Midnight Owl (A Joe Leverette Mystery, Book 1)

By vivdrewa All Rights Reserved ©

Mystery / Other

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

The two detectives went into the office holding their coffee’s in their hands and took their seats.

“I spoke to Colleen just now and she’ll stop in in about an hour, Billingsley said.

Leverette nodded and Marsden was a bit confused.

“Is that the lady who helped in the past?” Marsden asked, “I heard stories about someone when I first came on.”

“Yes, she’s been a great help. I’m hoping she’ll be able to help us now,” Billingsley said. “She might even be able to work with Ms. Sage to understand what kind of visions she was having.

“What time does Andy come in?” Billingsley asked.

“He should be here at seven. I’ll talk to him before I send the email just in case the asshole put something else in it and it fucks up our whole system,” Leverette said and took a sip of his coffee.

“Okay, that’s in about ten minutes. Let me know what he finds, immediately.”

“Sure thing, Chief,” Leverette said, then he and Marsden headed back to their desks.

*

Amy took the day off; fortunately, her boss was understanding about what was going on with her friend Carole.

Carole had fallen asleep on the couch and was still there when Amy came down. Instead of waking her she went into the kitchen and put a pot of coffee on.

Carole stirred as the aroma of the coffee filled the air. She sat up and looked into the kitchen where Amy was getting things ready to make breakfast.

Amy caught sight of her from the corner of her eye. “Good morning, sleepy head,” she said and smiled. “How are you feeling?”

“Okay, I guess,” Carole said and stretched before she got up and headed to the kitchen. “What’s on the menu?”

“How about a farmer’s omelet?” Amy asked as she pulled the eggs and vegetables out of the fridge.

“Sounds good,” Carole said and stretched again. She winced this time as she felt a pinch in her back. “I’ll go get dressed.”

“Okay, it’ll be ready when you come down.”

Carole headed upstairs, took a quick shower and dressed.

Amy was buttering the four slices of toast when she came back into the kitchen. Carole went and poured herself a cup of coffee.

They sat down and started eating. Carole was surprised she was so hungry. She’d had dinner last night and this was so unusual for her.

“You must really be hungry,” Amy said and smiled at her friend. “I’ve never seen you eat so fast. You better slow down.”

“I’m surprised, too,” Carole chuckled. “Must be stress from all this shit.”

“Could very well be,” Amy agreed.

Bud was out in the back yard and started barking. The two friends looked at each other, both feeling a cold chill going down their backs.

Amy stood up and slowly walked to the back door. Carole went to a cabinet in the kitchen and got her gun. She’d had it since she graduated, by her father’s insistence. He didn’t like his little girl going out on her own with no protection.

Carole’s backyard was fenced in with a four foot tall chain link fence, but Amy knew Bud could clear it in one jump. He did meet the officers and detectives last night and seemed to like them all.

His barks turned more vicious, scaring the ladies even more. Carole walked to the back door, gun at the ready, and opened the door.

Nobody was there, but Bud was still upset. Amy called for him to come in the house. He hesitated, looking to the front of the house, but obeyed her.

Once inside, he immediately ran to the front door and started sniffing and growling. He wasn’t happy with something.

Carole moved to the long window on the left side of the door and looked out. She didn’t see anyone but there was a small, flat box on the front step.

“Someone left a box,” she said to Amy.

“Did you order anything?” Amy was still shaking.

“No,” was all Carole said. “I think I’ll call Billingsley and let him know.”

“Good idea,” Amy said moving to the window on the other side of the door and looked out. “You don’t know what it could be.”

Carole set the safety on her gun and put it back in the cabinet. She went into the living room and picked up her cell phone and dialed.

“Billingsley,” he sounded upset.

“Chief, this is Carole Sage. Someone left a package on my front step just now.”

“Did you open it?”

“No, it’s still outside.”

“Okay, I’ll send Leverette and Marsden right over,” he said and hung up.

She set her phone down and told Amy what he had said.

“Good. I wonder what’s in it?” Amy wondered out loud.

“I don’t know,” Carole said. “Let’s finish breakfast.”

They went back to the kitchen, freshened up their coffee and sat back at the table. Both were still shaking and had lost their appetites. They sipped their coffee and sat in silence.

Then Bud, who had finally decided to lie down, sat up and listened looking toward the front door. He started wagging his tail.

“Well that’s a good sign,” Amy said and reached down to scratch his head.

“Good boy,” she told him. He looked up at her and ran for the front door just as someone knocked.

Carole looked at Amy then got up to see who was there. She was relieved when she saw it was Leverette.

Opening the door made Bud go crazy. Jumping and whining wanting him to come in. So Carole unlocked the outer door and let him in.

“This is the package?” he asked looking down at it. He noticed it was the same handwriting as the one with the King’s boys head and he was pretty sure the return address was, too. When they had checked it out they found it was an empty lot.

“Yeah, it was left here a few minutes ago,” Carole said as he came into her home. “The Chief said not to touch it until he and some others come here. We had no intention of touching it anyway.”

Bud jumped on Leverette and he was absent mindedly rubbing behind his ears. He loved dogs, all animals really, and they seemed to love him.

“Bud get down,” Amy called from the kitchen. Bud turned to look at her and eventually got down and reluctantly went over to her.

“Would you like some coffee, Detective?” Amy called from the kitchen.

“Sure, and you both can call me Joe when the Chief’s not around.”

He followed Carole into the kitchen and waited for the two ladies to sit, then sat himself. Amy handed him his coffee.

He took a sip then turned to Carole, “Did you see a vehicle or a person?”

“No, we had no idea anything was going on until Bud went ape-shit,” she said. “When we did look outside we didn’t see anything.”

Leverette nodded his head wondering if the guy was still nearby. He couldn’t have gotten far if he was on foot, but if he had a car parked close he could very well be gone.

Amy looked at Leverette; she was terrified again.

Do you think he’ll come here?” she asked.

“No, I don’t think so,” was all Leverette decided to say. He didn’t want to scare them any more than they already were. They had no idea in what order this maniac was going but he did know Carole would be the last. He had no intention of it getting even close to that.

Leverette decided to change the subject so he asked Amy about Bud to fill in the time until Billingsley got there.

The knock on the door made the ladies jump and Bud took notice but didn’t bark. They heard voices just outside and Leverette went to answer the door.

“Leverette, why am I not surprised?” Billingsley said not really wanting an answer. “Did you see anything on your way over?”

“Hi Chief,” Leverette’s cheeks started to blush. “Nobody was around and I got here pretty quick.”

“Betty and her team are out there now, looking things over,” Billingsley said. He went past Leverette to talk to the two women who stood looking scared shitless.

“Good morning, ladies,” Billingsley said to them.

“We just put a fresh pot of coffee on, Chief, would you like a cup?” Carole said and walked up to the coffee maker.

“Thank you, that would be great,” he said and sat down at the table. Bud came over and nudged him. Billingsley reached down and scratched him behind the ears.

Carole put his coffee in front of him and sat down.

“Did either of you see or hear anything unusual before you found the box?”

“No,” they answered almost in unison.

“Bud was outside and started to go crazy so we brought him in,” Carole told him. “He went straight to the front door after we let him in and that’s when we saw that box.”

Leverette nodded his head and thought, this is a fucked up case. First this guy hacks up this woman and spreads her parts all over the area, then goes after the people who found the parts. And they have a sensitive who actually visualized the murder. Shit, this is one for the books.

He decided to change the conversation and looked at Bud.

“He’s a good watch dog,” he said to them.

“Yes, he’s been trained,” Amy said. Their conversation, from that point on, focused on Bud.

A knock on the door made the women jump but Bud just sat there wagging his tail. Leverette got up, put his hand on his gun and walked to the door. He looked through the pigeon hole and relaxed.

“It’s okay ladies,” he said, “It’s Billingsley and the team.” (Billingsley was already sitting at the table with the women, patting the dog and drinking coffee, unless that was supposed to have been Marsden.)

“Morning Chief,” Leverette said opening the door for him and the team to enter. Betty and another of her team stayed outside and started looking around.

“’Morning Ladies,” he said.

“Morning Chief,” Carole said. Amy smiled and nodded. “Would you like some coffee? I just made it.”

“Thanks, that would be great. It’s so damn cold out there! Is this winter ever going to end?” he said and sat at the table by Carole.

Leverette picked up his coffee and stood beside Billingsley.

As Carole was getting the coffee, the other investigator, Brenda, asked Amy to tell her what happened.

Amy went through what had happened and showed her the back door. Brenda had her gloves on already so she opened it and went out to look around the yard.

Betty knocked on the door then came in.

“There’s nothing electrical in it,” she said to Billingsley. The she turned to Carole and Amy. “Would it be all right if we brought it in here to open? It’s so damn cold out there.”

“Sure,” Carole said even though she didn’t want to see what was in it.

“Thanks,” Betty said and went back out front and a few seconds later she and Tom came in. She put a cloth on the table and then set the box on it.

The box was wrapped in a white paper that was treated on the one side. Tom had evidence bags ready.

She took the wrapper off and placed it in one of the large bags. The box was also white and looked like something you’d put jewelry in. It was six inches square and maybe one inch deep.

Betty opened the box and saw that it held a piece of paper. She carefully removed the paper and put it on the cloth she’d put down earlier, then put the box in another bag.

Carole and Amy hovered and wanted to see what was on the note. Well, Carole wasn’t sure she wanted to, but she looked anyway.

Betty, who had no trouble keeping a straight face, read it and handed it to Billingsley. He pulled a glove out his pocket and, instead of putting it on, used it to hold a corner of the note. He tried not to react but is shocked by what it had written on it.

“What is it Chief?” Carole asked. She was starting to shake and to look ashen. He didn’t know if he should read it to her or hand it to her. Billingsley did know that he wanted her to sit down before she fainted.

“Why don’t you sit there and I’ll read it to you,” he said. Carole was shaking so hard at this point that Amy had to help her.

Billingsley cleared his throat and read:

“I know who you are

And what you see.

But neither you or the cops

Will ever catch me!”

Tears start streaming down Carole’s face and she clasped her hands over her mouth so she wouldn’t scream. Leverette wanted badly to go and hold her but knew he couldn’t. It was breaking his heart to see her like this.

Billingsley was beside himself. He hated when women cried, and felt especially bad for Carole. What she must be going through!

“We can move you to a safe house, both of you and Bud,” Billingsley said hoping the tears in his eyes weren’t too visible.(What happened to Carole’s cat,Oscar?)

Betty and her team finished and said good bye to everyone. They wanted to get this to the lab and start on it immediately. Plus Betty knew the chief wanted to talk privately to the women.

As they left, Marsden had just walked up to the door shivering from the cold.

He walked into the kitchen with his arms folded across his chest.

“Morning,” he said. Everyone responded and Amy got up to pour him a cup of coffee. He pulled his gloves off and wrapped his fingers around it letting them warm up.

“Thank you every so much!” he said and looked at fear-stricken Carole.

Before he could ask, Billingsley told him about the note.

He let out a long whistle. “So we move them to a safe house?”

Carole was in no shape to answer so Amy said, “I think that would be a good idea.”

Billingsley looked at Carole who seemed like she was almost catatonic.

“Ms. Sage?”

She looked up and nodded so he took that as a yes.

“Why don’t they just stay at my place, Chief?” Marsden asked. “I have a fenced in yard for the dog. My neighbors aren’t that close to my house so there’ll be some privacy.”

Billingsley, without waiting for Leverette to answer, spoke right away. “What do you ladies think?”

“Is that something that’s done?” Amy asked.

“Yes, it is,” Billingsley answered. “And I don’t think we have anyplace else that would accommodate Bud.”

Amy put her had on Carole’s shoulder causing her to shudder. Carole just nodded her head and Amy wondered if she even heard anything that was being said.

Leverette knew it wouldn’t work at his place; even though he had a large back yard it wasn’t completely fenced in, and that would be a problem. He did feel safe about them staying with Marsden, though.

“We don’t know if he’s watching so we’ll have to do this as carefully as we can.”

He pulled out his cell phone and pressed the speed dial key.

“Paul, I need your help again.”

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