Read Grave Situation Online

Authors: Alex MacLean

Tags: #crime, #murder, #mystery, #addiction, #police procedural, #serial killer, #forensics, #detective, #csi, #twist ending, #traumatic stress

Grave Situation (52 page)

Philip’s expression changed but
slightly, a narrowing of his eyes. He drew aside, stepping back
into the house. “Please, come in.”

Allan entered the foyer. “Is Carol
home?”

Philip frowned and shook his head.
“She’s sleeping.” He closed the door behind them. “The doctor has
her on a sedative.”

For Allan, the words carried a
sense of hopelessness, an inability to fully comprehend what had
happened to them.

“What did you want to tell me?”
Philip asked.

“We caught up with the man
responsible for murdering Cynthia.”

Philip stood straighter. “Who is
he?”

“His name was Herbert Matteau. A
dairy farmer from Acresville.”

“You speak of him in the past
tense.”

“Yes.” Allan nodded. “He was
killed in a shootout with us yesterday.”

“I heard about a shooting on the
news last night, but they didn’t say what it was about.”

“That’s because we’re not
releasing much information right now. The investigation is still
ongoing.”

Philip’s mouth formed a small
“o.”

Allan watched him take this in.
Beneath Philip’s grim expression, he saw a certain brightness and
satisfaction appear.

“What was this man’s connection
with my daughter?” Philip asked him. “Was he a customer of
hers?”

“There was no
prior connection, Mister
Ambr
é,” Allan said. “He came to
Halifax one night looking for a victim. Unfortunately, he found
Cynthia.”

Philip winced and briefly shut his
eyes. “It might sound harsh, but I’m glad the fucker is dead. At
least my tax dollar won’t pay to keep him in one of our cushy
prisons.”

“I understand.”
Allan held out his hand. “I have to head back to my department now.
You take care of yourself, Mister
Ambr
é.”

Philip accepted the hand with a
firm, but shaky grip. “Thank you, Lieutenant. For everything you
did. You’re a good cop.”

Allan suddenly
felt sad. He gave him an appreciative nod, and then stepped outside
into the rain. As he walked back to his car, he realized Herb
Matteau’s death had spared the
Ambr
é’s from being dragged through
years of an upside-down court process that often treated criminals
better than their victims. At least now they could somehow begin
that long road of pain and recovery.

Allan reached his department at
4:30. He shut off his car in the parking lot and just sat there for
a while, not moving. The rain beat an even rhythm on the
roof.

Through the streaked windshield, he
stared at the blurred shape of the brick building where he had
worked for the past twelve years.

He inhaled a deep breath; let it
out in one long exhalation. His life was about to change and he
didn’t know if for better or for worse.

He got out of the car and walked
across the wet pavement with slow steps. The last ten or so feet to
the department seemed like a great distance. Once inside he went
straight to Captain Thorne’s office.

Outside the door, Allan paused a
moment to ensure that he was set. Then he knocked.

“Come in,” a voice
said.

Allan found Thorne studiously
hunched over his desk, his gaze jumping over a heap of paperwork.
His office was spacious, ornate, with a mass of windows overlooking
Gottingen Street.

“Al.” Rising from his desk, Thorne
held out his hand. “Great job.”

“Thanks, Captain.” Allan gave him
a weak handshake. “It got scary yesterday.”

Thorne sat down and his voice
became soft. “I can imagine. It’s not easy shooting someone.
Self-defense or not. I just want to let you know the department’s
behind you.”

Allan swallowed over a hard lump
growing in his throat. “I appreciate that.”

“How are you making
out?”

“Doing okay.”

“Chief Brantford called me earlier
and commended you. I must say it was the weirdest case in our
department’s history.” Thorne sat back with a look of astonishment
on his face. “Who would’ve ever thought Lawrence Sodero was behind
the whole thing. I bet Coulter is still in shock over
it.”

“Goes to show that you really
don’t know anyone these days,” Allan said. “I think Coulter will be
a little more cautious about who he hires in the
future.”

“I bet.”

For a moment, Allan looked down at
his shoes. There was so much he’d come here to say, but now faced
with the task, he found it difficult. He walked to the windows,
gazing out at the steady flow of traffic on Gottingen.

Finally, he said, “There’s
something I need to talk to you about, Captain.”

“What is it?”

Allan turned to him. “I’ve been
thinking of leaving the force.”

Thorne blinked. “What?
Why?”

Allan exhaled, feeling sick inside.
“I can’t do this job anymore.”

“What do you mean? When did this
all start?”

“A few months ago. Maybe
longer.”

Thorne seemed to consider him. “How
bad is it getting to you?”

“So bad that I feel like the job
is killing me,” Allan said. “My wife left me. My son might have
nothing to do with me again. I can’t sleep. I can’t
concentrate.”

Thorne gave him a quiet look of
understanding. “Have you been seeing someone about it?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

Allan spread his hands. “I don’t
know.”

“We have counselors for this sort
of thing.”

“I know. I spoke to one this
morning.”

“Did you mention any of
this?”

Allan shook his head. “No. The
interview dealt mainly with the shooting yesterday.”

“I think
you
need
to see
someone, Al.”

“I think I just need to get away
from the job, Captain.”

Thorne lowered his head, thinking.
Allan’s mouth felt dry, his palms damp. The office was silent now;
neither man spoke.

At last, Thorne raised his eyes.
“Before you do anything rash, how about taking some time off? A few
weeks. I’ll put you on leave. After the shooting yesterday, it’s to
be expected. Don’t throw away your career, Al.”

Torn, Allan paused a moment to
consider the offer. “Okay, Captain,” he said. “I’ll wrap up the
Matteau investigation first.”

“Sounds good.”

Allan turned for the door to leave.
Behind him he heard Thorne rise from his chair.

“I’ll give you three weeks,” he
said. “If you need more time just let me know.”

“Thank you.” Allan nodded once,
and then left.

He went to his office, closed the
door, and sat at his desk. Resting his forehead on clasped hands,
he shut his eyes. Outside, the rain was pouring now, big fat drops
that pounded the windowpane.

When Allan opened his eyes again,
he stared at the picture of Brian smiling at him from the edge of
the desk.

So much I let
slip away in my life
, he thought
sadly.

He picked up the phone and called
Air Canada.

“Yes,” he told the agent who
answered. “I’d like to book a flight to Toronto.”

And for the first time in a long
time, he felt himself smile.

 

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