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, and Chapter 12
Tom made sure the needle aligned with his vein and prepared to thrust the needle in when there was a knock at the door. Shaking, he pulled the unpressed neetle away from his arm, as a second more aggressive knock rang out. Trout realized that Driggs and Lung were about to save and ruin the day all in one fell swoop. Tom put the needle down, his body still twitching with anticipation for the rush that would be momentarily postponed, and stood to get the door.
Trout again attempted to influence Tom. “It’s the police,” he pressed upon his mind. This time it felt very different. And he could tell Tom was now willing to listen. He stopped, turned back to the coffee table, lifted a cushion off the couch and tossed the needle underneath, replaced the cushino and then headed back to the door.
“Hello Officer,” Tom said, trying to calm his adrenaline.
“Thomas Worthlin?” Lung asked.
“Can we come in?”
“What’s this about?” Tom asked.
“About your brother-in-law. Can we come in?”
There was a long pause as Tom debated but he finally said, “Come on in.” He stepped out of the way and let them in, they quickly scouted past Tom and headed to the couch. Tom quickly cut him back off to ensure that he got the seat on the couch on top of the contraband.
Lung shrugged and moved over to a chair opposite the couch. “Mind if we sit down?”
“Go ahead. So, you want to ask me about Caden?”
“Yes. Mr. Worthlin did you get along with your Brother-in-law?” Lung asked.
“Um, we had our difference, but I didn’t have any real issues with him.”
“What were those differences?”
“Well, you know minor things.”
He squirmed in his chair, there were plenty of things he could think of that Caden did that made him upset but he wasn’t sure any of them were wise to bring up with the police. But at this point he had to come up with something. “You can look up my record easily enough. I’ve had my share of past issues and he was not always as supportive as I would have liked, but that is understandable.”
“How was he not supportive?” Lung continued to push.
“What’s with this guy?” Stilton jumped in. “Can’t they give it a rest?”
Trout felt the awkwardness of the line of questioning but despite this his respect for Detective Lung was growing, the uncomfortableness Trout felt, was exactly what Lung was trying to cause and it was effective, Tom was cracking. “Well for one thing, when I was locked up he wouldn’t allow Daisy to take my daughter.”
“Where did she go?” Lung asked.
“Foster care. Where else?”
“So forcing your kid into foster care wasn’t an issue for you?”
Tom jumped up and grabbed Lungs collar, “Listen bub…” Tom paused. Being forced to leave his daughter for years was a wound that had not healed, questioning his love of his daughter was the quickest way to get a rise out of him. Driggs smiled and for the first time since being assigned to Lung was actually proud of him. Tom caught himself before he did anything he regretted, letting go of Lung’s collar he sat back down, “sorry about that, but yes, it made me upset. My girl means the world to me.”
“I can see that.” Lung said as he straightened his collar. “Have you spent any time at Daisys home lately Mr. Worthlin?”
“Did she say that?” Sweat began to form on his brow as he spoke.
“Were you there, anytime in the last few weeks?”
“Were you there the night Caden died?”
“I was here that night.”
“Can anyone verify that?”
“Yes, my daughter, and my neighbor saw me.”
“Who is your neighbor?”
“Rhonda.” Tom almost hated to say it. She saw him that night but he knew that she was anything but a reliable witness. She was usually unaware what happened five minutes ago, or how to spell her name, let alone vouch for what she saw 2 days ago.
“So, what did you do that night?”
“Nothing, came home and put my daughter to bed.”
“Came home from where?” Lung questioned.
The part about coming home and putting his daughter to bed was true. What time and what he was doing before was harder to answer. Being fired from a job he wasn’t legally allowed to have was not something he wanted to discuss, especially given that he was fired based on supposed theft. So, he went with, “I was shopping.”
Stilton turned to Trout, “He’s lying, he was never shopping that night. He doesn’t want to go back to jail and lose Riley.”
“Shopping for what?” Lung continued the questioning.
“Use a credit card?”
Tom was through with this. “Well, sorry I couldn’t be more help but I think it’s time for you two to leave. I need to pick my daughter up from school.” He said as he stood.
Lung stood as well. “Sure, but before we go, an eye witness saw you enter Daisy’s home regularly on the nights leading up to the murder. How do you explain that?” The casual way he asked took Tom off guard.
Driggs with much less subtlety and anxious to turn up the pressure said, “Yea, explain that!”
“Your eye witness was wrong.” Tom said, returning to his shaking. Standing to encourage the officers to leave seemed like a good idea but now without his posterior on the couch he couldn’t help but wonder if the drugs would have shifted and be visible. He kept taking nervous glances back at the couch as Lung walked closer to him.
“You know, if we find out that you were at Daisy’s, that would be in violation of your parole.” Lung now stood only a few feet from Tom.
“I’m aware.” Nerves were taking over, he kept telling himself not to look down towards the drugs, and each time he tried not to, found himself doing it. He finally decided he better sit back down and resume his protective position on top of the cushion. As he reached for the couch Lung grabbed his wrist and spinning him around put Tom into a half nelson.
“What were you reaching for? You have a gun under your seat?”
“No, there’s nothing there. I just wanted to sit back down.” Half truths are not always spoken very convincingly and Lung clearly wasn’t buying it.
“Nothing huh, there is no gun under that cushion?”
Stilton instinctively jumped in front of the cushion, looking up at Trout he pleaded, “Do something.”
“There is no gun, I promise,” Tom said with far too much desperation, as he tried without effect to wrench himself free from Lung.
Lung kept his grip tight on Tom’s wrist, “Driggs can you check under the cushion?”
Trout was trying his best to distract both Driggs and Lung with whatever he could but it was a vain attempt, much like Tom with the drugs, their minds were made up. Stilton’s physical attempt was even more pathetic as Driggs' movement toward him blew him away before his body even arrived at the cushion. Driggs lifted the cushion and looked down and saw nothing. Looking up to Lung he seemed to say with his eyes, “There’s no gun. Now what?”
The needle had inserted itself into the cushion when Tom sat on it, and clung to the cushion, when Driggs picked it up. Unfortunately for Tom, Lung was far less oblivious and noticed what was visible to everyone but Driggs. “Captain, look at the cushion, and be careful.” Driggs grabbed the syringe as liquid squirted across the room.”
“Be careful,” Lung cried out. Tom’s muscles completely relaxed as he seceded any chance he had at freedom.
“What about my daughter?” Tom said in total defeat.
“We’ll take care of it. You have the right to remain silent…” Lung continued to go over Tom’s rights as he handcuffed and hauled him off. This left Trout alone with Stilton. What do you say to a man who has seen his only living son and daughter hauled off to jail in 24 hours both as homicide suspects? Trout didn’t know. He had seen Stilton blow up in anger at Hanson when Daisy was hauled off.
Now Stilton sat calmly, silently staring at the door that his son had been hauled out of. Silence prevailed for an extended time, finally Stilton said without turning to Trout. “Why are you here?”
Trout wasn’t sure at first if he was talking to him, but given that there was no one else he could possibly be referring to he decided to answer. “Sorry, good point. I should probably go.” Although he wasn’t sure where he should go. Hanson told him to stay.
“No, I mean why are you even here?” Given the new emphasis of the question Trout wondered if this was a spiritual question, like, why do we exist? If so, he was wholly unprepared or qualified to answer. So he said, “I’m not sure, I understand.”
Stilton turned to Trout for the first time since the police hauled off his son. His eyes now penetrated Trout. “Why are you and this Hanson guy here? Around my family? You're supposed to be detectives and all you do is sit around and watch innocent people go to jail. I don’t get it. All through life you see so much injustice and you think at least it all works out on the other side. Then you get here, and what do I see? The same stuff. My wife and I get to watch as our son, fights day and night to stay clean to be with his daughter and what happens? The system won’t let him get a job. When he does he get’s fired based on false accusations, people constantly bombard him with temptations and because of his past he is assumed guilty. Then I find out there’s people here to help. Detectives. But do you help? Even if you find out who killed Caden, and why and know that Tom and Daisy aren't guilty what good does it do? Can you do anything about it?”
Trout wasn’t sure if the question was rhetorical, but rhetorical or not it was some very good questions. Trout didn’t know any of those answers, and Mr. Stilton had a point. All Hanson told him was that they would influence or try to influence things into the right way. Recent events reiterated that his and even Hanson’s ability to influence was extremely limited.
Stilton’s pain at seeing his children locked up, and now knowing his only granddaughter was about to come home to an empty apartment and would likely have to spend the next little while neglected by a drugged out neighbor brought great pain. The kind of pain that is so powerful, much more powerful than any physical pain. Often the only way we feel we can face it is to fling it upon all we come in contact with. And Trout’s silence only encouraged Stilton to continue the onslaught. “You have no idea what you are doing. Why don’t you just leave my poor family alone?”
Trout wished Stilton had chosen to yell at him like he did at Hanson. Trout originally felt awful for Stilton, now he just felt awful. He disappeared leaving the sad father alone. Stilton quickly realized that sharing his pain, much like sharing a virus did nothing to stop its growth within himself.
Here is Chapter 14