His Father’s Eyes – Snippet 11
I hadn’t seen the PPD’s bomb squad in action since leaving the force, and even as a cop I dealt with them no more than three or four times in six years. They weren’t called upon all that often, but when we needed them, we sure were glad to have them.
Kona pulled up next to several police cruisers and the bomb squad truck, and we both climbed out of the cart. Kevin Glass, Kona’s new partner stood near the cars, watching as the bomb disposal robot picked through the contents of a duffle bag some fifty yards away.
Nearby, a cop was in the process of removing his disposal suit: more than eighty pounds of Kevlar, ballistic plastic, and steel plating. The helmet, which reminded me of something an astronaut would wear, had a fan inside of it, but that was small consolation under a desert sun in this kind of heat. The cop was soaked with sweat, his hair plastered to his head. But he was grinning, which I took to mean that whatever danger there had been was past.
“What’s the story?” Kona asked Kevin. “Was the bomb real?”
“Oh, it was real,” Glass said. “Hey there, Jay.”
I still referred to Kevin as Kona’s “new” partner, but the fact was, she’d been with him for over a year. He was only “new” in that he wasn’t me, a fact that still rankled. Not that it was his fault. Kevin was a good guy and, from all that I had seen, a good cop, too. He’d shaved his head, which made him look older than his years. His eyes were dark, his skin a rich, warm brown. He had an easy smile and the build of an athlete. I wanted to like him, and I wanted him to like me. But we remained wary of each other. For my part, the mistrust was born of foolishness: I was off the force, Kona needed a partner. I had no right to be resentful, but I was.
Kevin was younger than I was and had been a detective in Homicide for maybe three years. He probably felt that I was judging him, and that Kona was constantly measuring his performance against mine. I doubt that she was, but I could understand why he might feel that way.
Basically it was mess, and it would remain that way until I found some way to bridge the gap between us.
“It was designed to work on a plane,” he went on, speaking to both Kona and me. “The guys say it would have gone off at about twenty-five thousand feet, and that there was enough explosive to blow a huge hole in the fuselage. We got lucky.”
Kona and I shared a quick glance, and Kevin’s expression grew guarded. This was the other reason he hadn’t warmed to me yet. Kona and I had a way of communicating that came from years of friendship and professional rapport. She didn’t have that yet with him, and he was as aware of this as I was.
“They haven’t found anything else in the suitcase?” Kona asked.
“Can we see the bomb?”
Kevin nodded and started toward a small device that lay on the concrete, also some fifty yards from where the cars were parked, though in a different direction. Kona and I followed.
“They wanted to detonate it,” Kevin said, over his shoulder. “But I held them off until Jay could see it, like you asked.”
Kona nodded once. “Thanks.”
“Is it safe?” I asked, slowing.
“Relatively. They clipped the wires, and even if they hadn’t, it’s not like we’re at altitude. The bomb guys said it would be really unusual for it to go off under these conditions.”
“That’s reassuring,” I muttered, falling in step with Kona again.
“You an expert in bombs, Jay?”
I shot another glance Kona’s way. She was staring straight ahead, her lips pursed. She had been telling me for months now that the best way to improve my relationship with Kevin would be to end all the secrecy that surrounded my conversations with her, conversations that almost always revolved around spells and magic. I knew she was right.
“Not really, no.”
“So then what are you looking for?”
He stopped; so did Kona and I.
“I’m looking for signs of magic.”
Kevin turned to Kona, some quip on his lips. But her expression didn’t change, and his smile wilted. “The two of you are jerking me around.”
“I left the force because I’m a weremyste,” I said. “I go through something called the phasing every month on the full moon.”
“I’ve heard of phasings, but I never . . .” He blew out a breath. “This is for real?” he asked Kona.
“Listen to the man,” she said.
“Kona’s known for years, and over time she’s learned to recognize the signs of a magical crime. When she sees something she can’t explain, or when she’s certain that spells were used in a murder, she calls me.”
“The Blind Angel killings,” he said, breathing the words.
“That’s right. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner. Leaving the force was–”
He held up a hand, stopping me. “No apologies necessary. So you think there was some kind of mojo involved in all of this today?”
“The guy in the men’s room was killed with a spell,” Kona said. “I knew it as soon as I saw him.”
“How?” Kevin asked. “There wasn’t a mark . . .” He trailed off, shaking his head slowly. A small laugh escaped him. “Magic. Damn.” He faced me again. “So, what do you look for?”
“Stuff that you can’t see — the residue of spells. A flare of color that’s left after a conjurer casts. Although,” I said to Kona, “coming out here might have been a waste of time. If Howell was a sorcerer and he used magic on anything there’d be no sign of it now. Magic dies with the runecrafter. Besides, a conjurer doesn’t need a bomb to bring down a plane.”
“Check it anyway,” she said. “Just in case.”
I did, and as I expected there was no magic at all on the bomb. A few minutes later, the bomb squad guys gave us the all clear and we walked to the duffle bag and examined that as well. Again, there was no residue on it. But while we were searching through Howell’s stuff, an idea came to me. I picked a loose sock out of the bag and held it up for Kona to see.
“Can I take this?”
“Oh, sure, Justis. I mean its evidence in a murder and terrorism investigation, but we always like to give souvenirs to the tourists who join us for bomb searches, so help yourself.”
I stared back at her.
“I know it could get you in trouble,” I said. “Though it’s not as though the evidence guys will be counting socks. But it might allow me to see what Howell saw in the final moments of his life.”
“You’ll return it?”
“I’ll give it back to you. You’ll return it.”
Kevin was watching us, a small frown on his face. “You two always like this?”
She nodded. “It’s not pretty, is it?” Her attention on me once more, she narrowed her eyes. “Sure, take the sock, but for God’s sake, keep it out of sight and get it back to me before we leave the airport.”