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A New Beginning – 4


I told her mind she needed to shut the door once she entered her office. The office had enough ears already. Seated in her chair looking out the window as the sunset over DC, I made myself visible.

“The angle of your window captures the beauty of the sunset perfectly.”

As expected, Chief Rawlings reached for her gun and drew it. I spun the chair around and rolled my eyes. “Is that any way to greet me, Chief?”

“What are you doing here?” She didn’t lower the gun, but neither did she call for help.

“You asked me to come to DC.” I spread my arms wide. “Here I am.”

As she stepped to the side, I didn’t need to read her mind to see her alarm had dialed back. “And just who are you?”

“Are we really going to dance this way?” When she didn’t lower the gun or answer, I stood up. I let out a loud sigh and told her mind not to see me. “Very well, we’ll do this the hard way.”

Moving the gun side to side, she searched for me without success. Slowly, I made my way to her right side and changed my appearance. “I’m right here.”

I caught the gun as it swung toward me and pulled it from her hand. Before she could react, I holstered in back at her waist. “Can we stop this game? I came a long way at your request to help find Detective Griffin.”

“I have no idea who you are.”

“And yet you reached out to me and begged me to help.” Ryan might have been right and I shouldn’t have come. Anyone other than Daniel Griffin and I wouldn’t have.  “If you want me to go I will, but you should know your office is bugged.”

“What?” Her head darted all around as if being alerted to the problem she could find the source. “Where? How?”

“Don’t worry, I’ve made sure our conversation remains private.”

“How do you know this?” The question lacked any skepticism. She accepted my words as true.

“Chief, I know quite a lot. I’m a spirit.” I wasn’t sure how much Griffin told her, so I kept with the script.

Rather than continue the pointless banter, I walked over to the most accessible bug.  Using my index finger I called her over. I pointed to a button on a ceremonial uniform jacket that hung in a glass case on the wall.

At first she didn’t do anything, but after she moved closer, her eyes quickly went wide.

“Don’t worry, it’s not picking up anything.”

“You disabled them?”

“No, they still work.”  I moved the material of my trench coast aside and pointed to the black box. “This makes sure they don’t hear anything.”

“Can I get….”

“No, you can’t have one.” I let the greenish cloth fall back in place. “I didn’t neutralize them because I still need to find who planted them.”

“This is impossible.” She stared at the small microphone/camera again. “We sweep my office regularly and have never found anything.”

“Evidently these people have better technology than MPD.”

“But not better than you.” Her words held more than a hint of accusation.

“What benefit is there to me in telling you I’m the source of the bugs?”

“Maybe not you, but whomever you work for.”

I doubted she believed that, but I cut her some slack. Finding out her office had been compromised couldn’t be easy. “I don’t work for anyone, but even if I did, there would be no benefit to me in revealing their secret.”

I let that sink in while I made sure no one listened in person. Slipping into her mind, I found what I expected.

“We need to focus on finding Detective Griffin and not on trapping whomever bugged your office, Chief.” I tilted my head at her shocked expression. “I read minds.”

She experienced another moment of disconcertion as she realized you couldn’t bargain with the devil and without dealing with his machinations.  I knew she was a strong woman, but I suspected even she had a breaking point. Today couldn’t be the day she reached it.

“Chief.”  She seemed started by my voice. “Sit down and I’ll help you sort this out before we figure out how to find Griffin.”

“I thought you said we needed to focus on Danny?” Thankfully she didn’t need me to ‘tell’ her mind to take her seat. “Why the change of heart.”

“First, I don’t have a heart. Never forget that.” I needed to be careful with how I proceeded. Ryan and my new found privacy trumped anything or anyone – even Griffin. “But I’ve not changed direction. I’m convinced the two situations are related. How else would whomever took Griffin know I exist?”

“The FBI knows.”

“Yes, and the director also knows how to reach me.” I hadn’t ruled the bureau out entirely, but they didn’t sit high on my list of suspects. “He didn’t need to kidnap Griffin to make contact.”

“They could be the source of the information.” The hope in her voice needed to be squashed if we were to succeed.

“Also true, but even if they were, whomever took Griffin specifically wanted you to contact me. The director’s office might also be compromised, but that doesn’t mean Griffin’s disappearance isn’t linked to your office being bugged.”

Silence followed and she avoided looking at me. I nearly laughed that she thought eye contact was required to read her mind. But I didn’t want or need to know her thoughts. When she reached a resolution, she leaned back in her chair, trying to project an aura of confidence.

“What do you suggest we do next?”

The false bravado in the face of such alarming information added a degree of respect to my opinion of her. “First, I need to know who in your department you can trust?”

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