The Favor

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Chapter 21

During Kathryn’s anxiety filled days in New York, sleep became her escape. Even now when she, Jane, became overburdened with guilt for putting friends and family at risk or contemplated her bleak future, she found comfort in drifting away to a land of sunshine and new possibilities.

She blamed her silence at dinner that evening on a headache and excused herself from the table. It was still early, so she attempted to work on her manuscript. Her heart wasn’t in it, so she took a shower and crawled into bed.

When she woke, the clock on her bedside table read midnight. She turned over and drifted back to sleep. When a tap, tap, tap penetrated the thick fog of sleep, she bolted to a sitting position. Had she heard a noise or was her imagination playing tricks on her. Seconds later there was another gentle tap, tap on her door. She scrambled out of bed and tip-toed across the room. “Who’s there?”

“It’s Simon. Open up.”

Simon wouldn’t knock on her door in the middle of the night without cause. Fearing the worst, she opened the door. Her voice was unsteady when she asked, “What’s wrong?”

“Burke received a text from one of the agents staking out the warehouse. Duffy’s been shot. He’s not dead, but he is in critical condition. I’m on my way to the hospital. Since you are the closest thing he has to family, I thought you might want to be there for him if he regains consciousness.”

Tears welled in her eyes and a lump the size of lemon lodged in her throat.”

Simon put a hand on her shoulder. “Don’t faint on me.”

“Sorry. I can't bear the thought of losing Duffy. He was a friend when I desperately needed one."

Simon nodded. "I understand."

"I don't get it. Where was he when he was shot? Is there a connection between the stake-out and Duffy’s attempted murder?”

He put a finger to his lips to quiet her. “I’ll fill you in on the way to the hospital.”

Kathryn felt weak in the knees but fought to quell her mounting fears. “Give me five minutes to throw on some clothes.”

“I’ll meet you at the garage door. Tread softly. Your folks are asleep.”

In record time, she threw cold water on her face, patted it dry, pulled on a pair of slacks, T-shirt and Sketchers. She ran a brush through her hair, picked up her purse and silently crept down the hall. Ten minutes later Simon pulled onto Hwy. 9.

She asked, “What hospital is he in?”

“The EMT’s were taking him to St. Luke’s Trauma Center.”

“How long ago did the shooting occur?”

“I’m not sure of the exact time. Shortly after midnight.”

“Do you know why Duffy was at the warehouse? Who shot him, and why?”

“It’s too early to have answers, but a CSI team is already on site. Here’s what I know. The text Burke received was brief. A short time after midnight, two men entered Springer’s warehouse. The agents couldn’t identify the men because they were wearing dark clothes and dark baseball hats pulled down over their eyes. The light over the door was dim which further prevented identification.

"The agents weren’t familiar with the interior of the warehouse, so chose to confront the men when they exited the building. Their plan changed when they heard two gunshots. When the agents entered the building, Springer and Duffy were lying on the floor. Garcia was leaning over Springer checking for a pulse. Springer apparently died instantly. Duffy was hanging on by a thread. EMT’s arrived minutes after the agents entered the warehouse.”

“Did Garcia shoot Springer and Duffy?”

“He claimed that Duffy shot Springer, and he shot Duffy. There was a gun next to Duffy, so his story might be true.”

Jane shook her head. “I don’t believe it. Something doesn’t ring true. Duffy wouldn’t turn into a killer after spending his life helping people.

"He’s been missing for weeks. Where has he been? What’s he been doing? Are the police sure the gun is his?”

“Again, I can’t answer your questions. I can tell you that good men can be pushed into making bad decisions.

“When I spoke to Duffy, he was furious with the police for what he called incompetence. In a fair world, Springer would have been punished years ago.”

“Duffy has been angry with the police for years. What changed? He was mainly concerned for me, and I escaped.”

“Did he know Teresa?”

“No, but he knew of her. As I mentioned before, Teresa had issues. Duffy and I discussed the best way to help her. He promised when I left New York that he would keep an eye on her.”

“Maybe her murder was the last straw for him. Or, maybe he feared that you would never be able to lead a normal life as long as Springer walked the streets. He missed you. Worried about you. Maybe he wanted to make it possible for you to come out of hiding.”

“Or maybe, Duffy shot Springer in self-defense.”

“Hang onto that thought.”

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