Captain Kauhane let Chan and Yamamoto know that the coroner, Hank Lee, had informed him there was no immediate way to identify any of the bodies.
“Well,” said Yamamoto, “if they’re from out of town, we’ll never know who they are, unless we’ve got some still living after this massacre. Looking for revenge, maybe. Maybe they’ll ship in more soldiers.”
Chan said, “Of if they’re actually local, we just have to wait. Pretty soon families or friends are going to start looking for them, filing missing persons’s reports. We just have to hang on.”
“While you’re waiting,” said Kauhane, “I’ve got something new for you. There seems to be an uptick in stolen vehicles, expensive ones. I want you to check it out.”
“Why us?” said Yamamoto. “We got cases up the wazoo. Isn’t that a job for Robbery?”
Kauhane laughed. “Vic, you know I wouldn’t hand this to you unless there were a good reason.”
“Oh really?” said Chan. “And that is . . . ?”
“It’s like this,” said Kauhane. “I have a feeling that these stolen vehicles are somehow related to this gang killing. The thefts are the work of a ring maybe? It’s certainly not an area that the Yus have ever explored, right? So if it’s not in their scope of interest, it looks like it definitely is in someone’s. And if it turns out it is the Yus widening their focus, then it gives us another way to try to nail them. So check it out.”
Yamamoto rolled his eyes and let out a loud sigh.
“Thanks, Vic,” said Kauhane, smiling. “I know I can always count on you.”
Chan laughed, but he felt the same way. They had a stack of case files on their desk that needed attention. One case in particular, the apparent abduction and strangling, nearly three weeks later, of a young woman who’d been found tossed off the side of the road up on Tantalus. She’d been a friend of Chan’s daughter, a member in her ballet group, and he knew the parents well.
“David,” said Yamamoto, as they looked over the list of names of people who’d had their cars stolen, “should we split this, or you like us go at them together?”
Chan shook his head. “I’m so foggy today, Vic, I don’t know. I think I’m going to go home, take a power nap, and then get on this. Together would be ideal, but if you want to jump on it now, that’s good too.”
“Yeah, David, no problem. I’ll get started. See you in a couple hours?”
“For sure, Vic. I’ll be back by six or so.”
Once he was home, Chan showered, wolfed down a salami sandwich, and they went 180 to the pad. He was glad his son and daughter weren’t home. The quiet helped him drift off faster. A memory of this wife, Elaine, flashed through his mind. He shivered, then went limp.
Deprived of decent sleep the night before, he went down hard and fast. And although he’d hoped for a relaxing, dreamless rest, this turned out not to be. Almost immediately he found himself standing in the parking lot of that same strange kind of eatery. He knew that he stood again in the place where Wai‘alae Drive-In should be, but it was nowhere to be seen.
The bodies were gone, and at the point where he stood, he was between this very modern-appearing, almost futuristic restaurant and the old cemetery that was located behind the Wai‘alae Drive-In.
While he stood there surveying the scene, his gaze fell upon an old woman standing some 50 yards or away in the graveyard. All at once, as he spotted her, the woman began to gesture to him, beckoning him to come to where she stood beside a large cross.
Chan shivered. The woman’s appearance was odd, but he couldn’t quite place his finger on why. As if being pushed by some invisible force, he began to move toward her.
It was as if her were living in slow-motion. What was particulary strange was that he could see he was going forward, but the old woman seemed to remain at the same 50 yard distance from him.
Still she beckoned to him, slowly, rhythmically, and still he made progress into the graveyard. When he’d finally, after what seemed a very long time, reached the approximate point where he’d first observed the woman, he saw her arm drop.
Automatically, for some reason, he looked down. There, at his feet, lay something resembling a gun. He bent down, picked it up, and inspecting it, realized that it was an improvised weapon, what was termed a zipgun, a homemade firearm.
Chan sniffed the barrel. Definitely, the gun had been fired recently. As he held the gun in his hands, he suddenly looked toward the woman. She was standing there, like a statue, not 15 feet away.
And she was staring at him. Or at least Chan thought she was staring at him. But she couldn’t be doing that. Now he realized why she’d appeared so odd from a distance: the woman had no face.
Chan shuddered, closed his eyes. When he opened them, the woman was gone. Chan stood, swiveled his head in a 180 degree scan of the area. She was nowhere to be seen.
But what if she were right behind him? Chan spun around and fell to the floor, coming awake soaked in sweat. He was breathing hard, his heart racing.
He sat there, waiting to recover himself. Finally he rose, went the bathroom, showered again, and dressed quickly. Before leaving the house he called the station. Yamamoto was still out. Chan checked the clock. It was just after five. He knew how’d he’d spend the time between now and six, when he’d told his partner he’d be back at the station.
Jumping in his car, Chan drove off through town toward the Wai‘alae Kāhala neighborhood. He was headed to check out the old graveyard behind the year-old Wai‘alae Drive-In Theater.
* Please note again, that for historical accuracy, the name of the drive-in theater has been changed from Kailua to Wai‘alae, and will be updated throughout the entire story in the next draft.