CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED and FORTY-EIGHT
Tuesday evening — 7:15 P.M.
“There’s Aden,” Troy said.
Captain Troy Olivas pointed to the video image of Aden getting out of the SUV. Members of Alex Hargreaves’s team, Denver Police and a variety of Homeland Security and FBI agents were crammed into the van for a briefing.
“We’re ready to move into place,” Seth said. “I wanted to make sure we’re all on the same page. Aden is joining Jacob in the tunnel.”
“Jake just let him in,” Troy said.
With video restored to the tunnel, they watched Jacob and Aden pretend to review the Lipson construction work.
“We have people staked out throughout the tunnels from here to the Castle,” the Denver Police SWAT Commander said.
“At the Castle, Mike Roper and a few members of my team are waiting,” Alex said. “We have a couple people in the Detroit Street workshop and others all the way up to the Natural History Museum.”
“The hope is that if he eludes one of us, he won’t elude all of us,” the SWAT Commander said. “DPD patrols are ready to assist wherever he pops up. They’ve been instructed to apprehend, not engage.”
“There’s no way to know how this night is going to end,” Seth said. “We have to stay alert, stay alive. Where is he now?”
“After making dinner,” Raz said. “It looks like he’s settled down to watch a movie or some television. I’ve wondered if he’s injured.”
“My men shot him at Sand Creek,” the SWAT Commander said. “Amelie’s the last person to have seen him. Did she say anything about him being injured?”
“Why do you think he’s injured?” Alex asked.
“The way he moves,” Raz said. “And how inactive he is.”
“I think he knows we’re watching,” Delphie said.
The professionals turned to look at her. They glanced at each other before turning to look at the screens again.
“I bet she’s right,” Max Hargreaves said.
“He’d want us to think he was impaired in some way,” Seth said. “What’s our plan?”
“We’ve cut off all the exits we know about,” Alex said. “We’ll attempt to lure him out of his residence. If that doesn’t work, we’ll go in and get him.”
“We have a variety of ways to get him out of there,” the SWAT Commander said. “Flash bombs, tear gas…”
“Let’s hope it doesn’t escalate to active warfare in the middle of downtown,” Seth said.
“Got to do what you’ve got to do,” the SWAT Commander said. “This bastard’s not getting away. Not on my shift.”
“Let’s go over luring him out,” Alex said.
“We’ll start with Valerie Lipson and Honey Scully,” Seth said. “He’s taken an interest in them. We’ll see if they can draw him out.”
“How long are we giving this little charade?” the SWAT Commander asked.
“Half hour, no more,” Alex said.
“Then we go in?” the SWAT Commander asked.
“Then we go in,” Seth said. “Would you like to review your plan?”
“To you?” the SWAT Commander asked. “No. Trust me, Magic. We’ll do what’s necessary to get the bastard out of there.”
“We go in an hour,” Seth said.
“2030 hours,” Alex said. “Before the party crowd arrives and after everyone is home from work.”
“If he moves before then?” Raz asked.
“We scoop him up,” Seth said.
“Right now, we wait,” Alex said.
“We wait,” Seth said.
“If you want to go take a look, he can’t see you,” Troy said.
“Any surveillance he had, we broke with an electromagnetic disruptor,” Alex said. “Go ahead. Stretch your legs.”
Seth got out of the van and walked down to the river. Three plainclothes Denver Police Officers lingered around the underpass and river. Seth was half way down the grass embankment when he heard Delphie’s voice. Turning around, he heard her yell something about his phone. Nodding, he looked at his phone.
He’d been out of range most of the day unearthing human remains. His phone must have shut itself off. Turning the power on, he continued down the grass embankment. As if by gravity, the Denver Police officers moved toward him. His phone gave a little tune as it turned on. He nodded to the officer near to him and the man walked over chat.
As they walked toward the underpass, the young man began a long and complicated joke. The air was filled with the raunchy joke and the nervous expectation of catching Saint Jude. Feeling his phone vibrate, Seth looked down to see that he’d received a text message. Half listening to the young officer, he looked at his phone.
“Yes.” Ava had texted one word to him.
The word echoed through his mind.
Yes! Yes! She said Yes!
Yes? What was she saying Yes to?
What did she mean? Did she mean yes or did she mean YES!
Seth’s head jerked up when the chatting officer coughed and fell to the ground. He heard a spitting sound like a muffled snare drum or a low cough. Ptat, ptat, ptat. Turning toward the sound, Seth felt a sharp object pierce the back of his neck near the base of his skull. He yanked the wooden toothpick-like shank from his neck.
Ptat. Another shank hit his neck at the same spot.
He fell face forward to the grass.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…