Lilly answered her phone on the third ring. Konan pressed decline on his phone screen. Lilly looked at him and shook her head.
“This is dispatch. You need to head to County Road 171, the meat wagon is already there, detective. We can’t reach your partner, could you contact him?”
“Sure. I’ll grab him up, and we will head out.”
“Alright. Chief Mathers said to get a move on.”
Lilly ended her call and turned to chastise Konan, but he was already in the car. She shook her head and walked back. She took several deep breaths and tried to focus her attention on what she would soon face.
“God only knows what manner of evil has been perpetuated now.”
Tia sat in her office and picked up her phone. She punched in Billy’s number. There was not much known of the man named Billy. What was known is that Billy was an influencer on all levels of government. He and Konan had a past, but Tia had no idea what that entailed.
A click sounded to let Tia know the call was answered. She cleared her throat and said:
“Phase one is complete.”
Then, she hung the up the phone.
County Road 171 could be described as a goat trail in the deepest part of the woods. There were no streetlights to break up the darkness. It was hilly, large boulders were scatted all around. The flash of blue and red lights indicated that Lilly and Konan were in the right spot.
A lone officer stood in the middle of the dirt road and waved them to come closer. Lilly pulled to the edge of the yellow ticker tape. She and Konan got out.
“I hope y’all are ready,” the officer said.
“Why,” Lilly said.
The officer lifted his chin toward the massive hill. Konan took out a flashlight and shined it in the darkness.
“it’s a long climb, and when you get there, it’s…. the poor girl.”
Konan and Lilly started up the side of the hill. It took some time to reach the summit, not because the hill was massive but because of the lack of light.
At the top, cops stood around the entrance to an old bunker. Lilly took lead and stepped into the entrance. An officer was on his knees vomiting. Konan looked at the officer, took a deep breath and stepped inside.
The body of Tiffany Watkins was still chained to the wall. Rats scurried when light pierced the darkness. Lilly had her hand over her mouth, tears flowed down her cheeks.
“Oh, dear God,” she whispered. She shook her head and ran out of the room. Konan knelt beside the missing law clerk. Bite marks were on her legs and face. The rats had eaten most of her throat where the prongs had pierced.
Konan slipped his button-down shirt off and covered her legs. He walked out into the still night air and took a deep breath.
“I need some bolt cutters,” he said. Someone, Konan didn’t notice who, handed him bolt cutters. He walked back in and cut the chains that bound Tiffany to the wall.
The case of the missing law clerk no longer belonged to Missing Persons. This case was now his and Lilly’s. Konan knelt beside Tiffany Watkins’s body. Lilly stepped behind him and touched his shoulder.
“We need to find her killer, Konan.”
“We will,” Konan said. He meant it.
Still, in the back of his mind he heard the howls of wild dogs.