Seth shakes his head in time with a sputtering of heaving coughs from Luke. “They stole his dope, or something like that.” I stoop in front of the man and ask him, “Is that right?”
He’s nodding his head even before the shirt’s taken from him. As the damp cloth leaves his mouth, he nearly chokes trying to speak too soon. With a quick intake of air he explains himself. “They were going to take it all.”
“Oh,” I say and nod in understanding. “I see.” Again I wipe the blades of the clippers on Luke’s jeans. He glances down and then his head falls back as he tries desperately not to cry again.
“And you took Jenny Parks.”
“I didn’t take her!” He shakes his head as he denies what I said. And I wait a fraction of a second for him to explain. Which he does this time, the information flowing from his lips. “She wanted to go to Marcus. I was dropping her off! I was just supposed to drop her off at the bridge!”
“On Fifth and Park. The overpass.” He nearly says more, but stops himself. With a knowing look I lean forward, but he continues. Just barely in time. “It’s where I do all the drops for Marcus.” His pale skin turns nearly white and his voice lowers. “Every three weeks or so, I have a pickup from out of state and a drop-off at the bridge. He gives an address. I go, pick up the unmarked package and drop it off at the bridge. A few weeks ago, he gave a name instead of an address. He told me to go to her, and to tell her Marcus was ready.”
I can feel my brow pinch and a crease deepen in my forehead as I ask, “Do you know what he wanted with her?”
“No!” His head shakes violently with the answer. “I just had to pick her up and drop her off. That’s all!”
“And what about the other drops?” I question him. “You ever take a peek at what’s inside?”
Instead of answering, he swallows. Poor fucker.
His cry this time isn’t at all like the last two. Seth covers his mouth as Luke’s head falls back, and his middle finger drops to the grated floor alongside the other two severed extremities.
“Please, please.” I know that’s what he’s saying behind the gag. Please, stop. I’ve heard it so many times in my life.
But in this world, there is no stopping.
I take a moment, wondering how he killed his wife. How he looked her in the eyes and stabbed her to death. Fourteen stab wounds. His sister was a gunshot to the back of the head. That one, that type of kill sounds like someone who stole from him. But fourteen stab wounds… that’s anger. The twin sister of passion.
When Seth removes the shirt, Luke’s head hangs heavy in front of him. He sucks in air like he’s been going without it for too long. I could change that, but that’s not in my favor.
“I want answers, Luke.”
“Drugs. Lots of them. That’s what the packages were.”
“What kind of drugs?” I ask and for the first time, I grit my teeth, letting him hear the frustration.
He doesn’t answer immediately and I stand up straighter, quickly gripping the hair at the back of his head and pulling it back so I can bring the clippers to his throat.
Seth takes a step back and I can feel his eyes on me, knowing this isn’t the way it goes down. I couldn’t give two shits about that right now.
“Heroin, coke, pot, you name it.” Luke’s answers are strained with his throat stretched out.
“And sweets?” I ask him.
The dumb fuck tries to nod and the blade slips across his skin. It’s only a scratch, one he probably can’t even feel with all the other pain rushing through him.
“Marcus doesn’t need to deal. What’s he doing with it?” I ask as I release him, turning my back to him and taking a few steps away to calm down.
“I don’t know,” is Luke’s first answer but before I can even fully turn around the words rush out of him. “I think it’s experiments and setups. He needs the drugs for planting them and I think a month or so ago, that deputy who OD’d? I think that was Marcus.”
He insists he doesn’t know after that, giving examples that he thinks Marcus may be responsible for, but not saying for sure that his guesses are true.
“You were in it for the money?” I question and to my surprise, the man shakes his head.
“At first… but then I wanted to be in with him. I wanted a place on his team.”
The last sentence brings a chill to flow over my skin. “His team?”
Luke nods once. “I wanted to work with him.”