Snatched…the story continues…unedited…

I didn’t say anything in front of Bronowski or his lawyer, but once we were in the hallway, I turned to Lilly and Janko.

“Are you sure you need to go with me? It could get rough, and I’m pretty sure your head injury could get further agitated.”

“You’re gonna be there Konan. You’ve got my blindside.”

“Let me take Manson or Rankin. You focus on getting better. We’ll take Titus down together.”

Janko shook his head in agreement. Lilly scowled at him and then me, but she gave us a nod. 

“Fine, partner. Go get this Elsa Winters and drag her butt in here.”

“Okay. Um, if you don’t mind, could you please pull up Jackson Titus’s property out at Lake Bulgaria? Bronowski said it sat on the east side of the lake. A kind of stand alone structure.”

“Sure. I’ll try to have it for you when you get back. Be safe out there, Konan.”

“I will.”

Lilly and Janko watched as I walked toward the murder room. Rankin and Manson sat at their desk and gave me a nod as I walked up.

“That Lilly doesn’t know the meaning of time off, does she?”

“No, Manson. It appears she doesn’t.”

“Well, I can’t say I blame her. When I was down, I wanted nothing more than to be here. She’ll be okay.”

“Yeah. I need one of you to back me up. Bronowski put us on a lead.”

“I’ll go with you, Konan.”

“Thanks, Rankin. See you on the flip side, Manson.”

“Don’t get used to my partner, Konan. He’s a one-woman kind of man.”

I chuckled as Rankin blushed. Manson gave me a quirky grin and winked at Rankin. As Rankin shrugged on his blazer I quipped, “that knocks me out of the running then, Manson.”

She laughed and turned to her computer. Rankin and I walked out in the sunshine and took his unmarked sedan. Rankin drove, and I filled him in.

Five minutes later, Rankin pulled up in front of the church. People milled about the entrance, priests crossed themselves, several nuns wringed their hands and whispered prayers. Rankin and I walked up to the gaggle.

“What’s going on here,” Rankin demanded, as he elbowed people out of the way. “Why is everyone standing…oh, Jesus.”

Elsa Winters slumped against the doors, her face colorless, a blood-stained razor lay next to her cold body. Thin jagged cuts ran the length of her forearms. A piece of paper was tacked to the door.

“Please forgive me,” was written in black ink.

“What do you think, Konan? Is this the cost of a guilty conscious?”

“I don’t know, Rankin.”

“Well, no pun intended, but this lead has dried up.”

I guffawed. The nuns and priests gave us dirty looks as they continued to pray for Elsa’s soul. I watched as Molly drew near.

“Jesus,” Molly whispered as she knelt next to the corpse of Elsa Winters. “This isn’t something you expect to see when you pull up at church.”

“If you don’t mind, Molly, I need a favor.”

“Let me guess, Konan. You need to know if it’s a suicide, time now?”

“Yeah. It’s kind of important, but if you will, ring my cell when you’ve completed the autopsy.”

“Will do. Is there any reason you might think it’s a murder?”

“Nah. I just want to cross it off my list ASAP, um, no pun intended.”

“Yeah. Just so you know, this is probably not the time or place for jokes of those sort.”

“I wasn’t…”

“You might want to bug out before these sisters attack.”

“Yeah,” Rankin said, “I was just thinking the same thing.”

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