He had disappeared along with his mother.

More chapters from ToxiCity

A VG Serial: ToxiCity

Episode 78

Saturday morning Stone sidestepped the press who, like a swarm of killer bees, were massed at the station. Word leaked out that the three North Shore victims were connected and that Stuart Feldman was at the center of it. Television crews and print reporters staked out the patrol room. Doyle promised a briefing later that day.

Stone fled to the conference room, littered with paper, used coffee cups, and fast food wrappers. Nelson was already there with red-rimmed eyes. She dragged deep on a Marlboro.

“I didn’t know you smoked,” he said.

“I don’t,” she said.

Brewster came through the door carrying a box of donuts. Hanging his jacket over a chair, he slid the box across the table. Stone grabbed it, pawed through, and picked out a glazed number, finishing it in three bites.

“Who leaked?” A cloud of smoke billowed out of Nelson’s mouth.

Brewster shrugged.

Stone licked his fingers. “I’d bet on Doyle. In fact, he may be the one who’s been leaking all along.”

“Maybe he thought that would flush them out,” Brewster offered.

“You think our killer’s really ‘gonna make a move knowing we’re onto them?” He scowled. “What happened with the Stewarts?”

“They confirmed what we already know.”

“They know what happened to Champlain?”

Nelson shook her head.

“Anyone call the hospital? Do they have media?”

“Same as here.”

Stone slumped in a chair. “Well, make sure Matt keeps them where they belong. We don’t need extra bodies near Feldman. Or Ricki. No one gets close unless we know him or her. That includes doctors. And—” he added, “especially nurses. Get hospital security to help us out.”

Brewster picked up the phone.

The sense of urgency they’d felt had turned into frustration. They were forced into a waiting game, and as each hour ticked by, the stakes rose. Their killer could strike any time, any place. Stone drummed his fingers on the table. Brewster stared at the ceiling. Nelson played with her pack of cigarettes.

“I have an idea.” Nelson said finally. “I’ll call the ex-husband. Maybe I can get more out of him.” She started dialing.

A moment later Nelson slammed down the phone. Stone snapped his head around. “Maggie had another son,” she said triumphantly. “Ten years older than TJ. His name’s Dusty, and he lived in Joliet. And Champlain used to work at Al’s Steak House on Jefferson Street.”

The Detectives got to work. They tracked Dusty to a junior college in the area where he was studying graphic arts. But they lost him when he didn’t enroll for the last semester. Brewster ran another credit check. No driver’s license, no credit cards, no bank account. Dusty had disappeared along with his mother.

 

Episodes in the novel will be published on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Please click the following title,ToxiCity, to read more about Libby Fischer Hellman’s books on Amazon.

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