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A Heart of Deception, Chapter 10
Holly Everten was lying lifeless on the cool cement that had befriended her for an indefinite amount of time. more...
Holly and Darrell settled into Rex Fields, a dry, warm, southern town near Oklahoma and Louisiana border. more....
Several years had passed by ever so quickly. Holly chased after Percy who was barking madly at the chickens. more....
Holly drove the rental wooden station wagon to the local shop, aptly named Valerian Feed Store after all the bright red flowers growing in the area. more...
Several days ebbed and flowed by. Holly went about to clean the garage that had sorely been ignored. more...
Darrell was crouched over the hard, cold, steel table in the Rex Field’s Police Department interrogation room. more...
De Luco’s dusty maroon car wound its way around the twists and turns of FM 414 in Chantry. more...
De Luco slammed the stack of phone records on the metal table Darrell was leaning on. "What's going on?" more...
A full month had passed. The results of the DNA found on the bloody buttoned up shirt with 'GF' marked on the collar were in. more...
It hardly seemed possible how time had flown by. De Luco penciled in a meeting with Millen and a new colleague who would be joining the department soon after the academy. "Time to buy a Thanksgiving turkey again!" De Luco murmured.
"Hey Amerigo!" An old colleague who went to work for the FBI barged into De Luco's office.
"Fancy seeing you here Reed!" De Luco exclaimed.
"Like old times huh?" Taylor Reed grinned.
"Are you here for the department's holiday party?" De Luco slapped him on the shoulder affectionately.
"Wouldn't miss it big guy!" Reed affirmed.
"Man! How do you like the Feds?" De Luco grabbed his belongings and whisked Reed out the door.
"I am loving it! The missus and the grands are happy about the change. They hated the weather here. What about you? I heard you have that big profile case!" Reed grinned in De Luco's direction.
"Why did you have to remind me about that? I was having such a great day!" De Luco's face changed to a somber note.
"Don't get all pissed off. We all get them. Rex Field is just not a big happening place full of kidnappings and murders!" Reed slapped De Luco on the back in such a way to show empathy.
"Who said that case had either one? Do you know something I don't?" De Luco seemed startled.
"Nah, come on, get a drink with me and we will take the ladies out for a nice dinner tonight." Reed comforted De Luco as they walked out into the sunshine.
"Sounds great!" De Luco climbed into his car. He waved back at Reed who was still grinning ear to ear as he pulled away. In the front seat was the weekly paper. The front page read:
'Rex Field prepares for another gorgeous holiday with festivities around the Square. All week from November 23rd through the 30th Mayor Larson will be hosting such activities as apple bobbing, cookie trade, Christmas lights wagon tours, a costume contest, caroling from First Baptist Jinglers, and hot cocoa campfire for the kiddies. This year we will also be having a candle light vigil marking the 14 months since Holly Everten's disappearance. Please keep her family and friends in your thoughts and prayers this holiday season.'
As De Luco and Candace left the Red Barn Door restaurant after a satisfying meal with Reed and his wife, De Luco commented to Candace that he no longer took for granted about her wonderful and meaningful existence in his life. Having everything just so and methodically organized to perfection no longer resembled happiness but rather confinement. He thanked his wife for allowing him to be somewhere closer to the middle of the road so to speak.
It was shortly after the holidays that De Luco got a call from a concerned citizen in Chantry. It wasn't technically his jurisdiction, but after the Everten case became national news, De Luco became "everybody's cop". He was the one that everyone trusted to get something done and get it done right.
"This is De Luco speaking." De Luco answered as he adjusted his tie before a court hearing.
"Detective-you don't know me. My name is Von. I live in Chantry with the Olson family; they are close friends with my Pa. I met a guy name Toby at WestfordCollege where I am going to until I can score a scholarship at LouisianaState. Anyway, Toby happens to have been friends with whats-his-face and that missing lady's husband. He said that he had recently heard from that guy-you know, with the funny accent?"
"Are you talking about Miles?" De Luco reached for his notebook.
"Yea, I believe that's the guy with the funny accent, all foreign and stuff." There was a pause and then Von continued. "So Toby was talking about Miles and how he had called Toby before leaving for his momma's. Toby wasn't sure where Miles was going but it's somewhere in Africa and shit."
"Yea, so, do have anything to tell me that I don't already know young man?" De Luco pressed.
"Sure, let me finish! Toby said that Miles asked him to look over his farm and keep people off his property. I don't know if Miles is coming back or what, but he made Toby think that that old shitty place was worth something. Anyway, I don't think that means much, but I would look into that place a little more." Von rambled.
"When was the last time that Toby heard from Miles?" De Luco began to scratch away at his notebook.
"Oh man, dude, it's been since that lady disappeared. And then, bam! He gets a hold of Toby a few weeks ago and it totally freaked Toby out!" Von began to rattle on and on as De Luco tried to glean as many pertinent facts from the garbage as best as possible.
"So, twice since Holly disappeared...Miles contacted Toby twice. I assume Toby has never changed his number. Did Toby mention anything about their recent conversation-the details?" De Luco tried to get the talkative man back on track.
"Yea, he asked if Darrell had been arrested yet. He asked if his sister was okay and some shit about his farm again. What's up with that crap hole anyway?" Von began to digress again.
"Do you know how I may be able to reach this Toby?" De Luco looked at the clock. He had mere minutes until court would convene.
"I think I have it saved on my phone...yea, here it is." Von gave the detective the number and then De Luco abruptly ended the call.
No closure had been found in that case. Certainly, Darrell had moved away to Virginia where he had bought a modest house with his dad. Though Darrell had been cleared of wrongdoing with his wife's disappearance, the link between his dad Garrett and Holly's disappearance had never been resolved. De Luco had no choice but to let Garrett go. The case was still considered a missing person's case, not that of homicide. Blythe had been released from St. Genevieve's, but several days later, she had suffered another mental breakdown and almost killed herself by running in front of a bus. She was sent to a long-term mental hospital in Mississippi where her aunt Delta moved.
A few days later Kelby and her crime scene team once again descended upon the old Cartwright compound. This time the hands of time had dealt the farm an unrecognizable blow. The barbwire fence had been blown down by the hurricane like weather received by seasons past. The house was already leaning and virtually unable to stand on its own. It was considered condemned at that point. The two barns were still standing but their roofs had blown off and what was left of them was strewn about across the field. It was evident that the field of sweet potatoes had been left to rot, not harvested as planned, as if someone had left in a hurry. Mice were scurrying everywhere and numbered into the thousands. Millen, who showed up right after De Luco, declared that a hazmat crew might need to assist in searching the property before continuing their mission because the mice posed a risk to the investigators' health.
Within a week, the necessary personnel had been rounded up to search the Cartwright place. They had a well-planned course of action to wade through the mice without disturbing whatever forensic evidence may be left.
De Luco had interviewed Toby by that point. Toby yielded very little extra help in the cold case. He repeated what Von had said in his earlier conversation with De Luco. However, he did mention that Miles was very confident and even excited about the prospect that Darrell would soon be brought to justice. Toby had found it odd at the time that Miles would seem so callous about a man he once thought of as his best friend. Miles had walked his best friend's bride down the isle at their wedding yet made no mention about her or if she had been found or not. Toby recalled that it had made him so depressed that the wonderful memories he cherished with the four of them were just as debauched as the old farmhouse that once housed his jovial friend Miles.
"Boss...." Millen choked. She stood frozen by a clearing where not much seemed to grow except baby mice.
De Luco rushed up to her. He felt his legs falter as he made his way closer to the team of crime scene investigators. It had been over two years of agony leading up to this pivotal moment. He knew his life would never be the same again from this day forward. "What Millen?" His voice croaked. He looked down where everyone else was staring. The multitude of mice almost seemed to usher him forward as the king's men would do for the royal party. The always emotionally controlled detective had finally met his match.