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Книга Whiplash. Содержание - 59

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Time was her enemy. She didn't see a weapon in Mick's hand, but Kesselring was armed and quite ready to shoot her. It didn't matter, she had to act. Even with the distance and her Lady Colt, she might wound him. If she was really lucky, she'd hit an artery and he'd bleed out. She wouldn't be sorry about that. But if she didn't manage to disarm him, she was, quite simply, dead.

Sherlock was raising her Lady Colt when Kesselring walked quickly to Jane Ann, grabbed her wrist, twisted it, and jerked her in front of him, wrapping his arm around her neck. He brought his pistol to her temple. "Mick, come in now, or I will kill this loud-mouthed slut."

Mick Haggarty shouted, "I knew we shouldn't trust you! I told Jane Ann you were crazy, told her you had dead eyes, but she said she could handle you. Don't you dare kill her, you lunatic!"

Mick dove for Kesselring.

Kesselring calmly turned, pulled Sherlock's SIG Sauer from his belt, and shot him in the forehead in mid-leap. The force of the bullet slammed Mick Haggarty back against the wall. He slid down the wall leaving streaks of blood and brains in his wake, dead before he hit the floor. Jane Ann screamed.

Kesselring grabbed her around the neck again and began choking her. She was gagging, beginning to turn blue, her hands pulling at his arms, but it did no good. He yelled, "You stupid woman, I told you I had a plan!"

Jane Ann stopped trying to pull his arms loose. Sherlock watched her get it together, watched her rip her nails down his face and drive her elbow hard into his belly. Kesselring howled and cursed in German and slammed the barrel of his gun to her head. Jane Ann sagged in his arms.

No time. No time. Sherlock took careful aim and fired one of her precious bullets.


Bowie and Erin slammed through Mick Haggarty's apartment door, three local cops behind them, so excited Erin hoped they wouldn't shoot her or Bowie.

"No one's here," Bowie said after racing through the apartment. "They took her somewhere."

"Agent Richards!"

Bowie ran over to Deputy Henry Mote, who was bent over near the door. "Look, sir, it's a cell phone."

Bowie quickly punched in the first speed-dial number.

Savich answered on the second ring. "Sherlock? Why didn't you call before now? What's going on up there? Are you all right?"

"Savich, it's Bowie. I'm on Sherlock's cell phone. We found the cell on the floor of Mick Haggarty's apartment. I wasn't sure whose it was so I speed-dialed the first number. Look, she's gone. We know Jane Ann Royal and Mick Haggarty have her.

"Sherlock figured it out, but they got her first. Yes, I understand. Have the helicopter drop you close to the police station in Millstone." Bowie listened a moment longer, then hung up. He turned to the deputies. "I'm going to call your chief. I was just talking to Agent Savich. I'll need you to get every single deputy on your local force out looking for Jane Ann Royal, Mick Haggarty, and Agent Lacey Sherlock. I'll have photos of them very soon, and the license plates of their cars."

Erin said, "So they took Sherlock's car, and Jane Ann has hers. Where's Mick's?"

"I don't know. Let me find out what he drives." It only took three minutes. He called Millstone's chief of police, Brenda Crocker, who looked up the license plate numbers and got things rolling. Photos were on their way.

Within ten minutes Bowie had done everything he could think of. What else? There was always something else to do.

He sat down on the arm of a big easy chair, obviously where Mick Haggarty sat while drinking beer and watching baseball games. "I've screwed up big-time," he said to Erin.

"You? In what way?" she asked absently as she checked out some framed photos on the wall. An older man and woman, probably Mick's parents. Two young kids. His brothers? Then something else-Erin pulled down what looked like a gold-framed certificate of some sort, set by itself in the middle of the wall. A place of honor.

"Don't try to jolly me out of this," Bowie was saying, disgust in his voice. "I shouldn't have left her alone. I shouldn't have gone to New Haven."

Erin said. "They aren't idiots, Bowie. Listen, I'll bet they're thinking fondly of the Canadian border about now, maybe taking her with them as a hostage. Don't you think?"

Erin didn't believe that for a minute, but it didn't matter. "We've got everyone on the planet out looking for both of them." She paused a moment, took the certificate off the wall. "Would you look at this."

Bowie rose and went to her, looked down at the framed certificate. "It's an acting award from Belson College Summer Stock Theater." Bowie looked up, clearly impatient. "Mick got a special commendation for his role as Hamlet last year." He handed it back to her. "So what?"

"I've been to some of the plays they've put on during the summer at Belson College. It's a nice outdoor theater set off to one side of campus, smack up against the woods, all by itself. It's only got people around when there's rehearsal or performances. I've been picturing the theater in my mind, how you snake your way through the woods from the parking area. There are several buildings behind the stage, for the actors to hang out, changing areas, for stage settings, whatever. I'm wondering where they'd take Sherlock, and just maybe-"

He stared at her a long moment. "Mick and Jane Ann would know all about this area, know the buildings on the Belson campus. Only one way to find out, Erin. We can call for more help on the way."


Kesselring grabbed the side of his neck as he fired toward her, once, twice, but Sherlock had fallen belly-flat the instant before he'd fired. He fired three more bullets, fast, all of them going well over her head. Had she been standing, any of the rounds could have killed her.

He dropped an unconscious Jane Ann to the floor and crouched down behind some luggage. "Where did you get that gun?" he shouted.

"Surprise, Andy."

"It's not your SIG-I'd be dead if your damned SIG weren't in my belt because you would have emptied your clip into me. So what do you have? Maybe a small ankle piece? One more bullet, right? Or was that your only one?"

Sherlock shouted back, "I guess it'll have to be one of life's mysteries, Andy, until it's too late for you." She knew it was dangerous to let him hear her, but it was her only chance.

"I hate a smart mouth on a woman. I'm going to find you and gut-shoot you, Agent, listen to you beg me to kill you. That's what I wanted to do to Royal but there wasn't time. I nearly kicked his ribs in. If it hadn't been for that damned private investigator who broke into Royal's office-"

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