They painted the walls candy pink. The square windows were mullioned and lined in white. It looked just about big enough for one old lady to live well, devoting her life to the country garden that lay about it.
Blackhawk slammed the door. "It's over titrated with phenolphthalein."
Kate laughed. "That's a thing?"
"If memory serves me right, it's a chemical indicator," he frowned, striding to the fragile wood of the patio; he backed off.
Beneath his feet, the wood felt soft, not as much as a carpet, but not right for oak planks. He set his hand to the bell embedded into the wooden skeleton. Releasing it from his finger, it was unsounded. Silence. Huffing in frustration, he caught the unlock of a door and a hint of pinewood.
"Seattle P.D!" he peeked through the opening.
Peering down at Kate, he gestured with his hand to stay behind him as he entered the empty room. Something was off and he noticed it. His senses detected a rotting smell like a pot of braised onions. Just then, the squeak of a door echoed throughout the cramped hallway and his gun positioned straight at the source.
"Stand down!" Kate yelled. "Sweetie, are you all right?"
Blanketing the child's arms, she pulled him in as he shuddered in her arms.
• • •
"Where are your parents?" she asked.
Jacob, the discovered ten year old, glanced up at Blackhawk between the crack of Kate's arm. "Ma's at the back," he whispered.
"And your father?"
"Can you call your mom for us?"
Clenching his jaw, Jacob averted his gaze to Kate. He huddled closer to her as she comforted him and she reassured him they'd question her and leave. That prompted the boy for he rushed to the back of the house and summoned his mother.
"You could've been polite," Kate said.
"I was civil."
"You scared him."
Rolling her eyes, she crossed her legs. The man was a disaster. A roller coaster with a wreck. Yet his manliness stood out like an eagle in a park.
"A cop at my doorstep at six in the morning is never good." Said a feminine voice. Her voice–husky and coated with humor.
"I'm detective Kate Williams and this–" She gestured at the neutral man behind her. "Is Officer Blackhawk. We'd like to ask you a few questions?"
The woman dressed with rugged sleepwear glanced between the two and moved towards the secluded love seat where she sat with her son. "What about?"
"It's about your husband."
Her eyes were full and a voice croaked. "What about him?"
Blackhawk turned to the woman. "Is he home?"
She shook her head. "He's working. What did he do?" Her hands involuntarily grasped her son's frail ones and smoothed the skin as she stared at Blackhawk.
"What time does he get home?" he asked.
"Between ten and eleven at night."
"What's his occupation?"
"He's working for Gary's constructions for ten years now," she said. “Listen whatever happened to him, pleas–"
"Your husband's fine, we'd just need to speak with him."
She tightened her jaw. "Regarding what?"
Sighing, Kate looked at an annoyed Blackhawk. "We've got evidence that links him to a homicide investigation."
The woman gasped and covered her mouth. Her eyes glistened with a river of tears. "Impossible. He wouldn't even hurt a fly!"
Blackhawk closed his eyes briefly. His breathing was slow and his head ached. The woman popped a nerve and already to call it a day and get back in bed with Clarissa. However, he had bills to pay. A child to support. A woman to satisfy. Daily needs to sustain. If it meant he'd have to burn the midnight oil, he would have to kiss his job ferociously.
"Where can we find the construction site?" Blackhawk shifted in his seat and folded hands resting on his spread knees as his eyes spoke solemnly with the woman.
"Uh–I don't know? He never told me–" her eyes nearly popped out of the head and she shuffled around the pile of stacked papers on the cornered desk. "Here’s his schedule sheet."
She placed the sheet into Blackhawk's hand as she reclaimed her seat.
Standing up, he nodded with a small smile. "We'll be on our way."
"Please keep me in touch?"
Kate turned and smiled at the woman. "You have a good day, Mrs. Ganglion."
• • •
Gazing straight ahead, Blackhawk gripped the steering wheel. One minute his thinking of work and the next, Clarissa with minimum coverage. He couldn't wait to bed her.
"You're glowing," Kate squealed.
Turning to face her, he said. "I'm glowing? Have a look in the mirror."
She shook her head. "You've got that smile and your skin's shining."
"I'm not. You're the one covered with paint to show off your glow."
She rolled her eyes. "It's concealer and I'm not wearing any." she leaned back in her seat as she stared ahead of the freeway.
"Yeah that stuff," he said, removing his hand from the wheel, he snapped two fingers.
"'That stuff.' Wasn't in your time old man," she laughed.
"In my time, they weren't clowns to get a man."
"Because the men were desperate for women's touch."
Blackhawk shook his head and focused on the power of the car. He'd nearly forgotten the small creature taking up his passenger seat as he relished the roaring winds that whistled in his ears. However, the smell of mixed dirt and cement clouded his nostrils and the sound of heavy machinery clogged his eardrums. Parking the car away from the site, he and Kate walked through the dirty hills.
"Gary Andrews?" Kate called.
A man dressed in a neon yellow and green overall turned around and his face smudged with dirt and sweat. Dusting off his hands, he slipped off his gloves and approached the two.
"Can I help you?"
Blackhawk flashed his badge followed by Kate. "We're looking for Davis Ganglion."
"He's not here."
Blackhawk scoffed. "Is there any place this man isn't at?"
"At the hospital, said his kid was undergoing surgery," Gary said, squinting in the light striking his brown eyes.
The kid looked fine. Frightened but not surgically in need.
"How long does he work for?"
"Half a day. And the other half he goes to the hospital."
Blackhawk nodded. The man was a mystery. His wife told one story and Gary told another. He didn't know who to believe. Then again, it wasn't his job. His job was to protect and serve his country from crime. To lock away the guilty and protect the innocent. However, his mouth formed more words than Kate had uttered in the past two hours. The only thing her mouth opened for was the invitation for parched crackers.
"One last thing, have you seen these women with him?" he flipped the flimsy photographs in the builder's face.
His eyes squinted hard. Brain raking. Trying to figure out what a beautiful woman has to do with Davis when the man worshiped the floor his wife walked on. "Nope haven't seen them."
Kate smiled. "Thank you, sir."
They descend down the hill. "This man's non-existent."
"He's wanted. They're bound to run." She slipped into the Jeep, they were on their way.