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, and Chapter 10
Hanson appeared next to Trout who was still sitting on the log.
“Trout.” Hanson broke the silence. “Don’t you ever disobey me again.”
“I won’t, Sir.” He paused, “I’m sorry.”
Hanson could tell Trout was sincerely sorry, far more than he was 90 years ago. So much so, that he regretted taking such a stern tone with him.
They sat silently looking over the woods. Neither knew what to say but it was now Trouts turn to break the silence. “What happened?”
“Driggs continued to push his ridiculous theory and arrested her.”
“Lung didn’t speak up?”
“No. If I hadn’t gotten you out of there he would have,” Hanson said.
“I don’t understand. Why wouldn’t we try to stop Daisy being arrested?”
“You weren’t alone, the Worthlins weren't happy either. They called me a Benedict Arnold. I didn’t mind, of course, I rather like Benedict.
“Why didn’t you want the arrest stopped?”
“The case against Daisy is thinner than most runway models, and even a beat couldn’t make it stick. She’ll be out soon enough, but in the mean time she’ll be safe.”
“Safe?” You think she’s in danger?”
“I’m not sure, but I think we will find out tonight. In the meantime, we have a lot to do.” Hanson placed his hand on Trout's shoulder and Trout knew it was time to get back to work.
They appeared in an empty lot. It was in a busy part of town and the lot was fenced around it to keep out vagrants and trash. A man sat in the corner of the lot and Hanson approached him. “Hello,” Hanson greeted.
“Hey,” the man said casually as he continued to sit slumped over on the curb.
“I’m detective Hanson from enforcement. Do you have time to talk?”
“Do I have time to talk?” He laughed. “Of course, I don’t have much else, but time I’ve got.” The man was jovial and seemed anxious to talk. “So, enforcement, is that like cops for us dead folk?”
“More or less,” Hanson replied.
“Good, maybe you can help,” the man said.
“Rory Jasperson stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from me. He was an early business partner. I’d love to see that guy hang.”
“I doubt we can help,” Hanson admitted.
“What good are you then?” While there was some truth behind the words his voice was still kind.
“When did this Rory cheat you?” Hanson asked.
“Is your friend Rory Jasperson dead?”
“He’s not my friend and yes, he’s dead.”
“So, what could we do for you?”
“I don’t know, make him pay. Somehow, isn’t there any dead money you could give me?”
“If there was, I imagine you’d have discovered it by now.”
“I guess that’s true. Well you two weren’t much help to me, but I suppose you are hoping I can help you. I doubt it, but why don’t we try?” The man offered.
“What are you doing here?” Hanson asked.
“Is it illegal to be dead in public or something?” He paused but seeing Hanson expected more of a response said, “I work here, or did when I was alive. I like to visit, when I’m bored, which I always am.” He got more quiet and reflective, “It’s all so different. There’s not one business in two blocks that was here when I used to walk these streets, this street.” He added with more emphasis. “I did so much here, so much good. I made so many people rich.” At this point he was hardly talking to Hanson and Trout anymore. “I made this place great, and look at it now.”
“What did you do?” Hanson interrupted this man’s self musing.
“Do, I did everything, everything takes money and any money went through me. Some people call it a financial planner, I was more a financial genius. And that’s being humble.”
“I see, are you Mr. Walker?”
“Heard of me huh?
“Heard of your building.” As Hanson said this the man beamed with pride.
“The building, the street were on, Walker Lane, all named after me. Me and the work I did.” The beaming continued.
“When did it come down?”
Walker's face instantly dropped, clearly this was not something he wanted to talk about. “85. After Rory took my business the building was left empty while it was tied up in bankruptcy court. Vangrants began to live in it and a fire took it down. Could have used some enforcement then. If only they kept the vagrants out, my magnificent building would be there today. I had all the money in the world and in the end I was ruined by some poor, dirty, Tramp.”
“Sorry.” Hanson offered, not convincingly.
“If you have time I could take you on a tour of some of the businesses I used to own, or at least where they used to be.”
“Unfortunately, we need to get on our way, a lot to do.” Hanson said as he began to turn to Trout.
“A lot to do? I wish I had anything to do.” Walker muttered as Hanson said,
“Goodbye.” But before Hanson could do his usual grab Trout and port to another mystery place, Trout reached out and grabbed Hanson. Hanson was still shocked as they stood in Hanson’s empty office.
“What was that all about?” Hanson asked.
Trout was ready for the complaint, “One, you said I needed to try porting once and a while. And I think we should take a moment and notice that I actually ported correctly.”
Hanson was impressed but was too upset with his jr. partner for stopping him from going to his next location to show it.
“And second,” Trout continued “if I am going to learn anything you need to slow down once and a while and tell me. If anyone should ask, what was that all about?, it should be me. I mean, who was that? Where were we? And why are we interviewing people that have been dead for forever?”
Hanson wanted to continue scolding his junior but realized that these were fair questions. “All right, you want to slow down and learn a few lessons, well here is number one, Don’t assume because someone has been dead for a very long time that they’re not involved?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You saw how Walker felt about his old partner.”
“Yea, he hated him, wanted him dead. Which seems silly since he already was.
“Exactly. My experience is dead people rarely care about enemies death, they want them to suffer, to feel pain, headache, loss. And yet even when they see it happen, it’s never enough, their revenge becomes a pit that can’t be filled. Look at Mr. Walker, he wants his partner to lose everything and die. Well, that is exactly what happened to him. Yet, he pleads for us to do more, to extract more revenge.”
“So, Mr. Walker was involved with Caden’s death to further get revenge on his long dead partner?” Trout said full of doubt.
“There is no grudge like a dead man's grudge, so that is exactly the train of thought that will get you somewhere, but in this case, no. Mr. Walkers totally harmless. A man stuck reveling in the past. He’s one whose anger stews but I don’t think it boils over.”
“So, why did we go to see him?”
“I was there to see the building.”
“The building that wasn’t there?” Trout asked.
“Exactly, as the beats went through some of the financial records that Jim sent over to Caden as preliminary work to have Caden take over as the financial advisor for Canine Hope. I noticed 2 things, 1 was they appeared both large and meager. The numbers were large, but the documentation meager. Listed as the advisor was Walker and Jasperson, with an address at the old Walker Tower. I thought the building had been demolished but needed to be sure. The fact that old Mr. Walker was there and could answer a few questions was simply a bonus.”
“So did Walker and Jesperson manage Canine Hopes finances at one time?”
“Given that the company was bankrupt in the 80’s and Canine Hope wasn’t established until 1995, I find it highly unlikely.” Hanson noted.
Meanwhile Trout made a mental note that he needed to take more detailed notes.
“That would be a good idea,” Hanson said.
“What would be?” Trout asked.
“You, taking more detailed notes.”
“How did you know I thought that?” Trout asked.
“You started putting your thoughts on the record starting several hours ago.”
Trout quickly looked to his visor and to his horror Hanson was correct. He quickly took his thoughts off the record before he let his mind add a few thoughts about Hanson.
“So, Do you think Jim just made up the connection to Walker?”
“The probabilities were high. I told you there was a time for conjecture. I’m not sure were there yet but I am assuming that Jim had financial issues that forced him to blame a false financial institute as a way to show he was serious he agreed to find a new financial advisor who could both review the issues and propose a new direction, and Caden was perfect, he was connected to the organization, was a respected financial planner, and he had a huge amount of money due to come to Canine hope at the time of his death. He was almost perfect, the only way he would be better…”
Trout jumped in, “Was if he was dead. It would buy him time and get him more money.”
“Exactly, every scammer, shyster or addict feels like they are one score from making everyone whole and going clean. Caden may have been that score.”
“So, Jim is our guy?”
“It’s looking more likely, we have a ways to go before we know for sure. Next step will be tonight.” It was Hanson's turn to take control, he reached out and grabbed Trout and they were once again in Caden’s house.
Trout objected, “What are we doing back here?”
But before he could answer Caden saw them and had a question of his own, “What the big idea of zapping me out of there. I’ve spent all day deciding who I’m the most angry at, Jim the schiester, Captain Driggs the moron, or you the...the dead beat.” He said pointing to Hanson.
“You had all day and that’s the best insult you could come up with? You lost your cool. You’re no good to me uncomposed.”
“No good to you,” Caden yelled. “What about me? Don’t my feelings matter?”
Without any hesitation Hanson said, “Nope.”
“Well, then get out of my house.”
“Sorry, I have bad news, this isn’t your house,” Hanson replied.
“What do you mean? My name is on the deed.”
“You ever hear the phrase, ‘you can’t take it with you.’ Well, it’s all true. This house ceased being yours the moment you stepped out of your body.”
“Fine, but what are you doing here?”
“That’s a good question.” Trout said as he joined the conversation.
“I’m here to catch a murderer, but until he shows up I’ll be in the study doing research.” And with that he vanished leaving Caden and Trout along.
“How do you guys do that zipping thing?”
“It’s called porting, remember,” Trout said.
“Okay, if I call it porting will you show me how to do it?”
Trout debated following Hanson, but also knew the two best ways to master a skill was to practice and to teach. He saw his opportunity to do both. Not only that it was getting late and his wife and kids would be home, and he was anxious to see them. “All right, let’s do this.”
While Trout began porting lessons Hanson was in the study continuing his research on all those who had passed away who knew Caden or Daisy. He was working on going back into Caden’s family tree. His Grandparents had all passed away but none seemed likely to have much information. Caden’s father was one of 12 kids which means he was likely one of maybe 100 grandkids/great grandkids, making it very unlikely that his Grandparents knew his name much less anything pertinent to the case. But he knew someone on this side of the living knew something, it was not coincidence that many of the places connected to this case had the same woman hiding in the corner. She was someone and knew something but who he couldn’t tell.
As if he called her by thinking about her, there she was. She had ported right in front of him. For the first time he got a good look at her and she looked vaguely familiar. She was older than he guessed, skinny, blonde with aged skin. But he wasted no time, she saw him as he disappeared. He appeared next to her and grabbed her. He couldn’t believe his luck, his whole body filled with excitement, until she spoke. “I lost him.” It wasn’t her at all. It was Trout. She must have ported out, just as Trout ported in. And now as quickly as it came, all the excitement drained out of him. He had lost her.
Trout was as panicked as Hanson was deflated, “I lost him,” he repeated.
“Lost who?” Hanson asked.
“I was teaching him how to port. So, we ported back and forth from my home a few times and then he tried. We ended up in some mountain top and he just blew away. I did too, but after blowing through the air for a while, I gave up trying to find him and ported back. He could be headed to the moon.”
Trout assumed this tale would greatly move Hanson, but instead it seemed to relax him. “I doubt it, leaving the atmosphere is quite difficult, if not impossible. Many have tried, I doubt Caden will succeed.”
“Shouldn’t we get him?”
Hanson thought for a moment. He was still rather irritated from missing his chance to discover the identity of the mystery female and wasn’t sure he was ready to deal with Caden. So, he said, “No. He’ll figure it out.” And wasn’t too concerned about being correct about that assumption.
Trout was, “And if he doesn’t figure it out?”
“We can worry about it later.”
“Easy for you to say You didn’t send him into the stratosphere.”
“But if I thought about it, I might have,” Hanson paused. “Good work Trout.”
Trout was about to continue his case when Hanson held a finger to his lips, “Listen.”
Trout heard the sound of something shuffling outside.
Hanson walked around the desk and looked down at the doggie door, behind the desk. A hand emerged followed by Jim’s head. He clearly was not worried about anyone hearing him. And he began talking to himself, “Good thing they had big dogs, I barely fit.” Jim reached an arm ahead and pushed the chair out of the way. The chair almost hit Hanson who ported out of the way and reappeared on the other side.
Trout stood in awe of Hanson’s porting prowess.
Jim continued to squirm through the door. “I hope I haven’t gained weight since I did this thing last time.” The speed began to make the situation very anti-climatic, and Trout went ahead and asked Hanson a question, “How’d you know Jim would show up?”
“I didn’t, had a hunch though,” Hanson replied.
“If Jim is our killer, then he’s desperate enough to kill the one man who stood in the way of a pay off. When Daisy said she’d do a financial review of Canine Hope before she released the money, she became the only one standing between him and the money. Not only that her will would give Canine Hope even more money, as long as he got to her before she changed it. If he was willing to kill before, why not again.”
“Stupid door,” Jim cried out, as he tried to push his way through his finger was sliced on the edge of the plastic frame of the door, he was bleeding as he gave a final push and entered the room. He quickly got gloves out of a pocket and put them on, “I should have put them on before I came in. Oh well, no harm done he pulled out a hanky and wiped the door down.
“I don’t know why he bothers wiping it down,” Hanson said. “The beats hardly noticed this door when they were here.”
“Is this why you wanted Daisy in jail, so he couldn’t kill her?”
“But if Daisy’s in jail, why’s he here?”
“I wasn’t sure he’d hear about Daisy and thought he’d show up with his gun. But he must have heard.”
“How do you know?”
“Look at him.” Jim was dusting dirt off his clothes while he was whistling. “He’s clearly not worried about anyone hearing him.”
“Okay, so again why is he here?” Trout asked. Jim was carefully sweeping most of the dirt back out the doggy door that he brought in with him.
“My money is to kill Daisy.”
“She’s not here. And you say Jim knew that.”
“How is he going to kill someone who is not here?”
Jim stood back up, reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a small bottle. “Got it,” he said with a smile.
“That’s how,” answered Hanson.
They followed Jim toward the kitchen.
“What is he going to poison?”
“Something he knows she’ll take.”
“And that is?” Trout asked.
“It’s easy, addicts are easy to predict.”
“You never told me Daisy had an addiction.”
“I should have to. You saw the same things I did.”
Trout had no idea what Hanson was talking about.
Jim was now opening each cupboard looking around and moving on to the next cupboard. Suddenly between Jim and Hanson appeared Caden, screaming with joy, “I did it. I made it. I can’t believe it.” He fell to his knees kissing the ground. Caden looked up and saw Trout. “What was the idea? You could have told me the slightest breeze would make me an astronaut.” As he yelled he noticed Hanson and Trout gaze toward the kitchen, he turned around and saw Jim grab the Folder’s can out of the shelf, open it up, drop the powder contents of the small bottle into the can, shake it around, replace the lid and put it back into the cupboard.
“What’s that jerkface doing here?”
Trout looked at Caden and said, “Killing your wife.”
Here is Chapter 12