The nurse, Blair Blanchard, led Lilly to Dr. Ashton Wilkins office and had her sit down. A few moments later, Dr. Wilkins walked in and pulled over a stool in front of Lilly.
“Ms. Thompson, you’re son had a seizure, and he is showing early signs of autism.”
“Oh my God,” Lilly said as she covered her mouth with her hands. Dr. Wilkins said nothing, he let the weight of the words sink in before he continued speaking.
“Ma’am, we can control the seizures via medication. As Gareth ages, we will develop a plan of treatment for his autism. It’s good that we caught both of these disorders early. I will work with you to develop a routine for Gareth, it will change as he grows. We will adapt to his needs.”
Lilly nodded and cupped her forehead with her hands. Her tears slipped silently from her eyes and fell to her lap. Nurse Blanchard patted her free hand. “My world is falling apart, and I’m all alone.”
Konan sat in the room they’d took over to watch film. The television played static, but Konan did not notice. His mind was not on the surveillance tapes, but his mind was focused on Lilly and Gareth. While he did not know the burden of parenthood, he felt sympathy for Lilly and this new process she had to learn alone. His phone rang.
“This is Andy, come down I have something to show you.”
“Alright, I’m on my way.”
Konan stood and walked down the stairs. On his way down, he dialed Lilly’s number. She didn’t answer. “God bless my partner, keep your hands of protection around her and Gareth.”
Andy’s office was in the furthest part of the ground floor. It wasn’t much larger than a utility closet, the only difference was that the utility closet wasn’t filled with cutting edge technology. Konan knocked on the door.
“Come in, detective.”
Konan pushed the door open, Andy sat behind a computer. He waved Konan over.
“Grab that chair and come here.”
“I’ll stand, Andy. What do you have?”
“I have a partial of the license plate. See it,” he said pointing at the monitor. “FS, is that a P?”
“I don’t know. It’s either a P or a D.”
“Either way, it’s a local plate.”
“That’s more than I had and knowing that it’s local narrows down our search. What kind of vehicle is it?”
“It’s a 1995 Tahoe.”
“Thanks, bud. That will narrow it down further.”
Andy made Konan a copy of the license plate and handed it to him. Konan took it and walked out of the small office. He decided to walk across the main square and get a cup of coffee. Or at least that’s what he told himself. Konan needed to step out of the building and clear his mind. Between this murder case and Lilly’s troubles, Konan’s mind was filled with clutter. The wind blew sporadically, and it had enough bite to it to make him cross his arms. He ordered a large black coffee and walked back across the square. Lilly sat at the desk when he walked into the murder room.
“Hey,” Konan said.
Lilly’s eyes were bloodshot, her face still damp from her tears. Konan sat beside her and handed her the coffee. She took it and muttered, ‘thanks.’ Lilly sipped the coffee while Konan went off in search of some in the break room. There was none made, so Konan made another pot, and poured the fresh hot liquid into his black cup. On the side of the cup was white letters that read: I hate everything but dogs and coffee.
He walked back to Lilly who stared at the image of the license plate. She looked up at Konan.
“Is that from the image we saw on tape?”
“Yeah, Andy captured part of the plate.”
“Cool. Maybe we will catch this prick.”
“Yeah. What happened at the hospital, Lilly? How’s Gareth doing?”
Lilly licked her lips and sipped her coffee. Her eyes brimmed with tears, but she refused to let them fall. Instead, she cleared her throat.
“He had a seizure, Konan. The doctors also said he is showing early signs of autism. The seizures can be controlled via medication.”
“Yeah. Anyway, Gareth’s needs will change as he grows older, and I will need to adapt to those changes. I guess, that’s what the doctor said anyway.”
Konan didn’t say anything, and for that Lilly was grateful. A silence grew between the two detectives. Konan picked up the image and held it under the light, he couldn’t tell what the missing letter was, so he put it down on the desk. He looked at his partner.
“If you need to go home, I understand. There’ s not a lot going on here. I’ll call you if something should pop off.”
“Thanks, Konan. I’ll keep my phone on.”
Lilly left the police department, but she did not drive home. Instead, she drove to an old white church on the far side of Fredericksburg. The lettering on the faded sign was unreadable, but at the bottom in 3” lettering was the words: Pastor Danny Walters. Years had passed since Lilly attended church here. The freckled face of her youth had faded, much like the sign out by the road.
She walked up the stairs to the front door and pushed it open. Light filtered in through the stained-glass windows. She sat on the back row, on the right, and leaned her forehead against the pew in front of her.
The church was silent. She closed her eyes and listened; her words were inadequate to give voice to her pain. Hot tears trailed down her cheeks, the voice of her grandmother spoke in her mind. “God can hear your heart, baby. Sometimes, words aren’t necessary. The Lord looks on your heart, not your vocabulary.”
Lilly closed her eyes tightly and tried to speak. Her words came out a heart-rendering sob.
In the stillness of the church, Lilly sought healing for her son and comfort for her soul.