open it to get the bodies—” Tagg glanced at Wingate. “—the victims out.”

“Josh’s the one who found them,” Sergeant Janes explained. “He knew Dan.”

Josh Wingate was staring at the tent. The high-voltage energy field surrounding him had not abated; in fact, it seemed to be getting stronger. “We were best friends in high school,” he said.

Laura looked at him with new interest. No wonder he seemed so off balance. His eyes were like shards of cut green glass, pulverized with hurt, but she noticed his posture was straight and he held his chin high. Almost defiant.

She remembered a shabby kitchen in Florida, how it felt to see someone you knew die right in front of you. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s bad,” Josh Wingate replied, “but I’m okay.”

Laura had her doubts about that.“You found them?”

“My mom lives up that road.” He pointed to Country Club Road behind them. “I was on my way over when I saw his truck.”

“How’d you know it was his?”

“We used to camp out here a lot when we were kids. Plus, the bumper sticker.”

Laura glanced at the truck, a late-model GMC Sierra, the same medium-blue sheen as Cataract Lake. A common enough color in trucks. The bumper sticker said COWBOY UP. There was an NAU sticker on the windshield. Dan Yates and Kellee Taylor both had attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

“They weren’t supposed to be here,” Sergeant Janes said. “The campground’s been closed since Labor Day for repairs.”

It was the third week of September now. Laura looked out at the quiet lake, the pines. The grass going tawny, the palette of wildflowers fading to tarnished glory. After Labor Day, the north country seemed to give up on tourists until ski season. “We’re kind of far from town, aren’t we?” she said. “I would expect this to be the sheriff’s jurisdiction.”

“The city annexed this area last year. There’s plans to build at least one hotel and restaurant around here, what with the lake and all.”

Laura continued to stare at the lake. Wondering again, where was Richie Lockhart? Sergeant Janes hadn’t heard from him, and neither had she.

Well, she didn’t have the luxury to wait for him. Whatever she did now, she had to do right. Her crime scene— she always thought of a crime scene as hers—had been compromised by the removal of the bodies. She had to go with what she had.

Officer Wingate had been the first on the scene. He was friends with at least one of the victims, which might influence his memory in ways she couldn’t fathom, but he was still her best bet. He would have to be her eyes and ears.


Buy it Now!

Dark Side of the Moon


Breakaway Media

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