Saturday, December 2, 2017

Untitled Zoe Grey Novella - Chapter 2

Untitled Zoe Grey Novella

In case you missed it, read Chapter 1 here.

Chapter 2
Ellmann arrived and parked his Charger at the mouth of the cul-de-sac, now crowded with vehicles. He made quick work of stripping off his jeans and pulling on a pair of BDUs from his bag in the truck. He stuffed his feet into boots, strapped on his equipment and weapons, and hurried over to the Bearcat.
He squeezed my hand on his way into the Bearcat, but was otherwise all business. I knew he’d noticed my new injuries, but he didn’t even blink. He’d stopped doing that months ago. 
“Give me a rundown,” he said.
Frye, Waller, Tolliver, and Rollins took turns filling in the parts of the picture they had so far. It wasn’t pretty. 
“We know anything about this Devil guy yet?” Ellmann asked.
“No,” Frye said. “As you found last night, there are too many hits to narrow it down with what we have now.”
“Any word from victim services yet? I’d like to speak to whoever dropped Cheryl off here today.”
“I’m still working on that,” Frye said. “I think I’m getting stonewalled in light of the current situation.”
“Go straight to the top. Call Sharon personally.”
“On it.”
I didn’t know who Sharon was. She must have been in charge of the victim services division.
“What about the woman, Cheryl?” Ellmann asked. “Real name unknown.”
“Nothing new on her, either,” Tolliver said.
An idea suddenly hit me, so hard I stumbled back a step. “Oh, shit,” I said. “I’m such an idiot. Ellmann, last night, she said Selena. I didn’t know who she was talking about, but what if she meant herself? What if her name is Selena? Can you run that with the name Devil and see if anything pops?”
Ellmann nodded and turned to Tolliver, who had already disappeared back into the Bearcat.
Boots sounded behind me and I turned to find Waller striding forward. He stopped and planted his hands on his hips.
“Waller, what’s the status?” Ellmann asked.
“We’re fairly certain he’s upstairs, in one of the rooms at the back of the house.”
“Bedrooms,” Ellmann said. “Master with the baby’s room next to it.” Noting Waller’s expression he added, “Zoe and I were in the house last night, after the prowler incident.”
Waller nodded. “Ah. No one has direct line of sight on the suspect, and no weapons have been noted so far, though he is believed to have one based on the 911 caller. This guy, he’s moving around a lot. Last report had the baby in a highchair in the kitchen. No one has actually laid eyes on the woman. We believe she’s upstairs, but we haven’t confirmed.”
“I want to get him on the phone,” Ellmann said. “When I do, get a look in those windows.”
Waller nodded.
Ellmann turned to Rollins. “Any attempt been made to communicate?”
“Not since I arrived. But we’re set up and ready to go. No landline on the property. Throw phone is ready to go.”
“Hey!” Tolliver called from behind Rollins. “Hey, I got something. I got several hits for a search of the name Devil together with the name Selena, but I think it’s the same two people, multiple incidents. Guy’s real name is Robert Downes. Goes by Devil or Downey. Got a record as long as my arm. All violent offenses. Guy’s a fugitive. Three outstanding warrants in Colorado, one out of Nevada. Hey, Zoe, one of these is a bench warrant out of Denver; he failed to appear about three months ago.”
“Any info on the bond company?” I asked, leaning in a little.
“No. Oh, wait . . . Yes. Found a note here. Uh, triple A Bonds. Know them? Not that it really matters now,” he added. “We’re way past a bond violation here.”
“No kidding. Still, I’ll see what I can find out.”
“Guys, I also got a photo of the girl. She look familiar?”
Ellmann and I both climbed inside the vehicle and squeezed over to where Tolliver sat at a computer. The screen displayed a photo of the woman we knew as Cheryl, bruised and bloody.
“That’s her,” Ellmann confirmed.
“Did Devil do that to her?” I asked, anger and apprehension both rising in me.
Tolliver looked grim. “Yes. Rape, assault, et cetera. This was about eighteen months ago.”
Ellmann must have sensed my reaction because he raised a hand and said, “Zoe—”
I nodded and turned away. “Just get her out of there. I’m going to see if I can find anything more on Devil.”
I jumped out of the Bearcat, only remembering my broken rib when I hit the ground and the impact rattled up and lit the injury on fire. Gasping, I banded my left arm against my side and took a few stiff paces away, found the number I wanted, and dialed.
Mickey Sands, co-owner of Sideline Investigations and Bail Bonds where I did most of my work, answered on the second ring.
“Don’t you ever take a night off?”
“That was my plan tonight, but it’s not going to happen. Know anything about triple A Bonds out of Denver?”
“Which one?”
I rolled my eyes. Bail bonds outfits constantly compete for top listing in the phone book, because jails everywhere permit access only to a phone book and allow one phone call. They almost all start with “A.”
“How many are there?”
“Two. Maybe three. I know Bruce. He started triple A way back in the eighties. He was triple A Bonds. Then some hotshot he had working for him broke off and started triple A Bail Bonds, which neatly put him first in the phone book and confused people about who they were really calling. Couple years back, I heard a third outfit had sprung up, a little further south. Castle Rock, maybe. Why?”
“An FTA out of Denver is holding my neighbor hostage. I heard triple A Bonds wrote the bond.”
“That would be Bruce, then. But Zoe, you don’t want to get involved in that. Let the cops handle it.”
“I will. They’re here. I just offered to get some info on the guy. Got a number for Bruce?”
He gave it to me, and I dialed. Bruce answered on the first ring.
“Triple A Bonds, where we get you out fast. Where you calling from?”
“Are you Bruce? I got your number from Mickey Sands. My name is Zoe Grey.”
“No, shit. Well, hell, girl, I know who you are! I’ll be! I never thought I’d be talking to you. Tell me you’re looking for work. I’ll set you up better than Mickey, guaranteed.”
“As tempting as that is, that’s not why I’m calling. I’m calling about Robert Downes.”
“Robert Downes . . . Oh, Devil! No, way. You got a line on him?”
“Something like that. What can you tell me about him?”
“Mean as a snake. I never shoulda written the bond. Of course, if I hadn’t, the next guy woulda. Way the business works, you know that. These dirtbags all belong behind bars, but we ain’t got room for ’em all. World’s going to hell in a handbasket, I tell you.”
“Friend of mine says the same thing. What’s he up for?”
“Let me see. Got his file somewhere around here. You know, it’s been weeks since he skipped out, months, maybe. Haven’t been able to get a line on him. Doesn’t happen that often, so this guy probably had some kind of plan in the works. Here we go.”
I heard the shuffling of papers over the line.
“This time: armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault, and rape, but his sheet just goes on and on. Some drug charges, some traffic and alcohol charges, some other theft, robbery, fraud charges, domestic charges, and multiple weapons charges. You getting the picture here?”
“Yeah, I am. Gang affiliations?”
“Nothing concrete, but there are notes here about some Aryan motorcycle gang. Not sure which one. I don’t see anywhere that the guy owns a bike. Only vehicle registered to him is a Toyota Tundra. Tag number TGY-895. No house, either.”
I walked over and tapped Ellmann on the shoulder, pointing to a black pickup truck parked at the mouth of the cul-de-sac. “That’s his truck,” I said.
Ellmann nodded and turned to the guys in the Bearcat.
“What’d he use as collateral?” I asked Bruce.
“His mother put up her house. I hate taking real estate as collateral. I mean, look what a mess it is. Here we are . . . three months out—Has it really been three months already?—and now I’ve got to start proceedings to take this old woman’s house and boot her out. Not only does that take forever, it makes you feel like a worm, let me tell you. I gotta quit writing bonds with real estate, especially if it’s a parent’s house.”
“Where’s Mom live?”
“Denver. Well, Arvada, specifically. Want the address?”
“Yeah, and a name and number.”
He gave me the information, which I jotted down in my own notebook.
“Know anything about a woman?” I asked. “Girlfriend, wife, ex-wife, anything?”
“Uh . . . Let’s see here. Nothing listed, but let me look at the notes . . . Oh, got a mention here about a baby mama. Back about six, seven months ago.”
“Got a name, address, anything?”
“Doesn’t look like it. Wait. Oh, shit. She’s the victim of the rape. And I see . . . three separate rape charges over the course of a year.”
Anger flared, edging out apprehension. And that was fine. I always worked better on anger rather than fear.
“She was the victim each time?” I didn’t really want the answer.
“Yeah, looks like. Sick son of a bitch. I really gotta read this shit before I bond these fucks out.”
“What’s her name?” I asked, already knowing the answer.
“Selena Torres. Want her address?”
“Yes, anything you’ve got.”
He recited her address, phone number, and employer, and I wrote it all down.
“Zoe, what’s going on? You got a line on this guy or what?”
“Yes. He’s currently barricaded inside my neighbor’s house, holding her hostage. Same girl.”
The line was silent for a long beat. “Shit,” was all Bruce could manage to say.
“If you’ve got capture paperwork, email it to me. Can you do that?”
“Sure. Sounds like a job for the cops, though.”
“It is, but it might be helpful.”
“I’ll do it now. Keep me posted.”
“Keep yourself available for the time being, will you?”

He said he would, and we disconnected.
Read Chapter 1
Read the background on the story

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