Secret Prey

Secret Prey by John Sandford Read Free Book Online

Book: Secret Prey by John Sandford Read Free Book Online
Authors: John Sandford
Tags: Fiction, Suspense
him lightly, if you want. I wouldn’t. Especially if you pulled the trigger twice this morning.’’
    ‘‘Don’t be absurd,’’ she said. But she looked after Lucas, down by the parking area, just getting into his truck. ‘‘Nice shoulders,’’ she said, thinking the comment would irritate just about everybody on the porch.
    • • •
    THE TRUCK WAS VERY QUIET WITHOUT SLOAN: LUCAS didn’t need the quiet—in the quiet, his mind would begin to churn, and that would lead . . .
    He wasn’t sure where it would lead.
    He was tired, but he needed to be more tired. He needed to be so tired that when he got back home, he could lie down and sleep before the churning began. He put a tape in the tape player, ZZ Top, the Greatest Hits album, and turned it up. Interference. Can’t churn when there’s too much interference.
    The killing at the hunting camp was not particularly interesting: one possible motive, the bank merger, was already fairly clear. Others of a more personal nature might pop up later—Kresge was in the process of getting a divorce, so there might be other women. Or his wife might have something to do with it.
    Routine investigation would dredge it all up, and either the killer would be caught or he wouldn’t. Whichever, Lucas felt fairly distant from the process. He’d been through it dozens of times, and the routine greed, love, and stupidity killings no longer held much interest.
    Evil was interesting, he would still admit; this a residue from his term in Catholic schools. But so far he detected no evil in the killing. Spite, probably; stupidity, possibly. Greed. Anger. But not real evil . . .
    HE RODE MINDLESSLY FOR A WHILE, THE WINTER fields and woods rolling by, holsteins out catching a few uncommon November rays, horses dancing through hillside pastures; a few thousand doomed turkeys . . . Then he glanced out the side window, caught the boles on the oaks, recognized them, shivered. Turned up the tape.
    He’d been dreaming again, lately; he hated the dreams, because they woke him up, and when he woke, in the night, his mind would begin running. And the dreams always woke him . . .
    One dream had an odd quality of science fiction. He was being lowered, on some kind of platform, into a huge steel cylinder. Nearby was a steel cap, two feet thick, with enormous threads, which would be screwed into place after he was inside, sealing him in. The process was industrial: there were other people running around, making preparations for whatever was about to happen. He was cooperating with them, standing on the platform obviously expectant. But for what? Why was he about to be sealed inside the cylinder? He didn’t know, but he wasn’t frightened by the prospect. He was engaged by it, though. He’d start thinking about it, and then he’d wake up, his mind churning . . .
    The other dream was stranger.
    A man’s face, seen from a passing car. There were small beads of rain on the window glass, so the view was slightly obscured; in his dream, Lucas could not quite get a fix on the face. The man was hard, slender, wore an ankle-length black coat and a snap-brim hat. Most curious were the almond-shaped eyes, but where the surfaces of his eyes should be—the pupils and irises—there were instead two curls of light maple-colored wood shavings. The man seemed to be hunched against a wind, and the drizzle; he seemed to be cold. And he looked at Lucas under the brim of the hat, with those eyes that had curls of wood on their surfaces.
    Lucas had begun to see the almond shapes around him on the street. See them on the faces of distant men, or in random markings on buildings, or on trees. Nonsense: but this dream frightened him. He would wake with a start, sweat around the neckline of his T-shirt. And then his mind would start to run . . .
    He turned up the ZZ Top yet another notch, and raced toward the Cities, looking for exhaustion.
    AN HOUR AFTER LUCAS HAD PASSED THAT WAY, JAMES T. Bone hurtled down I-35 in

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