Ron popped the kickstand of his vintage ’39 Harley Davidson. His most prized possession and he only got to ride her a few months of the year. Sad. Hooking his helmet to the seat he laughed as his nephew flew towards him.
“Uncle Ronnie, Uncle Ronnie!” opening his arms he scooped up the little hellion, swinging him up and around. “Hey little warrior, how’s it going?” Dillon exclaimed, “You got to come now, all the men are waiting. They’re all set up, even Battle Joe!”
Visits with his Uncle Ronnie were top of the list for him. Grinning madly he had his captive pulled partway through the living room before his Mom caught him. “Bath little soldier, then we’ll play with Uncle Ron after he and Dad talk, O.K?” scooping him up and kissing him.
“Aaagh,” came his argument, which was soon lost in giggles as the bathroom door closed behind them. “Come on in,” Dennis called from his office.
Eventually Ron got to the point of his visit, “So, any good suspects yet?” Dennis shrugged, “Nope, anything on your part?” Ron looked at him solemnly, “I think so, but you won’t like it, and I might be way off base.”
Dennis studied him, brows lifted, “You know any break in this case would be welcome. Just spit it out.” Ron swallowed, surprised to find he was nervous, “Well, you know how the MO is so close to what mine might be?”
Dennis answered, with a question in his voice, “Yeah?” Ron stumbled on, “Uh, well, I narrowed it down to three people who are likely to know that MO. Not one of them checked out.”
Dennis leaned his elbows on the desk, “Yeah, we’re all stumped too. You’ve trained so many people. We hoped you might get a line on someone. You know you are off the hook?”
Ron nodded, “I know, but I haven’t you know. Trained that many people with the same MO as me, I mean.” Dennis looked at him, “So, what then?”
Ron sat forward, “Well, as you know we’ve lost track of Char for a few years now. Don’t you think it’s a little suspicious that she dropped off the grid so close to the time of the first murder?”
Dennis shrugged, “No, not really. We talked about what she went through. Lots of heavy shit for her. With her way of dealing with things I think she’ll show up when she’s ready, you know? She’s always worked things out for herself. You worry too much.”
Ron shook his head, “I guess, but what you might not remember is how many hours she spent training with me. And what a completely natural knife thrower she is. She’s strong, centered, and dead on any target. No mess no fuss, that’s her.”
Dennis looked at him in bewilderment, “Just what exactly are you trying to tell me here bro?” Ron sat back in his chair and said quietly, looking down at his hands, “Look, she didn’t just train with me, she also trained
with Johnny Pratt, one of the top throwers in the Army.” Christ now he was sweating in the armpits. Dennis scoffed, “What do you mean? She was in Communications, not Combat.”
Ron insisted, “Doesn’t matter, she kept up all her training. She was acknowledged as one of their best throwers only a week before she posted to Kandahar. I remember how proud she was about it.”
Dennis went silent, thinking and mulling over the facts they had so far. Was Ron onto something? Even though it went against his grain to even consider Char in that light, she did have the skills. As a detective he had seen so much that very little surprised him anymore.
“What kind of proof do you have, anything pointing at her besides the time line? A motive?” he asked. Ron shook his head, “Nope, but I’ve been looking for her for the past two years. I haven’t been able to definitely place her
in Vancouver when I was arrested. However, it happened only a few weeks after she left the farm. I think it’s highly likely that she headed to Vancouver where it would be easy to disappear. As for Alberta, I’m working on an ID from Edmonton where
her picture has been identified. If it really is her, then she would have been close enough for the Banff and Calgary murders too.” Silence reigned while Ron gave his brother time to consider. Then Dennis nodded. “Go on,” he said quietly.
Ron continued, “Well, one of the martial arts dojos in Edmonton gave me the name Claire Adams. She has the same physical characteristics as Char. The girl I spoke to is new there. She mistook the name when describing who I was looking for to an older employee. I tracked the same
Claire Adams to the Sheriff’s Department in Edmonton where she worked. My guy ran an identification check at the Sheriff’s Department on Monday. It was a positive. He also got a positive ID on a Claire Adams living at Longriders RV Park, just
outside of Edmonton. She’s lived there since a week after the Vancouver murder.” “Lived? Is she gone then?” Dennis asked. Ron shrugged and shook his head in despair, “Yep, she’s a ghost. Again. She cleared out
over the July 1st weekend, right after the murder in Calgary. Left the Department and the RV Park with no notice. Their manager said she cleared her site on Saturday. The Sheriff’s Office was left a message that she had to leave due to a family emergency.”
Dennis, “O.K, I’ll check if there are any bank accounts in that name. It sounds like she’s living off grid though. It does look suspicious. Did you get a license on the RV?”
Ron nodded, “Oh yeah, I got the description and license plate from the manager at the Park. Do we have enough for you to put out a BOLO?” Ron laid the paper with the information in front of Dennis. “Yeah, it should be enough. Christ. I don’t believe our Char
has become a serial killer though. There has to be something else going on. Dig deeper into her Army life. She quit after that beating and she didn’t tell anyone why. It’s not like her not to at least call one of us. When we find her it will be to give her help if she
needs it. Not to arrest her. Keep an open mind O.K.? She might be connected but she is not the murderer.” Ron nodded, “Of course, and I’m still looking for the Major. He might be following her. If he is I’ll find him.”
The brothers sat in silence brooding. Ron, “I talked to her Doctor from the Army you know? He’s a psychiatrist. She’s been active service in the Army for a long time. He said it’s possible that she could be suffering some
traumatic brain injury (TBI) symptoms. Apparently there’s a separation in the brain where morality and judgment rest. It might be what’s happened to her. Anyways, I’m going after her and I’ll bring her home.”
“When are you going after her?” Dennis asked. “Now, I’ve taken a leave of absence. I’ll track her RV from Edmonton, check the gas stations, RV sites, the usual. I’m sure she’s heading east. I doubt she would double back. Just the
fact she bounced as soon as I got a line on her, shows her instincts are working overtime. I’m sure she knows someone is looking for her. I’ve found zero history on a Claire Adams until Edmonton. I feel that if I don’t move quickly she might change ID’s again and vanish completely.”
Dennis nodded, “Good, I trust you to find her. Keep me posted along the way. I don’t want to lose you too, yeah?” When Barbara knocked on the study door two very worried brothers sat down to supper.