Moon In Scorpio

Chapter 7

Castle sits at the table in Remy's and sips his coffee whilst he works on the crossword. He looks up as the two detectives approach and flop down into the seats opposite. Esposito slides a folder onto the table and slaps his hand onto it as Castle is about to take it. "This does not leave our sight" he says sternly.

Castle nods then looking at the men opposite him asks "Wouldn't you guys like a coffee or something?"

The two detectives look at each other, sigh, get up and head for the counter. Castle pulls the folder towards him, flips the cover, and pulling his phone from his pocket begins taking photos of the file. The two detectives take their time getting their coffees and by the time they return, Castle has completed photographing the contents. He slides the folder back across the table, quietly thanks the cops and as he stands up to leave, adds "Oh! And before I forget, tickets will be available in your names for you to pick up at the ticket office"

Castle makes his way into the loft, shutting the door behind him and heading straight to the office, he's impatient to get the information from his phone up onto his story board, turning on his laptop, the screen and connecting his phone. For the next two and a half hours he goes through the information from the file, looking for the pattern which will give him the first clue about his visitor … he can't help turning to look at the sketch which he's affixed to some backing board and has placed on an easel near the bookshelves … he finds her more intriguing every time he looks at the drawing.

There are at least three of the robbery reports in the file which he doesn't feel match the MO of the rest. Though the entries were made using climbing gear, as were all the cases in the file, they also involved violence, and though he's willing to keep an open mind on this matter, neither the behaviour of his visitor, nor her reaction when she'd been caught convinced him she would react in such a way. It could be wishful thinking, but he doesn't think she's responsible for those three cases.

Removing them from the screen for the present, he looks at the remaining nine cases, pulling up a map of Manhattan and marking each of the locations. Of course the file does not include his own incident as it is still so recent, so he adds a mark for it. Looking at the pattern he can see a clearly defined arc, not that all the marks line up perfectly, some lay further out, some further in towards his imaginary centre, but the more he looks at it the more he becomes convinced.

When he adds the three cases he has previously discarded, the pattern is disrupted; one of them is up near Central Park, a second one is at Turtle Bay and the third one up in Hell's Kitchen. They add chaos to his arc theory. Deleting these three, leaves him with an arc running south-east from Chelsea, through Kips Bay, down to Stuyvesant, past Alphabet city and curving back westwards towards his own loft; the natural centre of this arc is somewhere round the West Village or Greenwich Avenue, whilst if he were to place them on a circle, the centre would be somewhere round Union Square Park.

The police have not found any common denominators linking the victims; some are known to each other, some not, some have children others not, of the nine robberies he is working with … well ten if he includes himself, there are two lawyers, an accountant, a hospital administrator, two art dealers, one retired, one not, two financial advisors, a male fashion model and himself. None of the names are familiar to him and the police have so far been unsuccessful in linking them in any way. Nor have any of the stolen items, nearly all modern art or jewellery, turned up so far, it seems like the thief or thieves don't like classic or antique, which is puzzling both victims and police as a number of those targeted found family heirlooms and pieces of art of more value than those taken, still in place.

So, maybe tomorrow he should start by visiting each of them and seeing if the police have missed some vital clue. Whether he will get anywhere with these fellow victims, he doesn't know, but at least it's worth a try. He is also feeling the first stirrings of an idea. When he'd told the two detectives at the 12th that he was thinking of creating a new character, a detective who would be tracking down an international jewel thief, it had been nothing more than a cover for his request, but every time he thought about it, and that was occurring with more frequency each time, it was actually the thief who was taking on the role of principal character … and he had just the person in mind for that role!

He hears the door to the loft opening and closing before his daughter calls out "Hey Dad, I'm home!"

"Be with you in a moment Pumpkin!" He quickly saves the work he has been doing before closing down the story board, placing the laptop on his desk and heading to the kitchen to give his daughter the biggest hug he can.

They are half-way through preparing an ice-cream-and-every-topping-you-can-think-of when the security company he has contacted that morning arrives to install the new system. It's dark outside by the time the men have finished. New locks have been added to the windows, the door to the roof terrace, though secure enough, has had a new alarm connected. Movement sensors have been added throughout the loft along with panic buttons in the bedrooms and the control panel by the door has been duplicated in his bedroom so that in the event of a Martha's walk of shame … he hadn't exactly used that phrase but had explained his mother's propensity to arrive home in the early hours and somewhat tired due to her work … he hadn't wanted to add the fact that sometimes she enjoyed a few too many drinks … he would be able to turn the alarm off or on from his bedroom. Passwords were communicated to the company's head office and the operational instructions explained both to Rick and Alexis.

He's quite happy to see them leave, though once alone with Alexis he begins feel observed, the sensation not improving whenever he looks up and sees one of the red blinking leds on the movement sensors ... yeah, ok they're not actually on yet, but he still feels uncomfortable.

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