[If you have not already done so, you must
read the Introduction
001 002 Prologue 001-002 003 004 005 Chap 1 003-005
Chap 2 006 007 008 Chap 3 007-008 009 010 Chap 4 009-010 011 012 013 Chap 5 011-013 014 015 016 017
Chap 6 014-017 018 019 Chap 7 018-019 020 021 022 023 Chap 8 020-023 024 025 026 027 Chapter 9 024-027 028 029 030 031 Chapter 10 028-031 032 033 034 035 036 037 038 039 040 041 Chapter 11 032-041 042 043 044
Revenge Should Have No Bounds 045
Chapter 12 (4 of 7): The Detective
“That’s right, ma’am.” He looked suddenly uncomfortable, but Phoebe hardly found that strange. “It really blew me away, too. This kind of thing has never happened to me before.”
“I’m sure you won’t forget it,” Phoebe sympathized. She looked him straight in the eyes, but saw nothing. “I imagine you already talked to the sheriff about what happened …”
“… that’s right,” Dexter interrupted.
“I hope you won’t mind telling it again, to me this time. Just take it slow and give me as much detail as you remember.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he said. He gathered his thoughts and began. “Well, ma’am, I came out here about four. I like to hunt deer, and I’ve had good luck in this general area before. There aren’t too many people in Swaithe county and that’s good for hunters. The deer don’t have much reason to be shy of humans. But today was a blank. Nothing. I have a blind a bit up in the forest there where I sit and wait, but by seven I gave up. It was too cold, and I’d had enough.”
Phoebe moved her head up and down in silent encouragement.
“While you were waiting out there, did you hear any cars going by or stopping?”
“No, not on this road, certainly. Nothing at all. It was very quiet, and I would definitely have heard any traffic.”
She wrote in her notebook. “O.K., and then what?”
“Well, I decided to take a different way back. Maybe I’d run into an animal. I’d parked my car over there,” he pointed down the road toward a late-model car, “and headed off up into the forest to the east. After getting settled in, it started to snow.”
“Do you remember roughly what time, by any chance?” Phoebe interjected.
“I remember exactly. I have one of these watches that glow in the dark,” he said, and rolled up the thick sleeve of his parka to expose a large wristwatch with green readouts. “See. It was exactly 4:15 when I noticed the first flakes, and it’s snowed good and hard ever since. And it still is.” He made a sweeping motion with an arm and gazed off into the forest.
“So then you came back to the car?”
“Right. I had to move kind of careful, because you never know what might be under the snow. It’s easy to sprain an ankle or worse in this underbrush. There was already a thick layer of snow by this time.”
“You weren’t lost, then, or anything like that?”
“No. Not at all. As I said, I hunt this area quite a bit, and I know the terrain. I also have a compass if I should ever need it.” Again he displayed the wrist watch. “Here,” he explained, “watch when I push this button.” He had taken off his mitten and when he pushed one of the side buttons a purple LED displayed the corners of the compass; as he turned his wrist a darker purple light moved in unison around the periphery of the watch..
“I see,” Phoebe said. She was writing rapidly in her notebook. “And then?”
“Well, ma’am, I came to that slope up there,” he continued, pointing up into the forest behind where Pete was taking his pictures, “and I started to work my way down slowly. But of course I tripped, or slipped, and went on my ass … uh, on my behind, that is, right into the ditch. I landed hard, on top of a little elevation. And when I tried to get up, I used my rifle as a support, and it slipped off to the side. It pushed some snow off the mound I was on, and that’s when I saw what looked like a belt around some jeans. At first I didn’t think much about it. People throw all kinds of trash along these country roads. But then I realized there was something inside the jeans.”
“What made you realize that?”
“Because the jeans were too solid. Even frozen pants would have some give in them, but this was rock solid. I got off that mound as fast as I could, and I don’t mind telling you I was scared then. I’ve never seen a dead body before.”
“Then what did you do?”
“I started to brush snow away from the jeans, and that’s when I saw it was a body. I worked down to around the groin, I guess, and then worked up from the belt. I saw she was naked above the waist, and … well … .” The easy flow of the narrative ground to a halt. Dexter turned away, and Phoebe heard him sigh.
“It’s all right, son,” she said gently. “Just take your time.”
“I guess … I think I felt ashamed,” he continued in a low voice. “I mean, seeing her naked and all that. I felt … I felt it wasn’t … well, you know, right for me to see her that way. Who could do such a thing to a beautiful woman like that?” He shook his head in disbelief.
“So it was you who uncovered her face, too?”
“Yes, ma’am. I guess now that I think about it I probably shouldn’t have touched anything, should I? But I wasn’t thinking very clear then. I just had to see what her face looked like.”
“That’s fine, Dexter, there’s been no real harm done here. But let me be sure about this: you never moved the body, did you?”
“Oh, no, ma’am. Not at all. I just brushed that snow off, and you can see it’s starting to cover her again.” He stopped and cocked his head. “I think I may have touched the side of her body, right above the belt, with my hand.”
“Did you have your mitten on or off?”
“It was still on. I’m sure of that.”
“O.K. Go on.” Phoebe flipped a page and continued jotting notes to herself.
“O.K., at first I thought it was a pale stone or something, it looked so white and was absolutely solid. But who would put a pair of jeans around a smooth rock?” He shrugged his shoulders.
“Just to be sure I’ve got this right. You brushed the snow from her legs and torso and face, but didn’t moved the body at all. Is that correct?”
“Yes, ma’am. But I only brushed the snow off her down to her knees.”
Phoebe looked into the ditch and saw that indeed the snow covering the lower part of her legs was much thicker than on the rest of the body.
“And then you called it in?”
“Right. I always carry a cellular with me,” he said, pulling out an Erickson from a shirt pocket and showing it to Phoebe. “I didn’t know if 911 works out here, so I called the operator and he connected me with the sheriff’s office.”
“What time was that?”
“I’d say that was about 7:30 or so.”
“Anything else you can think of, Dexter?”
He searched his memory. “Not for now, no!”
She patted him on the shoulder. “You’ve been a great help, son. I appreciate you notified the authorities about what you found. Some people would have said nothing.”
“It just isn’t right,” he said with an edge. “Just dumping another human being like she was some kind of road trash or something. It just isn’t right.”
“No, it isn’t. But you’ve made it possible for us to find out who did this thing and make the responsible party answer for what they’ve done.”
He bobbed his head up and down in agreement.
“Just a few more things, Dexter, and then you can go. You’re name is Dexter Wright, D-e-x-t-e-r W-r-i-g-h-t,” she spelled it out.
“Where do you live?”
“I live in Woulfton. At 314 Litchen Street, apartment 223. You need a phone number?”
He gave Phoebe both his home and cellular number.
She read back the information to be sure he had it right. “What do you do, Dexter.”
“I’m a student. A senior in accounting at the University in the City. I don’t have any classes today, so that’s why I decided to go hunting. I could have picked a better day, huh?”
She shook hands with him, and said she would undoubtedly be in touch again in the next few days. She gave Dexter her card.
“Call me anytime if you think of something else in the meantime.”
Dexter read the card. “Chief of Homicide. Phoebe Light, detective.” He looked at her. “ I sure will, Ms. Light. I really hope you catch the one who did this,” he said. There was no mistaking the conviction in his wish.
“We probably will, Dexter. We probably will.”
Dexter ambled off to his car, started it, and, making a precarious turnaround on the badly marked road, headed back towards Dust and 933.
She followed him with her eyes till the car disappeared in the flurries of white. “I’m not a betting lady, but I’d lay big odds this guy’s not the perp. Just someone who stumbled across a piece of nasty violence,” she thought to himself.
TO BE CONTINUED