Blood and Bone

Blood and Bone by Austin Camacho

Book: Blood and Bone by Austin Camacho Read Free Book Online
Authors: Austin Camacho
tiles. Ray waited poorly, fidgeting and grumbling so much Hannibal finally asked him to explore the building to see if there was a snack bar or something.
    As Ray stepped out of sight, Terry Dalton lurched up the hall from the other direction. He seemed less aggressive now. Dragging himself along, he looked as old as the building he worked in, and as run down. Continuous use and a lack of maintenance, Hannibal thought, the same as the building. Eventually both would be replaced by a newer model.
    As Dalton moved past, he waved Hannibal behind him into his office. Hannibal followed, closing the door behind himself. Dalton got comfortable in his oversized wooden chair and lit a cigarette. The chair opposite the desk was only inches from it, so Hannibal turned it sideways and sat.
    â€œSorry it took me so long to get here,” Hannibal said.
    â€œNo big thing,” Dalton answered. “I’ll be here until eight tonight. You, on the other hand, don’t have to be. Your lawyer friend’s got the remains. I got nothing. Why don’t we do this the easy way and you tell me who the bones were.”
    Refreshing, Hannibal thought. A man who knows how to come to the point. “Deceased is probably the last resident of the first floor apartment. He disappeared about eighteen years ago. His name was Bobby Newton.” Not exactly the truth, but not really a lie either. It was certainly the name on the lease.
    â€œCould be,” Dalton said, leaning forward to support himself on his elbows. “Our people said a quick test put those bones at close to twenty years old. That was a pretty rough area back then.”
    â€œThen?” Hannibal remarked without thinking. Dalton looked up and nailed him with a hard look, right through his dark glasses.
    â€œBack then, a lot of people come up missing in Edmundson Village,” Dalton said in a low, distant voice. “I was just a patrolman then, new, full of piss and vinegar. Every night there was shootings. Stabbings. Fights. Usually over drugs, or gambling, or women. Mostly in that little circle, five or six blocks around Killer’s.”
    Dalton lapsed into silence, staring through Hannibal like a mechanical fortune teller after yourquarter runs out. Hannibal did not really want to put in another coin, but it was outside his nature to leave a story unfinished. He had to start the machine again, and he knew the price was to ask a question.
    â€œOkay, so what was Killer’s?”
    â€œJust a bar a couple blocks from where you found the bones.” Dalton shrugged and took a deep drag from his cigarette. The smoke burned Hannibal’s nose and added to the bar room atmosphere in the small office. Then Dalton continued his story in a smoke roughened voice.
    â€œThe place was run by Vernon Nilson, a guy everybody called Killer. Like in lady killer, you know, but by the time I met him he’d already earned the nickname for real. Yep, Killer Nilson. Big nigger, must have been six-four or five. He disappeared too.” Then Dalton gave a crooked smile. “Maybe that’s old Killer you dug up. More likely he killed the John Doe and faded out.”
    Something tickled the back of Hannibal’s mind. It seemed this case was staying within a narrow geographic area. Both cases, actually, the one he was paid to do and the other. He decided to gamble again.
    â€œYou ever hear of a tough guy named Pat Louis?”
    Dalton’s head whipped around in a double take. “You know Louis? He used to hang out with Nilson. In fact, I busted them together. That was a lot of years ago,” he said. Did he miss those days? Did he imagine himself one of the latter day untouchables?
    Then Dalton sat up and spun to his side, as if he suddenly remembered the reason for Hannibal’s visit. He drew a typewriter table toward himself and ran a piece of paper into an ancient IBM Selectric. The typewriter let out a loud click when he turned it

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