Copyright © Kate Kelsen 2020. All Rights Reserved.
Gittins turned the squad car turned off the road, pulling up in the parking area. The rest of the convoy followed. Gittins looked at David in the passenger seat.
‘Tell me why we’re doing this again?’ he sighed.
‘It’s all the local news shows are talking about,’ said David. ‘And the Superintendent thinks we don’t have a clue. So now we have to listen to whatever leads we get, no matter how far-fetched.’
David looked to the north side of the road and spotted the head of the trail, and the uniformed officers followed him through a gate and along a beaten path. The distant traffic noise was gradually absorbed by the thick forest of fragrant eucalyptus trees. A sudden wind whipped through the treetops, as the birds sang their last songs of the day. David stopped, gesturing to the uniforms.
‘Here,’ he stated. ‘Start digging.’
The uniforms stepped forward with their shovels. First they unearthed a shoe with a foot, and then a hand, and then a torso. The uniforms recoiled in disgust at the sight of the remains. David raised his radio to his mouth with a shaky hand, fathoming for his voice in the shock of it.
‘This is Cohen. We’re going to need back-up here.’
‘This morning the body of an eight-year-old boy was recovered from Elysian Park Trail. The body was positively identified as Rocco Quintero, who was reported missing by his parents on Sunday. A homicide investigation has been launched.’
Antony looked up as his cell door opened and David appeared.
‘I’m releasing you on condition,’ he stated. ‘You need to hand your passport into the station within twenty-four hours.’ David paused. ‘These allegations are about as serious as they get, Antony.’
‘You’re not even charging me,’ said Anthony. ‘You’ve got nothing on me.’
‘The investigation is ongoing.’
Anthony followed David to the front desk.
‘Just sign here,’ said David. ‘We’ll be in touch, depending on what comes up.’
Jasem held the phone to his ear, his heart thumping with every trill of the dial tone, leaping into his throat at the sound of his father’s voice.
‘Papa, it’s me.’
‘Jasem? Are you alright?’
‘I’ve been fired from my internship, Papa.’
‘Fired? For what?’
‘It’s hard to explain. There was a little boy who was murdered down here, and his spirit appeared to me. Like Mama.’
‘His spirit came to me, Dad. He told me where his body was.’
‘Why would you do that, Jasem? Are you crazy?’
‘It’s the truth, Papa.’
Omid scoffed down the phone.
‘Always this nonsense, Jasem! Ever since you were a boy! And now this! Now you’ve gone and done it, opened your mouth and look where it got you!’
‘I told you, son, but you wouldn’t listen, would you? Do you know how hard I worked to get you into college?’
Thanks for reading! Another excerpt coming tomorrow!