Prophet Of Death

Chapter 15

     Pete did exactly what he said he was going to do when he got back to the station and crashed on the cot in the station's locker room. McManus didn't have an issue with it, knowing Frank had next to no time off the previous few days, despite being off the weekend. During most of that time, Pete was looking over his shoulder for trouble so it felt more like work than two days off this his kids. When Pete eventually did open his eyes, it was afternoon. He washed up in the locker room and then went back to homicide to get back to work. He left his jacket in his locker and rolled up the sleeves of his dress shirt. He was ready to do some serious work and break the case. He was energized but slowed down when he spotted Grozza's empty desk. He paused for a moment before strolling into Captain McManus' office where Agent Avery was already sitting.

     "It walks, it talks... it's alive!" McManus said with a laugh when he spotted Pete.

     "That never gets old," Pete said as he walked in and took the other seat in front of his captain's chair. "You guys break anything since I hit the hay?"

     "Nothing," McManus answered. "But we have a problem."

     "What is it?" Pete asked.

     "We think there are some security tapes missing," Avery answered.

     "From the exchange building?" Pete assumed.

     "No," the captain corrected. "The first scene. The Prophet's first kill."

     "Do you think the building is holding something back?" Pete asked.

     "No, but we can't find anyone coming and going," Avery replied. "Even if the Prophet used his side stair exit, the camera by parking should have caught him leaving. It doesn't, so we must be missing a tape."

     Pete paused for a moment. "What if we're not missing a tape?"

     "What are you thinking?" McManus asked.

     "Nothing serious yet," Pete said as he turned to Avery. "How many hours are your guys looking at?"

     "The time of death and a few hours after," Avery answered. "Why?"

     "Tell whoever is assigned to keep watching," Pete replied. "Right up to the point where I arrive on the scene."

     "Where are you going with this?" McManus asked again.

     "I think he may have used the confusion of the scene being secured to exit," Pete replied. "Making this fake exit just another decoy."

     "What disguise would get our guy out?" McManus asked.

     "Easy," Pete answered. "A police officer."

     "Considering everything he's done so far," Avery agreed, "I wouldn't put that kind of stunt past our guy. He could have been watching us, and we wouldn't have known."

     "Would explain how he knew I was on the case," Pete said. "Put two people on these tapes right now."

     "Alright," Avery said as he hopped out of his chair and ran off to give his people the new instructions.

     "Where are we on the numbers Frisby gave us?" Pete asked.

     "We've got some decent leads," McManus answered. "Two men who are far too lucky to get all of their shorts right this week. You'd think they'd toss in a few duds just to make it look less obvious."

     "I'm thinking he did," Pete said. "Our man could have sold the information so he wasn't the only one to short and hide his activity. We need to check those who got these companies right but have a few duds like you said."

     "What are you doing to do?" McManus asked.

     "I'm going to check on my family," Pete said as he left to head back to his own desk. He looked around for a moment and then turned to look at Avery as he came back in. "Where's Jones?"

     "She's not due back in until later," Avery answered. "We sent her home for some rest. She didn't want to leave either."

     "Alright," Pete said as he sat down at his desk. "I'll be back shortly."

     As much as he wanted to get back to work, it had been over ten hours since he had checked in with the family. Since it was lunchtime, it seemed like a good time to make the call. He waited for a few rings before someone picked up.

     "Hello?" a male voice said.

     "This is Detective Gibbons," Pete said, starting to grow concerned. "Who is this?"

     "Marshal Jackson," the Marshal replied. "I'll get the ex for you."

     Moments later, Pete was listening to the annoyed but safe voice of the woman who divorced him. It was an ugly break, but they chose to remain civil for the boys. Jesse didn't like her, but that was out of loyalty. Gabby was a good mother to their sons and that's all he cared about at this moment.

     "Pete," Gabby said. "It's a little crowded in here."

     "It's for your own safety," Pete replied. "You'll just have to trust me for now. How are the boys doing?"

     "They're fine," Gabby answered. "They just had lunch and are watching television with this Clive fellow."

     Pete shifted in his seat upon hearing the news but had to relax. In order for Clive to properly protect them, it made sense to build rapport. "Glad to hear everyone is getting along. Just stay out of the Marshals' way and let them do their jobs and you guys will be fine. They do stuff like this all the time."

     "Alright," Gabby said. "Jesse is in the bedroom; she hasn't come out since we got here, not even to eat. I tried to talk to her, but you know her, she thinks I'm the enemy."

     "Don't worry about it," Pete told her. "Just check in to make sure she's okay and let her stew about it on her own..."

     Pete stopped talking when he noticed that Avery was back and waving at him. It seemed rather urgent.

     "Listen, Gabby, I gotta go," Pete said as he stood up. "Give the boys a hug for me and I'll call back later."

     He didn't even give her a chance to reply and disconnected the line. He walked over to where Avery was standing.

PJ Lowry

Edited: 02.08.2020

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