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3S Round Robin

Chapter 2

by Janet Rivenbark

 

 

Vincent turned and handed the mobile phone to Jamie.

 

“Thank you Jamie,” he said as she slipped it into her backpack. “Maybe we should get one of those and keep it in Father’s study for emergencies.”

 

They turned and started down the tunnel.

 

“Wouldn’t work,” said Mouse, coming up from behind them.

 

“Why not?” asked Vincent.

 

“Mobile phone is just a fancy kind of radio. Radio waves don’t go through rock. Jamie’s only works in some spots that are close to the surface.”

 

Vincent nodded. “So every time you want to make a call, you have to go to that spot?” he asked.

 

“I got it mostly for making calls Above, but I’ve found a couple of other places here Below; that one is just the closest to the hub. I’ve timed myself and it takes me about three and a half minutes to get there from my chamber, or the dining chamber or anything in that area if I run. So if there is ever an emergency, I could still get a call out to Helpers pretty quickly.”

 

“That’s always good to know.” Vincent said good night to the two young people and headed for Father’s study.

 

“Father, do you have a moment?” he asked as he entered.

 

“Certainly, Vincent. What is it?” Father removed his reading glasses and put them on top of the book he’d just closed.

 

“There is a problem,” he said as he removed his cloak and dropped it over the back of a chair.

 

“Problem? What kind of problem?” Vincent could hear the concern in his voice.

 

Vincent reached in the pocket of his vest and pulled out the clipping he’d shown Diana. He handed it to Father who put his glasses back on as he took it.

 

“Someone has seen you?” he asked after he read it.

 

“Not really, at least not well,” answered Vincent. “I was nowhere near the crime scenes, but someone obviously caught a glimpse of me walking in another part of the park. I have no idea how someone saw me, I don’t remember seeing anyone. I have only been up in the park well after midnight lately.”

 

“What about the nights you came back from visiting Diana?” asked Father.

 

“I use the manhole in the alley near her loft when I visit her.”

 

“Even so, I assume that you won’t be going Above until this is cleared up.”

 

“You assume correctly, Father. I just spoke to Diana; and she won’t be coming Below either, since she usually uses the park threshold, but that isn’t really why I wanted to talk to you. All these murders took place in the Park. All of them were young girls. Perhaps we should warn the women and the girls here Below and keep them closer to home, or at least not let them go anywhere Above without an escort, especially at dusk or after dark.”

 

“I see your point,” said Father, he glanced at a clock sitting on a shelf. “It’s too late to do it now, but I’ll make an announcement at breakfast tomorrow. If you could organize some of the men to act as escorts for those who have to leave here after dark, we will ask Helpers with thresholds to make them available so the entrances in and near the park can be avoided.”

 

“Thank you, Father,” said Vincent as he turned to leave.

 

“For what Vincent?” asked Father, puzzled.

 

“For taking this seriously and not panicking. Good night. I’ll see you in the morning.”

 

 

The notice of an important meeting went out over the pipes with the breakfast announcement the next morning.

 

When Father was reasonably sure that most of the tunnel residents were present, he made his announcement and turned the floor over to Vincent so he could outline his escort plan. After he finished he asked if there were any questions.

 

“What about the people who go Above at night to do pick ups?” asked one woman.

 

“They should be reasonably safe as long as they stay away from the park, but I don’t want any woman going above without at least one man with her. This person is a serial killer and one thing I’ve learned from Diana is that they stick to a plan, a method, and they don’t deviate from it very much. All the young girls who were killed were in the park after dark and were killed and left there. As long as you stay out of the park after dark, you should be safe. I just don’t want to take any chances. I’ve also put sentries at all the entrances Below from the park and within a mile of the park, including those that have been blocked.”

 

As Vincent was leaving the dining chamber, Jamie stopped him. “Vincent, I don’t get out of class until 10:00PM. The closest threshold is in a restaurant up the block, but it is closed at that time of night. If I could carry my crossbow Above, I wouldn’t be worried,” she gave him a weak smile. “The next closest threshold is in the Park; that is the one I’ve been using. Most of the thresholds in that area are in businesses that are closed at that hour.”

 

“Have someone meet you, Jamie. I don’t want you walking in the park alone at night.” Vincent thought for a moment. “Aren’t your classes in Diana’s neighborhood?” he asked.

 

“Yes, only about a block from her place, why.”

 

“There is a threshold in the alley across the street from Diana’s building. It’s a manhole, you might not be able to lift the cover, but if you have someone with you, or have someone meet you there you shouldn’t have a problem with it.”  

 

***

 

Diana left her loft and headed for the place the NYPD called her office. She showed her face there a couple of times a week, but everyone knew she did her best work at home. This morning she had to talk to the guys at the precinct to find out what they knew about the murders in the park.

 

“Hey, Bennett,” someone called out as she walked in the door. “What are you doing here? Is it payday already?”

 

Chuckles erupted around the room.

 

“You’re a funny man, Romano, a very funny man. Why aren’t you doing stand up somewhere?” she called back as she headed for Lieutenant Tate’s office.

 

She knocked and opened the door when he called out for her to come in. She looked around the office and the two detectives she knew were assigned to the park murders were there.

 

“Just the people I want to see,” she greeted them.

 

“You on this case, Bennett?” asked the older of the two detectives, a man by the name of Mohr.

 

“I was thinking about it,” she said as she took off her jacket and sat down. “I read about it, and since everyone concedes that it is a serial murderer, I thought I might be able to help out.”

 

“You saved me a call Bennett,” said Tate. “The last victim was only seventeen and she was the daughter of a city councilman. The mayor wants this solved ASAP.”

 

“He thinks all he has to do is snap his fingers and we can have it done?” asked the younger detective.

 

“So what do you have, other than what I read in the paper?” asked Diana. “For that matter, was everything that was in the paper correct?”

 

“Everything they printed was correct,” said Mohr. “And we really don’t have anything else.”

 

“What about the tall guy in the cape with the strange face that one witness saw?”

 

“That is about the only lead we have,” said Mohr. “He was seen by someone who was jogging in the park.”

 

“Kind of late to be jogging, wasn’t it?”

 

Mohr shrugged, “That is what I thought, but he said that he works on one side of the park and lives on the other and he always jogs home through the park after work. He said the guy looked suspicious.”

 

“Is he sure he just didn’t see a homeless person with a blanket wrapped around him. I know the park is patrolled at night and they try to keep people from sleeping there, but there are a still a lot of places they can hide. Maybe this guy just heard the runner coming and was trying to stay out of sight.” Mohr nodding but his partner looked skeptical as she went on. “How far from the crime scene was this guy seen?”

 

“That was the night the second girl was murdered, and her body was found in the north end of the park near the ball fields by The Pool, but the jogger saw the guy in the cape further south, closer to the Zoo.”

 

“I won’t rule him out as a possibility, but we probably shouldn’t concentrate on him, whoever he is, as the only suspect. We need to keep our options open and consider every possibility.” She looked over at Tate. “So am I on this case?”

 

“Yeah, sure. I know that you can help crack it quicker any anyone else could.” He turned to the other two detectives, “Mohr, Berardi, you’re working with Bennett. Give her everything you have, and coordinate everything else you find through her.”

 

Berardi looked a little put out, but he didn’t know Diana’s record. It surprised him that his partner seemed anxious to work with the woman.

 

Two hours later Diana left the building with an armload of files and a head full of ideas. She was headed back to her loft to start her process, and she had arranged to have Detectives Mohr and Berardi take her on a tour of the crime scenes the next morning.  

 

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