Darkest Fear Page 53

Myron looked at him. “Why? You don’t?”

“I just want to pay the ransom and get my boy back. I don’t want anybody screwing it up.”

“I think we should call,” Myron said. “But it’s your decision.”

“There’s something else we have to consider,” Greg said.

“What?”

“There’s a good chance this wacko is our donor, right?”

“Yes.”

“If the FBI kills him, it’s over for Jeremy.”

“First things first,” Myron said. “We have to find Jeremy. And we have to find this kidnapper.”

Greg kept shaking.

“What do you want to do, Greg?”

“You think we should call?”

“Yes.”

Greg nodded slowly. “Call,” he said.

Myron dialed Kimberly Green’s number. He felt waves pounding in his head, the blood flowing to his ears. He tried not to think about Jeremy’s face, what his smile had looked like when he opened that door.

Did you say one last good-bye to the boy?

A voice said, “Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

“Myron Bolitar calling Kimberly Green.”

“Special Agent Green is unavailable.”

“The Sow the Seeds kidnapper may have taken somebody else. Put her on.”

The hold was longer than Myron expected.

Kimberly Green started with a bark. “What the hell are you ranting about?”

“He just called me.” Myron filled her in.

“We’re on our way,” she said.

They hit a patch of traffic where Route 4 met Route 17, but Myron went up on the grass and knocked over several orange construction buckets. He broke off at Route 208 and exited near the synagogue. Two miles later, they made the final turn onto Emily’s street. Myron could see two FBI cars making the turn at the same time.

Greg, who had gone into something of a trance, woke up and pointed. “There she is.”

Emily was putting her key in the front door. Myron started honking madly. She looked back confused. He turned the car and skidded. The FBI car followed. Myron and Greg were both out the door almost before the car had stopped.

“Where’s Jeremy?” they both said in unison.

Emily had her head tilted to the side. “What?” she called back. “What’s going on here?”

Greg took it. “Where is he, Emily?”

“He’s with a friend—”

From inside the house, the phone started ringing. Everyone froze. Emily snapped out of it first. She ran inside and picked up the phone. She put the phone to her ear, cleared her throat, and said, “Hello.”

Through the receiver, they could all hear Jeremy’s scream.

30

There were six federal agents in all. Kimberly Green was the task force leader. They set up with quiet efficiency. Myron sat on one couch, Greg the other. Emily paced between them. There was probably something symbolic in that, but Myron was not sure what. He tried to push himself past the numb so he could get to a place where he could do some good.

The phone call had been brief. After the scream, the whispery voice had said, “We’ll call back.” That was it. No warnings not to contact the authorities. No telling them to prepare funds. No setting up another time to call. Nothing.

They all sat there, the boy’s scream still echoing, mauling, shredding, conjuring up images of what could have made a thirteen-year-old boy scream like that. Myron shut his eyes and pushed hard. That was what the bastard wanted. Unwise to play into that.

Greg had contacted his bank. He was not a risky investor, and so most of his assets were liquid. If ransom money was needed, he’d be ready. The various feds, all male except for Kimberly Green, put traces on all the possible phones, including Myron’s. She and her men were doing a lot of sotto voce. Myron hadn’t pressed them yet. But that wasn’t going to last.

Kimberly caught his eyes and waved him over. He stood and excused himself. Greg and Emily paid no attention, still lost in the vortex of that scream.

“We need to talk,” she said.

“Okay,” Myron said. “Start by telling me what happened when you checked out Dennis Lex.”

“You’re not family,” she said. “I could throw you out.”

“This isn’t your house,” he said. “What happened with Dennis Lex?”

She put her hands on her hips. “It’s a dead end.”

“How so?”

“We traced it down. He’s not involved in any of this.”

“How do you know that?”

“Myron, come on. We’re not stupid.”

“So where is Dennis Lex?”

“It’s not relevant,” she said.

“The hell it’s not. Even if he’s not the kidnapper, we still have him as the bone marrow donor.”

“No,” she said. “Your donor is Davis Taylor.”

“Who changed his name from Dennis Lex.”

“We don’t know that.”

Myron made a face. “What are you talking about?”

“Davis Taylor was an employee in the Lex conglomerate.”

“What?”

“You heard me.”

“So why did he donate blood for a bone marrow drive?”

“It was a work thing,” she said. “The plant boss had a sick nephew. Everyone at the plant gave.”

Myron nodded. Something finally made sense. “So if he didn’t give a blood sample,” he said, “it would have been conspicuous.”

“Right.”

“You got a description on him?”

“He worked on his own, kept to himself. All anyone remembers is a man with a full beard, glasses, and long blond hair.”

“A disguise,” Myron said. “And we know Davis Taylor’s original name was Dennis Lex. What else?”

Kimberly Green raised her hand. “Enough.” She sort of hitched herself up, trying to alter momentum. “Stan Gibbs is still our top suspect here. What did you talk about last night?”

“Dennis Lex,” Myron said. “Don’t you get it?”

“Get what?”

“Dennis Lex is connected into all this. He’s either the kidnapper, or maybe he was the first victim.”

“Neither,” she said.

“Then where is he?”

She shook it off. “What else did you two talk about?”

“Stan’s father.”

“Edwin Gibbs?” That got her attention. “What about him?”

Prev Next