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Книга Sense Of Evil. Страница 59

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And rather than stabbing her genitals through her clothing, he had pulled her jeans and panties down around her ankles, pulled her knees up and pushed them apart, and used the knife to rape her.

“If it helps,” Isabel said, holding her voice steady, “she never felt that. Never knew about it.”

“For her sake I’m glad,” Rafe said. “But it doesn’t help.”

Dr. James straightened and came to join them, his face very, very tired. “Anything you need me to tell you that you can’t see for yourself?” he asked wearily.

“Time of death?” Rafe asked.

“Midnight, give or take a few minutes. She died almost instantly with both the jugular and the windpipe slashed. Blood gushed like a fountain, the last few beats of her heart pumping it out as she fell. He didn’t touch her face, but he used something heavy to crush her skull in two places once she was on the ground.”

“Why?” Mallory wondered, baffled. “She was already dead, and he had to know it.”

“Rage,” Isabel and Rafe said in almost the same breath.

She added, “He had to make certain she couldn’t see him. Couldn’t see his sexual failure.”

“He knew before he tried that he’d fail,” Rafe said.

Isabel nodded. “He knew. Maybe he’s always known.”

The doctor looked at them rather curiously but continued with his report in a monotone. “She fell backward, and he didn’t move her much. Spread her arms out to the sides, judging by the abrasions I found on the backs of her arms. Fanned her hair out and then pressed it into the pool of blood around her head. God knows why. I don’t.”

“What else?” Rafe asked.

“What you see. Did his best to gouge out her breasts, then brutalized her with the knife. It was a big knife, and it did a lot of damage. If I had to guess, I’d say he drove it between her legs at least a dozen times.”

“Excuse me,” Mallory said in a very polite tone. She walked to the edge of the clearing, lifted the crime-scene tape and ducked underneath it, and took several steps beyond, then bent over and vomited.

“I plan to get drunk,” Dr. James announced.

“I wish I could,” Rafe said.

The doctor sighed. “I’ll write up the preliminary report when I get back to the office, Rafe. You’ll have the rest when I get her on the table. It’s going to be a long day.”

“Yeah. Thanks, Doc.”

When the doctor walked away, Rafe said to Isabel, “I’m not getting anything but rage here, and just the vaguest sense of that, not even enough to be sure it isn’t my imagination-or the training telling me to draw logical conclusions from what I’m seeing here. I don’t know how to reach for anything more. You have to do it.”

“I can’t. I’m not getting anything either. Silence. Like you, I know he was furious from what I’m looking at, not from anything I hear or feel.”

“We need more, Isabel.”

“I know that.”

“We have to stop him here and now. Before he goes after anybody else. Before he comes after you.”

“I know that too.”

You have to do her. The first chance you get, you have to do her.

He tried to ignore the voice, because it wasn’t telling him anything he didn’t already know. All it was doing was making his head hurt even more.

She knows. Or she will soon. And he’s helping her know. Look at them. You understand what’s happening, don’t you?

“No,” he whispered, because he didn’t, he really didn’t. All he knew was that his head hurt and his gut, and it had been so long since he’d slept that he’d forgotten what it felt like.

They’re changing.

An icy jolt went through him. “No. I’m changing. You said. You promised. If I did it. If I killed them before they told. You promised.”

Then you’d better do her. Kill her. Before they finish changing. Or it’ll be too late. Too late for you. Too late for both of you.


IT WAS NEARLY NOON by the time T.J. and Dustin had done their work and the ME’s people had removed Emily’s body from the scene. The search of the area had produced nothing, not a scrap of anything that looked even remotely like evidence. There were still officers at the highway keeping the media and the curious away from the scene, but most of the other cops had returned to regular duties.

Isabel had spent the morning prowling the area, restless, watchful, making what she knew was a futile effort to reach through the barrier Rafe had created. To protect her.

She didn’t think the irony was lost on either one of them.

“Anything?” Hollis asked as they studied the now empty crime scene.

“Nada. You?”

“No. And I am trying.” Hollis shrugged. “But from what you’ve said about her, I doubt Emily’s is the sort of spirit we could expect to gather enough energy to come back. As for Jamie… I didn’t hear her when it mattered.”

“Don’t beat yourself up about it. I’m not exactly firing on all cylinders myself.”

“Is that why the watchdogs?” Hollis asked with a slight sideways movement of her head toward an area between them and the highway.

Isabel sighed. “The taller one is Pablo. The other one is Bobby.”

“Pablo? In Hastings?”

“Struck me too. But, hey, melting pot.”

“I guess.” Hollis studied her partner. “So when Rafe went to break the news to Emily’s parents, he left two of his uniforms watching you.”

“They’re not to let me out of their sight. I heard Rafe tell them so. He made damned sure I heard him tell them so.”

“Well… you could be next, Isabel.”

“I can’t work hobbled,” she said irritably.

“Then take the hobbles off,” Hollis suggested mildly. “And I don’t mean the watchdogs.”

“Don’t start spouting Bishop stuff at me, all right? I’m not in the mood. It’s hot, it’s humid, there’s a storm building, and all I can smell is blood.”

Hollis grimaced. “Yeah, I was going to ask-how do we turn the spider senses off?”

“We don’t. Once you learn to enhance, the increased sensitivity is pretty much always with you. There are a few team members who have to focus and concentrate, but for most of us it’s just there. Like raw nerves.”

“That might have been mentioned before I was taught how to enhance.”

“Talk to the boss, not me.”

“You really are in a rotten mood, aren’t you?”

Isabel pointed to the blood-soaked ground several yards away. “This should not have happened,” she said. “I should have seen it coming.”

“You did. You warned us Emily was a possible victim, and Rafe did everything he could to protect her. It’s not your fault or his that a drunk caused a fatal traffic accident.”

“That’s not what I mean. I should have been… tuned in. I should have been listening. Instead, I did just what you said I did-I let Rafe take control. I let him build this shield around my abilities. I went from needing to have absolute control over everything in my life to just… handing it over to him. Why in God’s name did I do that?”

“You didn’t hand over all control. You just let him shut off your abilities.”


“Maybe to find out if he could.”

Isabel stared at her, baffled. “Okay, if that’s Bishop stuff, it doesn’t make sense. I mean even more than his stuff sometimes doesn’t make sense.”

“You’re a strong woman, Isabel. You don’t want to be dominated, but you do want to be matched, if only subconsciously. I think you felt Rafe reaching through this link you guys have, and I think you needed to know, before you decided whether to commit yourself, before you could take that leap of faith, just how strong he was.”

“And now that I do know, O wise one?”

Hollis smiled faintly at what was only a token stab at mockery. “Now you know he matches you. He has as much strength of will as you, possibly as much psychic ability as you, and is certainly as stubborn as you.”


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