Midnight Owl (A Joe Leverette Mystery, Book 1)

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Leverette sat in his car trying to figure out just what the hell was going on. Why was his face hidden from Carole? Did this ever happen to her before? He made a mental note to ask her when he got to her house. This was a weird case.

He remembered working with a psychic on several cases and it worked out just fine.

Her name was Colleen, but he couldn’t remember how to pronounce her last name. It was a rather long combination of consonants with a few vowels. Hungarian he thought.

Colleen helped with the missing Bilsby boy. The nine year old went missing on his way home from a baseball game he’d played with the local kids.

His parents called and filed a report with the police, and like most parents, said he would never do anything like this. After interviewing his teachers and their pastor it seemed he’d have no reason to run away.

There was no ransom call, which the Bilsbys couldn’t pay if one did come. Mr. Bilsby worked for a small company in Port Huron and Mrs. Bilsby was on disability. She was seriously injured in a car accident and was paralyzed from the waist down, not to mention she’d lost all function of her right arm because of a compound fracture that destroyed the nerves and tendons. In other words they had no money.

Colleen had just moved into the area and worked for Customs at the Blue Water Bridge. She read about Bilsby in the paper and started getting feelings, and came to talk to Billingsley. His first question was how much she wanted.

“I’m not here for money, chief,” she said. “I just want to help this young man. I just ask that my name be kept out of it.”

He thanked her and agreed, still leery about why she didn’t want money.

Billingsley believed in all this supernatural stuff, Leverette did a little, and asked her questions about what she could see.

“He’s in an abandoned home,” she said, “Very scared, not hurt. The woman has him chained to an old radiator but he has enough length to get to the bathroom and his bedroom.”

“Can you tell anything about the house or the neighborhood?”

“It looks like the block only has a few people living on it. The house is an old style two-story, white, several broken windows, front porch is caved in, black shingles, overgrown grass.”

Billingsley finished writing everything down and asked, “Do you see street signs or anything that could help us find this house?”

Colleen thought for a minute. “No, sorry,” she said.

“Would it help if you held something the boy owned?”

“Yes, it would,” she said.

“I’ll be right back,” Billingsley said and got up to go to Leverette.

“You still have that shirt from the Bilsby case?”

“Sure,” Leverette pulled his drawer open and handed it to the chief. “Why? What’s up?”

“I’ll let you know later, thanks,” Billingsley said as he turned to go back to his office.

The evidence bag wasn’t sealed since it was something his father brought from home. He took the tee shirt out and handed it to Colleen.

She held it in both hands and closed her eyes.

“He knows exactly where he is,” Colleen said, “It’s not an abandoned house just not kept up and in a rural area. That’s why I thought it was an empty block.” She closed her eyes again and tried to connect with Bilsby. Not that she could talk to him, just see his thoughts.

“The woman, Becky, is taking good care of him, like he’s her son. He’s not hungry, has new clothes, video games, but he wants to go home. She’s getting upset every time he brings this up.”

Again she closed her eyes trying to peek into his mind. She balled the tee shirt up and squeezed it in her hands. Her eyes opened quickly.

“Something about a golf course,” Colleen said, “Right across the street. Looks like they’re building a new house in back of this one but it’s quite a ways away. He’s in a corner house.”

Billingsley thought about the golf courses in the area. Only one in a rural area, Smith’s Creek. Smith’s Creek!

“Colleen, thank you for your help,” he said and stood up. He was smiling and wanted to get Leverette and Saunders, who was Leverette’s partner until he retired and Marsden came aboard.

She looked at him and returned the smile, “Glad I could help.” You didn’t have to be psychic to know she solved had the case.

They found the boy right where Colleen said he would be.

Colleen didn’t call or stop by the precinct after that for about five months. Another missing child.

Leverette wondered where she was now. He sure had some questions he needed answered. He wondered if Billingsley had Colleen’s info.

As he got ready to pull into the drive he saw Billingsley was already there. He wanted to go put his arms around Carole and tell her everything was going to be alright; she was going to be safe with him around. But not just to calm her, he longed to hold her, kiss her. He decided to go back to the precinct.

Michaels let Billingsley in this time. He noticed Carole and Amy sipping tea. He hated tea. His wife was always trying to get him to try some chamomile to help him relax. After trying it the one time and gagging on it he decided bourbon would be better. He wasn’t a drinker but if it was a case that wound him up, like this one, he did indulge.

The ladies were sitting where they were when he left. His officers were monitoring the house and he was proud of their dedication.

He sat in the chair that Leverette had been sitting in earlier and looked at Carole.

She saw the sadness in his eyes and she started to cry. Amy put her arm around her to try to calm her down. It wasn’t working.

“Ms. Sage, you did all you could,” Billingsley started. “We found him, but he was already gone.”

“I don’t understand,” Amy said, “Didn’t you say the other man was killed three hours after Carole had her vision.”

“Yes, he was,” Billingsley said and sank back into the chair. “This was only an hour after and we got there around 1:30 thinking we had time to set up to catch him.”

Carole wiped her eyes with the last tissue in the box. Amy got up to throw it away and get a new one. She knew they’d be needing it.

“The owl,” Carole said.

“What about it?” Billingsley asked.

“It only hooted once. With the young man it hooted three times.”

“So...” Billingsley started to say, then understood what she was saying. “It let us know how long we had and we didn’t catch it.”

“And why did he hide the face from me?”

“I don’t know,” Billingsley said, “You said you didn’t know anyone on the list of witnesses.”

Carol shook her head.

“Do you think he’s psychic or something? That’s why he hid the face?” Amy asked.

“I know someone I can call,” Billingsley said, “She’s a psychic and has helped us successfully with several cases. She may be able to help now, too.”

He hoped Betty was still there, he didn’t want to talk to Smith. Even though she was his nephew’s wife. As a matter of fact, nobody wanted to ever talk to Smith.

He called Betty and breathed a sigh of relief when she said she was still there.

“I need to get something that belonged to Frank McCullough. Not anything you need for evidence, but maybe a shirt or something like that,” Billingsley said.

“Sure, I’ll drop it by the precinct when I’m on my way to the lab,” she said and hung up.

Now if he could get a hold of Colleen things just might fall into place.

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