Captain Greer was wondering if he could have a freak out like one of the teenagers he saw at the beach once. He sat alone, at his desk, with a pile of cases he could look into stacked in pencil-scuffed file folders in his in/ out box. But he couldn't keep his mind on business. Not since Pete Stamford had tapped on his door and personally made his report to him this morning.
Yes, young Pete was fine, recovering quickly, or seeming to with his growing determination to get out of bed and hit the streets. But that didn't change the fact that he'd been in trouble in the middle of the night.
Greer was surprised at the person who must've waited in some storage closet or emptied patient room on Pete's floor for the one opportunity he had to strike, when Stamford had stepped away from the door for just a moment to visit the men's room.
If Pete had been deep asleep instead of restless, what would the assailant have done then?
Greer shook off the image of strong hands, holding a pillow over Pete's face. It did no good to let his mind wander down the dead-end pit of dark might've-beens. The question was, what were they going to do about it now? He'd already woken Linc up this morning with a call to get down to the hospital and sit on Pete's room with the uniform stationed there until further notice. Nothing much got by Linc, especially shadowy figures that hid in stairwells.
But Greer suspected that the perp was gone now. That chance to catch him had passed away. Stamford had been right to stay with Pete instead of give chase, but Greer was frustrated. From Pete's description, this perp seemed like a young punk. Pete had almost gotten the upper hand over him when he'd attacked him in Pete's apartment. He must know he was risking being caught every time he got too close, and yet he came on, drawn to the fire like a moth about to watch its wings go up in smoke.
The phone rang and Greer jumped.
"Hello, Captain, this is Julie."
"I'll bet you're wondering if anything's up. I sent Linc over to sit with Pete this morning."
"Yeah, he told me. He said some cat tried to scratch Pete last night."
"Right. Don't worry, Julie. This punk takes too many risks, and he keeps coming back for more. We're gonna get him, and soon."
"Well, that's what I'm calling about."
"I think there's someone watching my pad. I saw something move across the street."
Greer kept himself from swearing into a young lady's ears. His mind moved through the switch plates. He smiled grimly. He'd wanted Pete to get a little more rest, but he and Linc were the closest to Julie's apartment, besides a couple of uniforms he could redirect.
"Don't move from your apartment, honey," he ordered. "Help is on the way."
He frowned as he pushed down the disconnect button and dialed another that he'd memorized last night. Soon he had Pete on the line.
"How're you feeling, Pete?" he demanded without preamble.
"Like something the cat drug in and then left behind," Pete cracked. "Why?"
"Julie called. There's someone stacking out her place. You and Linc get down there. I'll send a patrol too."
"Right," Pete said, followed by the dial tone. Greer sighed, and then clenched his fists.
First Pete, then Julie. That punk sure knew how to sucker punch. He clutched the phone receiver and got busy. Once he was done issuing orders he snatched up his suit coat and got his gun out of his desk drawer, all on his way out the door. Just in case.