Chapter 5: Did What McNab Find Out Hurt Him?

McNab sat at his desk looking at the information that was flashing on his computer screen. He had already checked up on Mr. Trip and found out that he had died about three weeks earlier, which would explain why Mr. Spencer was no longer receiving letters. So Detective Howard had asked him to look up the possibility that there was someone else from Mr. Spencer's past that could be doing this.

While he was waiting for the information to load, McNab had decided to look at the case file of Mr. Trip. Something felt off to him and he wasn't sure why. But now, the information he was looking at, was sending a shiver down his spine. Looking around to see where Detective Howard was, McNab picked up the phone and dialled the number of the prison.

"Good morning, Santa Barbara Prison, Officer Ho. How may I help you?" The voice that McNab heard sounded more like it came from a robot than a human.

"Yes, I'm Officer McNab of Santa Barbara, badge number 483. I'm wondering if you could tell me if a prisoner named Jonathan Trip had any visitors leading up to his death. Say, back about four months ago?"

"Just a second Officer McNab... Yes, a Detective Howard had visited Mr. Trip at least seven times in that time period. Is there anything else I can help you with?"

"Yes, could you have those forms copied and posted to me at the police station, please?"

"Wouldn't faxing them be quicker?"

"Yes it would, but I would prefer them posted please."

"Yes sir, they should be there by tomorrow, good-bye."

"Thank you, bye." McNab hung up the phone and seeing Detective Howard heading his way, he switched screens.

"What did you get, McNab?" Detective Howard asked as he approached McNab's deck.

"There have been four people released from jail who have threatened Mr. Spencer when they went to jail. Their last names are Cutter, Duncan, Smith and Edwards, Three of them were in prison for murder and one for armed robbery."

"Right, pull their case files and meet me in interview room four when you're done."

"Yes, Detective, is there anything else you want?"

"A cup of coffee would be great. Two sugars and four creams, please."

"Yes sir." McNab watched as Detective Howard walked away. Once he was sure he wasn't coming back, he again switched the tabs on his computer.

He looked once again at the information on the screen. There in black and white was the name of the sole survivor of the Trip family, one Clive Howard. McNab wasn't too sure if they were the same person, but the information on other screen told him they were. McNab had Google the Detective's name and a news clipping came up. It was about how he had risen up from the tragic murder of his family by his step father, to becoming a law enforcement officer to fight such crimes. McNab didn't believe Detective Howard was the attacker, but he did believe that Detective Howard's judgement might be affected, because he had a personal involvement in the case. Shaking his head, McNab closed off all the screens and headed off to the records room. As he went he sent a text to the chief.

Chief Vick,

Found some important information about Det. Howard. Please, let me know when and where I can meet you to talk.

Officer McNab.

It took McNab about twenty minutes to get the files and another ten to fetch the coffees. By the time he and Detective Howard sat down to go through the files, an hour had gone by. It took them a good part of next three hours just to go through the files, make numerous phone calls and fill in more paper work, to narrow down the four names to only two possible suspects. The other two were either dead or had left the state.

Just as they were starting to go through the files that were left, McNab's phone made the sound to let him know he had a message. When he saw who the message was from, he tried to find a way to leave. Just at that moment, Detective Howard picked up his coffee cup only to find it was empty again. He let out a sigh and placed the cup back down.

"Would you like another one, Detective?" McNab asked hoping he was going to say yes.

"No thank you, McNab, I think we both need a break. Go and have something to eat, or answer your message and meet me back here in an hour."

"Yes sir, it's from my wife. She's wondering if I'll be home on time," McNab lied.

"Sorry, but you will have to tell her no. I think we will be at least a good four hours yet."

"Yes sir." McNab said glad that Detective Howard had believed him. Both men walked out of the room together and as he exited, Detective Howard called over another officer.

"Officer Munch, I want you to stay here and guard this door. No one but me or McNab is to enter it, understand?'

"Yes sir," Officer Munch answered, then watched as the two officers walk away.

McNab went straight outside and over to the park across from the station. He needed some fresh air and a bit of a walk. As he sat there, the first thing he did was ring, his wife and tells her that he was going to be late home, that night. He then read Chief Vick's message.


I got your message. If you cannot discuss this over the phone, meet me at the hospital, tomorrow morning about six.

Chief Vick.

McNab looked at his watch and saw it would soon be time to go back to the station. He quickly sent a text back to the Chief.


I will see you tomorrow at six.


P.S. If I don't make it, Det. Howard has me coming in early. Will let you know.

P.S. I have the information I want you to see, being sent to me at the station.

McNab had just hit send as he stepped out onto the road. He didn't see the black car that had taken off from the curb until it was too late. The last thing he heard were the tyres squealing as the car took off around the corner and someone shouting about getting an ambulance. Then everything went black.

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