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.Why involve me? You had to figure I’d try and talk you out of going.Or insist on bringing in the cops.”“But you didn’t.”Kiana half-turned in the passenger seat to talk to Evan.“We did think she would.”“I guess we wanted your…”He seemed lost for the right word.Kiana, who had a very mature vocabulary, inserted it.“Expertise.”“Right,” Evan said.When he didn’t elaborate, Kiana said, “We thought you could look at the scene and get clues from it.”“Right,” said Evan, “we have no idea what to look for.”Besides that, Angie was the so-called investigator.If authorities showed up she’d be able to talk them out of a mess.Well, they might have a great big surprise coming.Alton Bay cops would listen to her excuses for their presence at a crime scene, but Carlson cops? No way.Angie pulled into the parking lot of the building she recognized from the news.“You realize the cops will have taken everything that so much as resembles a clue, right?”Neither teen answered.She hadn’t expected one.She knew, as did they, that cops might have overlooked the significance of a particular item.Kiana led them up the stairs and to Gwen’s apartment.They didn’t meet anyone along the way.They must be large apartments since there was quite a distance between entry doors.No sounds came from the apartment across the hall.The tenants might still be in bed, it wasn’t yet 8:30.Also possible that they’d gone to work.Angie put her hand on Kiana’s to stop the key from going into the lock.“Are you sure you’re up to this? You realize the place won’t be, um…cleaned up?” Angie couldn’t believe when her mouth added, “What if I go in alone? You could wait in the car.”“I’ll be all right,” Kiana whispered.She wouldn’t be.The scene inside that apartment would be forever etched in her brain.It would be in every waking moment.It would be there when she went to sleep and when she woke.Angie also knew there was no changing the girl’s mind.She would go inside.And so they did, Evan’s confident fingers turning the key and pushing open the door.Though she’d warned the kids about the emotion and horror they might experience in Gwen’s apartment, not even Angie was prepared for what was behind that door.As expected, a white chalk outline had been drawn to the left side of the living room, on a royal blue carpet, in front of a modern style chair and small side-table.From the outline it was hard to tell if Gwen died on her face or her back, but her head had been canted to one side, both legs bent awkwardly.Yes, Angie expected the chalk but she didn’t expect three smooth-treaded footprints to mar the thick white line.Large feet for a woman, average size for a man.Angie had expected to see fingerprint dust on everything; fingerprinting was one of the first things done at a crime scene.But she hadn’t expected the dust itself to be streaked with new prints.The third unexpected sight—and they hadn’t left the living room—was the total devastation.The place was a shambles.Papers and magazines of every imaginable color and size littered the carpet.The couch had been overturned, its bottom panel and every cushion torn open.CDs and DVDs lay haphazardly in front of a large wooden television cabinet along the hallway wall.The flatscreen television, DVR, and DVD player had been taken from their compartments and dismantled.Someone had been looking for something.And they weren’t leaving an inch unsearched.Evan and Kiana stood elbow-to-elbow on her left both froze in dumbstruck silence.Evan’s emotions weren’t only on his face; at his sides, his hands clenched and unclenched.He stepped forward and knelt beside one of the footprints overlaid on the chalk mark.His fingers remained inches away but traced the outline.“I probably don’t have to tell you not to touch anything,” Angie said as she moved for a better view of the apartment.To the right through a wide archway, was the kitchen.Since Evan seemed to have taken the living room, she would search there.She turned to suggest Kiana take the bedrooms and wasn’t surprised to see tears racing down the girl’s face.Evan went to her.As he wrapped her in his arms, Angie continued into the kitchen where in an incongruous display of happiness, sunlight streamed through the pair of windows.The appliances were old, as they would be in a rental unit—management rarely changed one unless it broke down—but they were clean [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

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