Here is the Link to the Prologue, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, and Chapter 13
Hanson appeared with the middle aged woman into the middle of a small room. It was concrete on all four sides with no doors and no windows. She kept disappearing only to reappear into another corner of the room. Her anger and frustration grew with each time she disappeared and reappeared. Soon she started screaming, first it was simply yelling and then actual words, “Let me out, let me out. You can’t do this. Why can’t I get out?”
Hanson stood silently watching, he sought to get looks and images of her from every angle, after a while the yelling abated and he spoke up for the first time, “You can try forever, but you are never porting out of here.”
“How come?” She asked.
“Because you can’t port out of this room.” Hanson said.
“There's nowhere you can’t port out of.” She yelled.
“Actually there is. This room.”
“I’ve never heard of that.”
“Surprise,” Despite the joke Hanson said this as stoically as he said everything.
“Who are you?” She asked.
“I’m Detective Hanson, from enforcement. And who are you?”
Hanson assumed she was joking, but just in case did some quick investigation on his visor. There were many images of Cleopatra after her death and it was very clear she was indeed joking. “No, really, who are you?”
Silence followed, “You don’t want to tell me?” More silence. “Do you know Caden Manson?” She looked up but continued her silence. “What about Thomas Worthlin? What were you doing outside his apartment tonight?” The silence continued. And the more questions he asked the more he gave away. He realized there was little point in moving forward but didn’t want to lose her until he figured out who she was.
He ported into a messy office of his precinct. The Chief knew that when Hanson showed up unannounced it was usually for permission to do something he shouldn’t. And not even borderline stuff, he just did that. So for him to ask permission meant it was likely very bad, “What Hanson?”
“I am detaining someone.”
“Okay. Who?” The Chief asked.
“Do we have to start with that question?”
“Hanson, who are you detaining?”
Hanson rolled his eyes. “I don’t know.”
“You don’t know. You want me to sanction an extended detention of someone and you can’t even tell me who it is?”
“Yes.” Hanson smiled with as much charm as he could muster.
“Hanson, aren’t you always telling me how the beats are too sloppy?” Hanson didn’t care to respond. “Well, since you can’t tell me who this person is, can you at least tell me why you detained them?”
“She’s up to something,” Hanson said. Verbalizing the situation made him realize how flimsy his evidence was.
“So, what exactly is she up to?”
“Not sure. But trust me, it’s something. She has been at every crime scene associated with Caden’s murder we have been to.”
“That’s not a crime.”
“I’ll figure it out.” The chief looked at him in a way that gave the answer, so Hanson added, “Trust me.” He knew it was weak but he needed time and he knew if she got out now he might never get her again.
“You are asking me to allow you to detain someone for basically no reason except that you think she’s up to something. Is that right Captain Driggs?”
“HaHa very funny. I am not as bad as he is and you know it.”
“Sounds like something he’d try to pull.”
“Fair enough, but I just need a little time.” Hanson begged.
“Hanson everytime you ask me to back you up for skirting the rules it puts me out on the same flimsy limb you are out on. When that branch breaks we both fall down.
“Just a little time,” Hanson begged.
“How long?” The Chief asked.
Hanson wanted to say, “until I figure it out.” But figured the Chief wanted something a bit more measurable, “Six hours.”
“What?” He hadn’t expected negotiation or he would have started at a higher number.
“Three, at exactly 8:15 PM tonight, Central Time Zone, if you don’t have a much better reason to hold her besides some suspicion that she is up to something, I am personally lifting the hold you have on her. After I apologize to her and hope she is a kind understanding person who won’t make a issue of what we did.”
Hanson knew that this woman was anything but kind and understanding but thought mentioning it wouldn’t help his cause. “Okay, three hours.”
“Get a good reason. I really don’t like apologizing.”
It was now a race against time as he ported to Trout. The only thing going for him was he now had hundreds of mental images he could use as photographs to ask every dead person associated with Caden if they knew her. Then once he figured out who she was he could worry about what she was up to. He was convinced she was involved and that with her meddling stopped this case would go significantly smoother.
Trout was sitting in Caden’s living room with a fearful look in his eyes. “Trout, where is Caden?” Hanson asked.
“His study,” his fear didn’t dissipate with seeing Hanson and why he hated to waste time he went ahead and asked, “What’s wrong?”
“They arrested Tom.”
“They found the drugs?”
“That’s unfortunate, but it will work out.”
“You don’t understand, they released Daisy.”
Now Hanson understood Trout's fear. The coffee. Hanson groaned inside. He didn’t have time for this. He had been so excited to finally get a hold of the mystery woman that he forgot about the possibility of Daisy being released and then enjoying a cup of death. As much as he hated to see the woman go free he admitted saving Daisy would have to take priority. Momentarily he debated porting back to the Chief and begging for more time given the circumstances, but he knew it would be in vain. Only wasting time he didn’t have.
“Where is Daisy?”
“She went to pick up Tom’s daughter but then she’s likely coming back here.”
“Let’s go talk to Caden. I’ll need him.”
“Don’t think he will be much help.” Trout said.
In the study Caden was sitting in his chair whistling. “Caden I have an idea to save your wife but I’ll need your help.” Hanson said, as they walked in.
“No.” Stated as quickly as he was used to hearing Hanson responding.
“I know you don’t think I can do it, but I think it will work.”
“No, it’s not that. I simply don’t want you, or anyone else to save her. I want her by my side. I miss Daisy.”
“Told you so,” Trout threw in.
“I’m dead, the dogs are gone. Now is a perfect time for her to die. What could be better than her rejoining me? So let her drink the coffee.”
Both men who stood in front of Caden empathized with Caden. They both greatly wished that they could be reunited with loved ones themselves but empathy didn’t change the fact that they both knew the right thing was to save Daisy. “Caden, I understand how you feel, but this is not Daisy’s time to die.”
“And how do you know that?” Caden asked.
Even though he was a spirit, Hanson hated to get spiritual but at times he knew he needed to. “I simply know. And so do you.”
As much as Caden missed his wife, he knew Hanson was right.
Why he continued to think about it Trout added, “And you don’t want that dipstick, Jim, to get all the money do you?”
And while Hanson’’s spiritual approach moved Caden, there was nothing that moved him quite like money. “Okay, I’m in.”
Hedges bordered the well manicured lawn where they now found themselves. The backyard looked like any other in suburbia. “What’s this place?” Caden asked.
“This is Rebecca’s backyard,” Hanson replied.
Trout recognized the name had played a role somewhere in this case but couldn’t recall where. He was going to ask who she was but Caden beat him to it, “Who the dickens is Rebecca?”
“You’ll see, help me find a decent break in the bushes.”
“What do you need a break for?” Caden asked.
“I need a place a dog could get out of.” Hanson replied.
They looked around and quickly discovered the hedges were not the only barrier, there was a block wall along the back and a chain link fence along the front and sides. Both were too tall to allow a dog to get out but Trout pointed out a gap between where the block wall and chain link came together. It was less than a foot but they figured a dog could squeeze through.
“Why are we doin this?” Caden asked. Which pleased Trout, it saved him from asking the same question. But as was often the case Hanson was not quick to oblige.
Hanson walked over to a back door, it had a small doggy door at it’s base.
Hanson turned to Caden and commanded, “Call for Mildred.”
“Mildred? My dog?”
“Yes. Now, call for her.”
Caden wanted to ask why but Hanson’s over directiveness won out and Caden called out, “Here Mildred girl, here.”
A beautiful dalmation dog came bounding out of the door.
“Mildred it’s you.” Caden ran to the dog and tried to hold her, however dogs when happy do not sit still and as Mildred jumped, smiled and pranced she threw Caden all over the place. Neither minded and both happily continued their reunion.
Trout watched in shock. “Dogs can hear us and see us?”
“No,” Hanson stated clearly, “but they, like all animals, are much better at sensing us. In life people talk about a sixth sense. It’s the ability to sense us, our influence and presence. This sense is stronger in some people than others. But almost universally it’s stronger in animals. And animals can especially sense those they were close to in life. That’s why we had to bring along Caden.”
“But if she can’t hear Caden, but can only sense him why didn’t she come out until Caden called her?”
Caden calling her made him think about her, mentally reaching out to her. She could feel that reach. The vocalization was just a tool I used to get his mental processes going. His speaking is a form of trying to influence her, even if she can’t hear him. And just as she can feel that reach, we can too. Proximity does matter but you will feel the living reach out to you at times.
Trout thought back to nights with his wife and kids and wondered if he had felt them reaching out to him.
“Enough deep thoughts for now, we’re in a bit of a rush. Caden, tell Mildred about the gap in the fence and encourage her to go to it.”
Caden was lying ten feet from Mildred, she having thrown him there after his fourth attempt at holding her. Caden walked towards the gap, “All right girl come here, lets go to the fence.” Mildred followed behind Caden.
“Are you going to tell him that she can’t hear him?” Trout asked.
Hanson smiled and said, “Nah.”
Mildred quickly located the gap in the fence. Hanson continued his instructions. “Get her to bark.”
“Speak, girl speak.”
Mildred began barking. After a time Rebeca appeared at the back door. “What is it girl? Come here.”
“Okay,” Hanson instructed, “get her to go through the fence.”
“Through the fence girl,” Caden commanded.
“Come here.” Rebecca continued to call. Mildred frooze for a time not sure who to follow but in the end longevity won out and Mildred slipped through the fence.
“Do you know how to get back to your house from here?” Hanson asked Caden.
“No idea. I don’t know where we are.”
Trout you guide Caden. I’ll keep coming back and forth to tell you when to slow down or speed up.”
“How am I…” Trout began to ask. But Hanson interrupted.
“Use your visor.” Hanson said a bit exasperated.
“I’m not sure I understand what I am doing.”
Hanson spoke quickly, “Get Caden home with Mildred.”
“Then why slow down?”
“We don’t want to lose Rebecca, but do not let her catch Mildred.”
“What? But?” It was too late Hanson was gone.
Trout stood with Mildred by his side and Caden sprawled out on the ground, again being thrown there by Mildred after he tried to hold her again.
Rebecca was kneeling 3 feet away on the other side of the fence, cursing the gap and trying to call for Mildred to come back. Trout could see the conflict in Mildred so he said, “Caden keep telling Mildred to stay.”
He did and she did. Looking down at his visor he thought of trying to get a map to Caden’s home and instantly the route not only appeared but he knew how to get there as if he’d always known; the map became part of his body of knowledge.
“Let’s go out to the street and hang a right.” Rebecca was getting off her knees and walking back to the house. No doubt to come around and grab Mildred. “We better hurry.”
They began to run as best they could as Caden called for Mildred to follow. Running was not Trout’s forte in life and the lack of a body didn’t make him any better. Each step lacked the necessary friction to really move and he felt like he was running on an ice rink without sufficient gravity to make him fall.
Trout realized this was not going to work. He grabbed Caden and ported 100 feet ahead in the direction they wanted to go into the neighbor's yard. Caden called and Mildred quickly came. However, the delay allowed Rebecca to get to her front door and was calling Mildred. Not only was she calling she was running to catch her. Trout quickly ported another 100 yards out into the road.
Trout was terrified to see Rebecca run between where they had ported and where Mildred sat scratching her ear. “I hope that dog really loves you. Give her a call.”
“Here girl,” Caden called. Mildred ran straight past the outstretched arms of Rebecca towards Caden.
“What has gotten into you Dora?” Rebecca called out as she gave chase, but she was no match for Trout’s porting, Caden’s command’s and Mildreds speed. They quickly got far ahead of her. She gave up and headed back home.
That's when Hanson reappeared. “I think you’re okay to stop.”
“Stop?” Caden yelled. “I’m not stopping until I get Mildred back home.”
Hanson was in no mode, more did he have time to argue. Turning to Trout he asked, “does he know the directions?”
Trout looked back over to Caden, hating to talk so directly about someone in front of them, “I don’t think so,” he muttered.
“Good, don’t tell him and stay here.” Hanson said and then instantly disappeared.
“Can you believe that guy?” Caden sputtered out. “You aren’t going to stop are you?” He said looking suspiciously at Trout.
“I kind of have to.”
“You don’t have to do nothing.”
“Exactly,” Trout agreed.
“What is he going to do to you?” At this point Mildred began marking a bush.
“For one thing, he could stop training me.”
“What’s he know that you don’t?”
“Fine, but I’m not happy about it.”
“Understandable.” It was the middle of the day and while traffic was light through this suburban neighborhood a few cars drove by.
“How far are we anyways?”
“Only a few miles.”
“A few miles, boy I should have walked around more, I don’t even know my own neighborhood.”
Hanson again appeared. “Okay, let’s start up again.”
They stood up and Caden decided it was his turn to run the show. “I don’t think so.”
“What?” Hanson questioned.
“You pop in and out of here telling us to go or stop. I’ll go when I feel like going.” And he sat back on the grass.
Hanson was not impressed, “Fine, but that Toyota Corolla that just turned around down the street is Rebecca on her way to grab Mildred.” They looked and saw as the Toyota caught sight of Mildred and began to speed up.
“What?” Let’s go!” Caden yelled and began to call out for Mildred even as He and Trout ported in the right direction and Hanson once again disappeared.
Rebecca was no match for Mildred and Trouts porting but with a car she could get ahead of them and then get out and wait for Mildred.
Trout began to port across the street to zigzag back and forth to avoid her. After a few times of the car getting ahead and Trout zig zagging to avoid it, he decided it was time for a new game plan and moved to cutting through yards, hoping to lose her and her car. He was convinced it had worked when who should again appear but Hanson, “Wait here.”
“No problem, buddy.” Caden quickly said. Hanson didn’t have time for Caden’s sarcasm and quickly disappeared again.
As soon as Hanson was gone Caden started walking away, “See ya, Trout.”
“Where are you going?” Trout asked.
“I don’t need to wait anymore. I recognize this street. Me and Mildred are going home.”
Trout was tempted to point to Caden that he should have said, Mildred and I, but decided now wasn’t the time. Rather he wondered if Caden could go even if he did know the way. Without porting it would be very slow going. Quickly he saw that Caden had surpassed even his ability to port and he was soon on his way. Trout decided he better at least follow. 3 Minutes later Hanson appeared.
“I thought I told you to wait.”
“You did. Unfortunately Caden figured out where we are and took over.”
“If we ever finish this case I am going to kill that guy.” Hanson mused but then added, “but it was probably for the best, we need to rush now.”
“Wait why all this stop, go, stop, go?”
I’ll explain later, make sure he keeps moving and that Rebecca doesn’t get the dog.” Hanson again disappeared.
Trout began to look forward to being senior detective, when whenever an impossible task seemed to come up he’d assign it to his junior and then port out of there. But such a dream would have to wait for the future, because up ahead was the Corolla.
Here is Chapter 15