Nightzone

Nightzone by Steven F. Havill Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Nightzone by Steven F. Havill Read Free Book Online
Authors: Steven F. Havill
the camera. “A chain saw? You’ve got to be kidding.” He jotted something in his notebook. “At least two people involved, then?”
    â€œInvestigation is continuing.”
    â€œWell, you have one lying there,” and he nodded in the direction of the tarped victim. “Right? Do we have an identification yet?”
    â€œInvestigation is continuing.”
    Dayan looked pained. “Bill…come on. Is this somebody local?”
    â€œWe’ll… they …will have that for you later in the day, Frank.”
    â€œShot, or what?”
    I hesitated, actually eager to give Frank something , anything that would reward his answering a winter night’s call. “It appears now that one of the poles might have struck the victim when it kicked off the stump as it twisted and fell.” I held up a cautionary hand. “That’s preliminary supposition, Frank. And it’s supposition from me, your basic ‘unnamed spokesman,’ not from the S.O.” The newspaperman saw all the pieces tumbling into order.
    â€œYou found the chain saw?”
    â€œNot as far as I know.”
    â€œOr a vehicle?”
    â€œNot yet.”
    â€œThat means that there was somebody else. So they high-tailed it out of here and were stopped sometime later by Deputy Kenderman.”
    â€œI don’t hear a question in all that, but let me caution you that as of now, there is no connection between the two events.”
    Dayan grimaced. “You’re as bad as the sheriff, Bill.”
    â€œWe have to be careful until we know what we’re talking about.” I was fully aware that this ‘we’ business was becoming too easy. “Just between you and me, off the record, and blah, blah, blah, it appears that’s what happened. They don’t have an actual link yet, so don’t jump the gun.”
    â€œChainsaws are noisy, though.”
    I held out my arms and turned in place. Not a single porch light winked. Had the electricity been on, the sight would have been the same. True enough, chain saws were noisy, but the sound would mellow and fade, the direction hard to pinpoint out on this vast prairie.
    â€œWhat actual damage was done?” He held up his hands like blinders, trying to see past the kaleidoscope.
    â€œAgain, Whittaker will have all the numbers. They dropped three sets of double supports—double poles. They went down, along with all the associated high voltage lines and at least one transformer. Something in all that mess shorted out and started a little fire. The Posadas Fire Department responded promptly and had it out in minutes.” Didn’t I sound like the polished PR man, though.
    Dayan took a deep breath. “What’s Waddell say?”
    â€œI haven’t talked to him, Frank.” At least not since the day before, but that was none of the public’s business. Across the way, the rancher was still posted at his truck, but now two other figures kept him company.
    â€œI need to show you something,” Dayan said. “Do you have a couple of minutes?”
    â€œSure.” I followed the newspaperman back to his little SUV, and Deputy Sutherland, who had remained at a discreet distance while we talked, returned to his post in the middle of the road.
    â€œI just received this yesterday.” Dayan leaned into his car. He emerged with a file folder and extracted a single sheet. I took it and focused my flashlight on it. “They want to run it as a half-page ad.”
    â€œâ€˜They’ being…” and then something twanged in my head, a warning that I was treading on slippery turf. Just as the sheriff’s department didn’t share the files of its daily workings with the public, Frank Dayan’s world was governed by similar constraints. I had no intention of falling into the middle of something where I didn’t belong. I extended the paper to Frank, but he waved me off.
    â€œNo, no. Go

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