“Nice job, hero.” Mike’s blue eyes crinkled as they smiled at him.

“Not a hero,” said Truman. “Any of you guys would have done the same if you’d been in the water first.”

“That water was fucking cold,” said Mike. “Comes straight off the Cascade snowmelt.”

“No shit.”

Craig sat up, wiping his mouth, and looked at the guys surrounding him. “What happened?”

“Truman saved your ass. You got knocked out in the water.”

Truman sat on his cold rock, feeling the water drip down his back and his lungs wince as he tried to take deep breaths. Craig barely met his gaze and then looked away.

Truman didn’t have the energy to speak.

Craig never looked him in the eye again after that. Truman had expected to be fully accepted after he’d risked his own life for Craig’s, but instead he’d been treated as an outsider even more than before. Mike tried to call him a hero a few more times that summer, but Truman put a stop to it. “I was in the right place at the right time. That’s not a hero.”

But now, more than a decade later, he thought about the incident every time he saw Craig Rafferty.

People are going to treat me however they decide. Nothing I can do about it.

He needed to ignore the people who wanted to keep him on the sidelines. There were plenty of good people in town who’d gone out of their way to make him feel welcome.

He was determined that Eagle’s Nest would be his home.

FOURTEEN

A jagged star of cracks covered the medicine cabinet mirror at Ned Fahey’s.

Mercy stared at it and swallowed the bile in the back of her throat. The home had one bathroom, and she’d made a quick walk of the house looking for more mirrors. There weren’t any.

Coincidence?

“For all we know, it’s been broken for two years,” said Eddie.

Mercy nodded, but every cell in her body screamed that he was wrong.

“I bet Toby Cox could tell us,” he continued. “If he was over here as much as he said he was, he had to use the bathroom at some point.”

“I believe he lives in the next home down the road,” Mercy said slowly.

“I’ll drive.”

“Let’s walk. It’s less than a mile. I need some air.”

Outside, Mercy sucked in deep breaths as they walked the gravel road. Ned’s home sat higher than the rest of Eagle’s Nest, and gray, heavy clouds covered the top third of the trees. The rain had stopped, but the dense firs continued to drip, making occasional plunking sounds in the woods. An odor of moist, decaying dirt hung in the air, and a sad wire fence lined one side of the road, wending its way between the firs and brush. The fence didn’t look capable of keeping anyone out. Or in.

“You need to bring me up to speed,” Eddie finally said. “What’s this case remind you of?”

Mercy swallowed. “Two Eagle’s Nest women were murdered when I was a senior in high school. Each was killed in their own home during break-ins about two weeks apart. They never figured out who did it, but he broke all the mirrors in the homes. Bathrooms, hand mirrors, all of them.”

“How do you know this?”

She shrugged. “Everyone knew. It’s a small town. People started to lock their doors at night.”

“And the break-ins just stopped?”

“Yes.” Sort of.

They walked for a few more moments in silence. “Were the women shot?” Eddie asked.

“No. Strangled. And they were raped.”

“Evidence?”

“I don’t know . . . I was just a teen. I’m sure there’s something in a file box somewhere.”

Eddie stopped and Mercy did the same, his brown gaze studying her with concern. “I don’t see how that relates to our cases. We’ve got men who’ve been shot. Weapons missing. That doesn’t sound like your past case with a person who is into overpowering women and rape.”

He’s right. “But the mirrors. Who does that?”

“Someone ugly?”

She gave a weak smile. Her stomach hadn’t stopped churning since she’d seen the broken glass earlier at Jefferson Biggs’s home. There had to be a connection somewhere.

“Let’s not jump to conclusions before we talk to Toby Cox,” Eddie said. “There’s a chance he can clear this right up.”

They walked on. Mercy smelled wood smoke as they reached an unmarked drive on their left. “This should be it,” she said.

They’d taken three steps down the drive when a voice spoke. “Hello, FBI agents.”

Toby Cox stood in the woods, his brown jacket and pants blending with his surroundings.

Mercy’s heart rate shot up, and Eddie’s hand jerked toward his weapon, inaccessible under his zipped jacket.

“Hey, Toby. We were just coming to see you,” Mercy choked out.

“I saw you drive by. I figured you were going to Ned’s,” said the man. “I was waiting to watch you leave.”

Okay. That’s a bit creepy.

“Did you think of anything else you wanted to tell us?” Eddie asked.

Toby stared at him for a few seconds. “No.” He paused. “The body is gone, right?”

“Yes,” said Mercy.

“Did you see any ghosts?” The look on Toby’s face was dead serious.

Mercy and Eddie looked at each other. “I didn’t. Did you?” she asked Eddie.

***

***P/S: Copyright -->Novel12__Com

***