Paternity Case by Gregory Ashe

Paternity Case by Gregory Ashe

Author:Gregory Ashe [Ashe, Gregory]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Gregory Ashe
Published: 0101-01-01T00:00:00+00:00

SWINNEY LEFT THEM. She left without further explanation, without further justification, without anything remotely close to hope. It wasn’t just the fluorescents that had robbed her of her color; as she passed Somers, her eyes were soft and pliable, like dead things after rigor.

When she had gone, Hazard and Somers stood in the dark room, with the smell of moldy carpeting and rotting wood filtered through every breath they took. Hazard held Hadley Bingham’s phone in one hand. He wasn’t studying it. He was just holding it, looking at it, as though he could see inside the glass and steel. For all Somers knew, Hazard probably could. Just one more superpower that his partner possessed, like his uncanny ability to piece together the cases they worked.

“Well?” Somers said.

“Well, what?”

“Did you figure it out?”

Twenty or thirty seconds passed with Hazard still staring at the phone. Then he shrugged and extended it to Somers. Somer, taking it, gave it a cursory examination and tapped the screen.

“She’s got it locked.”

“Of course she’s got it locked. If she hadn’t, I would have already looked through it.”

Handing back the phone, Somers sighed. “Yeah, I know. I was just saying it.”


“Because people just say things sometimes, Ree. It’s called communicating.”

Hazard’s big shoulders went up, and he snatched the phone and shoved it in his pocket.

“What now?” Somers said.

“Who would know the passcode for Hadley’s phone? Assuming she didn’t choose something obvious, something stupid, like her birthday.”

That didn’t sting, not really, but Somers knew Hazard had meant it to. “Have you tried her birthday?”

Hazard didn’t answer, which meant that he hadn’t.

“You think we need to talk to her parents?”

“They were at the party. Her father is one of our suspects.”

“You didn’t answer my question. Do you think we need to talk to them?”

“I didn’t realize you were asking a question. I thought you were just saying something. I thought you were communicating.”

“Jesus, Ree. I just—that’s not what I meant.”

“Let’s go,” Hazard said.

“To see Bing?”

Hazard didn’t answer, and Somers finally had to follow his partner to the car.

“First thing that’s gone right all day,” Hazard muttered as he brushed snow from the windshield. Flakes drifted across the street in silent spirals. Above them, the sun had finished setting, and darkness had moved in. With darkness had come clouds, and Somers wondered what this storm would bring. A dusting? Or would it dump another three or four inches? He didn’t know if he could stand any more snow. Ever since Windsor, ever since those endless days of snow and ice and clouds, he just didn’t know if he could stand it.

“Great,” Somers said, eying the cherry-red VW. “Yeah, finally.”

The drive back into town was quiet. Hazard was still bristling like a porcupine, and Somers was dealing with the ache in his head. It had come back now with a vengeance. His mind turned over and over, but just the same old questions, the same lack of answers. Who would hire Stillwell to shoot Somers’s father? Why? Motives were plentiful. The old three standbys presented themselves for consideration: money, sex, and drugs.


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