The Blue Hour

The Blue Hour by T. Jefferson Parker

Book: The Blue Hour by T. Jefferson Parker Read Free Book Online
Authors: T. Jefferson Parker
completely consume a fiill human skeleton
in one week."
    Hess
reentered the room after a brief mental departure. He was still looking down at The Practice of Pharmacy.
    "Maybe
he's preserving the bodies," he said. He set the Remington's back
on the shelf. "Taking the whole woman."
    Merci
and Gilliam both looked at him—two mouths slightly open, four eyes intent.
    Hess
continued, "It would account for us finding nothing but lots of blood,
scraps of innards, and the primary ingredient embalming fluid. He's taking
everything but fluids and viscera with him."
    "Okay,"
said Merci. "Then what about the canning jar?"
    "Maybe he was
just using it for the obvious."
    "And what's
that, Tim?" asked Gilliam.
    "To
carry something to eat. All that work must make him hungry."
    "He
ought to apply for a job here with the ME," said Merci, with a small smile
for Gilliam. "If he can eat while he carves."
    Gilliam
smiled too but looked away from her. Then he was moving toward the door.
"I found some other things from the cars. Kind of interesting,
really."
    Merci
held open the door for the director and looked over his head at Hess.
    "I love this part of
the job," she said.
    • • •
    The
comparison scopes were ready. Gilliam's voice carried through the hush of the
Hair &. Fiber room as Hess and Rayborn looked at two different hairs
magnified one thousand times by the phase contrast microscope. Then they
traded places.
    "We
were able to get the Jillson hair because her husband knew something was very
wrong," said the director. "So when he got Lael's car out of impound
he kept it exactly like it was. It sat under a cover in his garage for a month
before we saw it. Never washed, never vacuumed. Sharp guy, Mr. Jillson. He was
stubborn enough to leave the car untouched again after we examined it,
in case we wanted a second look. We did. And I'm glad we did.
    "The
hair on the left is likely from a Caucasian. It's blond, long, with some wave
to it. We found it in the Jillson car yesterday. It was caught on the lap belt
buckle—the plastic housing that the tongue goes into. I don't know why they
didn't find it the first time. I don't care, so long as it isn't Ike's or one
of his workers'—which it's not. And it's not a likely match with the victim or
anyone in her family. We've eliminated them as donors, too, based on their scale
counts and pigmentation. They all used the same hair conditioner as the victim.
This hair wasn't washed or conditioned with the same product. We found
completely different pharmacological traces on it. Nothing we can identify yet,
by the way. But the scale count is higher than any of the Jillson clan we
tested. I'm going to say it's possible, very possible, that this hair came from
your man."
    "Which
seat?" asked Merci.
    "The
one behind the driver."
    "I
think he waits there."
    "That's
very interesting. Now, on the right-hand scope is a hair that very likely came
from the same person as the hair I just showed you. We pulled it from the Kane
car yesterday morning. It was caught up in a mesh netting attached to the back
of the driver's seat. You know, one of those things to secure personal items in
a car—maps, tissue, maybe a flashlight or magazines for a long trip. This
certainly suggests that the hair's owner was behind the front seat himself.
Maybe even crouching down at some point, resting his head against the back of
the seat and the mesh. Waiting for her? Who knows? You both do know that match is a bad word in hair analysis—we can't say it in court—but what we
have here is as close to a match as two hairs are likely to come."
    "I
smell the creep," said Merci.
    "There's
more," said Gilliam.
    He
led them around the microscope stations to a counter that ran along the wall.
Hess followed. Sunlight came through the narrow vertical slots of the windows.
The slots had always made him think of hidden archers. The heavy book had left
a scalding outline on his thighs.
    Gilliam
brought a small plastic box from one drawer of an

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