“I honestly don’t know,” Jane Franks sobbed, her thin shoulders shook with each racking cry.
Destiny shook her head in agreement with Jane. Both women had tears in their eyes, Lilly handed Kleenex to them both.
“All I have to offer detectives is rumors.”
“Well, we don’t have anything, so give me the rumors, Destiny.”
“I overheard Winston Smith talking on the phone. He said that they didn’t need a disgraced cop bringing heat down on them.”
“What was the name?”
“I don’t know, but I think they were meeting in Jackson.”
Lilly and I stared at one another for a long moment.
“It can’t be,” I muttered to myself. “After all this time, Jackson Titus is the man behind the killings? Why would he return?”
“Could he have said Jackson as a first name, Destiny?”
Destiny sobbed and looked at Lilly, and then shrugged. Tears caused her makeup to run down her soft face. Lilly handed her another Kleenex. I watched silently from the seat next to my partner. I was the sharpened edge; Lilly was the healing balm.
“It could have been, but how am I supposed to know?”
“Okay, okay. Calm down, Destiny. You too, Jane. I need you both clear-headed so you can think. Jackson Titus, do you know the name? If you do, then I need to know where you’ve heard it before.”
“Oh God,” Jane Franks said. “Terry mentioned him during a meeting. He said he wanted nothing to do with that monster.”
“Who was in this meeting, Jane.”
“Mr. Smith, me, Terry, the senior members of the board, and the Trinity.”
Lilly turned to me and raised her eyebrows, then said, “the common thread is Smith. Terry and Yvonne are dead.”
“Destiny, how long is it taking to replace these murdered members?”
“A week at the most, Detective Konan.”
“Okay. Jane, how did the senior members of the board react to the news of Jackson Titus returning?”
“They weren’t happy.”
“But they’re still alive,” Lilly said.
“For now, Lilly. It’s too easy to pick up a pattern, if they all suddenly show up dead at once. I don’t think they want to murder the board members, instead, they want to drive home the consequences for refusing to obey. A couple of high-profile murders will keep most of them in line.”
“What’s going to happen to us?”
I looked at Destiny and Jane and gave them a cold smile. “We can detain you for 24 hours, but then you’re on your own. I would completely alter my routine, and I’d find a different job far, far away from Fredericksburg.”
“I wouldn’t even go home to get my stuff,” Lilly added. “I’d catch a bus to nowhere special and make a new life.”