Читать онлайн "Sudden prey" автора Sandford John - RuLit - Страница 12


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''He could if he was in one of his bad-boy moods,'' Sandy said. ''No question. I don't know if I'm getting this across- but when I say like a mean little boy, I mean just like that. He has tantrums, like fits. He scares everybody when he has one, because he's nuts, and because he's so strong. That's what's going on now: he's having one of his tantrums.''

''But a kid's tantrum only lasts a few minutes…''

''Well, Dick's can go on for a while. A week, or a couple of weeks.''

''Is that how he came to get involved in this murder over in Michigan? A tantrum?''

''Oh, no, he wasn't involved in that,'' she said. ''The cops framed him.''

Lucas and Sloan both glanced away from her at the same moment, and she smiled, just a bit. ''So you don't believe me-but they did,'' she said. ''I testified at the trial. There was this guy named Frank Wyatt, who killed another guy named

Larry Waters. The prosecution said that Waters stole some dope from Wyatt, and that Dick owned part of the dope-which he may have, I don't know. Anyway, the night that the dope was stolen, the prosecution said Dick and Wyatt got together at a tavern in Green Bay and talked about killing Waters.''

''That was the conspiracy,'' Lucas said.

''Yes.'' Sandy nodded. ''They had this informant. They let him off some dope charges for his testimony. He testified that he was at the tavern when Wyatt and

Dick talked. Wyatt shot Waters the next day.''

''And you say LaChaise wasn't at the tavern?'' Sloan asked.

''I know he wasn't,'' Sandy said. '' 'Cause he was at my place. I had a filly who broke a leg, shattered it. There was nothing we could do about it, the break couldn't be fixed, we had to put her down. I hate to do that; just hate it. Dick and Candy were in town, and I mentioned it to them. Dick said he'd take care of it, and he did. That was the night he was supposed to be in Green Bay. I had it written in ink on my income-tax calendar. In fact, Dick and Candy were there that whole week… But the jury didn't believe me. The prosecution said,

'She's his sister-in-law, she's just lying for him.' ''

''Well.'' Lucas looked at Sloan again, who shrugged, and Lucas said, ''We know it happens. You get some asshole- excuse me-who goes around wrecking people's lives, and you get a shot at him, and some cops'll take it.''

''Sort of like you took with Candy and Georgie?'' Sandy asked.

''We didn't cheat with Candy and Georgie,'' Lucas said, shaking his head. ''They went to the credit union to rob it- nobody made them do it, or suggested that they do it. They did it on their own hook: we were just watching them.''

She looked steadily at him, then nodded. ''All right,'' she said. ''If I was a cop, I'd have done the same thing.''

THEY TALKED FOR A FEW MORE MINUTES, BUT NOTHING developed that would help. Lucas and Sloan said good-bye to the sheriff and headed for the car.

''What do you think about Sandy Darling?'' Lucas asked as they skated down the sidewalk.

Sloan shook his head. ''I don't know. She's a tough one, and she's no dummy. But she was scared.''

''The cops scared her,'' Lucas said. ''They were pushing her pretty hard.''

''Not scared that way,'' Sloan said. Lucas tossed him the car keys and Sloan popped the driver's-side door. ''She was scared like…''

They got in, and Sloan fired the car up, and after another moment, continued:

''… she was scared like she was afraid she'd make a mistake. Like she was making up a story, and was afraid we'd break it down. If she isn't involved, she doesn't need a story. But I felt like she was working on one.''

Lucas, staring out the window as they rolled through the small town, said,

''Huh.'' And then, ''You know, I kind of like her.''

''I noticed,'' Sloan said. ''That always makes them harder to arrest.''

Lucas grinned, and Sloan let the car unwind down the snaky road toward the I-94.

''We better take a little care,'' Lucas said finally. ''We'll get the word out, that we're looking for anybody asking about cops. And get some paper going on the guy, and his connections. Roust any assholes who might know him.''

''I've never had any comebacks,'' Sloan said. ''A few threats, nothing real.''

''I've had a couple minor ones,'' Lucas said, nodding.

''That's what you get for sneaking around in the weeds all those years,'' Sloan said. Then: ''Bet I beat your time going back.''

''Let me get my seat belt on,'' Lucas said.

LACHAISE STRETCHED OUT ON A BED, A SOFT MATTRESS for the first time in four years, and breathed the freedom. Or looseness. Later, he made some coffee, some peanut-butterand-Ritz-cracker sandwiches, listened to the radio. He heard five or six reports on his escape and the killing of Sand, excited country reporters with a real story. One said that police believed he might be on foot, and they were doing a houseby-house check in the town of Colfax.

That made him smile: they still didn't know how he'd gotten out.

He could hear the wind blowing outside the trailer, and after a while, he put on a coat and went outside and walked around. Took a leak in the freezing outhouse, then walked down to the edge of the woods and looked down a gully. Deer tracks, but nothing in sight. He could feel the cold, and he walked back to the trailer.

The sun was nearly gone, a dim aspirin-sized pill trying to break through a screen of bare aspen.

He listened to the radio some more: the search in Colfax was done. The Dunn

County sheriff said blah-blah-blah nothing.

Still, nightfall was a relief. With night came the sense that the search would slow down, that cops would be going home. He found a stack of army blankets and draped them across the windows to black them out. After turning on the lights, he walked once around the outside of the trailer, to make sure he didn't have any light leaks, came back inside, adjusted one of the blankets, and climbed back to the bed. The silence of the woods had been forgotten, submerged in his years in a cell, and for a while he couldn't sleep.

He did sleep, but when he heard the tires crunching on the snow, he was awake in an instant. He sat up and took the Bulldog off the floor. A moment later, he heard footsteps, and then the door rattled.

''Who is that?'' he asked.

A woman's voice came back: ''Sandy.''

HER FACE WAS TIGHT, ANGRY. ''YOU JERK,'' SHE SAID. HE was looking down at her, the gun pointed at her chest. Coldly furious, she ignored it. ''I want you out of here. Now.''

''Come in and shut the door, you're letting the cold in,'' he said. He backed away from her, but continued to look out over her head. ''You didn't bring the cops?''

''No. I didn't bring the cops. But I want you out of here, Dick. ..''

''Tomorrow,'' he said. ''We're heading for Mexico.''

''At the funeral home, they said you were gunning for these cops that killed

Candy and Georgie.''

''Yeah, well…'' He shrugged.

''Why'd you kill the prison guard?'' she asked. His eyes shifted, and she felt him gathering a reason, anexcuse: ''He was the meanest sonofabitch on the floor.

If you knew what he'd done…''

''But now they're looking for you for murder .'' He shrugged: ''That's what I was in for.''

''But you didn't have anything to do with that,'' she said.

''Didn't make no difference to them,'' he said.

''My God, Dick, there is a difference…''

''You didn't know this guy,'' LaChaise said. ''If you'd known what Sand put my friends through back in the joint…'' He shook his head. ''You couldn't blame us. No man oughta go through that.''

He was talking about rape, she knew. She didn't buy it, but she wouldn't press him, either. She wanted to believe and if she pressed him, she was afraid she'd find out he was lying.

''Whatever,'' she said. ''But now you've got to move. Martin was bragging about how good his truck is: If you leave tomorrow, you can be in Arizona the day after, driving straight through. You can be in Mexico the day after that, down on the Pacific Ocean.''



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