Trapped by Chris Jordan

Book: Trapped by Chris Jordan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Chris Jordan
    And just like that, the gates slid open. As we roll up the
    long, curving driveway, I ask Shane if he really has a Monica
    Bevins on speed dial, and if she’s really an agent-in-charge.
    “Yes to both,” he says. “And yes, I’m fully prepared to
    make the call.”
    “And they let you assist clients like me? The FBI?”
    “Can’t stop me. I’m a civilian.”
    “But you’ve got, like, all these connections to the agency,
    “Some useful connections, yes.”
    “And this is what you did before you retired, you found
    missing children?”
    His eyes find mine in the rearview mirror. He gives me an
    odd look, like I’m a kid asking too many questions at the
    wrong time. “No,” he says, “not exactly. I assisted with a
    number of kidnap cases as an agent on general assignment.
    At the time it wasn’t my specialty.”
    At this point I’m too numb to be shocked by this revela-
    tion. “No? What did you do?”
    “Electronics, surveillance gear, mostly hardware stuff.
    Gear and gizmos. Later I helped develop a software program
    for rapid fingerprint recognition.”
    “You really were a computer geek? That’s what you did
    in the FBI?”
    “Pretty much,” he admits.
    What was I thinking, that he’d shot John Dillinger and
    smoked out terror cells? “So how’d you get into this line of
    “Long story,” he says. “Maybe later.”
    Secrets. Apparently Randall Shane has a few of his own.
    We’ve arrived at what appears to be the main building, having
    passed several low, modern outbuildings. Carriage house, guest
    cottage, maintenance shed, all very Long Island estate. Lush,
    illuminated landscaping that looks au naturel but isn’t, believe
    me. It’s all very tastefully planned, very big money.
    The main structure is an artful arrangement of steel beams
    and smoked glass and daring architectural angles. Must be a
    million precisely weathered cedar shingles keeping out the
    rain. The property taxes probably exceed my yearly income.
    No wonder the owner has, apparently, been targeted for ex-
    tortion—he’s got a lot to give.
    Kelly’s boyfriend or flight instructor, whatever the hell he
    is, how did this happen? How did she find herself in this par-
    ticular world?
    Shane sets the parking brake and we get out. Lights come
    on, illuminating a wide, elaborately shingled portico. The
    oversize door opens—opaque green-glass panels set in a
    brushed-steel frame—and Edwin Manning staggers out,
    dressed more or less as we last saw him, with the exception
    of his face, which has been recently washed.
    “Who are you?” he wants to know. Then he adds, in a
    Chris Jordan
    voice so faint it seems to fade away, “Leave me alone. Just
    please leave me alone!”
    He trips, falls to his knees, his skinny chipmunk face slick
    with tears. The poor man is a mess. Shane and I help him to
    his feet, each taking a black-clad arm. He doesn’t weigh all
    that much and I can feel his pulse pounding, as if his whole
    body is being struck like a gong.
    He is, I realize, scared nearly to death, and that makes me
    even more frightened.
    “My daughter,” I tell him urgently. “That’s all we want,
    my daughter back. Whatever else happened, I don’t care.”
    Manning staggers like a drunk but there’s no smell of
    alcohol. He’s exhausted and stressed to the point of falling
    down. Not quite there yet myself, but I can see it coming if
    Kelly isn’t home by, say, this time tomorrow.
    Once when Kelly was about ten, a year or so after her
    last treatment, she accompanied me on a house call, what
    I call a catalog call because it’s all about looking at photos
    of designs and fabric samples—satins, silks, laces and
    finishes. Lots of catalogs, lots of possibilities. Long drive
    to Montauk, a very successful novelist’s waterfront “cot-
    tage.” Won’t mention her name because I don’t want to be
    sued, but the bride-to-be (marriage number three) made all
    of her

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