Dead Men's Dust

Dead Men's Dust by Matt Hilton Page A

Book: Dead Men's Dust by Matt Hilton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Matt Hilton
Tags: thriller, Mystery
leave,” she asked, as she set down the empty mug, “will it be safe for me to stay here?”
    I gave a quick glance toward Rink, who nodded. Harvey bowed his large neck and stared at the table. I shook my head slowly.
    “Maybe it’s time you phoned your mother,” I said. “Ask her if it’d be okay to come home.”
    Tears welled in her eyes. Fear, it seemed, has many expressions.
    “You think John is dead.”
    I didn’t answer. It wasn’t a question, anyway.
    “Don’t you?” she asked.
    The air I sucked through my teeth wasn’t the ideal reply. In hindsight, I wouldn’t have done it. I’d have considered the action, and spared Louise my concern. Trouble was, I did fear the worst, and Louise was intuitive enough to know it. She leaned forward into her hands and wept. Around her, three big tough guys squirmed. I reached across and took her hands from her face.
    “Sorry, Louise,” I said. “I know that’s not what you wanted to hear.”
    Louise sniffed. Shook her head. Sat up a little straighter, playing with her hair. Her way to regain composure. A smile forced into place didn’t work; it was too redolent of misery.
    “I don’t know why I’m crying,” she said. “It’s not as if I haven’t already thought of it. He’s been gone for ages now. I mean, surely he’d have called me if he was still alive, right?”
    In reality, she was asking why John would bother to pick up a phone when he’d never done the same with his wife. He’d cautioned her against phoning her own mother, for Christ’s sake. So just because he hadn’t been in touch didn’t mean he was dead.
    “We can only hope that he’s hiding someplace. Maybe he is. Maybe he’s hiding out and won’t call for fear of jeopardizing your safety.” I gripped her hands with a little more pressure. “But you may have to accept the worst, Louise.”
    “I know,” she said quietly. I gave her an extra squeeze.
    “But,” I said, expecting the sideways glance from Rink, “if it’s possible, I’ll find him. I will bring him back, one way or the other.”
    After that there wasn’t much left to cover. Louise was done speaking and prepared herself to leave. Being the consummate gentleman, Harvey offered to give her a lift home, but she declined.
    “I feel like a real shit,” he announced after Louise was gone.
    “No need to,” Rink said.
    “The more I look at this, the more I think I should be helping you guys more than I am,” he said.
    “We don’t know what we’re up against,” I told him. “Don’t know how it’s going to turn out. So maybe it’s best you leave things as they are.”
    He shook his head. “I’ve heard another whisper. I can’t substantiate it, but some people are saying John disappeared owing Petoskey more than a bad debt.”
    “Like what?” I asked.
    “No one is saying. But Petoskey is screaming murder. Making him speak to you might not be as easy as it sounds. He might very well resist. Big time.”
    “He’s a punk,” Rink put in.
    “A dangerous punk,” Harvey told him. “You might go in there and not walk out again. All I’m saying is it’d be better if you had an extra pair of eyes watching your backs.”
    “You live here, Harvey,” I reminded him. “It’s okay for me and Rink. We can shake up the local bad guys, but we don’t have to hang around afterward. We don’t have to live with the consequences of making any enemies here. You do.”
    “Appreciate that,” he said. “But I still feel like a goddamn shitheel. It’s like I’m running out on you guys.”
    “No need to,” Rink said. “We ain’t expecting you to put your head on the block for us.”
    “Anyway, you’ve done a lot for us already,” I pointed out. “All we need from you now is the stuff we asked for. If Petoskey’s as dangerous as you say, we’d better take it with us.”
    “It’s in the car with the photographs I told you about,” Harvey said.
    The stuff we were referring to was a 12-gauge shotgun for Rink

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