Man this is possibly the longest I've gone between updates on a current story and I'm so so very sorry about that! I actually wrote nearly three completed chapters before deciding that this was the direction I wanted to go with this story. I hope you like it despite the wait!
BTW, Boomtown is not, nor has it ever been mine. Le sigh.
Seven Months Later
David threw back a cup of coffee like it was a shot of whisky, desperately trying to wake himself up. In his opinion, just after 3 in the morning was an absolutely ungodly time to be awake and sober. But there he was, striding out of the elevator at the precinct and making his way toward Stevens and Smith's desks. When Joel had called to wake David out of a dead sleep, the deputy DA had nearly cursed him within an inch of his life, but the news Joel had given had brought the blonde almost violently awake.
They actually had a witness in the missing child case that had been giving the entire force hell. So far, the serial killer (or at least they'd all assumed it was a serial killer because, dear God, they did not want to consider that they might be dealing with more than one of the sickos) had taken three children. One little girl and a pair of twin boys had all been taken from their beds as they slept, and only after every other family member in the house was shot in cold blood. The poor kids' mutilated and molested bodies had been discovered a week or so later. That was five people dead, now six with the newest case.
Joel and Fearless weren't at their desks, so David took a guess and headed for the interrogation rooms. It was possible that they'd taken a hostile witness there. He found the room in use and let himself in, finding Fearless and officers Turcotte and Hechler surveying the other room with tired eyes.
"What have we got?" As usual, he wasted no time with chitchat, preferring to get straight to work.
Fearless had expected that and merely nodded at the two way mirror. "Take a look for yourself, man. This isn't going to be easy." David turned and glanced through the window to where Joel knelt at the feet of a young boy who looked to be barely eight or nine years old. "We think his name is Brennan Doyle, but we're really not sure."
"Ah hell." David scrubbed a hand over his face. It was always harder when kids were involved, but it would be even worse now when this 'Brennan' had apparently seen at least one of his family members blown away before his eyes. "Tell me."
Hechler began. "At about 2:06, a call came in on 911. It was an older man, and he told the operator that there was a man in the house with him and his grandson, and he thought the man was armed. The old guy was giving the address when the operator heard a second male voice yell 'where he fuck is he?' and then 3 shots." Ray took a long draft of his own coffee cup. "All three were found in Gramps when we got there." The normally sarcastic officer shoot his head. "Anyway, when we get there, the door's open, but the perp is nowhere to be found. We found the old man in his bedroom, three shots to the chest, close range. Same MO as the other 3 families so far. At first glance, the kid was nowhere to be found, so we just called in Smith and Stevens."
"Joel found Brennan a few minutes after we arrived on the scene." Fearless said, never moving his gaze from the little boy on the other side of the glass. "He was hiding under his grandfather's bed. We can only assume the old man hid the boy when he realized some one was in the house."
David cursed under his breath. "So the kid would have been under the bed the entire time." He closed his eyes for a moment, trying not to imagine what the little boy might have seen. "Has he said anything so far?"
"That's the other thing: the boy hasn't spoken, hasn't really responded much at all." Fearless swallowed. "Joel had to drag him out from under the bed, and the boy just let him. Didn't fight or struggle. Just let him do it. This kid's pretty seriously traumatized."
"Damn. Poor kid." David mentally shook himself. "Any word on his family? Parents, aunts, uncles?" He frowned at Fearless's solemn shake of his head. The situation with this kid was getting worse and worse. "Alright, just keep digging. What about the scene? Same as the others?"
Fearless nodded. "Exactly the same minus the open door. No fingerprints, no hair follicles. Very little evidence at all. All we got are empty shell casings and him."
David pursed his lips in thought. "We're going to need to call in some help on this one. Without family, we may never get him to talk otherwise."
Fearless glanced at him, finally cracking what was almost a smile. "Guess it's a good thing you've got a psychologist on speed dial then, huh?"
David just nodded, having already pulled out his cell phone and punched in the number. As the phone started ringing, he caught Hechler making some crack about the fact that it didn't surprise him that David had a shrink, but the blonde just chuckled a little under his breath. When an answering machine picked up, David hit end and then dialed the number again. If he had to be awake, then she would be also very shortly.
Dr. Brianna McDowell finally picked up on the 3rd ring, her voice groggy and just barely coherent. "David, do you know what time it is?"
He checked his watch. "It is exactly 3:34 in the morning." Smirk at his old friend's growl of frustration, he quickly continued. "Sorry to wake you, but we need you up here at the station now." He heard rustling on the other end, and knew Bri had likely sat straight up at his tone.
"Whoa, what's going on?"
"We've got a witness in the case I was telling you about. Roughly 8 years old and might have witnessed his grandfather being shot in the chest."
She let out a string of cuss words that left even him impressed. "How's he handling it? Is he talking at all?"
He glanced back over his shoulder to the interrogation room. "No, that's what we need you for. This guy's taken three other kids so far, Bri. We really need a break on this one, and this little boy could be that break."
There was a deep sigh and then the sound of someone moving around. "Alright, give me 20 minutes and I'll be there. In the mean, time, David, I need you to do a couple things for me."
He closed his eyes: with Bri that could be anything from raiding Starbucks to standing on his head. And damned if he could manage to tell her 'no.' "Tell me."
"You've got him in an interrogation room right now, I take it?" She didn't wait for him to confirm it, just forged ahead. "You need to get him out of that room and into somewhere more comfortable or warmer at the very least. Heck, your office would probably be the best bet."
"My office? Wait-"
Her voice was adamant. "Listen, David, if this kid really is a witness, then there's a pretty good likelihood that he'll have to testify, and when he does, he'll need to be comfortable with the DA he's dealing with. And that would be you."
He groaned. "Brianna, what the hell do I know about kids?" He scowled as she chuckled into his ear.
"Enough. Just be honest with him, alright. He's going to be terrified and in shock, but that doesn't make him stupid. If you lie to him now, you'll never get his trust back. Beyond that: just wing it."
David nodded to himself, albeit reluctantly. "O.K. He'll be there when you get here."
"Good. See you in twenty."
He hung up, and met the quizzical gazes of the other three men in the room. "She wants him moved out of there and into my office. Apparently, she's worried about him being cold or intimidated." David shrugged. "Or something."
Hechler snorted. "In your office, McNorris? You sure it's a good idea to have the kid around booze?" He guffawed, obviously amused by his own joke. David struggled against the desire to defend himself. So what if Hechler didn't believe he was almost seven months sober? Really, it wasn't any of the asshole's business, anyway.
He turned away, just barely catching Fearless rolling his eyes at the other officer's antics. At least, someone around here seemed to be, at least marginally, on his side. Bri had been right about Fearless and Joel. David wondered if he should just get used to that. Shaking his head at the thought, he moved to the door that would lead him into the interrogation room. "Wish me luck."
He opened the door and took a brief moment to survey the scene before him. Joel now stood, leaning against the table. The detective's eyes were haunted; this boy was almost Willie's age. David knew that the other man would likely be blaming himself somehow for Brennan's silence. He raised his eyebrow, silently asking the other man if there'd been any change. At Joel's slow shake of the head, David clenched his jaw and took a deep breath steadying himself before turning his gaze to the boy seated at the heavy table. He really was a cute kid, David mused silently, taking in the mop of light brown curls and bright blue eyes that were fixed on the table before him. Shame it was unlikely he'd be smiling any time soon. Clearing his throat absently, David took a few slow strides to the table and knelt down at the silent boy's side.
"Hey there, Brennan." David forced himself not to frown at the lack of response. "My name is David McNorris. I'm a lawyer, and I work with Detective Stevens, here, and his partner." Still nothing. He sighed and continued. "Later, I'm going to need to ask you some questions, but right now, I thought we could see about getting you out of this room. It's kinda cold in here, isn't it?" He stood and smiling slightly, held his hand out to the boy.
It was Joel's sudden breath that alerted David to the fact that something momentous might actually be happening. So slowly he might have been stone coming to life, Brennan stood, eyes still fixed on the table. Then, without speaking or lifting his gaze, his small hand slipped into David's.
David swallowed past the lump in his throat and closed his fingers gently around the hand in his. "Alright, let's go." He met Joel's eyes for a moment, and then led the boy from the room.
Hey it was a long update. That should count for something.. right? At least one tiny review.. or something lol.