Back at the apartment, all Angie’s energy and fire drained out of her at once, and she passed out on top of the bedcovers. I slid them out from under her, then pulled them over her and turned out the light.

I sat at the kitchen table, wrote Amanda McCready on a file folder, and scribbled a few pages of notes regarding the last twenty-four hours: our interviews with the McCreadys and the men at the Filmore and the parents at the ball game. When I was through, I got up, took a beer from the fridge, and stood in the middle of the kitchen floor as I drank some of it. I hadn’t pulled the shades on the kitchen windows, and every time I looked at one of the dark squares, Gerry Glynn’s face leered back at me, his hair soaked with gasoline, his face spotted with the blood of his last victim, Phil Dimassi.

I pulled the shades.

Patrick, Gerry whispered from the center of my chest, I’m waiting for you.

When Angie, Oscar, Devin, Phil Dimassi, and I had gone head-to-head with Gerry Glynn, his partner, Evandro Arujo, and an imprisoned psychotic named Alec Hardiman, I doubt any of us had realized the toll it would take. Gerry and Evandro had been eviscerating people, decapitating and disemboweling and crucifying them, out of a sense of fun or spite, or because Gerry was mad at God, or just because. I never fully understood the reasons behind it. I’m not sure anyone could. Sooner or later motives pale in light of the actions they give birth to.

I had nightmares about Gerry often. Always Gerry. Never Evandro, never Alec Hardiman. Just Gerry. Probably because I’d known him my entire life. Back when he’d been a cop, walking the local beat, always with a smile and a friendly. ruffle of the hair for us kids. Then, after he’d retired, as owner and chief bartender of the Black Emerald. I drank with Gerry, had conversations long into the night with Gerry, felt at ease with him, trusted him. And all that time, over the course of three decades, he’d been killing runaway kids. A whole forgotten populace that nobody was looking for and nobody missed.

My nightmares varied, but usually Gerry killed Phil in them. In front of me. In reality, I hadn’t seen him slice Phil’s throat, even though I’d been only eight feet away. I’d been on the floor of Gerry’s bar, trying to keep his German shepherd from plunging its teeth into my eye, but I’d heard Phil scream; I’d heard him say, “No, Gerry. No.” And I’d held him while he died.

Phil Dimassi had been Angie’s husband for twelve years. Until their wedding, he’d also been my best friend. After Angie filed for divorce, Phil quit drinking, became gainfully employed again, was on the road to a kind of redemption, I think. But Gerry blew all that away.

Gerry fired a bullet into Angie’s abdomen. Gerry cut fissures into my jaw with a straight razor. Gerry helped end the relationship I had with a woman named Grace Cole and her daughter, Mae.

Gerry, the left side of his body on fire, had a shotgun pointed at my face when Oscar fired three bullets into him from behind.

Gerry damn near destroyed all of us.

And I wait for you down here, Patrick. I wait.

I had no logical reason to think that searching for Amanda McCready was going to lead to the sort of carnage my encounter with Gerry Glynn and his pals had created, no logical reason at all. It was this night, I reasoned, the first cool night in a few weeks, the dark-slate feel of it all. If it were last night, moist and balmy, I wouldn’t be feeling this way.

But then again…

What we’d learned, unequivocally, during our pursuit of Gerry Glynn was exactly what Angie had spoken of tonight—that people could rarely be understood. We were slippery creatures, our impulses ruled by a variety of forces, many of them incomprehensible even to ourselves.

Why would someone abduct Amanda McCready?

I had no idea.

Why would someone—several someones, actually—want to rape a woman?

Once again, I had no idea.

I sat for a while with my eyes closed, trying to see Amanda McCready, to conjure up a concrete inner sense of whether she was alive or not. But behind my eyelids, I saw only the dark.

I finished my beer and looked in on Angie.

She slept on her stomach in the middle of the bed, one arm splayed across the pillow on my side, the other clenched in a fist against her throat. I wanted to go to her and hold her until what happened in the Filmore stopped happening in her head, until her fear went away, until Gerry Glynn went away, until the world and everything ugly in it passed over our bodies and rode the night wind out of our lives.

I stood in the doorway a long time, watching her sleep, hoping my silly hopes.

8

After her estrangement from Phil and before she and I became lovers, Angie dated a producer with New England Cable News Network. I’d met the guy once and hadn’t been particularly impressed, though I do recall he had great taste in ties. Wore too much aftershave, though. And mousse. And dated Angie. So the chances of us getting together for late-night Nintendo games and Saturday softball were pretty slim from the get-go.

The guy proved useful after the fact, however, because Angie kept in touch and occasionally, when we needed them, scored us tapes of local news broadcasts. It’s always amazed me how she can do that—stay in touch, remain friends, get a guy she dumped two years ago to do her favors. I’d be lucky to call an ex-girlfriend and get my own toaster back. Maybe I need to work on my breakup technique.

The next morning, while Angie showered, I went downstairs and signed off with the FedEx guy for a box from Joel Calzada of NECN. This city has eight news channels: the major network affiliates, Four, Five, and Seven; the UPN, WB, and Fox channels; NECN; and finally a mom-and-pop independent at the top of the dial. Among these eight stations, all have noon and six P.M. broadcasts, three have five o’clocks, two have five-thirtys, four have ten in the evenings, and four wrap up at eleven. They broadcast at various times throughout the morning, beginning at five, and each has one-minute updates at several different times, during the day.

Joel had, at Angie’s request, gotten his hands on every broadcast by every station concerning Amanda’s disappearance since the night she’d vanished. Don’t ask me how he pulled this off. Maybe producers trade tapes all the time. Maybe Angie can sweet-talk with the best of them. Maybe it was Joel’s ties.

I’d spent a few hours last night rereading all the newspaper articles about Amanda, and I’d come up with nothing new except for hands stained so deeply with black ink I’d made a fingerprint collage on a sheet of legal paper before going to bed. When a case seems as dense and protective of its secrets as marble, sometimes the only thing to do is attempt a fresh approach, or at least an approach that feels fresh. That was the idea here—watch the tapes, see what jumped out at us.

Source: www.StudyNovels.com