Читать онлайн "Sudden prey" автора Sandford John - RuLit - Страница 11


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''There's more? Besides Georgie and Dick?'' Lucas asked.

''One more brother, Bill. He's dead,'' Lock said. ''Ran himself into a bridge abutment up on County M, eight or ten years back. Dead drunk, middle of the night. There was a hog in the backseat. Also dead.''

''A hog,'' said Sloan. He looked at Lucas, wondering if Lock was pulling their legs.

Lock, reading Sloan's mind, cracked a grin. ''Yeah, he used to rustle hogs. Put them in the car, leave them off at friends' places. When he got five or six, he'd run them into St. Paul.''

''Hogs,'' Sloan said, shaking his head sadly.

Lock said the only two people who'd showed up for the funeral were Amy LaChaise and Sandy Darling, Candy's sister. ''They're both still sitting out there. They say they don't know what the heck happened.''

''You believe them?'' Sloan asked.

''Yeah, I sorta do,'' Lock said. ''You might want to talk to them, though. See what you think.''

AMY LACHAISE WAS A MEAN-EYED, FOULMOUTHED waste of time, defiant and quailing at the same time, snappingat them, then flinching away as though she'd been beaten after other attempts at defiance.

''You're gonna get it now,'' she crowed, peering at them from beneath the ludicrous hat-net. ''You're the big shots going around killing people, thinking your shit don't stink; but you're gonna see. Dickie's coming for you.''


She was a small woman, but came bigger than her size: her black dress was unconsciously dramatic, the silver-tipped black boots an oddly elegant country touch, both sensitive and tough.

She faced them squarely, her eyes looking into theirs, unflinching, her voice calm, but depressed.

Sandy had seen Lucas arrive with Sloan, had seen them talking with the sheriff.

The big tough-looking guy wore what she recognized as an expensive suit, probably tailored. FBI? He looked like an FBI man from the movies. The other man, the thin one, was shifty-looking, and dressed all in shades of brown. They went in the back, where the dead guard was, and a few minutes later came back out, and talked to Amy LaChaise. She could hear Amy's crowing voice, but not the individual words.

After five minutes, the two men left Amy LaChaise and walked over to where she was sitting. She thought, Hold on. Just hold on.

''Mrs. Darling?'' The big guy had blue eyes that looked right into her. When he smiled, just a small polite smile, she almost shivered, the smile was so hard.

He reminded her of a Montana rancher she'd met once, when she'd gone out to pick up a couple of quarter horses; they'd had a hasty affair, one that she remembered with some pleasure.

The other guy, the shifty one, smiled, and he looked like Dagwood, like a nice guy.

''I'm Lucas Davenport from Minneapolis,'' the big guy said, ''And this is

Detective Sloan…''

She caught Lucas's name: Davenport. Wasn't he…? ''Did you shoot my sister?'' she blurted.

''No.'' The big man shook his head. ''Detective Sloan and I were at the credit union, but neither one of us fired a gun.''

''But you set it up,'' she said.

''That's not the way we see it,'' Lucas said.

Sandy's head jerked, a nod: she understood. ''Am I going to be arrested?''

''For what?'' the thin man asked. He seemed really curious, almost surprised, and she found herself warming to him.

''Well, that's what I want to know. I came to the funeral, and now they won't let me go anywhere. I've got to ask before I go to the bathroom. Nobody'll talk to me.''

''That's routine,'' the thin man said. ''I know it's tiresome, but this is a serious thing. A man's been murdered.''

The thin man-Sloan?-made it sound so reasonable. He went on. ''We'll talk to the sheriff, see if we can get you some information on how much longer it'll be. I imagine you'll have to make a formal statement, but I'd think you'd be home for dinner.''

''If you're not involved,'' Davenport said. She was sitting in a big chair, and he dropped into another one at a right angle to her. ''If you've got anything to do with this, if you know where LaChaise is at, you better say so now,'' he said. ''Get a lawyer, get a deal.''

She shook her head, and a tear started down her cheek. ''I don't know anything,

I just came to say good-bye to Candy…''

Three things were going on in her head. When Lucas said, ''Say so now,'' she thought, deep in her mind, Oh, right. At another level, she was so frightened she could hardly bear it. And in yet another place, she really was thinking aboutCandy, dead in a coffin not ten yards away; and that started the tear down her cheek.

LUCAS SAW THE TEAR START, AND HE GLANCED AT Sloan. A wrinkle appeared between

Sloan's eyes. ''Take it easy,'' Sloan said gently. He leaned forward and touched her hand. ''Listen. I really don't think you had anything to do with this, but sometimes, people know more than they think. Like, if you were Dick LaChaise, where would you go? You know him, and you both know this territory


They talked with her for another fifteen minutes, but nothing came of it. Sandy showed tears several times, but held her ground: she simply didn't know. She was a horse rancher, for God's sakes, a landowner, a taxpayer, a struggling businesswoman. She didn't know about outlaws: ''Candy and I… she moved out of the house when I was in ninth grade and we didn't see her much after that.

She was always running around with Dick, doing crazy stuff. I was afraid she'd wind up dead.''

''What'd your folks do?'' Sloan asked.

''My dad worked for the post office-he had a rural route out of Turtle Lake.

They're both gone now.''

''Sorry,'' Sloan said. ''But you don't know anybody they might have run to?''

She shook her head: ''No. I didn't have anything to do with that bunch. I didn't have time-I was always working.''

''So how crazy is LaChaise?'' Lucas asked. ''His mother says he's gonna come after us.''

Sandy flipped her cowboy hat in her hands, as though she was making an estimate.

''Dick is… strange,'' she said, finally. ''He's rough, he was good-looking at one time, although… not so much now. He was wild. He attracted all the wild guys in the Seed, you'd hear about crazy stunts on his bike, or sleeping on the yellow line. He really did sleepon the yellow line once-on Highway 64, outside a tavern. Dead drunk, of course.''

''Do you think he'll come after us?'' Lucas asked.

''Are you worried?'' asked Sandy, curiously. The big guy didn't look like he'd worry.

''Some,'' Lucas said. '' 'Cause I don't know enough about him. And his wife and his sister-excuse me for saying this, I know Candy was your sister-the things they did were nuts.''

Sandy nodded. ''That's from Dick,'' she said. ''Dick is… he's like an angry, mean little boy. He'll do the craziest stuff, but then, later, he'll be sorry for it. He once got drunk and beat up a friend, and when he sobered up, he beat himself up. He got a two-by-two and hit himself in the face with it until people stopped him and took him to the hospital.''

''Jesus,'' Sloan said, looking at Lucas, impressed.

''But he can be charming,'' Sandy said. ''And you can shame him out of stuff.

Like a little boy. Unless he's drunk, then he's unstoppable.''

''You keep talking about drinking. Is he drunk a lot?''

''Oh, yeah,'' Sandy nodded. ''He's an alcoholic, no question. So are most of his friends. But Dick's not one of those guys who's drunk all the time-he'll go dry for a while, but then he'll go off on a toot and be crazy for two weeks.''

''Somebody cut this prison officer's throat while he was cuffed up and laying on the floor. You think LaChaise could do that?'' Lucas asked.



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