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Книга EchoPark. Страница 95

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“Swann. He got them from them. He said they had the records from the original investigation.”

“And he told you how to find the body up there in the woods?”

“Swann told me there were markers in the woods. He showed me pictures and told me how to lead everybody there. It was easy. The night before my confession I studied up on everything.”

Bosch was silent as he thought about how easily he had been led down the path. He had wanted something so badly and for so long that it had made him blind.

“And what were you supposed to get out of all of this, Raynard?”

“You mean, what was in it for me from their point of view? My life, man. They were offering me my life. Take it or leave it. But the truth is, I didn’t care about that. I told you, man, when Maury said there’d be a field trip, I knew that I might have a chance to get away… and to visit my… my foxhole one last time. That was enough for me. I didn’t care about anything else. I didn’t care if I died trying, either.”

Bosch tried to think of what he should do or ask next. He thought about using his cell to call the district attorney or a judge and have Waits confess over the phone. He put the flashlight down again and reached into his pocket but then he remembered he had dropped his phone when he had jumped onto Rachel as the shooting broke out in the garage.

“Are you still there, Detective?”

“I’m here. What about Marie Gesto? Did Swann tell you why you had to confess to the Marie Gesto killing?”

Waits laughed.

“He didn’t have to. It was pretty obvious that the fix was in. Whoever did Gesto was trying to get you off his back.”

“No name was mentioned?”

“No, no name.”

Bosch shook his head. He had nothing. Nothing on O’Shea or Anthony Garland or anybody else. He looked down the tunnel in the direction of the garage. He could see nothing but he knew that there would be people there. They had blacked out that end to prevent backlighting. He knew they would be coming at any moment.

“What about your escape?” he asked in order to keep the dialogue going. “Was that planned or were you just improvising?”

“A little of both. I met with Swann the night before the field trip. He told me how I would lead you to the body. He showed me the photos and told me about the markings in the trees and how they would begin after we came to where there had been a mud slide and we would have to climb down. That’s when I knew. I knew I might have a chance then. So I told him to make them uncuff me if I had to do any climbing. I told him that I wouldn’t follow through on the deal if I had to do any climbing with my hands cuffed to my sides.”

Bosch remembered O’Shea overruling Olivas and telling him to take the cuffs off. Olivas’s reluctance had all been a play for Bosch’s benefit. Everything had been a play for his benefit. Everything was phony and he had been played perfectly.

Bosch heard the sound of men crawling behind him in the tunnel. He turned the flashlight on and saw them. It was the SWAT team. Black Kevlar, automatic rifles, night-vision goggles. They were coming. Any moment they would launch a flash-bang grenade into the tunnel and start coming. He turned the light out. He thought about the woman. He knew Waits would kill her the moment they made the move.

“Were you really at McLaren?” Waits asked.

“I was there. It was before your time but I was there. I was in B dorm. It was closest to the baseball fields so we always got there first at rec time and got the best equipment.”

It was a you-had-to-be-there story, the best Bosch could think of in the moment. He had spent most of his life trying to forget about McLaren.

“Maybe you were there, Bosch.”

“I was.”

“And look at us now. You went your way and I went mine. I guess I fed the wrong dog.”

“What do you mean? What dog?”

“You don’t remember. At McLaren they used to pass around that saying about every man having two dogs inside. One good and one bad. They fight all the time because only one can be the alpha dog, the one in charge.”

“And?”

“And the one that wins is always the dog you chose to feed. I fed the wrong one. You fed the right one.”

Bosch didn’t know what to say. He heard a click from behind him in the tunnel. They were going to launch the grenade. He quickly stood up, hopeful that they would not shoot him in the back.

“Waits, I’m coming in.”

“No, Bosch.”

“I’ll give you my gun. Watch the light. I’ll give you my gun.”

He switched on the flashlight and played its beam on the turn in the tunnel ahead. He moved forward and when he got to the turn extended his left hand into the cone of light. He held his gun by the barrel so Waits could see it was no threat.

“I’m coming in now.”

Bosch took the turn and entered the final chamber of the tunnel. The space was at least twelve feet wide but still not tall enough for him to stand in. He dropped to his knees and swept the chamber with his light. The dim amber beam revealed a ghastly sight of bones and skulls and decaying flesh and hair. The stench was overpowering and Bosch had to hold himself from gagging.

The beam came to the face of the man Bosch had known as Raynard Waits. He was propped against the far wall of his foxhole, sitting on what looked like a throne carved into the rock and clay. To his left the woman he had abducted lay naked and unconscious on a blanket. Waits held the barrel of Freddy Olivas’s gun to her temple.

“Easy now,” Bosch said. “I’ll give you my gun. Just don’t hurt her anymore.”

Waits smiled, knowing he was in complete control of the situation.

“Bosch, you are a fool to the end.”

Bosch lowered his arm and tossed the gun to the right side of the throne. As Waits reached down to grab it he lifted the muzzle of the other gun off the woman. Bosch dropped the flashlight and reached behind him at the same time, his hand finding the grip of the revolver he had taken from the blind woman.

The long barrel made his aim true. He fired twice, hitting Waits in the center of the chest with both rounds.

Waits was knocked back against the wall. Bosch saw his eyes go wide, then they lost that light that separates life from death. His chin dropped and his head tilted forward.

Bosch crawled to the woman and checked her for a pulse. She was still alive. He covered her with the blanket she was lying on. He then called out to the others in the tunnel.

“This is Bosch-RHD! It’s clear! We are clear! Raynard Waits is dead!”

A bright light flashed on around the corner in the entrance tunnel. It was a blinding light and he knew the men with guns would be waiting on the other side of it.

No matter, he felt safe now. He slowly moved toward the light.

30

AFTER EMERGING FROM THE TUNNEL Bosch was led out of the garage by two SWAT officers wearing gas masks. He was delivered into the hands of the waiting members of the Fugitive Task Force and others associated with the case. Randolph and Osani from OIS were on hand as well as Abel Pratt from the Open-Unsolved Unit. Bosch looked around for Rachel Walling but didn’t see her anywhere on the scene.

Next out of the tunnel was Waits’s last victim. The young woman was carried to a waiting ambulance and immediately transported to County-USC Medical Center for assessment and treatment. Bosch was pretty sure his own imagination couldn’t top the real horrors she had lived through. But he knew the important thing was that she was alive.

The task force leader wanted Bosch to sit in a van and tell his story but Bosch said he didn’t want to be in a closed space. Even out in the open air on Figueroa Lane he couldn’t get the smell of the tunnel out of his nose and he noticed that the task force members who had crowded around him at first had now all taken a step or two back. He saw a garden hose attached to a faucet alongside the stairway of the house next to 710. He went over, turned it on and then bent over as he ran the water through his hair, on his face and down his neck. It pretty much soaked his clothes but he didn’t care. It washed away a good deal of the dirt and sweat and stench and he knew the clothes were trash now anyway.

The task force top was a sergeant named Bob McDonald who had been pulled in from Hollywood Division. Luckily, Bosch knew him from past days in the division and that set the stage for a cordial debriefing. Bosch realized it was just a warmup. He would have to submit to a formal interview with Randolph and the OIS before the end of the day.

“Where’s the FBI agent?” Bosch asked. “Where’s Rachel Walling?”

“She’s being interviewed,” McDonald said. “We’re using a neighbor’s house for her.”

“And the old lady upstairs in the house?”

McDonald nodded.

“She’s fine,” McDonald said. “She’s blind and in a wheelchair. They’re still talking to her but it turns out Waits lived here when he was a kid. It was a foster home and his real name is Robert Foxworth. She can’t get around by herself anymore, so she pretty much stays up there. County assistance brings in her food. Foxworth helped her out financially by renting the garage. He kept supplies for window washing in there. And an old van. It’s got a wheelchair lift in it.”

Bosch nodded. He guessed that Janet Saxon had no idea what else her former foster son used her garage for.

McDonald told Bosch it was time to tell his story, and so he did, giving the step-by-step playback of the moves he had made after discovering the connection between Waits and the pawnbroker Fitzpatrick.

There were no questions. Not yet. Nobody asked why he never called the task force or Randolph or Pratt or anybody else. They listened and simply locked in his story. Bosch was not too concerned. He and Rachel had saved the girl and he had killed the bad guy. He was sure that these two accomplishments would allow him to rise above all transgressions upon protocol and regulations and save his job.

It took him twenty minutes to tell the story, and then McDonald said they should take a break. As the group around him splintered, Bosch saw his boss waiting to get to him. Bosch knew this conversation would not be easy.

Pratt finally saw an opening and walked up. He looked anxious.

“Well, Harry, what did he tell you in there?”

Bosch was surprised Pratt wasn’t jumping all over him for acting on his own, without authority. But he wasn’t going to complain about it. In abbreviated form he outlined what he had learned from Waits about the setup in Beachwood Canyon.

“He told me it was all orchestrated through Swann,” he said. “Swann was the go-between. He took the deal from Olivas and O’Shea to Waits. Waits didn’t kill Gesto but agreed to take the fall for her. It was part of the deal for avoiding the death penalty.”

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