Prior to what the 117th labeled The Blankenship Incident, Konan’s mobile home sat at the end of a long, curvy driveway. When Lilly drew close to the driveway she stopped. A cattle gate hung between two large poles. No Trespassing signs hung off the gate, another sign hung in the middle of the gate, and it said: “Trespassers will be shot. Survivors will be shot again.”
Lilly pulled up to the gate and dialed Konan’s number. He answered the phone and walked out into his yard.
“Hey,” Lilly said. “It’s me. Are you ready to get back to work?”
“Hey. I am still on suspension, Lilly.”
“Not anymore your not. Tia called; you are to report to work effective immediately.”
Konan grew silent. He stood by his red Dodge Ram and waited for the other shoe to drop. “There’s always another shoe…”
“Come on down, Lilly.”
The gate buzzed and slowly slid open. Lilly looked down in the yard, but Konan had disappeared. She was uncertain of what to expect. He hadn’t sounded like he was thrilled with the prospect of returning to work. Lilly got out and walked to the door.
“Come in, Lilly.”
She turned the knob and walked in. Konan was pouring the last of his coffee into a go-cup. A wry grin crossed Lilly’s face. “I hope we can get back to the witty banter we had before he…killed Blankenship.” Konan gave her a nod and sipped his coffee.
“How have you been,” Konan asked.
“I’ve missed you,” Lilly said.
Konan nodded and said ‘yeah.’ Lilly pointed at the end of the driveway.
“You’ve blocked off your driveway. Those are some nice signs you put up. I especially liked the one in the middle.”
“Uh, yeah. I had a problem with media there for a while. I decided to
“Well, are you ready to go?”
“Sure. Let’s get this over with.”
Tia Mathers sat in her office and waited for Konan to arrive. At the ‘unofficial’ hearing, she had pushed for Konan’s firing. He’d betrayed his partner in the 112th, now, he had killed the primary suspect of a multiple murder case. Everything about Konan chaffed Tia Mather’s undercarriage.
Now, her unannounced, and unnamed visitor, forced her to bring him back to work. She was still angry.
“Konan better get this right, or so help me God, I am going to throw him in the clink and hide the key.” Tia looked toward the murder room when the elevator doors dinged open. She watched as Konan and Lilly walked in. Val Rankin and Manson sat at their desk. Rankin frowned upon seeing him. Manson gave him a small nod and looked back at her screen.
Lilly led Konan into Tia’s office. Tia didn’t smile, nor did she extend her hand, she watched as Konan sat in a seat. Konan said nothing. He waited. Lilly sat beside him and gave Tia a nod.
“How was suspension,” Tia asked.
“It was fine,” he said. “I got a lot done around my house.”
Tia frowned. It did nothing to improve her looks. She wasn’t the most attractive woman with her deep-set eyes that was too small for her face. Her nose was hawkish and appeared to have been broken numerous times. Konan figured it happened as her time as cowpuncher. Or during pillaging season with her Viking clan.
“You were supposed to work on yourself. Killing suspects may have worked at the 112th, but it is frowned upon here.”
Tia turned to Lilly and shook her head. She nodded at the door, and Lilly walked out. The chief looked at Konan.
“I had a visitor this morning,” she growled. “He threatened to kill me if I didn’t bring you back to work. Who was it?”
“I don’t know, Chief. How would I know? I was suspended until an hour ago.”
None of this made any sense to Chief Mathers. She was not in a hurry to bring Konan back, now he was back and had no answers. It was enough to drive her mad.
“You’ve got one shot, detective. If you so much as spit on my sidewalk, you’re fired.
“Roger, Chief. Understood.”
“Send Lilly in when you get out there.”
Konan nodded and walked out into the murder room. He nodded at Lilly and jerked his head back toward the office. Lilly walked in and shut the door. Tia had lowered the blinds. Lilly sat in a seat and waited for whatever was coming next.
“Keep your partner on a tight leash. As of now, you and he are both working around here for the time being. You’ll be assigned a murder case as soon as something hot comes in
It wouldn’t be long until something hot came in.
Jacob Maters, a trustee from Parchman State Prison, was picking up trash on the side of Highway 8. It was the end of May, and the summer temperatures brought heat and humidity. Garbage littered the highway. He wiped his face with a dirty rag. “Disrespectful curs! Take your garbage to the dump like normal people!”
Down the road a piece, he noticed a large gunny sack with a shoe sticking out of it. He kept jabbing loose garbage with his rod that had a pointed end. Jacob made his way toward the sack. Two deputies sat in a van and watched Jacob work. The driver sat behind the wheel, while his partner had his feet on the dash. Jacob Maters suddenly stepped back and shouted. The deputies drove down to where Jacob stood.
“What is it now, Maters? You run up on a rat snake?”
Jacob pointed at the sack, but no words came out. The deputies got out of the van.
“It better not be a snake, hoss. I ain’t in the mood to play your stupid games,” said the Dashboard Cowboy. The driver took Jacob by the arm and led him back to the van. He shackled him in. The other deputy looked around the sack before he looked inside it. He began vomiting. His partner walked to him. He looked in the sack and covered his mouth.
“Dispatch,” he croaked, “this is 1-7 Kilo. Send a meat wagon and the medical examiner to my location.”
He released the mic and helped his partner to the van. Jacob Maters sat in the back shackled to the floor. He was praying.
“God, bless that poor girl’s family. Give them comfort. I hope the person that committed this horrible deed burns in the hottest flames of hell.”
The deputies muttered ‘Amen’ under their breath. There would be no more litter patrol today. Stuffed inside of the gunny sack was the lifeless body of three-year-old Ana Marie Hendricks.
Tammy Bowen, medical examiner for the town of Fredericksburg, Mississippi, arrived with the ambulance. At 27, she had been on the job long enough to have seen the horrendous acts that humanity was capable of perpetuating on each other. This was something new.
The call from the litter patrol was routed through Tia’s office. She banged on the door and motioned for Konan and Lilly to get into her office. “Dear God,” Konan thought bitterly, “make up your mind already.”
Tia had her hand over the receiver and mouthed, “Highway 8. Get there.”
Konan got in the passenger seat. Lilly fired up the unmarked sedan and started for Highway 8. While in transit the directions to the crime scene came in from dispatch. Lilly brought the car to a halt behind the van. Bowen watched as Lilly and Konan walked up.
Bowen was a huge fan of Lilly’s but hated dealing with Konan. “He’s an intelligent imbecile. I don’t like him,” she had told Lilly. Lilly had grinned and shook her head in agreement with Bowen.
Bowen didn’t know if Lilly agreed with her sentiment or if she was just agreeing to get her to shut up. The pair of detectives walked up to the side of the ambulance, where the body of Ana had been placed on a stretcher.
“How bad is it,” Lilly asked.
“The worst. A trustee found the body. He was in shambles. They can’t get him to quit praying.”
“That’s great news. What else can you tell us, “Konan asked. Tammy stared at Konan until he shrugged and walked off. Tammy motioned for Lilly to follow. She led her away from the ambulance.
“The girl was raped, then killed and tossed in the sack. Whoever killed her used a blade and pierced her heart. She died almost immediately. Then, they brought her out here and threw her in a ditch so she would be found.”
Lilly shook her head. “The killer wasn’t acting out of mercy. The perp raped a three-year-old for God’s sake.”
“I know, Lilly. I wasn’t saying it was an act of mercy.”
“I know. It’s always worse when it’s a child.”
Tammy walked to the ambulance and took a seat in the back. Lilly went in search of Konan. She found him questioning the officers who arrived first on the scene. Lilly waited until Konan was finished.
“Well, have you found out anything?”
“No one saw anything unusual. Highway 8 does not see a lot of traffic. Besides the two deputies and the trustee, there is not a lot to go on. Forensics went through, so now it’s a waiting game.”
“Tammy said that Ana had been raped and a blade was shoved into her heart.”
“At least her family will have closure.” Ana Marie Hendricks had been missing for three months. Numerous searches were conducted in hopes of finding her. Television stations posted her picture every day for the past three months. It was all in vain.
Now, they had her body, and someone needed to speak to the parents.