New Man part 10

Jacob sat in his Prius and thumbed through the paper to see if there was anything on the fire that he hadn’t found online. The only thing he discovered was that the newspaper was even more vague than the AP had been. But one article in the metro section did grab his eyes. He stared at the headline in shock. He couldn’t believe what he was reading. But the words there on the page said everything. ANDRE MACKLIN TRIAL POSTPONED DO TO THE DISAPPEARNACE OF KEY WITNESS AND DEFENDANT. Robert Hampton was missing? How could that be? The only answer was that Macklin had gotten to someone on the force or involved in the trial and got them to talk. He never planned on giving Jacob the money and was only there to kill yet another witness to a string of crimes. Jacobs word would have been worthless in a court of law, when it came down to it, his was all hear-say and meant nothing. But Andre surely didn’t want that hanging over his head, plus he wouldn’t have had to part with one million dollars.

He thought to himself that it sucked to be Robert Hampton right now and all he could hope for was that whoever killed him did so quickly and that Robert felt as little pain as possible.

 ***

The pretty blue Prius sat running on Poplar Street just outside the Pine County Sheriff Department. Jacob gathered from Jerry that they were the ones conducting the investigation, what investigation that had actually been conducted.

He stepped out onto the cold brick street and heard the thump-thump of the cars going over them. He wondered how the people in horse drawn carriages could have stood to drive on the streets. It was bad enough in modern times with the all the luxuries such as shocks and struts.

The smell of new paint and fresh furniture and cabinets filled the air and had not yet been replaced with the smell of stale coffee and sweat that often filled most police stations. At the front door stood a large walnut desk that held a large Hispanic male. His accent thick and Jacob could hear Mexico in it. He hadn’t lived in the states long.

“How can I help you sir?”

Jacob saw that on the wall behind the counter had several portraits of the past and the present Sheriff.

“I would like to speak to Sheriff Morris.”

“I’m sorry sir, she is currently unavailable is there a particular reason you need to speak to her. Or can one of the deputies or an investigator help you?”

“I’d like to get and give information to the source.”

“Sir you are going to have to be a little more specific than that.”

“I need to speak to her about the Haley Murphy case.”

He shuffled through a door and out of sight. The room felt cramped as if the walls were closing in around him. The outside of the building was huge yet the only space visible to the public was this one tiny ten by fifteen room that held the giant desk and a few metal folding chairs that formed and L shape along two of the walls. A fern stood in one corner in a dark brown wicker basket. Jacob assumed to give the room a welcoming appeal. He noticed that it didn’t work.

The door that the Hispanic man had slid through opened and a pretty woman in a form fitting pant suit with her hair pulled back in a pony tail that lay loose on the back of her head and fell against the back of her neck but stopped short of hitting her shoulders came through the door. She motioned to the chairs in the corner.

“Please have a seat.”

Jacob led as the Sheriff, prettier than her picture let on, followed close behind him. He sat in one of the chairs and she sat in one over and turned to face him with her legs crossed.

“So how can I help you?”

“Well, I don’t know how much of this you get around here but I am working on a case for Jerry Murphy.”

The woman moved back a little and her body language said she was put off by his approach. Jacob quickly tried to recover. “I’m not here to step on anyone’s toes, I just want to help him find his little girl, that’s all. We are all on the same side.”

“First of all Mr. .. I’m sorry I didn’t catch your name.”

“Nathan Collins.”

“First of all Mr. Collins we are not as backwoods as you might think. We get plenty of cases. And we solve plenty of cases. You can tell Mr. Murphy that we are looking into the runaway of his daughter.”

Jacob looked at the picture again and noticed that her name was Rachel Morris. He would try a different tactic. “Rachel? That is a lovely name.”

“Really, no one seems to think of it as anything special.”

“I may be a little partial, it was my wife’s name.”

“I’m sorry for your loss.”

“Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t mean for it to sound as though she is dead, she left with my daughter. And I don’t get to see her anymore.”

“I’m sorry. Have you tried the courts?”

“No one knows were they are, I have visitation rights, that’s all they’ll do. They wont enforce them because I’m not the mother. She has custody and can do what she wants.”

“I’m sorry Mr. Collins but I don’t think that’s the case they should help you.”

“Never-the-less I don’t see her and… well I hate to see Jerry hurting like he does.”

“I understand Mr. Collins, but I don’t see how I can help you today.”

Jacob wriggled in his seat. The metal chair was making his butt fall asleep.

“I just would like to know exactly what you know, so far, up until this point.  Whatever you can tell me would help immensely.”

“I can’t tell you anything Mr. Collins.”  She stood to her feet and walked to the big walnut desk to a rack of business cards and picked one from the group. She brought it back and handed it to Jacob. “This is the phone number for the detective in charge of that case. I assure you that she will help you in any way she can. All I ask from you Mr. Collins is that you obey all laws while you are in my county. Do you understand me?”

“Absolutely Sheriff.”

“Have a good day. Drive careful.”

Jacob looked down at the card that the sheriff had handed him and he felt a sharp pain. Was he having a heart attack or indigestion? His hands began to shake and his temples began to sweat. Of all the cards that she could have picked from that desk the sheriff had to hand him the last name he wanted to see.

KELSEY LAWSON

VIOLENT CRIMES DETECTIVE

PINE COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT

The back of the card held two numbers, one for her office and the other was her private cell. Instantly Jacob felt his head began to pound.

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