Konan started up the hill toward the fire, Lilly grabbed the hand mic.
“This is Detective Lilly Thompson of the 117th. We have a fire at mile marker 318, off of County Road 171. Send help immediately.”
“Fredericksburg Fire Department is not primary,” the dispatcher said. “Rerouting to the local volunteer department.”
“This fire is out of control, why can’t FFD respond to it?”
Konan pushed on through the smoke. He broke off a pine limb and beat out a trail to the bunker. The building was engulfed with flames. “Any evidence left in the building is nothing more than a puddle of crap,” Konan thought.
He backtracked his steps, beating out fire as he went. Sirens blared. By the time Konan made it down the hill, the community fire department had deployed their equipment and was running hoses up the hill. Lilly stood by the car, she still had the mic in her hand. Konan took a seat in the car.
“Was there anything salvageable up there,” Lilly asked.
“No. We won’t know for sure until the fire is out, but as of now, there’s nothing to salvage.”
Lilly shook her head and sat in the opposite seat. They’d been running for over 24 hours with minimal sleep. Both were exhausted. It wasn’t just the lack of sleep that tormented them, it was also the case. For every clue they found, something, some mysterious force impeded their progress. It was enough to drive them crazy. Perhaps, it had already done so.
Four and a half hours later, the fire was out. Konan and Lilly were passed out in the car. One of the local firemen rapped on the hood. Konan opened his eyes and the fireman gave him a nod.
“Fire’s out, bud. You guys should head home and get some rest.”
The man nodded. It was still a couple of hours before daylight. Konan started the car and drove to his mobile home. Lilly stirred in the passenger seat. She cracked an eye open and looked at Konan.
“Where are we?”
“At my trailer.”
“What time is it?”
“Time to get some sleep. I’ll wake you in 3 hours. Then, I’ll take you to your apartment to shower and get dressed. Today is going to be busy.”
She nodded and got out of the vehicle. Konan helped her inside. He walked her to his bedroom. She crashed onto the soft mattress. Lilly was snoring when he walked to his couch. Before his head hit the pillow, he fell into a dreamless slumber.
He sat up at 0645. He walked to the kitchen and ran hot water on a rag. He wiped his head and neck, and then started coffee. Lilly walked in and reached for a cup.
“What’s first on our agenda,” she asked as she poured coffee into her mug.
“I thought we could go back to the scene and poke around. Then, we need to have a sit down with Judge Traylor about Tiffany Watkins. We need to close any links that go nowhere.”
“Yeah. We should also check in with Rankin and Manson. Maybe they’ve stirred up something on their end.”
“Maybe, if we’re lucky.”