Spitting Image

Spitting Image by Patrick LeClerc Read Free Book Online

Book: Spitting Image by Patrick LeClerc Read Free Book Online
Authors: Patrick LeClerc
could get in contact, find out Sarah’s still healthy?” I didn’t say “alive.” I didn’t even want to think about that question.
    “Right now, I’m not sure where she is, or even who is holding her,” he said. “But I’ll do my best to find out. In the meantime, don’t trust anyone who shows up looking like her.”
    He pushed himself forward off the wall, nodded and touched his index finger to his forehead in that annoying faux salute that some people think is charming and roguish. I’ve been a charming rogue for centuries and it just irritates the hell out of me. I offered a hand for him to shake.
    He took it after pausing a moment with a surprised look. Like he wasn’t used to shaking hands. Maybe they didn’t do that in his circles.
    I looked him in the eye as I grasped his hand. “Is there any way I can contact you if I need to talk to you?”
    “Take my card,” he said, handing me one. “And remember, anyone you meet might not be who you think they are. You’ll be watched. Don’t change your routine, don’t do anything that would tip them off that you know something’s wrong. I’ll be in touch as soon as I know anything.”
    I walked back to my car, drove home slowly, thinking.
    This was a lot to take in. I turned it over in my mind, processing it, waiting for the buzz of thoughts in my head to slow down enough to make sense of.
    Did I believe him? Well, it was far fetched, but so was a lot of what I’d dealt with. And it did explain some odd things about Sarah’s behavior. And the price for not believing him and being wrong was high, whereas investigating a bogus tip was pretty low risk.
    But how to investigate? If she had a double, a convincing one, then casual acquaintances wouldn’t know she was missing. She might not have missed a day of work, or had a long absence from her apartment. I could talk to people close to her, see if anybody had noticed her acting strange, but that was hard to judge.
    And someone close to her could easily be a double and report back that I was suspicious.
    So, could I meet possibly fake Sarah and try to pry a bit? Or would she pick up on it? What could I say or ask that only she would know? That somebody who could pose as a policeman or me or her mother couldn’t have gotten out of her?
    I got back to my apartment. I started pacing. It annoyed the cat, but sometimes it helped me to think.
    So, how to look for Sarah when all the usual ways to find somebody were out. And that person may not even be missing, and if she were, people would have seen her around anyway, so they wouldn’t know she was missing or believe she was if I told them. And my asking would seem suspicious, which would be very bad if she really did disappear or turn up–
    I stopped. I felt like my heart was a lead weight in my chest, sinking down, dragging me toward hell. I couldn’t breathe. Just the idea of finishing that thought filled me with dread.
    I forced myself to concentrate. Pulled in a big breath, blew it out. Come on, I told myself, focus. I’d seen horrible things before. You can’t help anybody if you freeze up.
    If I started asking strange questions, and Sarah’s...body was found later, it would look bad for me. In fact, if I got too close, the easy out for her captors could be dumping her body and watching me go to jail. They could look like anybody. Do it, and walk away. They could even get what they were after if they posed as forensics techs and needed a sample from me to match to evidence found at the scene.
    I had to force myself to breathe again.
    It’s no good to shrink from the idea of what could happen. I had to consider the worst they could do, prepare for that. And from here, it looked like their worst was pretty bad. Maybe they’d shrink from murder, but maybe they wouldn’t. They’d already stooped to kidnapping, if Caruthers could be believed.
    If that was his real name.
    Not much point in investigating him. It was Sneaky Spy Trick 101 to give me some

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