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 and Chapter 11
“Stop him,” Caden cried out.
“I should of got rid of you when I wiped out your stupid husband,” Jim said as he put the coffee back. “Oh well, you’ll be gone soon enough.”
“Are you hearing this?” Caden yelled as he spoke to Trout and Hanson.
“Yes.” Hanson said calmly, “but it would be easier if you weren’t yelling.”
“This guy killed me, I think I have a right to do some yelling.” Jim began to walk back towards the study.
“If my wife has any coffee, she’ll die?” Caden asked.
“Probably,” Hanson replied as he followed Jim.
Caden stayed back and went to the kitchen and started striking the coffee can over and over again. But the tin can may as well have been 12” thick steel. Yet he continued to strike as Trout decided to follow Hanson and Jim.
They watched Jim squeeze back through the door and leave.
“Should we follow him?” Trout asked.
“No, I don’t think it would do much good,” Hanson replied.
“Come on, you stupid cofee can,” they heard Caden yelling from the kitchen continuing his worthless pursuit.
“What do we do?” Trout asked.
“We should try to save her, luckily with her in jail we have a little time.”
“How are we going to save her?”
“I’m not sure, let’s go ask a few things from Caden.” They went back to the living area. Caden perseverance was praiseworthy and between worthless blows to the coffee can he said, “I think it might have budged.”
“No. It didn’t,” Hanson replied. “Why don’t you take a break and let me ask you a few questions?”
“I’m not sure I want to answer your questions. What good have you two boys done for me?” You say you’re here to catch my killer, but we know who it is and you let him stroll out of here. I think I’ll spend my time saving my wife.” He went back to striking the can.
“I plan to save your wife, but I could use your help.”
“How many people who you tried to save actually survive?”
“Alot,” Hanson said with confidence.
“And how many end up dead?”
With a bit less confidence Hanson said, “alot.”
“Not very reassuring,” stated Caden as he took a few more strikes.
“She has a better chance if I help.”
“When does Daisy drink coffee?”
“Really? When does anyone drink coffee? In the morning. I guess once in a while in the afternoon if she is home.”
“Things appear very clean in your home. Is she a very clean person?”
“Yes, she keeps things tidy.”
“How is she on germs?”
“She doesn’t like them more than anyone else but she’s not weird about them. So, what can you do?” Caden asked.
“I’m not sure yet,” Hanson admitted.
“Go figure.” Caden turned back and was trying to head butt the can.
“Can I do anything?” Trout asked.
“No, you go home and get some rest. I’ll think of something.”
“Meet back tomorrow?” Trout asked.
“You be back here at 6 AM. It’s likely going to be a busy day.”
Trout agreed and then left. It was now quite late and as he ported back to his home all was quiet. Porting into the bedroom adjacent to his he saw his two youngest boys both peacefully asleep. Once he could see all was well, he ported into his own room where his wife lay next to their oldest son. Since his death, Jack, his oldest, had spent the nights in her bed. At first it was a way for her to comfort Jack, but now Trout realized she needed it more than Jack did. Her eyes did not hide the fact that once again she had been crying before she fell asleep. There was barely enough room between her and the end of the bed for Trout to sneak in, so he did, putting an arm over her as he began to fall asleep. As he placed himself close to her, a smile broke over her face and she slept on.
Hanson sat back in his office and thought. There were far too many things to do given the allotted time. Three things were at the top of his list, one, somehow get the beats to get on Jim’s path, two find out who the mystery woman was, whose face was left clearly in his mind, and three keep Daisy from having a cup of coffee at her house, and thereby wind up dead.
The third while vitally important was not a rush, after all, she was in jail, but how long she’d stay there was unclear, he had not been able to spend any time with Captain Driggs, not that he really wanted to. The problem was he didn’t know how their case against Daisy was progressing. But progress and Captain Driggs never seemed to go together. The kid, Detective Lung, was bright and could actually be making progress on the case, and that could lead to a release of Daisy.
Deep down he wanted to spend his time finding who this mystery woman was, even now as he thought about it he knew the face was familiar but couldn’t place her no matter how much he racked his brain. How to locate her was a total mystery to Hanson and he realized if he didn’t watch the beats he could be off finding the mystery woman when the beats decide to release Daisy who then might go straight home for a cup of coffee. His further investigation of Jim and the mystery woman would have to wait while his focus went back to the beats case and saving Daisy.
With the decision made Hanson ported to the police station. No one was there except Lung. Hanson was impressed for Lung to still be on the clock this late meant either this kid really cared about his work or had no life, both things Hanson understood well.
Lung was looking over a classic suspects board. On it was Daisy, Tom, her brother, a few people Hanson recognized, from the files they went through at Caden’s house, as clients of Cadens and a woman who Hanson did not recognize. There was no picture of Jim, but in Lungs hand was a simple piece of paper that said, “Canine Hope '' and listed the board members, including Jim. Lung took the piece of paper and pinned it to the board.
Hanson smiled, this kid would go far. True all Lung did was realize who had something to gain from Caden’s death, and the will would have pointed him straight to Canine Hope but even simple steps in the right direction were more than he expected from many beats.
Hanson read over the notes under each suspect and Daisy worried him the most. Lung had developed a laundry list of points that pointed away from her, that he listed in bullets below her name.
No sign of Caden having an affair
No sign of Daisy having an affair
Note did not match her handwriting
No gun registered in her name or sign of gun use or history
While all this was true and good detective work Hanson knew that the clock was ticking. Daisy would likely be released today and coffee use would surely follow.
The other one that peeked Hanson’s interest was the woman. The beats affectionately named her cat woman. One look at her and Hanson knew it wasn’t because of how she would look in black leather and a wip. The information below her name was extremely limited and Hanson couldn’t figure out why she was even there, until he read the address. She lived next door to Caden.
Hanson turned from the board to look at Lung, who was now fast asleep in his office chair. “Oh well,” he said, “no beats perfect.” Lung had left his notebook/planner open and he saw that the first thing listed was, visit catwoman.
Leaving his dedicated, but asleep, companion he decided to head back to ask Caden a few more questions about this catwoman. He half expected to find Caden in his kitchen continuing his assault on the coffee can, but instead found him asleep on the kitchen floor.
“Wake up?” Hanson stated loudly as he shook Caden. Many years ago he had decided to always put information about a case before the dead’s sleep. He felt little remorse robbing people of a luxury he could ill afford.
“You again,” Declared Caden.
“You figure out how to save my wife yet?”
“Well, at least you're consistent, even if it's consistently worthless.”
Hanson ignored the comment and asked his question, “Why would the beats list your neighbor as a suspect in your death?”
“Are you still on that? It was Jim you idiot. Jim killed me and tried to kill my wife. Given the work I have seen out of you so far, perhaps I should say killed my wife, it’s practically a foregone conclusion.”
“Just answer the question.” Hanson said in the way that only he could.
“Probably because she always called the police complaining about me. She was pretty clear she wanted me dead”
“You didn’t feel that was worth mentioning earlier?”
“No, because it was Jim who killed me.”
Hanson glared and Caden, demanding more. “Why did she call the police on you?”
“She only hated me because of our dogs, her cats tormented my dogs, my dogs tormented her cats, everytime one of her feral fuzz balls disappeared or died she blamed me and our dogs. Since both dogs were gone I figured her gripe with us was mute. But that brings up a point I’ve been meaning to ask you.”
Given Caden’s track record Hanson hated to open the door to questions but decided to allow it. “And that is?”
“Where is Munchies? He died before me and I haven’t seen him.”
“Caden, all dogs go to heaven.”
“Where are we?”
“See any dogs?”
“Well then, it ain't’ heaven.”
Caden wasn’t sure if Hanson was joking. Hanson was difficult for most to read, and Hanson was just pleased the answer didn’t lead to any more questions, and just in case Caden did think of a follow up Hanson decided to port back to his office, he had more serious thinking to do.
“Wake up,” Hanson stood over Trout and kicked his feet slightly.
“Did I sleep in?” Trout asked as he stood up. He always ended up on the floor after falling asleep next to his wife, even the slightest movement from her sent him floating onto the ground. It didn’t matter much, the mattress was no softer to him than the ground.
“It appears you did,” Hanson said.
“Sorry, I don’t have an alarm?”
“One in your visor.”
“I didn’t know. It won’t happen again.”
“It’s fine. Turns out I owe you,” Hanson said.
“Last night I needed some information and I found it in your notes.”
“You did?” Trout beamed.
“Don’t let it go to your head.”
“What was it?”
“Later, time for us to take a ride.”
The appeared in the back seat of the patrol car with Captain Driggs and Detective Lung who were in the middle of an argument.
“You can’t simply let her go.” Driggs said.
“But we don’t have any reason to hold her and her lawyer is pushing.”
“Then we should officially charge her.”
“How? We have no weapon, no history, no motive, and no proof.” Lung stated.
“Wives always have motive.”
“That’s the truth,” Hanson jumped in. “Captain Driggs’ more than most.”
“Our only evidence being that she was married to him likely won’t hold up in court,” Lung offered.
“Okay hot shot, who did it?”
“I’m not sure,” Lung admitted.
“That will not hold up in court either,” Driggs said triumphantly. The absurdity of the comment stood because Lung wasn’t sure how to respond. “Look, you get me another suspect in custody and then we can let the wife go. But, I don’t think you will because she did it.”
The argument stopped because they had pulled up to Caden’s home. “Why are we at Caden’s home?” Trout asked.
“We aren’t,” Hanson replied.
Driggs and Lung got out. Hansne ported out leaving Trout alone in the back seat. Trout expected Hanson to take him with him. Feeling a little left behind he realized he could simply port himself out, and did. Porting outside the car he was able to follow Driggs and Lund to the door, and was now wondering where Hanson went.
They knocked and a middle aged woman opened the door, with the door opening came the smell of cat urine. Trout smelled it slightly, but could tell by the face of Driggs and Lung that to them the smell was overpowering, tears began to form in the corner of both their eyes. It was interesting because up to this moment he hadn’t smelled anything since his death. While he didn’t think about it, he assumed he couldn’t smell, yet clearly he could.
The lady invited them in and it became instantly obvious why the smell was what it was, cats were everywhere. They sat on top of the chair on and above the couch, a few poked heads out from under the couch, one walked around the lamp, two were sitting in the window seal, one sat on a china hatch, and that was a quick count.
Hanson walked in the room from the kitchen, he had clearly been looking around since he had ported out of the car.
Trout called out as he saw Hanson, “I didn’t know we could smell.”
“Not well, but yes we have some sense of smell. Actually while it is helpful at times for police work it is not very pleasant, about the only smells strong enough for us to notice are the worlds worst. For example, cat urine.” Hanson was now in the front room staring out the window, which faced Caden’s home. They had a very good view of the bushes on the side of Caden’s house that hid the office doggie door.
“Thanks for letting us come by Ms. Merten,” Detective Lung said. “We have a few questions for you.”
“Fine. Go ahead.” Clearly she was not the most pleasant of folk.
“You may have heard, but your neighbor, Caden Mason, was killed two days ago.”
“Carma,” she muttered.
“Excuse me?” Lung asked.
“Carma. You hard of hearing?”
“What do you mean by that?”
“So you are deaf and stupid. Karma is what you say when you get what’s coming to you.” She turned down and continued to stroke a cat.
“Yes, but why do you say it was Carma that he died.”
She looked up and huffed through her nose. “He had mean dogs. They tormented my little ones.” She turned to the cat on her lap, “Didn’t they bother you, sweet little Nomie. That man and his dog got what they deserved.” She then turned back up to Lung. “Carma.”
“Ms. Merten did you see anything suspicious Tuesday night?”
“Noone lurking around the Mason’s house?”
“You did see someone lurking around the house?”
“Yes. I did. You really need to get your ears checked,” Ms. Merten said.
“I thought you said you saw nothing suspicious.”
“I didn’t see anything suspicious. If you are going to ask people questions you really should try harder to listen.”
“Isn’t someone lurking around the house suspicious?”
Lung wasn’t sure how much more of this he could take, but the others were actually enjoying his inability to get a clear answer.
“About what time did you see this person lurking around the house?”
“10, midnight, 2 AM?”
“Not sure. I’m not big on time. I don’t let a clock control me.”
“Can you describe the person?”
This was getting a bit tedious, but Lung was nothing but composed. Captain Driggs luckily for everyone had zoned off and was in a bit of a hypnotic state due to the deep discord he had for being in a room full of animals by products.
“Because it was night time.”
“Any idea who it was?”
“Okay, who do you think it was?” His voice was beginning to rise.
“It was the deadbeat brother.”
“Why do you think that?” Lung asked.
“It’s usually him.”
“What do you mean usually?”
“Usually, means most times. Do they require any schooling to be a detective?”
This continued for a long stretch. But in the end Lungs patience prevailed. Hanson continued to be impressed by this young detective, he was sure he would have given up before he did. But Lung did finally get some useful information out of her. Several nights a week for the past 3 months the brother had been sneaking in and someone snuck in the night of the murder. Finally, a few questions were asked to clear her name.
“Do you own a gun?”
“Guns are gross. Of course, I don’t.”
“Do you have anyone who could vouch that you didn’t leave your home the night of the murder?”
“She gestured to the cat on her lap.”
“That will be all thank you.” Lung stood to leave and Driggs anxiously followed.
Once again all four were in the patrol care on their way back to the station. Driggs spoke first. “So, it’s the brother.”
“I’m not sure we have enough on him?”
“Boy, if you ran things we’d never bring anyone in? We have an eye witness putting him on the scene, which is a violation of his parole.”
“I think we should bring him in for questioning.”
“And then keep him in after we book him for 1st degree.”
“Let’s see what he says,” Lung said.
“But then we let Daisy go,” Lung added.
“There you go again. How do you know she wasn’t his accomplice?”
“What evidence do we have that she was? In my book it's innocent until proven guilty.”
“That’s the court job, not ours.”
“You said, we bring in another suspect we could let Daisy go,” Lung reminded him.
“Fine, but you are taking the heat when we find out she is guilty but has headed for the Bahamas,” Driggs added.
“I think we have heard all we need to hear. Let’s go.” Hanson said putting his arm on Trout. They appeared in an apartment that was new to Trout but very familiar to Hanson.
Tom sat at a computer desk filling out an online job application. Behind him sat Stilton. He was the first to speak, “You guys.” Hanson’s lack of ability to keep Daisy out of jail was still clearly fresh on their mind.
“How’s he doing?” Hanson asked.
“He’s kept clean. Although he’s getting very discouraged about not having work.”
A knock came on the front door.
“That was fast,” noted Trout.
“Too fast, that's not the beats,” Hanson clarified.
“Beats? Police? Here?” Stilton asked in terror. His son did not have a good history when it came to police.
Hanson grabbed Trout and ported out into the kitchen as Tom got up to answer the door.
“Why port?” asked Trout.
Whispering, Hanson said, “I don’t want to be seen.”
“You think someone dead knocked?” Trout asking mockingly.
“Be quiet.” Hanson was abrupt and tense. Trout never saw Hanson so on edge.
“Hey Rhonda,” Tom Said as he opened the door.
“I got you an amazing score.”
“Thanks Rhonda, but you know I need to stay clean.”
“I totally respect that, but sometimes you need a break from life, take it just in case you change your mind.”
“Keep quiet, don’t say anything.” Hanson mostly mouthed.
Hanson again ported with Trout. It took a second but Trout soon realized they were in the hallway outside of Tom’s apartment. They could see the back of Rhonda standing in the doorway and next to her someone else. By the time Trout realized where they were and that Rhonda was not alone, Hanson ported right next to the woman at Rhonda’s side, grabbed her and disappeared.
Rhonda finished the drop off and Trout was not sure what to do when Hanson ported back right in front of him.
“The beats will be here soon, get rid of the drugs,” Hanson gave the instructions and then was gone again, leaving Trout alone in the hallway.
Trout was unsure what to do. Throughout his life and now in death he had been in many odd predicament but one he never thought he’d be involved in was hiding drugs from the police. People hid drugs from him but never the other way around. Not only that, he had no idea how to do it. It's not like he could rip the drugs out of Tom's hands and throw them out the window. Despite how he felt about it he thought he better try. Disobeying a direct order, was not something he was willing to try again, at least, not yet.
Porting back into the living room he saw Stilton with his arm around Tom who sat staring at the drugs. Stilton looked up as Trout appeared. “That’s the third time that witch woman has stopped by to drop off drugs to Tom. Your partner saved him the first time, and last time he threw them out as soon as she left, but he’s very discouraged about not getting work and Rileys at school. I’m worried.
“So the neighbor comes by with free drugs over and over again?”
“I thought people paid for that stuff, seems odd.”Trout offered.
“I guess they’re friends, so to speak.”
“When people are in the middle of drug addictions they don’t have friends, they have people who use them and people they use. Either way, we need to get rid of the drugs, the police are coming.”
“Oh yeah,” Stilton stood up. “If they come and see this we are in big trouble. So what do we do?”
When Trout brought it up he hoped Stilton had some ideas. After all, Trout had only been dead a little over a week. The only thing he could think to do was try to influence Tom to throw them out. “I’ll try to get him to dispose of them.”
“You know, by influence.”
“So, you guys can influence people’s minds?”
“I think we all can.” Trout said.
“I’m kind of new at it. So, I’m not exactly sure how it works.”
Disappointment covered Stilton’s face as Trout continued, “You simply try. You can try too.”
Trout thought of Tom and kept thinking, “It’s not worth it. Toss the drugs out. You are stronger than this.” Doing so only made him feel like a bad motivational speaker, and he could see it wasn’t working. Exactly how he knew it wasn’t working, he didn’t know, he just knew it wasn’t. Every time he put a thought into Tom’s mind he could sense it was simply hitting a brick wall. Things felt different when he was trying to influence Detective Lung. Clearly the person could choose to accept thoughts, and Tom had closed his mind to any thought that ran counter to his determined course of action.
Tom picked up the needle and tapped it to ensure it was full. “Don’t do it Tommy,” Stilton said.
As he spoke Tom raised the needle to his arm.
“I’m sorry,” Trout said in defeat. “I tried.”
Here is Chapter 13