Unkindest Cut of All

Chapter 7


Casey had become impatient and irritated just sitting and waiting at her desk inside the station for Walsh to show up for work. However, deep down she knew that something was wrong, as it wasn't like him to be late, at least without calling first, let alone just not show up at all.

Both Beaumont and Cole sensed that something was wrong as well, but Cole wasn't so much concerned with Jason's welfare, as he was with his own well-being and his brother's. It wasn't that he didn't care about Walsh. He really did, as the man had stuck up for him and protected him so that he could continue to be Beaumont's partner and work toward being the better man.

It was shortly after ten, when their boss once again walked out of his office and ordered Detective Shraeger to get out there and find out where her missing partner was, before he gave away their case to any of the others. Casey was about to leave, until she was stopped and pulled aside by Beaumont.

Beaumont spoke up softly as she asked, "You know that something's wrong, don't you? I mean, you and I both know that this isn't like Jason to not be here. There is something going on between you two. I want to know…"

Casey was shocked by the other woman's accusation, as she quickly interrupted, "What are you talking about? There's nothing going on between me and Walsh. He's my partner and only my partner."

"No, no, no, I mean…. I know that the two of you aren't involved," Allison replied. "I'm sorry. What I meant was that I know that the two of you are hiding some kind of secret that has to do with his strange mood he's been in for weeks now. And I'm also sensing that whatever it is, it has something to do with why he isn't here right now. Do you think he's in trouble?"

"Yes, I think he's in trouble," Casey answered. "But I don't know why."

Beaumont responded, "Please tell me what's bothering him. If it does have something to do with his disappearance, I want to know. I care about him."

Casey sighed, looked away for a brief moment, then turned back to her, and said, "I know that you do. And believe me, I wish that I could tell you, but I can't. He asked me not to tell anyone. It is only up to him if and when he chooses to talk about it with you. He doesn't want to hurt you because… because he cares for you too, a lot."

"But if he's hurt because of this secret, then…" Beaumont tried to say until she was cut off once again.

"Listen to me, Allison," Casey replied. "It's possible you may find out everything after today, but it will not be from me. I will not betray Jason's trust; not ever."

As soon as she finished, Casey walked away, leaving Beaumont standing there bewildered by Detective Shraeger's stamina. The two of them hadn't been partners for too long, but they already acted as if they had been for years. However, she felt the same way about her own partnership with Cole. They had become pretty close as well. She realized then that she understood how Casey couldn't betray hers and Walsh's trust, even if whatever the big secret is is the reason why Walsh is in trouble now.

After Casey walked out of the station, she got into her car and drove to Walsh's diner, hoping that something would give her a clue as to where he was and why he was missing. When Beaumont had gotten up this morning, Jason was already gone and she hadn't noticed anything unusual within the diner before she left, which meant that if he had been kidnapped, the struggle, which he surely would have given his attackers, didn't take place there. However, the diner was her only starting point.

When she arrived, the front entrance was locked, as was the back entrance, which meant that Jason had left the diner. However, his car was still in the space where he always parked it, down the alley right besides the building. He must have gone out for a walk and so Casey headed down the alley and found that his car was untouched and that there was nothing else indicating a struggle had taken place there either.

She continued walking a little further down the street until she came to another alley a few blocks away. Casey was about to turn away from it, until her eye suddenly caught sight of the end of a piece of white cloth hanging out from a dumpster a few feet away, inside the alley. Casey walked toward it and as she opened the dumpster's lid, she slowly pulled out the cloth and discovered that it wasn't just a strip or piece of ordinary cloth, but a white apron, one just like the apron Walsh usually wore when he served and prepared the food, except it was no longer white with food stains as it should have been. As Casey held it up, she found that there was blood soaking into the cloth. Fear suddenly struck her as she knew without a doubt that the blood was her partner's.

Meanwhile…

Back inside the police department, Beaumont was growing more and more tense as she waited for any news on Jason from Detective Shraeger, but a little more than an hour had gone by since she left. Since then, there had been no call and no message from her letting Allison know that he had been found and was all right. She knew now for sure that he had been kidnapped, otherwise he would be there.

Sergeant Brown walked out of his office after he hung up the phone in frustration and called out, "Delahoy, Banks; you are now officially on the two dead bodies case that I had originally assigned to Walsh and Shraeger! Unfortunately, the case is too important to push off onto someone else."

The two of them quickly looked at each other, then back at their boss as Detective Banks spoke up asking, "What's up, Sergeant? I mean, has there been any word on Walsh yet?"

"He's probably out just playing hooky for a day," Delahoy spoke up casually.

"Detective Walsh is now officially missing and we have reason to believe that he's been kidnapped by unknown assailants," Sergeant Brown answered. "Delahoy, when have you ever known Detective Walsh to run off to play hooky?"

Eric looked down at his feet as he responded, "Never, Sir."

Beaumont quickly looked over at her partner in fear, not really noticing his shocked and confused expression, then turned to their boss and asked, "Sir, what makes you believe that Jason's been kidnapped? I mean, there could be a number of reasons why he isn't here."

"I just got off the phone with Shraeger," the sergeant replied. "She called to inform me that she just found a bloodied apron in an alley dumpster a few blocks from Jason's diner. There's a tear in the fabric about the size of a dagger. There's no doubt in her mind that the apron belongs to Walsh. Since no one here has been able to reach him and he's not here, I am inclined to believe her. She's currently on her way back here to the station. Cole, Beaumont, and Alvarez, I want you to help her to do whatever it takes to find him. I'll be working with you, as will the rest of the department. Finding Detective Walsh is our number one priority. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes, Sir," Cole answered grimly, as everyone else just nodded and began to work on whatever they could to get started.

She still failed to see the nervousness in her partner's face, as Beaumont walked over to stand in front of him and said, "This doesn't make any sense. Something's been bothering him for weeks and then this morning, I find out from Casey that whatever it is may have something to do with his disappearance. What is going on? Why kidnap him today?"

Cole replied, "I don't know. It's possible Walsh just ticked off someone in one of his previous cases and they finally decided to do something about it. It may not have anything to do with why he's been upset. Listen, I'm going to help you do whatever it takes to find Walsh, I promise, but I need to step out for about an hour to talk with my fiancée, who's worried about something thanks to my friend, who's in town. You don't mind, do you?"

"No, of course not," Allison answered. "Just try to hurry back. You heard the sergeant and I really need you, Cole.

"I'll be back," the younger detective responded. "I owe Walsh for being here for me when I needed him. See you later."

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