One Way Or Another

Chapter 25

08/29/2005 Late evening into early morning 08/30/2005

Chapter Twenty-Five

Nick sat quietly as he watched them stop at one of the large warehouses in the industrial section of Vegas not too far from the bar; he figured maybe two miles from the bar. Smith got out and made short work of the big padlock and chain holding the door closed. He rolled the door back and Jameson drove the Bronco into the building and parked while Smith pulled the chain and padlock from the outside of the door and used them to secure it from the inside. Nick took in every detail, down to the smallest thing. The CSI in him was watching and tucking information away for later processing.

Like why hide out less than two miles from where you just boosted a car? Why boost a car if you've got a place to hide out? The fact they even boosted another ride told Nick they'd had no idea where they were going to hide out until they'd picked up that backpack, which meant their hide out had been selected for them from someone on the outside.

"Okay, it's time to get settled in for the night, pretty boy." Thompson said as he again reached over and undid Nick's seatbelt and pulled him out his side of the car.

This is getting old, Nick thought, as he allowed himself to be pulled across the seat and out of the car. Nick saw once he was out of the car that the warehouse must have been used for storage at one time, because there were shelves and shelves of crates and boxes to his left. To his right he saw three doors, probably offices and a bathroom. He also noted that there were two other vehicles already parked in the warehouse; a white F150 late model Ford pickup and a late model red Chevy Envoy SUV.

"The first room is the bathroom. The middle room is a storage room with a cot where Mr. CSI guy is staying the night and the third is an office with two more cots. We have running water, lights and food. We'll take shifts." Smith said rattling off the information as if it was committed to memory.

"Okay, we're gonna need to be sure he's secured; I'm not gonna just lock him in the room and hope for the best." Thompson stated still holding onto Nick's arm. He was in no hurry to let him go. He was money in the bank after all.

"Not a problem. There's everything we need in the storage room. He'll be nice and comfy for the night."

"I need to use the bathroom first." Nick said, speaking up for the first time since finding out why they'd grabbed him.

Smith raised an eyebrow at Nick, but simply replied, "Jameson, you can take him to the bathroom. There aren't any windows; only one way in. He can't do nothing." He smiled at Nick.

Nick was getting sick and tired of that guy and his smile. "My name's Nick." Nick said, but he didn't really care what they called him. He just wanted to let them know he was still here in mind, not just in body.

"Oh…kay Nick. I'll try and remember that." Smith said as he watched Jameson lead Nick away to the first door on their right.

Outside the bathroom, Jameson uncuffed Nick's hands and made him take off his vest and empty his pockets. "Okay. Hurry up. You got two minutes and then I come in whether you're done or not." He said, pushing Nick into the room. He dropped Nick's things on the floor by the door and forgot about them.

Nick shut the door behind him and looked around the room, but Smith was right. There were no windows, just a toilet and a sink. Nothing. There was a mirror over the sink, but it wasn't made of glass, it was some kind of metal or chrome, so it was of no use to him. What am I gonna do now? Nick gulped as his stomach churned.

He went about his business and washed his hands, looking at himself in the sort of mirror. His neck showed multiple red and purple bruises from the chokehold. And he had a bruise on the left side of his face, he was assuming from the pressure of Thompson's hand.

Get a grip here, Stokes. Hang in there. Everyone's looking for you and Reilly needs you. So you gotta hang in there. Nick didn't know much about what was going on here, but one thing he did know; Christopher Thompson wasn't running this show. John Smith was the man in charge here.

Something else registered with Nick just then; if Reilly was on this she would not rest till she found him and that brought a smile to his lips. His woman would not stop till she found all of them and he almost felt sorry for these guys when Reilly got a hold of them. Almost, he smiled to himself. He braced himself with that thought as he reached for the door.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Sara Sidle moved about the evidence table looking at everything she'd gotten at the hospital from the inmate, Matthew Waller before and after he had died. There wasn't much, but she did have the x-rays the doctor had ordered of Waller's skull when he was first brought to the ER and they were surprising.

The doctor was adamant that Waller was not killed with a book. He didn't care if it was War and Peace, no book did this damage. He felt that Waller had been struck with a small blunt object like a hand tool of some kind like a wrench; that was the doctor's best guess. That alone meant that there was something wrong with the scene at the jail.

She was still waiting on the preliminary autopsy report to verify exactly what the wound looked like so she could determine the weapon used. Catherine and Greg soon joined her in the room with the evidence they'd collected from the community room and Waller's jail cell. Nothing there even remotely could be identified as a small blunt object.

Greg picked up the book and looked it over. It was still bagged and tagged as it had been when Warrick and Nick first saw it. "How would anyone even use a book to hit someone? Even if the book is big and heavy enough, it's awkward to hold in an offensive way to cause any damage. I can see throwing the book at someone and causing damage, but that would change the perception of the book and where DNA would be left behind."

"I know. But the book is important. It's definitely a clue of some kind." Catherine took the book from Greg and seeing as she was already gloved up, she removed it from the bag. She thumbed through a few of the pages stopping somewhere around the middle of the book when a piece of scrap paper fluttered out. She picked it up and read it. "One mill 9am Tuesday."

"What does that mean?" Sara asked, taking a look at the paper over Catherine's shoulder. "How is it going to get Nick back?" She added as Catherine looked at her and saw the shimmer of unshed tears glistening in her eyes.

"We'll get him back." Catherine said softly.

"Look today is Tuesday, but just barely. 9AM is a little over eight hours away and assuming today is the Tuesday mentioned then what is one mill?" Greg replied, as Sara's cell phone rang.

Sara stepped away from the table as she answered her phone.

"Maybe it's a factory or a warehouse of some kind or maybe it's an actual mill?" Catherine asked as she thought. "Maybe it's a shortened version of a name or a street address or something like that."

"I'll check with Archie and see if he can locate any businesses or addresses with any references to the word 'mill'. I also have the visitor logs for Thompson, Jameson, Smith and Waller. I'll have him cross-reference the lists and see if they have anything or anyone in common." Greg pulled on a pair of gloves and reached for the slip of paper still in Catherine's hand. "I'll also have Wendy run this for prints along with the book." He added as he gathered the evidence up and headed out of the room.

Sara turned back around to Catherine. "That was Doc Robbins. He's completed the preliminary autopsy report on Waller. He has something interesting to report.

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