Malloy turned to look across the aisle. “How ya doing, Partner?”
Reed’s cuffs jangled as he slid them up and down the pole. “Beats me. Looks solid.”
“Yeah,” Malloy said. “Mine, too.”
A sob came from his right, and Malloy looked down at Bobby. He hadn’t moved since the men had left. “I’m sorry,” the boy whispered. “I’m so sorry. But he’s right; I need you. Someone needs to be here for my sister.”
“Hey,” Reed said, “we’re going to do the best we can.” He said it as though that would certainly be enough. It always had been before… “What’s your sister’s name?”
Bobby sighed. His right hand came up to wipe his face. “Margaret. Margaret Hillesphry. She’s just visiting me from home.”
“Where’s home?” Reed asked.
“Inverness-shire, Scotland. It’s where my parents live.” That fit; his accent sounded Scottish.
“What’re you doing in the States?”
“Working with my uncle, my mother’s brother. When my grandfather died, he invited me out for a change of scene. I’ve been here a year.”
“When did Margaret come?” Malloy asked.
“That’s the stupid part. I’ve been working in the States for over a year, and nothing bad has happened at all. Then Margaret comes out, and in less than a week, we’re… here…” He shook his head a little and closed his eyes. His left hand pressed harder over the spot on his stomach. He sounded distracted when he next spoke, as though two worries wrestled for his attention. “I hope they didn’t hurt her…”
Malloy smiled. “She was doing fine when we last saw her,” he said. “She’s strong. Smart, too.”
“They wouldn’t…” The boy stopped. He licked his lips. “… would they?”
“I don’t think so,” Reed said. “If that wasn’t their motive for kidnapping, then they probably won’t. They don’t act that stupid.”
Bobby frowned and started coughing. He brought his hand up to cover his mouth until he caught his breath. When he pulled it away, it was covered in blood. He stared at it for a moment. Then he closed his eyes and slid it down his shirt, absently smearing the yellow checks just above Malloy’s jacket. “I hope you’re right…”
Time to think about something else. “So. How did you… get here?” Malloy said.
“I… I just finished my first project. You know, that I did on my own. Margaret came to help me celebrate. I decided to take her camping. Shasta-Lake.”
“No kidding!” Reed said. “I’m taking Jimmy up there this summer! Did you like it?”
Bobby looked startled by his enthusiasm. His eyes were wide and his mouth slightly open. Malloy looked down to hide his smile. “Um… We didn’t see much, actually. We’d just set up camp two nights ago when it got dark.” He sighed. “We didn’t even think of keeping watch. But we should have; there was no one else near us.”
“This time of year, it is pretty empty,” Malloy said. “I hear it snows up there.”
“More like home then,” Bobby said in satisfaction. He was relaxing little by little. Perhaps his shock wouldn’t be so severe. “They woke us up and threatened us with guns a little past two in the morning. They had a camper van. They just shoved us and everything we had in the back. I think they were after food mostly. They’d been on the run, probably since Seattle.”
Reed frowned. “That’s a long way.”
“Well, everyone expected them to be in Canada by now,” Bobby said, “but they came south instead.”
“What do you mean?” Malloy asked. “Who’s them?”
Bobby’s eyebrows crept up his forehead. “Those two cops. Sorry, Policemen. The ones who shot the bank robbers and took the money.”
“Oh.” Reed’s brows drew down over his wide eyes. “That puts a new perspective on things.”
“Yeah.” Malloy bowed his head against his arms.
Four days ago, robbers had taken nearly $100,000 from a Seattle bank. Two officers caught up with them. The robbers had fired, and the officers had had no choice but to shoot all three of them. Two died there, the third later in the hospital. The cash was not found on the scene. It was thought that they had stashed it somewhere.
Only the next day, when the officers had missed their shifts, had a red-flag gone up. Their station had put out the word that they had decided to bag the money, kill the witnesses, and split, likely up into Canada. Apparently, they’d had other ideas.
Malloy turned to the boy. “How do you know for sure, Bobby?”
There was a slight hesitation. The kid blinked like he was barely awake. Then he took a deep, focusing breath. “They have the money with them. They decided they couldn’t risk spending it yet…”
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