeral of Candace and Georgia LaChaise, and vanished. About an hour ago.''

''Vanished?'' Lucas said.

''That's what the Dunn County sheriff said: vanished.''

''How'd he cut the guy's throat? Was there a fight?''

''I don't know the details,'' Lester said. ''There's a clusterfuck going on at the funeral home. It's over in Colfax, ten, fifteen miles off I-94 between Eau

Claire and Menomonie. Probably an hour and a half drive.''

''Hour, in a Porsche,'' the lieutenant said lazily.

''I think you ought to send one of your group over there,'' Lester said.

''Hell, I'll go,'' Lucas said. ''I'm sitting on my ass anyway. Do we have any paper on LaChaise?''

''Anderson's getting it now,'' Lester said. ''Anyway, the sheriff over there says LaChaise might be heading this way. LaChaise's mama says he's gonna get back at us for Candace and Georgia. 'Eye for an eye,' she says.''

Lucas looked at the lieutenant. ''Can I take Sloan?''

''Sure. If you can find him.''

Lucas picked up a half-pound of paper from Anderson, the department's computer jock, beeped Sloan, and when he called back, explained about LaChaise.

''You want to go?'' Lucas asked.

''Let me get a parka. I'll meet you at your house.''

LUCAS DIDN'T DRIVE THE PORSCHE MUCH DURING THE winter, but the day, though bitterly cold and sullenly gray, showed no sign of snow. The highway had the hard bone-dry feel that it sometimes got in midwinter.

''Are we in a hurry, I hope?'' Sloan asked as they rolled north along the

Mississippi.

''Yeah,'' Lucas said. As soon as they got on I-94 at Cretin, he called Dispatch and asked them to contact the Wisconsin highway patrol, to tell that he was coming through on an emergency run. They dropped on the interstate at noon, and at 12:20 crossed the St. Croix bridge into Wisconsin. Lucas put the snap-on red flasher in the window and dropped the hammer, cranking the Porsche out to one-twenty before dropping back to an even hundred.

The countryside looked as though it had been carved out of ice, hard sky, round hills, the creek lines marked by bare gray trees, snapped-off golden-yellow cornstalks sticking out of the snow, suburban homes and then isolated farmsteads showing plumes of straight-up gray wood smoke.

Sloan watched it roll by for a few minutes, then said, ''I get to drive back.''

DUNN COUNTY SHERIFF BILL LOCK WAS A FUSSY, officious, bespectacled man, a little overweight, who, if he'd put on a fake white beard, would make an adequate departmentstore Santa. He met Lucas and Sloan among the coffins in theEternal

Comfort Room at Logan's Funeral Home, where Logan had set up coffee and doughnuts for the cops.

''Come on and take a look,'' Lock said. ''We'd appreciate it if one of our guys could talk to Duane Cale-you still got him over there in Hennepin County jail.

He might have some ideas where they went.''

''No problem,'' Lucas said. He dug out a card, scribbled a number on the back and handed it to Lock. ''Ask for Ted, tell him I said to call, and what you want to do.''

''Good enough.'' Lock walked them through the staging room, where the bodies of

Georgie and Candy LaChaise were still waiting for a funeral. ''You want to look?'' he asked.

''No, thanks,'' Lucas said hastily. ''So what happened?''

''Logan says LaChaise insisted that he open the coffins. They came back here and he opened them. Then LaChaise asked if there was a Coke machine around, and

Logan told them where the machine was. That was one of the cooler things he did: he was so routine, taking his time with the bodies, saying good-bye, then asking for a Coke…''

Lock walked them through it, a couple other deputies standing around, watching.

They wound up in the back room, next to the Coke box. Sand's body was still on the floor, in the middle of a drying puddle of blood. Sand looked small, white and not particularly tough, his head cocked up at an odd angle, his chin squarely on the floor, his nose off the ground.

''Logan figures he was gone for five minutes. When he came back to the staging room, there was nobody here. He looked into the back, and found this.''

''Never saw LaChaise again?'' Lucas asked.

''Never saw him again,'' Lock said, shaking his head. ''Never heard any noise, nothing. Now we got the sonofabitch running around the countryside somewhere.''

''He's long gone,'' Lucas said.

''Yeah, but we're doing a house-to-house check anyway,'' Lock said.

''He had to have help.'' Lucas walked around the body, squatted, and looked at

Sand's hands as they stuck out of the cuffs. ''There aren't any defensive cuts, so it wasn't like LaChaise pulled a shank on him.'' Lucas stood up and made a hand-washing motion. ''If LaChaise was cuffed and wearing leg irons, there's no way he could have taken this guy without some kind of fight. There must've been somebody else here.''

''Unless he'd cut a deal with Sand to turn him loose, and make it look like an escape-then double-crossed him.''

''Huh. What'd he have to offer Sand? Candy and Georgie were dead, so the source of money had dried up…''

''We're checking with Michigan, see if Sand had any problems back there.

Something to blackmail him with…''

''Nobody saw him walking away.'' Lucas made it a statement.

''Nope. Nobody saw nothing.''

Sloan jumped in: ''I heard his mother says he's coming after us.''

''That's what she says,'' Lock said, nodding. ''And she could be right. Dick is nuts.''

''You know him?'' Lucas asked.

''From when I was a kid,'' Lock said. ''I used to run a trap line up the Red

Cedar in the winter. The LaChaises lived down south of here on this broken-ass farm-Amy LaChaise is still out there. I used to see the LaChaise kids every now and then. Georgie and Dick. Their old man was a mean sonofabitch, drunk, beat the shit out of the kids…''

''That's how it is with most psychos,'' said Sloan.

''Yeah, well, I wouldn't be surprised if somebody told me he'd been screwing

Georgie, either. She always knew too much, there in school.'' Lock scratched his head, caught him-self and slicked back his thinning hair. ''The old man came after me once, said I was trespassing on his part of the river, and they didn't even live on the river.''

''What happened?'' Sloan asked.

''Hell, I was seventeen, I'd baled hay all summer, built fence in the fall and then ran the trap line. I was in shape, he was a fifty-year-old drunk: I kicked his ass,'' Lock said, grinning at them over Sand's body.

''Good for you,'' Sloan said.

''Not good for his kids, though-living with him,'' Lock said. ''The whole goddamn bunch of them turned out crazier'n bedbugs.''

     

 

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