Читать онлайн "Sudden prey" автора Sandford John - RuLit - Страница 9


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LaChaise let him go for a minute, enjoying himself, then he cut Sand's throat from one ear to the other. As the purple blood poured out on the concrete, Sand thrashed, and La-Chaise rode him with the knee. The thrashing stopped and Sand's one visible eye began to go opaque.

''Gotta go,'' Butters said.

''Fuckhead,'' LaChaise said. He dropped Sand's head, wiped the blade on the back of Sand's coat, folded the knife as he stood up and handed it to Butters.

''Gonna be hell cleaning up the mess,'' Butters said, looking down at the body.

''I hate to get blood on concrete.''

''We'll send them some Lysol,'' LaChaise said. ''Let's roll.''

''Lysol don't work,'' Butters said, as they headed for the doors. ''Nothing works. You always got the stain, and it stinks.''

THEY WENT OUT THE SERVICE DRIVE ON THE BACK OF the funeral home, Butters with his thin peckerwood face and long sandy hair sitting in the driver's seat, while

LaChaise sat on the floor in front of the passenger seat.

When they turned onto the street, LaChaise unfolded a bit and looked over the backseat, through the cab window, through the topper, and out the topper's rear window, down toward the funeral home. The deputy's car was still sitting in the street, unmoving. Nobody knew yet, but they probably didn't have more than a couple of minutes.

''Are we going up to the trailer?'' LaChaise asked.


''You been there?''

''Yeah. There's electricity for heat and the pump, and a shitter out back.

You'll be okay for a day or two, until we get set in the Cities. Martin's down there today, waiting for some furniture to get there.''

''You find a cop?''

''Yep. Talked to a guy last night, me and Martin did. We got us a cop the name of Andy Stadic. He's hooked up with a dope dealer named Harp. Harp took some pictures, and now we got the pictures.''

''Good one.'' They crossed a river with a frozen waterfall, and were out of town. ''How's Martin?''

''Like always. But that Elmore is a hinky sonofabitch. We told him we needed a place to stay, me 'n Bill, and I had to back him up against the wall before he said okay on the trailer.''

''Fuck him,'' LaChaise said. ''If he knew I was gonna be out there, he'd be peein' his pants.''

''Gonna have to keep an eye on Sandy,'' Butters said.

LaChaise nodded. ''Yeah. She's the dangerous one. We'll want to get out of the trailer soon as we can.''

Butters looked sideways at him. ''You and Sandy ever…''

''No.'' LaChaise grinned. ''Woulda liked to.''

''She's a goddamned wrangler,'' Butters agreed.

Butters drove them through a web of back roads, never hesitating. He'd driven the route a half-dozen times. Forty minutes after killing Sand, they made the trailer, without seeing another car.

LaChaise said: ''Free.''

''Loose, anyway,'' Butters said.

''That's close enough,'' LaChaise said. He unconsciously rubbed his wrists where the manacles had been.

LOGAN, THE FUNERAL DIRECTOR, RAN INTO THE chapel like a small, drunk tailback, knocked down a halfdozen metal folding chairs, staggered, nearly bowled over Amy

LaChaise, struggled briefly with the door handle and was gone out the front door.

Sandy looked at Amy LaChaise across the closed caskets.

''What the hell was that?'' Amy asked.

''I don't know,'' she said, but she felt suddenly cold.

Ten seconds later, the cop who'd been parked out front ran in the door with his pistol in a two-handed grip. He pointed the gun at Sandy, then at Amy, then swiveled around the room: ''Hold it. Everybody hold it.''

''What?'' Amy asked. She clutched her purse to her chest. Logan peeked out from behind the deputy. ''Mr. LaChaise is gone.''

Amy screeched, like a crow killing an owl, a sound both pleased and intolerable.

''Praise the Lord.''

''Shut up,'' the deputy screamed, pointing the pistol at her. ''Where's the prison guy? Where's the prison guy?''

Logan poked a finger toward the back. ''In there…''

''What's wrong with him?'' Sandy asked.

The deputy ran through the door into the back, and Logan said, ''Well, he's dead. LaChaise cut his throat.''

Sandy closed her eyes: ''Oh, no.''

A HIGHWAY PATROLMAN ARRIVED FIVE MINUTES LATER. Then two more sheriff's deputies. The deputies split Amy LaChaise and Sandy, made them sit apart.

''And keep your mouths shut,'' one of the deputies said, a porky man with a name tag that said Graf.

LaChaise, Sandy thought, was at Elmore's daddy's trailer, out at the hill place.

Had to be. That whole story about Martin and Butters needing a place to stay-it sounded like bullshit as soon as Elmore had told her about it.

But the problem was, she was Candy's sister, LaChaise's sister-in-law. She'd been present when LaChaise had escaped and murdered a man. And now LaChaise was up at a trailer owned by her senile father-in-law.

She'd seen LaChaise railroaded by the cops for conspiracy to commit murder: they'd do the same to her, and with a lot more evidence.

Sandy Darling sat and shivered, but not with the cold; sat and tried to figure a way out.

THE TRAILER WAS A BROKEN-DOWN AIRSTREAM, SITTING on the cold frozen snow like a shot silver bullet. Buttersand LaChaise crunched through the sparse snow on fourwheel drive, then they got out of the truck into the cold and Butters unlocked the trailer. ''I come by this morning and dropped off some groceries and turned on the heat… Can't nobody see you in here, but you might want to keep the light down at night,'' he said. ''You don't have to worry about smoke.

Everything's electric and it works. I turned the pump on and filled up the water heater, so you oughta be okay that way.''

''You done really good, Ansel,'' LaChaise said.

''I owe you,'' Butters said. And he turned away from the compliment: ''And there's a TV and a radio, but you can only get one channel-sort of-on the TV, and only two stations on the radio, but they're both country.''

''That's fine,'' LaChaise said, looking around. Then he came back to Butters, his deep black eye fixing the other man like a bug: ''Ansel, you ain't owed me for years, if you ever did. But I gotta know something for sure.''

Butters glanced at him, then looked out the window over the sink: ''Yeah?''

''Are you up for this?''

Ansel glanced at him again, and away: it was hard to get Crazy Ansel Butters to look directly at you, under any conditions. ''Oh yeah. I'm very tired. You know what I mean? I'm very tired.''

''You can't do nothin' crazy,'' LaChaise said.

''I won't, 'til the time comes. But I am getting close to my dying day.''

The words came out with a formal stillness.

''Well, that's probably bullshit, Ansel,'' LaChaise said, but he said it gravely, without insult intended or taken.

Butters said, ''I come off the interstate, down home, up an exit ramp at night, with pole lights overhead. And I seen an owl's shadow going up the ramp ahead of me-wings allspread, six or eight feet across, the shadow was. I could see every feather. Tell me that ain't a sign.''

''Maybe it's a sign, but I got a mission here,'' LaChaise said. ''We all got a mission now.''

''That's true,'' Butters said, nodding. ''And I won't fuck you up.''

''That's what I needed to know,'' LaChaise said.


A CLERK NAMED ANNA MARIE KNOCKED ON LUCAS'S office door, stuck her head inside, struggled for a moment with her bubble gum and said, ''Chief Lester said to tell you, you know Dick LaChaise?''


She paused for a quick snap of her gum: ''Dick, who was married to that one woman who got shot, and was brother to the other one? Last week?''

Lucas had one hand over the phone mouthpiece and said, ''Yeah?''



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