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Chapter 14

THE SUPER WAS nowhere to be found. The closest occupants to the basement were in a crack house on the second floor, but to no ones surprise, the strung-out inhabitants hadnt noticed anything.

I was happy for the cold rain now as I climbed out of that hot pit. I needed something to wash the smell of death from my clothes, off my skin.

Despite our attempts to keep things under wraps, I spotted the police reporter from the Post standing behind the police tape among the half dozen Briggs Avenue drug dealers. Once the word was out, reporters and producers would pounce on Briggs Avenue like sharks on chum. A billionaires kid getting kidnapped and ritually murdered wasnt just news, it was the next news cycle.

I headed for my car when I spotted the first news van. Media storms were like real ones, Id found. The only way to truly withstand them was to evacuate immediately.

Emily was coming out of the corner bodega as I got to the car. She took the items from the bag as I cranked the heat in the front seat. Paper towels and a couple of cans of Coke.

They didnt have any Scotch, but at least its full sugar, she said, handing me one.

I put the cold can to the back of my neck before I crunched it open.

Full sugar, I said. I just might have to tell your supervisor about you, Emily Parker. Not for nothing, but you were great in there. You know your way around a body. I thought you were just a kidnapping expert.

I did time in the Behavioral Analysis Unit as a profiler, she said offhandedly. Lucky me, huh?

I watched her rub her hair with a wad of paper towels. It was the color of black cherry soda where it was wet along the nape of her neck, I suddenly noticed.

She paused as the MEs techs brought out Jacob in a plastic bag. They slid him into the back of the beat-up Bronx County Medical Examiners van parked beside our Impala.

I lost four, Emily said, staring out the rain-streaked windshield.

What are you talking about?

Dunning was so impressed that I had found three, but nobody told him that I lost four, she said, looking into my eyes. Actually, five now, she added.

I lifted my soda and took a sip. It wasnt black cherry, which I had a distinct pang for all of a sudden, but the sugar rush would have to do.

Three for seven, I said. Thats great. If this were baseball, youd be Ted Williams.

This isnt baseball, though, is it? Emily said after a moment.

I took another sip of my Coke and dropped the transmission into reverse to let the death van out.

Youre right, I said as we bumped off the sidewalk onto the wet street. Theres no crying in baseball.

Chapter 13 | Worst Case | Chapter 15