Home > Lake Silence (The Others #6)(13)

Lake Silence (The Others #6)(13)
Author: Anne Bishop

“Isn’t there a CIU team in the area? Can’t they supply backup?” the dispatcher asked.

“I think it’s the CIU team that got hit.”

A heartbeat of silence. “I’ll put out the call.”

Grimshaw hung up and looked at Julian. “You’re coming with me.”

“No.” Julian took a step back. “I’m not a cop anymore. I don’t have a gun.”

Grimshaw headed for the door. “You still have a gun. After what you went through, you wouldn’t leave yourself without a weapon. I need someone to back me up, Julian. Someone I can trust.”

He went out the door. He wasn’t an Intuit like Julian, but he had a feeling that the man he remembered—the man who had been a damn good cop—wouldn’t let him go into trouble alone.

“You can take the shotgun,” he said when Julian got into the passenger seat.

“Which one of them called?” Julian asked.

Grimshaw pulled out of the parking space and made a U-turn to head for The Jumble, lights flashing and siren screaming. “My guess? The baby cop. Before Swinn sent me on my way, I saw a kid with the team who didn’t look old enough to be in CIU. Barely looked old enough to have graduated from the academy.”

“Swinn is his commanding officer. Why didn’t the kid call him?”

“Maybe because Swinn is his commanding officer.” Grimshaw concentrated on driving for a minute. Then he pulled a business card out of his shirt pocket. “Call Ilya Sanguinati and warn him not to take Vicki DeVine home until we know what’s going on.”

Julian took the card and pulled out his mobile phone.

“Mr. Sanguinati?” Julian said when the vampire answered the call. “There’s some trouble at The Jumble. Officer Grimshaw is on his way there now. Could you . . . I see.” Pause. “Yes, I understand. I appreciate the information.” He ended the call. The hand holding the mobile phone flopped into his lap.

Grimshaw spared a glance at his friend, who looked unnaturally pale. “What?”

“Mr. Sanguinati is taking Vicki to Silence Lodge. He said the Elders aren’t happy with humans at the moment, but the police will be safe enough to retrieve the survivor as long as no weapons are drawn.”

He barely checked the reflex to slam on the brakes. “Elders? Gods, Julian.”

When people spoke of the Others, they thought of the vampires or the ones who could shift to animal forms like Wolves and Bears and, yes, Crows. But as threats to humans went, those kinds of terra indigene paled in comparison to the terra indigene that were known as the Elders and the Elementals. They had been the killing force that had swept across the continent of Thaisia last summer—across the whole damn world. Unlike the shifters and vampires, who might let a human live if the encounter was peaceful, the Elders weren’t that tolerant—a fact every police officer who did highway patrol recognized. Those men traveled the roads through the wild country every single day, and every day there was the chance that something watching from the verge would decide not to let the human driving the noisy metal box with the flashing lights live to reach his destination.

“He say anything else?”

“He said you should request an ambulance or whatever vehicle carries the dead when police answer a call. And you should bring some body bags.”

Grimshaw slowed as he made the turn onto the gravel road that led to The Jumble’s main house. He cut the siren but could hear other sirens in the distance, coming closer. Backup. Help. He hoped.

They saw the unmarked car where it had landed just off the gravel road. What was left of a car. Something had smashed the trunk and roof, punched in the doors, broken all the windows, and ripped off the front tires. Made sure the vehicle—and the people—couldn’t escape.

“Let me out here,” Julian said. “I’ll see what I can do for anyone inside the car.”

“You’ll be in the open. Exposed,” Grimshaw protested.

“I won’t be carrying a weapon, so I should be safe enough.”

The baby cop was still up ahead, so they had to split up in case anyone in the car was still alive.

“Watch your back,” he said.

Julian opened the door but hesitated. “I have the feeling we’ll be all right as long as everyone remains calm and professional.”

And if fear makes someone twitchy? Didn’t need, or want, an answer to that question.

Julian got out and Grimshaw continued up to the house. When he saw the young officer standing with his back to the house’s front door, he put the car in PARK, touched the medal under his shirt, and whispered his prayer to Mikhos. Then he stepped out of the car, using the door as a shield while he looked around.

Man on the ground within sight of the house, not moving. The baby cop didn’t look injured—at least he wasn’t bleeding anywhere—but could be in shock.

Grimshaw stepped away from the car, closed the door, and approached the survivor. “Officer?”

“O-Osgood, sir. David Osgood.”

“You hurt?”

“No, sir. I was . . . I was just . . .”

Grimshaw held up a hand. “We’ll get to that. Anyone else around?”

An abrupt, hysterical laugh, quickly cut off.

“Caw.”

“Caw.” “Caw.” “Caw.”

One question answered but not in the way he wanted.

“Stay there.” Not that he expected the kid to move while he approached the man on the ground.

He didn’t know when he stopped moving. He just gradually realized his feet had frozen in place once his brain understood what he was seeing.

The CIU officer lay facedown. Grimshaw clearly saw the back of the man’s sports jacket and the back of his head. He also saw the shoes that were pointing up.

Spinal injury. Gods above and below.

After that moment of shock, he approached the man to check for a pulse—and hoped he wouldn’t find one.

Satisfied that he wasn’t leaving an injured man, he returned to Osgood and led the young officer to his vehicle. Once inside the car with the doors locked—as if a locked door would provide any kind of safety—he called Captain Hargreaves to let him know backup wasn’t required but another CIU team would be needed to investigate the reason for the attack—or at least to take possession of the damaged vehicle.

He finished the call to Hargreaves and turned in his seat to look at Osgood. “Can you tell me what happened?” They would need to take a formal statement, and maybe he shouldn’t be the one asking questions now, but Swinn wasn’t here and he didn’t want anyone trying to convince Osgood to change his story.

“Detective Swinn and Detective Reynolds took Ms. DeVine to Sproing to answer some questions,” Osgood said. “But not before Ms. DeVine made it real clear that we weren’t allowed to snoop around inside her house or car or the cabins. And some of them heard her say it.”

Snoop. An interesting word for a cop to use. What it said to him was the baby cop had felt uneasy about Swinn’s orders.

“There was a girl with Ms. DeVine, a girl with black hair,” Osgood continued. “I think she was one of them.”

“She’s one of the Crowgard.” He studied Osgood. “They’re called terra indigene or earth natives or Others. Talking about us and them is part of what caused the trouble and got a lot of people killed in the past year.”

“Yes, sir.” Osgood said nothing for a minute. “Once Detective Swinn left, Detective Calhoun told me to stay out front while he and Detective Chesnik took a look around back. I was checking out the wooden chair near the front door. Nice chair. I was thinking my grandma would like one like that when there was a . . . well, a scream from around back. Baker told me to stay put and ran around to the back of the house. The three of them returned in a minute. Calhoun and Baker had Chesnik between them. There was a necktie tied around Chesnik’s leg, and his pants leg was soaked with blood. They yelled something about him being attacked and needing to get him to a hospital. So they put Chesnik in the back seat and Calhoun started driving down the gravel road.”

“What was Chesnik doing when he was attacked?”

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