Ashley and Konan sat and spoke of big things and small, of love found and lost, of betrayal and things they wished had never happened. It felt like heaven. Somewhere after four in the morning, he dozed off to sleep.
Konan woke up at six. Ashley was contorted like a spring at one end of the couch, Konan was half on the couch at the other end. He wiggled his toes and looked at Ashley. Konan got up quietly and tiptoed to the bathroom. After a quick shower, he slipped from the house and headed to the police station.
Tomas was still passed out on the couch. Wiggins was already in pecking away at the computer keyboard. He looked up and nodded to Konan.
“Morning. You look like crap.”
Konan grunted and sat down at his desk. “Morning. I feel like crap. It’s these nights with no sleep.”
“I heard you interviewed Ashley’s grandfather again. You have a theory?”
Konan nodded and brought Wiggins up to speed. Tiny lines appeared on Wiggins brow as he frowned. He stared at the hot, black liquid in his cup. Finally, he spoke.
“Doesn’t that all seem like a lot of suspicion and conjecture? You refused to pin this string of murders on anyone when Smith ordered you to do so, but now you ‘suspect’ that it is a group of killers operating within the boundaries of Fredericksburg?”
Konan leaned back in his chair. He felt like a fool. Tomas and Janko both jumped on the bandwagon when he presented his theory of a band of knife-wielding psychopaths. It took Wiggins two minutes to deconstruct the whole theory.
Wiggins noticed the turmoil in Konan’s eyes. He held up both hands. “I’m sorry Konan. I wasn’t trying to undo…”
“It’s alright, Wiggins. You’re right. This needs to be thought out. It all seemed to fit when Ashley’s grandfather admitted to training all these people.”
“Yeah, you said he was bringing a list by this morning, right?”
Wiggins sipped his coffee and let out a satisfied sigh. It made Konan want some. He walked over to the K-cup machine and set it to brew. The hot liquid poured from the machine into his stainless steel Yeti cup.
“Well, that should help us find the killer/killers, right?”
Konan spooned in sugar and nodded. For some reason coffee made everything seem right in the world. Konan took a sip and smiled.
“Yeah, it could be our first big break.”
“We said the same thing about Watterson.”
Konan sat down and sipped his coffee. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes throughout this case.” He stared at Wiggins and pulled out a pad and pen and began to doodle. The doodle began to resemble a raven.
Pop-Pop entered the room. He waved at Konan, Konan nodded back. The old man wandered over, a piece of parchment in his right hand.
“I brought you that list, son. Although, I’m not sure its complete. I trained a lot of people.”
Konan took the parchment and sat it on his desk, he extended his hand to the old man. They shook hands. Konan noticed the rough, calloused hand and the strength with which the old man gripped his hand.
“Thank you for getting it to me so soon. It will be a huge help.”
“You bet, Thermos. I would do anything to bring this circle of jackals to justice. Be careful out there, son.”
Konan and Wiggins watched the old man saunter off toward the door. Konan sat down at his desk and put on his glasses. The paper was old and wrinkled. Wiggins leaned over and looked at it.
“Doesn’t that look like….”
Tomas stumbled into the room, his belt had shifted to the right, his buttoned down shirt was half tucked into his pants, and he seemed disoriented.
“Morning,” he mumbled.
“Yeah,” Wiggins said. Konan stood up and took off his glasses.
“I’ll be right back, Wiggins. I’m going to the evidence locker. Start a coffee IV in Tomas and bring him up to speed.”
The evidence locker was located in the sub-basement along with Records and IT. He walked along the long, narrow hallway until he arrived at a caged room with one lone guard. A yellow legal pad sat on the countertop. The guard looked up. She was bookish looking. Her round face was framed by round glasses, trifocals if Konan was not mistaken, and a slender body. She had yellow teeth and a crooked nose.
“Can I help you,” she wheezed nasally. Konan nodded.
“Yes, ma’am. I need to sign out a piece of evidence regarding my case.”
“I assume you have the required paperwork to remove said piece of evidence?”
“Say again? What required paperwork?”
“You need CF 3643 signed by your Chief to withdraw any evidence from the locker. Surely, you knew this.”
“Look lady, I am in the middle of a murder investigation. I do not have time for your bureaucratic nonsense. How about I just get the chief down here?”
“He will need 3643 to withdraw any evidence…”
Konan pulled out his phone and called Janko. The call did not go through. The guard waved at him.
“Yes,” Konan growled in frustration.
“We do not get a signal down here. You would have to use a landline to call someone.”
“Do you have a landline?”
“Yes, but it is only to be used by the Evidence Locker staff.” Konan slipped his phone into his pocket and considered throttling the guard. Instead, he glared at her and turned to walk away.
“Would you like for me to call someone for you?”
“Please dial Chief Janko and ask him to bring Form 3643. Detective Sergeant Thrermopolis Konan requires his help in securing a piece of evidence.”
The guard nodded her head, her blonde curls bounced with the movement.
“Certainly, Detective. Standby.”
Konan found a chair and sat down in it. He leaned his face into his hands and waited. He could barely overhear the whispered words of the guard, and moments later, Janko walked in with Form 3643.
“I see you met Patty.”
Konan grunted, “yeah.” Janko smiled and chuckled. He handed Patty the form, and she buzzed them in. Janko stepped to the side and motioned for Konan to lead the way.
“What are we looking for, Konan?”
“You remember the letter stapled to Lilly’s chest?”
“Sorta hard to forget that.”
“Yeah, well, Ashley’s grandfather brought in the list this morning. It was written on the same kind of parchment. We may have caught a break.”