To See What He Had Seen — Part Nine

It was going to be rough again tonight.  Chan finally gave up, exhausted as he was, got out of bed and sat down with a shot of Jack Daniels.  It had been one of Elaine’s go-to ingredients for anything from chili to barbecue and spaghetti sauce. He liked touching the bottle. He could still feel the warmth of her hand.

“Fuck cancer,” he mumbled.

He rarely drank, but he hoped it would help.  When the kids wouldn’t go to sleep, sometimes Elaine would say they were overtired.  Whatever state of fatigue that might be, Chan definitely felt like he was there.

When he’d arrived at the tiny parking lot behind the drive-in, there had been no one in the cemetery.  Chan had gone to the spot where the bodies had been found.  Then he’d looked up.

There were several large crosses.  It was still light out; he’d not expected the faceless woman would be there to direct him to the right location.  Randomly selecting one cross, he’d walked toward it, keeping his eyes on the ground.   Nothing.

Then he’d headed for the second one, again scanning the ground.  And there it had been.  He’d bent down, examined it.  The gun was homemade.  Amateurs, surely, and dumb enough to leave a weapon behind. Using his handkerchief, he’d picked it up, sniffed the barrel.  It had been fired recently. Pocketing the gun, he’d made a 360 scan of the place.  Maybe, he’d thought, maybe.  The sun was just setting, though, and Chan was definitely still alone.

Returning to his car, he’d driven straight to the station and delivered the gun to forensics.  There were no fingerprints.

A homemade gun, but no prints either.  The evidence pointed two ways.  Amateurs who knew at least something about what they were doing.  And they’d definitely known how to shoot people.  What kind of people was he dealing with here?

Yamamoto had turned up nothing compelling in his interviews with the folks whose cars had been stolen.

No one had filed any kind of missing person inquiry yet.

It all looked to be a waiting game.

Both of them had gone home to get some sleep.

“Perchance to dream,” Chan mumbled as he poured another shot of Jack.  He wondered if Yamamoto were overtired as well.  He sipped and rested the glass on the table, relaxed his grip.

Something about Roundtop Drive looked odd.  It was the color of the light. Chan drove slowly toward a red glow, wondered if it were emergency vehicles.  As he neared the source, he saw there were no vehicles.  The light was off in the trees, down a slope.  He parked his car, peered over the edge.  And there she was, the woman in white, except now she had a face.  It looked familiar, but she was just far enough from his so he couldn’t identify her.

She beckoned to him, floated farther down the side.  Chan slid down the slope, grabbing onto bushes and roots.  The woman kept the same distance between them.  The red light grew brighter.

And when it reached its brightest, there she was, Kathy Thurston, the girl from Sarah’s ballet class.  She lay in a pile of dead leaves, her eyes glassy, staring up at him and beyond. Chan looked up toward the woman.  “I know, yes,” he said, “we know.  We found her, she’s not here anymore.”

The woman in white stood motionless.  Chan held his breath.  She raised her arm, pointed.

Looking down at the body again, he now saw a man, his back at least, and his hands gripped the ligature around the girl’s neck. Slowly, almost as if moving outside of time, Chan thought, the man’s head pivoted to the left.  It was just enough so that Chan recognized the profile.  It wasn’t Byung Yu.

Chan came awake with a startled gasp.  He realized he was sitting at the dining room table, had drowsed off.

Kathy Thurston, she’d grown up with his daughter Sarah.  They’d danced together for years.  Chan knew her parents well, mourned with them over the death of their daughter.  The service had been the worst kind.  Nothing like a celebration of life, it had been a gathering of people in great despair, parents and friends angry, wanting some kind of justice, some kind of closure.  Chan had assured the Thurstons that he would find the person who’d killed their daughter.

Chan looked at the clock.  It was nearly 3:00 a.m.  Well, turnabout was fair play, wasn’t it?  He dialed up his partner.

Yamamoto, groggy, apparently had not been overtired.  Chan felt a twinge of guilt, a very small one, over dragging his partner up from the bottom of a sound sleep.

“Huh,” said Yamamoto.

“Vic, it’s me.”

“Yeah.”

“You know the Kathy Thurston case.”

“Uh.”

“I know who killed her.”

This brought Yamamoto to the surface.  “Say what?”

“Jason Yu, Byung’s son.  He strangled Kathy Thurston.”

“How you figure that?”

“Trust me.  I want to go there, to Yu’s place, and I want to go right now.”

Yamamoto was fully awake.  “David, sorry, tell me how you figured it out.”

Chan hesitated.   “I, well, I saw him do it.”

“What?  How?”

“It, I, I  had a dream.”

Yamamoto let out a long sigh.  “A dream? Geez, boss, if you take that to the D.A., he’s gonna laugh you right out of his office.  No way he’s going to pursue a case because of a dream.”

Now it was Chan’s turn to sigh.  He dropped his head, rested it against the counter, closed his eyes.  “Yeah, right, I know, I know.  But, Vic, I do know this.  And I’m telling you it’s Jason Yu.”

“Okay, David, I trust your gut.  Not your dream, but your gut, yeah.  We gotta do this by the book.  If we can nail any Yu, I’ll buy the champagne.  But we gotta have a case, boss.  Dreams, that’s as good as zip.”

“What?”

“What what?”

“What did you say, Vic?”

“What, you mean good as zip?  That’s nada.  Nothing.”

“Zip,” Chan mumbled, “right, that’s an interesting word, Vic.”

“Yeah, huh?  Whatever.  David get some sleep.  I’ll see you in the morning.”

Against his better judgment, Chan poured himself another.  Sitting there, he looked at the glass doors and out beyond into the dark early morning.  From Pacific Heights, Honolulu looked beautiful at this time of night .

“Yeah,” said Chan, “I think I do. I think I do seem to see the lights from up here.”

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