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.You need something inside you or you’ll get sick, on top of everything else.”She didn’t resist as I pulled her gently out of her seat and guided her to the edge of the bed.I propped up the pillows and set her down against them, covering her legs with a blanket I found draped over the footboard.She held onto my forearms as I finished tucking her in, her eyes brimming with tears again.“Joe—what if he had AIDS?”I felt my heart skip a beat.“One thing at a time.We’ll run blood tests and rule it out, but you can’t worry about it right now.Just work on what you can get your hands on.” I kissed her cheek and straightened up.“Let me get you something to eat.”I found Susan downstairs and we quickly put together a small plate, along with some orange juice and two aspirin, but when I returned to the upstairs bedroom, Gail had finally fallen asleep.I watched her for a few minutes, seeing how shallow her breathing was; every once in a while, her fingers would twitch, or her brow suddenly furrow.I could only imagine what nightmares were clashing inside her, and hoped with all my heart that they would soon be put to rest.7I COULDN'T GO HOME that night.For entirely different reasons, my place was no more appealing to me than Gail’s was now to her.I returned to the department around midnight.I’d now been up for some twenty hours.The command post was ghostly in its emptiness, like a battlefield stripped of warriors—all except for a single policewoman from the graveyard shift, who presumably had been instructed on how to continue the sifting process that Ron had been overseeing all day.She was young and relatively new on the force, not an uncommon occurrence in a town the size of Brattleboro, whose police department was often used as a stepping stone to other, more lucrative jobs in law enforcement elsewhere.Particularly in the patrol section we had quite a few people who were inexperienced, underpaid, overworked, and yet were expected to have at least a passing knowledge of every aspect of a police officer’s duties.But spreading our resources thin was the only way we could afford to maintain a “full-service” operation, and it usually, if sometimes just barely, fit the bill—as long as no major cases came along to throw us all into turmoil.Which is what was worrying me now.Unless something broke soon, the personnel allotted to finding Gail’s attacker would begin dwindling in direct proportion to the growing pile of other cases.I grabbed a chair and pulled it over to the bulletin board with the timetable that Sammie had shown me a few hours ago.Additions had been made since then.Actual names written under older labels, like “voices heard walking by” and “jogger headed south,” indicated that real people had been linked to events, and—because Ron had written them in black ink and not red—that they’d also been eliminated from the suspects list.The pickup with the cap, going by at 4:15, was still unidentified, however, and its status had been upgraded by an accompanying red question mark.Harry Murchison, window installer, was going to merit an interview soon.I wearily got back to my feet and crossed over to Ron’s long file-covered table.The young patrolwoman looked up as I approached.“Hi, Lieutenant—how’re you doin’?”“Hi, Patty—hanging in there.Found anything interesting?”She made a small face.“I’m just cross-indexing witnesses with things they saw, to see if anything shows up hinky.I’m working on UPS trucks and garbage pickups and what-have-you.I guess they’re lookin’ for someone casing the place out, but so far I don’t see it.”I went around the table and sat next to her, my interest pricked.“I didn’t know we’d rounded up that kind of information yet.”She paused in riffling through a folder, happy to be interrupted.“Oh, yeah.Billy turned half the afternoon shift over to this—we’ve had people all over town.Everyone’s really psyched, you know, because… Well, you know,” she finished lamely, knowing of my ties to Gail and suddenly embarrassed by her own enthusiasm.“I appreciate it,” I said for her benefit and patted a pile of folders she’d put to one side.“These the ones you’re finished with?”“Yeah.”I pulled them over in front of me and opened the top file.Patty glanced at me, obviously disappointed at being left with no other option besides getting back to work [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]