Pat went to the garage. He opened the door slowly, adrenaline racing through his veins. There could be some big, case breaking evidence behind that door. This case was huge and he was a part of it. Somewhere deep in the back of his mind he felt bad about the level of excitement he was feeling, but he couldn’t help himself. It was exciting, even with his close connection to the case. He had never been on anything this big before. The most exciting cases he ever worked were related to some form of disorderly conduct. This case was miles away from disorderly conduct.
Before the door was completely open, a faint coppery smell drifted out of the garage. ‘Old blood,’ he thought. The felt hair on his head stood up as something very close to fear shot through him and danced around with all of that adrenaline. He was losing control of his excitement. It was quickly turning into something else. His left ear rose. Whenever he was nervous or scared, he completely lost control of his frontails. The idea of stepping into that garage, into that coppery smell that he knew was old blood, had him scared. What if there was a dead body in there? Logic told him that a rotting carcass would smell much stronger than the faint odor out of the garage. However, his imagination had an entirely different story to tell. He gathered himself up and pushed the door the rest of the way open.
The squeak of the hinges startled him enough to make him jump. He stopped and scolded himself out loud. “Damn it Pat, you’ve been a cop for coming on twenty-five years. Get your balls out of your pocket and be a cop.” He stepped into the darkness. The Caddy was there. It was dark as a moonless night in that garage, but he knew that the silhouette he was looking at was Vinny’s car. After some fumbling along the wall to his left, he finally found the light switch. The fluorescent bulbs that blazed to life when he flipped that switch might as well have been the glaring, desert sun. Pat had been standing there in the darkness much longer than he realized. He was squinting like Clint Eastwood in his Dirty Harry days. He gathered himself again and walked slowly over to the car.
He walked around it first, making mental notes of every ding and discoloration. The front, left fender was busted up pretty good and the dent was streaked with silver paint, silver paint from Shelia Ramsey’s minivan. That confirmed the connection he had made earlier. If Shelia Ramsey had anything to do with the murder of her husband, it was Pat’s fault for letting her go. As that idea began to sink in more deeply, he almost slipped into to full self damning mode. Luckily, the cop in him took over. If she had hired Vinny to whack her husband, why would he have run her off the road? No, that didn’t make any sense. None of it did though. Why would you whack a guy in broad daylight with witnesses all over the place, and then kidnap his children? What the hell are you doing Vinny?
Pat looked at the driver side window of the Caddy. The windows were tinted. He couldn’t see in. It was an illegal tint too. He’d written enough tickets for that in his career that he could tell they were too dark without even testing them. Of course he’d have to test them to write the tickets, but he always knew who to pull over. He slipped his hand up into his sleeve to protect his fingerprints and pulled the door handle. It was unlocked. He held his breath as he pulled it open and looked inside. No bodies. Thank God. There was dry blood all over the seats though. It didn’t look like a massacre or anything, but more than one of the occupants of the vehicle had been bleeding fairly heavily. He searched around the floor of the car for a trunk release. With his hand still pulled up into his sleeve, he pulled that too.
His left ear rose up again as he walked around the car to the trunk. Nobody would leave a rotting carcass in the trunk of their own car, but… He stepped around the back end and peered into the trunk. There was nothing but some more dried blood. Again, it wasn’t a massacre, but there was plenty of blood. It certainly didn’t look like the vehicle was used to haul carcasses. Pat scratched his head. Vinny must have dumped the Caddy after grabbing the kids and used his parent’s van to take them somewhere else. Hopefully they were still alive, for their sake and for Vinny’s.
Pat closed the Caddy back up and went back into the house. His mind was racing, trying to work everything out. Why would Vinny do something like that? That was the biggest question. The only good answer would be money, but if he needed money so bad he could get it from his parents. Maybe it wasn’t money. Maybe the kid had something to prove. That would make more sense. Or maybe it was money and he was just too proud to ask his parents for help. Then again, maybe Pat just didn’t know the kid so well anymore. Whatever Vinny’s reason was, what was done was done and Pat felt like it was his investigation. The where should be easier to figure out than the why. If a kidnapper were trying to hide out with some kids, they would want someplace that wasn’t easy to find. He must have taken them to his parent’s cottage. That’s where Pat would go next. He knew exactly where it was. He and Suzy had spent many a lost weekend there with their neighbors. He just hoped he could get there before Vinny did anything else stupid, if he hadn’t already.