Книга EchoPark. Страница 89
Bosch heard the elevator ding and put the binoculars down for the first time. He checked behind him and saw Jason Edgar carrying two chairs toward them.
“Perfect,” Bosch said.
He took one of the chairs and positioned it near the glass so he could sit on it backwards and prop his elbows on the seat back-classic surveillance form. Rachel positioned her chair so she could sit normally in it.
“Did you get a chance to check with records, Jason?” she asked.
“I did,” Edgar said. “Services to that address are billed to a Janet Saxon and have been for twenty-one years.”
“No problem. I take it that’s all you need from me right now?”
Bosch looked up at Edgar.
“Jerry, you-I mean, Jason-you’ve been a great help. We appreciate it. We’ll probably stick around a little bit and then split. You want us to let you know or drop these chairs off somewhere?”
“Uh, just tell the guy in the lobby on your way out. He’ll get a message to me. And leave the chairs. I can take care of that.”
“Will do. Thanks.”
“Good luck. Hope you get your man.”
Everybody shook hands and Edgar returned to the elevator. Bosch and Walling went back to watching the house on Figueroa Lane. Bosch asked Rachel if she would prefer taking shifts and she said no. He asked if she would rather use the binoculars and she said she would stick with the camera. Its long lens actually allowed her a closer focus than the binoculars did.
Twenty minutes went by and no movement at the house was seen. Bosch had spent the time moving back and forth between the house and the garage but was now training his focus on the heavy brush on the ridgeline up above, looking for another possible observation position that would put them closer. Walling spoke excitedly.
“Harry, the garage.”
Bosch lowered his focus and picked up the garage. The sun had moved behind a cloud and the glare had dropped off the line of windows across the top panel of each garage door. Bosch saw Rachel’s discovery. Through the windows of the garage door that appeared to still be functional he could see the back of a white van.
“I heard that a white van was used in the abduction last night,” Walling said.
“That’s what I heard, too. It’s part of the BOLO.”
He was excited. A white van in a house where Raynard Waits had lived.
“That’s it!” he called out. “He has to be in there with the girl. Rachel, we gotta go!”
They got up and hurried to the elevator.
THEY DEBATED BACKUP as they sped out of the DWP garage. Walling was for it. Bosch was against.
“Look, all we have is a white van,” he said. “She might be in that house, but he might not be. If we storm in there with the troops, we could lose him. So all I want to do is check it out up close. We can call for backup when we get there. If we need it.”
He believed his view was certainly reasonable, but so was hers.
“And what if he is in there?” she asked. “The two of us could be walking into an ambush. We need at least one team of backup, Harry, to do this correctly and safely.”
“We’ll call them when we get there.”
“That will be too late. I know what you’re doing. You want this guy for yourself and you’re willing to risk that girl-and us-to get it.”
“You want me to drop you off, Rachel?”
“No, I don’t want you to drop me off, Harry.”
“Good. I want you to be there.”
Decision made, they ended the discussion. Figueroa Street ran behind the DWP Building. Bosch took it east under the 101 Freeway, crossed Sunset and then followed it as it jogged north and under the 110 Freeway. Figueroa Street became Figueroa Terrace, and they drove to where it ended and Figueroa Lane curved up to the crest of the hillside. Bosch pulled the car to the curb before driving up it.
“We walk up and then we stay close to the line of garages until we get to seven-ten,” he said. “If we stay in close, he won’t have an angle on us from the house.”
“What if he isn’t in the house? What if he’s in the garage waiting for us?”
“Then we deal with it. We clear the garage first and then go up the stairs to the house.”
“The houses are on the hillside. We still need to cross the street.”
He looked at her across the top of the car as they got out.
“Rachel, are you with me or not?”
“I told you, I’m with you.”
“Then, let’s go.”
Bosch got out and started trotting up the sidewalk leading up the hill. He pulled out his phone and turned it off so it wouldn’t possibly vibrate while they were sneaking the house.
He was huffing by the time he got to the top. Rachel was right behind him and didn’t show the same level of oxygen depletion. Bosch hadn’t smoked in years but the damage of twenty-five years before that had been done.
Their only visual exposure to the pink house at the end of the street came when they got to the top and had to cross over to the garages that lined the east side of the street. They walked it, Bosch casually holding Walling by the arm and whispering in her ear.
“I’m using you to block my face,” he said. “He’s seen me but he’s never seen you.”
“It doesn’t matter,” she said when they got across. “If he saw us, you can expect he knows what’s happening.”
He ignored the warning and started moving in front of the garages, which were built right along the sidewalk line. They got to 710 quickly and Bosch went to the panel of windows over one of the doors. Cupping his hands against the dirty glass, he looked in and saw that the interior was crowded by the van and stacks of boxes, barrels and other junk. He saw no movement and heard no sound. A door at the back wall of the garage was closed.
He stepped over to the garage’s pedestrian door and checked the knob.
“Locked,” he whispered.
He stepped back and looked at the two pull-up doors. Rachel was now standing by the far door and leaning in close to it to listen for sounds from inside. She looked at Bosch and shook her head. Nothing. He looked down and saw that there was a handle at the bottom of each pull-up door but no exterior locking mechanism. He went to the first one, bent down and tried to pull the door open. It came about an inch and then stopped. It was locked from the inside. He tried the second door and encountered the same response. The door gave for a few inches but then stopped. Because of the minimal movement each door allowed, Bosch guessed that they were secured inside by padlocks.
Bosch stood up and looked at Rachel. He shook his head and pointed upward, meaning it was time to go up to the house.
They moved to the concrete stairs and quietly started up. Bosch led the way and stopped four steps from the top. He crouched and tried to catch his breath. He looked at Rachel. He knew they were winging it. He was winging it. There was no way to approach the house but to go directly to the front door.
He turned from her and studied the windows one by one. He saw no movement, but he thought he could hear the sound of a television or radio coming from inside. He pulled his gun-it was a backup he had gotten out of the hallway closet that morning-and went up the final steps, holding the weapon down at his side as he quietly crossed the porch to the front door.
Bosch knew that a search warrant was not at issue here. Waits had abducted a woman, and the life-and-death nature of the situation assuredly pushed them into no-warrant, no-knock territory. He put his hand on the knob and turned. The door was unlocked.
Bosch slowly pushed the door open, noticing that a two-inch ramp had been placed over the threshold to accommodate a wheelchair. As the door came open the sound of the radio became louder. An evangelical station, a man talking about the impending rapture.
They stepped into the house’s entry area. To the right it opened into a living room with a dining area to the back. Directly ahead through an arched opening was the kitchen. A hallway to the left led to the rest of the house. Without looking back at Rachel he pointed to the right, meaning she would go that way while he moved forward and cleared the kitchen before taking the hallway to the left.
As he reached the archway Bosch glanced at Rachel and saw her moving through the living room, weapon up in a two-handed grip. He stepped into the kitchen and saw that it was clean and neat, without a dish in the sink. The radio was on the counter. The speaker was telling his listeners that those who did not believe would be left behind.
There was another archway leading from the kitchen to the dining room. Rachel came through it, pointed her gun up when she saw Bosch and shook her head.
That left the hallway leading to the bedrooms and the rest of the house. Bosch turned and went back through the archway to the entry area. When he turned toward the hallway he was startled to see an old woman sitting in a wheelchair in the threshold to the hallway. On her lap she was holding a long-barrel revolver. It looked like it was too heavy for her frail arm to hold up.
“Who’s there?” she said forcefully.
Her head was turned at an angle. Though her eyes were open they were focused on the floor instead of Bosch. It was her ear that was trained toward him and he knew she was blind.
He raised his gun and pointed it at her.
“Mrs. Saxon? Take it easy. My name is Harry Bosch. I’m just looking for Robert.”
A look of puzzlement played on her features.
“Robert Foxworth. Is he here?”
“You’ve got the wrong place, and how dare you come in here without knocking.”
“Bobby uses the garage. I don’t let him use the house. All those chemicals, it smells awful.”
Bosch started edging toward her, his eyes on the gun the whole time.
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Saxon. I thought he was up here. Has he been here lately?”
“He comes and goes. He comes up here to give me the rent, that’s all.”
“For the garage?”
He was getting closer.
“That’s what I said. What do you want him for? Are you his friend?”
“I just want to talk to him.”
Bosch reached down and took the gun out of her hand.
“Hey! That’s my protection.”
“It’s all right, Mrs. Saxon. I’ll give it back. I just think it needs to be cleaned up a little. And oiled. This way it will be sure to work in case you ever really need to use it.”
“I need it.”
“I’m going to take it down to the garage and get Bobby to clean it. Then I’ll bring it back.”