Tears don’t last forever. At least, Konan hoped they didn’t. Lilly’s tears were many, but soon her weeping turned into anger. Someone, some louse had came into the hospital and taken her son. “Gareth is no doubt frightened. He’s all alone, and so am I. Who took my baby?” Lilly shut down. Her mind was overwhelmed, Konan and the others searched the pediatric center for clues, but nothing was out of place. Chief Janko sat beside Lilly and held her hand.
“We will find the little rascal,” he said hoping to comfort her.
“We better. I’ve grown attached to him.”
Konan stared at Lilly from across the room. His tears had abated, but his heart was broken for Lilly. He could not imagine the depth of his rage if it had happened to him. A security guard came and carried a phone to Lilly. She stood and walked over to the window. All eyes turned toward Lilly.
“Hello, Detective Thompson. Did you misplace something?”
“Where’s my son?”
“We will get to that. For now, go ask your partner to join us.”
Lilly turned toward Konan and waved him over to her. Her eyes had tears in them, her bottom lip quivered. All the color had drained from her face. She took a deep breath and said, “he’s here.”
“How about that, I’m on the phone with Fredericksburg’s finest. Hello, Konan.”
Konan said nothing, Lilly glanced at him and then the phone. “Tsk, tsk, tsk, come now detective. You should play along with me. Little Gareth’s life depends on your cooperation.” Konan sighed and put his hand on his forehead.
“Hello. What do you want?”
“Ah, straight to business is it, Konan? Fine. Do you or your partner know my identity?”
“No. We will find…”
“No, you won’t. You know why? Because none of you are competent enough to figure it out. I’m smarter than you, smarter than both of you. At every turn I’ve outwitted you.”
“So, you called to brag about beating us, is that it?”
“No, Detective Thompson. I could have stayed home until the rapture took place, and you two idiots wouldn’t have gotten any closer. I called to give you some news.”
“What news,” Konan asked.
“I put little Gareth inside of an airtight metal drum and buried him somewhere in the town. He has a limited air supply. You have 8, scratch that, 7 hours to find him.”
Lilly sobbed, anger cut off her words. Konan clenched his fists but kept his voice an even keel.
“What kind of sicko-”
“Don’t upset me, detective. I can turn off the oxygen from where I am. Is it my fault you and your partner failed to make the game interesting?”
“GAME,” Lilly shouted. “We didn’t even know you thought it was a game! This whole time-”
Konan clamped his hand over Lilly’s mouth and shook his head no. Lilly’s veins popped out on her forehead, her eyes wide, and Konan could only guess what her mutterings meant as she tried to talk. The killer laughed. “This sicko is enjoying himself,” Konan thought as he tried to calm his partner.
“You’ve stacked the deck against us. You’re not afraid of competition, are you?”
“No, Konan. I’m not afraid. I tell you what, I’ll narrow your search. Gareth is somewhere between the waterway and the landfill. How’s that for a sporting chance?”
“It ain’t much, but it’s more than we had. Thank you for giving us a chance.”
“Yeah, you best get on it if you want to find him.”
Calder hung up and smiled. While the cops hunted for the wee baby, he needed to pack for an extended stay somewhere far from Mississippi. He preferred somewhere he could hunt without fear of being extradited to the United States. It also needed to be someplace where life was cheap, and the cost of living cheaper. “I’ll figure it out later. First, I want to be close when Detective Thompson finds her son dead amongst other people’s rubble.”
Hank Calder’s masterpiece was coming together nicely. As if sanctioned by the Divine Himself. Calder hummed ‘Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot,’ as he pulled out his matching set of luggage and prepared for his extended trip to somewhere tropical.