Read Silent Justice Online

Authors: John C. Dalglish

Tags: #Christian Books & Bibles, #Literature & Fiction, #Mystery & Suspense, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery, #Cozy, #Religion & Spirituality, #Christian Fiction

Silent Justice (3 page)

BOOK: Silent Justice
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“Well, if we are talking a compound bow with a standard
break-over…”

“I’m sorry
, but ‘break-over’ means what?”

“Break
-over is the point on a compound bow where the tension is reduced by the use of a set of cams. These cams ‘break-over’ and reduce the strain on the shooter, while maintaining the power of the bow.”

Rick reached
behind him, picked up a bow, and demonstrated for Jason.

“The ‘break
-over’ point allows the shooter to hold the bow longer before the release. It also lets smaller people, even handicapped shooters, use sufficient power to hunt.”

Jason took the bow and tried it. The effort pulling back the string was greatest just before the set of cam rollers took effect. After they did their job, he found the bow much easier to hold. Jason was impressed.

“Makes sense. Pretty cool, actually.”

“Yeah. So using a bow like that
, and a standard broadhead, forty to fifty yards would be a heckuva shot.”

Jason reached into his pocket and pulled out smaller versions of the two pictures Doc Josie had given him.

“This is the arrow; the tip was a four-blade broadhead. Range still the same?”

Rick looked at the pictures.

“I’d say so.”

Jason put the pictures away.

“What if you were a
very
good shot?”

Rick thought about it, rubbing his chin while he did.

“I suppose seventy-five yards is not out of the question, but that’s a rare person who could take a shot like that and feel confident in it.”

Jason saw Vanessa coming across the store in a hurry. He shook Rick’s hand and thanked him for his help.

Vanessa’s eyes were red when she folded her phone shut and looked at Jason.

“Vicky Connor died twenty minutes ago.”

 

 

CHAPTER 4

 

A dim bulb from an aged lamp cast its feeble light down on a tired oak desk. On the corner of the desk sat a scrapbook bursting at the seams with newspaper clippings. The book sat open to a page bearing a picture of Officer Dave Connor. The news story reported on an award he’d received at the local Lions Club luncheon. It was dated two weeks ago.

Across the center of the desk, the San Antonio News was open.
The front-page story was written by Devin James, and described the murder of Vicky Connor.

 

POLICE LOOKING FOR ‘HUNTER’ STYLE KILLER

Police continue the search for the person who fired a hunting arrow into the wife of Sergeant Dave Connor, a member of the San Antonio Police Department. Vicky Connor, 38, died Monday from injuries sustained when she was shot outside her home.

 

‘The Hunter
.’ An identity. It would serve the purpose of the crimes, and the message they would bring.

A pair of scissors slowly made their way around the headline, trimming it free from the newspaper. Next, the scissors went around the photo of the deceased woman. These clippings were different, special. They were from a hunt and need
ed to be mounted. A hunter likes to mount their kills.

The Hunter got up and moved over to the large wall opposite the desk, stoppin
g in front of the kill board. Made by layering cork over a large piece of plywood, pushpins mounted the headline and picture.

Next to the kill board, a large map of San Antonio and the surrounding area was pinned up. Seven circles of red ink were blotched about the map. The Hunter took a black marker and made a large X through the circle around Dave Connor’s address.

The marker then moved around the map until it dropped on the circle with a red three next to it. That had the name and address of the next target.

Moving over to a special rack of arrows, The Hunter lifted the next arrow in line.
After, picking up a four-blade broadhead from the desk, they screwed it in to the end of the arrow.

A surge of adrenalin brought a smile to the face of The Hunter.

“Time to hunt again.”

 

*******

Sandy Strong was holding the dreaded Parent-
teacher conferences both Monday and Tuesday. As an experienced teacher, she had become accustomed to parents that were late, or worse, didn’t show up at all. The first day had gone well, and her last conference had ended on time at five.

Making the fifteen-minute drive to her Terrill Hills neighborhood, she was surprised to see Jason’s car in the driveway. Usually
, a case such as the Vicky Connor shooting would require lots of overtime. She parked and let herself in the front door.

“Jason?”

“Back here.”

Setting her purse on the kitchen table, she went into the family room. Jason was sitting on the floor, his back against the couch.
Penny’s big, white head resting in his lap. As Sandy moved across the room, Penny’s huge tail thumped on the floor but the dog stayed by Jason.

Sandy sat on the couch.

“You’re home early. Is everything okay?”

Jason looked up at his wife, trying to put himself in Dave Connor’s shoes. He
couldn’t.

“Vicky died this afternoon.”

Sandy scooted forward, and slid down the front of the couch, until she was on the floor next to her husband.

“Oh no.
I thought she was improving; what happened?”

“Her blood pressure crashed. They rushed her into surgery looking for a bleed
, and she died on the table.”

“That’s awful. Have you talked to Dave?”

“Yeah. You can imagine what kind of a mess he is. The funeral will probably be Wednesday; can you get the day off to go with me?”

“Of course, I’ll talk to the principal first thing tomorrow.”

They sat in silence for a long time, each of them running a hand through the soft, white fur of Penny’s coat. Finally, Sandy moved to get up.

“I’m going to get out of this dress.”

She started to go, and Jason reached up, catching her hand, and turning her toward him.

“I love you. You know that, right?”

She looked down at the tears welling up in her husband’s eyes, and touched his face softly.

“Yes, I know.” She stooped and kissed him. “I love you, too.”

 

*******

 

North of Randolph Air Force Base, and just east of the city limit,
was the small cemetery known as Holy Cross. On this Wednesday morning, the cemetery looked as if it would be swept away under the crush of so many mourners. Vanessa couldn’t help wondering who was running the city, since everyone seemed to be here.

The day was hot, middle July in Texas seemed to have no other description, and everyone wearing black was thankful for the many trees
providing shade near the gravesite. Vanessa could see that despite all the black, there was not one uniform to be seen. She turned to Jason sitting beside her.

“It’s extraordinary, don’t you think?”

“What’s that?”

“That all these officers, city officials, and military types are here, and not one of them is in uniform. I thought sure someone wouldn’t get the memo, know what I mean?”

Jason nodded his head.

“I thought it a wonderful request by Dave
, but I didn’t think it would be everyone!”

Sandy was on the other side of Jason and leaned in.

“I think it’s very sweet. He said she never looked at anyone as being a uniform or a rank, only a person.”

Jason took his wife’s hand.

“A lesson for all of us, I think.”

Vanessa turned back to her husband
, Rob, folding his hand into both of hers. They all re-evaluated things whenever a member of their circle fell.

In truth, Vicky had not fallen in the line of duty, but both detectives felt the writing of Dave Connors’ name on the arrow
made it clear her death was tied to Dave’s career.

Vanessa scanned the huge crowd around them, struck by the lack of color
, except for the red roses on the casket.

The casket,
nearly small enough to be a child’s, sat suspended over a large hole, which seemed to be trying to swallow the box above it.

Dave
sat across from the detectives with his family, including Vicky’s parents, and his two children. The kids were grown and probably married with kids of their own, but Vanessa wasn’t sure if age made any difference. Losing a mother or father was never easy.

She
was suddenly aware the pastor had started the, and though she tried to focus on the proceedings, her mind kept returning to the facts of the case. They would catch this animal, whoever he was, and make him pay.

 

*******

 

Ryan Peters looked over at his fiancé and grinned. He loved to jerk her chain, and she made it so easy.

“What do you mean you don’t want six kids? I thought we agreed to have a big family.”

His fiancé was having none of it.

“Ryan Peters, you know very well I want a family
, but SIX! You’ve lost your ever loving mind.”

They were in her Nissan Sentra
, and she was dropping him at the back door of Best Buy, where he had a summer job in the appliance department.

“Okay, okay. Five?”

“Five! Let’s say we start with one
after
we’re married. Then we’ll see how you do at being a provider. For all I know, you could turn out to be a bum.”

She stopped the car.

“A bum!” He gripped his heart as if she had wounded him.

She let a smile slip
, and he leaned over to peck her on the cheek.

“Pick me up at
eight?”

“I’ll think about it.”

He got out and closed the door. Walking to the entrance, he had just put his hand on the door handle, when he crashed forward, pain filling his body. He slid to the ground, and from somewhere far off he heard his fiancé scream.

 

*******

 

The service lasted a little over an hour, and while everyone else made their way toward the long parade of cars lining the road, Jason stayed in his seat. Rob said he would drop Sandy off on his way home, so he and Vanessa could head to the precinct, where they had work waiting for them.

Eventually, Dave and his family were the only ones left, lingering to say their final goodbyes
, and Jason didn’t want to interfere. He sat silently while the family prayed together before watching as the coffin was lowered into the ground. Each family member threw some flowers in on top of the box.

They got up to go, and Dave spotted Jason sitting there, still waiting to talk to him. Dave excused himself
, and walked over to where Jason was.

“Thanks for coming.”

“Of course, Dave. I just wanted to say if there is anything… anything at all…”

“I know,
buddy, and I appreciate it.”

He turned to go, and then stopped.

“There is one thing.”

Jason knew what was coming.

“Catch him. I have to know why, and I’ll only know if you catch him.”

“I’ll do everything within my power, that’s a promise.”

Jason watched as his friend turned and slowly walked back to his family.

Vanessa came striding toward Jason, careful to avoid Dave, and came up very close so she could whisper.

“There’s been another shooting.”

 

*******

 

Jason wheeled the car out of the cemetery and onto the 1604 loop going west. They’re headed toward Sonoma Ranch in the northwest corner of the city.

“What do we know?”

Vanessa looked at her notes.

“Male, 20. Dead at the scene. He was shot in the back with an arrow.”

“Do we have a name?”

“Ryan Peters,
a student at University of Texas. His fiancé was there when it happened. She said he was home on summer break and working at Best Buy until classes started up again. She was dropping him off for his shift when it happened.”

Jason turned off the 1604 onto I-10 North. A few minutes later, he
pulled off onto La Cantera Road. The Best Buy was located in a large shopping mall.

Jason drove around back to find the familiar yellow tape surrounding the scene. Police barricades had kept people to the far
end of the mall’s parking lot, and for a change, they weren’t hanging over the scene, pushing on the tape.

The two detectives
stepped out into the oppressive heat and approached the yellow tape. An officer lifted it for them without checking their badges, nodding in recognition. Another officer came toward them.

“Detective Strong?”

“Yes, and my partner, Detective Layne. Has the victim been transported?”

“Yes
, sir. He died on scene, so they’ve taken him to Doc Davis. I’ve been interviewing the fiancé.”

Jason could see the young woman sitting in her car. Two lives shattered with one arrow. He shook his head in an effort to focus.

“Where’s the arrow?”

“The forensic guys took it in an evidence bag.”

Jason turned and scanned the area behind the mall. A large green space, provided by the city for drainage, covered several acres. Trees mixed with overgrown grass. Vanessa followed his gaze and read his mind.

“Plenty of cover.”

“Yeah, the guy at the bow shop said forty to fifty yards is a good shot. Seventy-five would be a real marksman.”

He turned and looked at the bloodstain on the concrete.

“We need a search of every sight line inside seventy-five yards from that spot.”

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