No. He’s gone.

Her phone rang in her hand and she nearly dropped it. “Eddie?”

“Yeah, what’s up?”

“Where are you?” she asked.

“I’m at Enoch Finch’s home. Would you believe almost everything has been removed from the house? I guess the family thought they had free rein to come in and help themselves to whatever they wanted.” Disgust rang in his tone. “The sheriff told them he’d collected all the evidence and had turned it over to a cousin, but that was only three days ago! It looks like a mob of Christmas bargain hunters plowed through the place.”

“Did you notice if the mirror in the bathroom was broken?”

Eddie was silent for a long moment. “It is. Why do you ask? How’d you know that?”

Mercy’s knees threatened to give out on her.

“Mercy? Why did you ask that?”

“Maybe one of the family members did it,” she said. “It sounds like they weren’t very careful.”

“I can check the official report on the murder,” said Eddie. “Or it’d probably be quicker to ask one of the officers who was here. You’re not answering my question.”

“The bathroom mirror at Jefferson Biggs’s home was broken.”

“I remember. It was hit by a bullet or two.”

“There was another small mirror hanging in the hallway that’d been broken.”

“I don’t know what you’re getting at,” Eddie stated, losing his patience. “Mirrors break. Especially when people are shooting or fighting for their lives.”

“Did you look in the bathroom at Ned Fahey’s home?”

“I didn’t.”

“We need to find out if his mirrors are intact.”

“Jesus Christ, Mercy. Why?”

She swallowed hard. “There have been murders in Eagle’s Nest before. He always broke all the mirrors.”

Eddie was silent.

“I’m not jumping to conclusions, Eddie.”

“Did they catch him?”

Mercy swallowed. “No.”

THIRTEEN

Truman felt as if he’d had a door slammed in his face.

He tossed a five-dollar bill on the counter at the gas station as the attendant rang up his Doritos.

Back at Jefferson’s house, Mercy had made a phone call to her partner and then told him she had to leave. When he’d pressed for more answers, she’d shook her head. “Eddie says the bathroom mirror was broken at Enoch Finch’s home, but he didn’t notice the mirror when we were at Ned Fahey’s the other day, so we’re going to check.” She’d forced a stiff smile. “I’m sure I’m jumping to conclusions. I don’t want to waste your time with what is probably a wild hair. If it turns out to be something important, I’ll let you know.”

She’d driven off.

Leaving him with a hell of a lot of questions and no answers.

Broken mirrors.

He’d gone back to his office and Googled for crimes with the signature. No luck. He’d started to fill out a ViCAP request and realized “broken mirrors” wasn’t enough to create a useful search. More data was needed to narrow the field.

He’d have to sit on his hands until Mercy decided to share her information with him. He could call Sheriff Rhodes and put out some feelers. The man had worked law enforcement in the area for at least two decades and might know what Mercy was talking about.

But maybe it wasn’t a local crime she’d been reminded of. It could have been something she’d seen in Portland or during her previous posting.

Shit.

Frustration rolled over him as he dropped his change in the tip jar on the gas station counter.

“Later, Chief.”

Truman finally looked the scrawny attendant in the eye. “Sorry, Sid. I’m a bit distracted.” He kicked himself. It was a priority that he give his full attention to whoever was in front of him. Everyone deserved his respect. A large part of his job was knowing how and when to listen.

“I was sorry to hear about your uncle,” said Sid gruffly, dropping eye contact. His hair fell across his face, further hiding him from Truman’s view.

Truman was touched. It was the most personal thing the shy young man had ever said to him.

“Thank you, Sid. Enjoy your day.” Truman turned and nearly bumped into Mike Bevins.

“Hey, Truman, how’s it going?”

The men shook hands and bantered for a few moments until Mike’s sidekick stepped in the store.

Craig Rafferty looked away instead of meeting Truman’s gaze.

Asshole.

Some people in this town will never accept me.

He needed to accept that fact. Their reasons ranged from pure stubbornness to dislike of government officials. For some, the simple fact that he hadn’t been born on this side of the Cascades was reason enough to permanently view him as an outsider.

He wasn’t certain what Craig Rafferty’s reasons were, but his attitude toward Truman had been consistent since they’d met when they were teens.

Truman didn’t understand why Mike still hung around with Craig, but both men worked for Mike’s dad, Joziah Bevins, so Truman assumed Mike was just keeping the peace.

Truman nodded at Mike and headed out to his vehicle, remembering when he’d first learned what Craig was like.

“Go, Truman! Don’t be a fucking wuss!”

Truman backed up the steep slope with the rope swing in his hand, watching where he stepped in the dirt and weeds with his bare feet. He tightened his grip and held his breath as he dashed forward and leaped. The rope swung him far out over the fast-moving water, and for a split second he was suspended. He let go.

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