Konan tossed and turned all night. He dreamed of war, of the carnage wrought by greed, and of blood soaked sand. He whimpered in his sleep. “I’m sorry,’ he cried out. “I’m so very sorry…” His nightmares would not relent. At 0217, he stumbled to his bathroom and coughed up blood in the sink. He ran cold water in his hands and washed out his mouth. His appearance in the mirror was ragged, his eyes were bloodshot. In the living room, he heard Lilly shuffling through the chest. In the darkness of the room, he stretched out on the floor.
In mere seconds, he was sound asleep.
At 0430, the alarm on his phone sounded. Konan yawned and stretched then got up and turned off his alarm. He half-stumbled, half sleep walked into the kitchen and turned on his coffee pot. Lilly was passed out on the couch clutching his paperwork. The smell of coffee roused her from her sleep. She sat up on the edge of the couch and stretched.
“Morning,” she said sleepily.
“You’re up early,” she said as she looked out the trailer window behind the couch. “What time is it?”
“A quarter to five.”
“Do you have enough coffee for two cups?”
“Sure.” He took the first cup he’d made and handed it to her. She walked barefoot into the kitchen and spooned in sugar and cream. She reached up and gave him a peck on the cheek, then padded back to the couch. Konan pushed in another K-cup and selected the size he wanted.
Lilly sipped the coffee and watched Konan from the couch. Even with minimal sleep he appeared to be alert and mentally active. Konan spooned in some sugar and walked over to the couch and sat beside his partner.
“So, did you find out what you wanted to know? Am I the devil with a badge?”
“No, and for the record, I never thought you were.”
“You seemed to think so last night.”
“Well, what was I supposed to think Konan? This man followed me yesterday, stopped me, and began to tell me about my partner. Then, he came out and said you were a hired killer for the government. What was I to do?”
“Let me clear this up, okay? Ask me anything, Lilly. I will be straight up with you, but this is your only chance. Once we have spoken about this, I never want to hear about it again.”
“Did you kill women and children?”
“Only when they tried to kill me.”
“It’s not that cut and dry, but yes.”
“Did you know they were sending you to kill people for governmental contracts?”
“No, but things became clear on my last mission.”
“You were friends with Blankenship?”
“No. We were not friends.”
“Why is Bill here?”
Konan shrugged. “I don’t know, Lilly.”
“You haven’t been in contact with any of these people since you left?”
“Okay. How do we handle this?”
“We don’t. You’re aware of my past, I have told you the truth,” he motioned to the chest. “There’s all the evidence of what I did, and why I did it. If you don’t believe me now, you need to find another partner.”
“I don’t want another partner. Just be straight up with me from now on, okay? Is that too much to ask?”
“Okay, then. Let’s go break this kid and get breakfast.”
Konan went in the back and changed into a Carhartt tee, a pair of jeans, and Red Wing Irish Setter boots. He wiped down his face and neck with a cool rag. “I’ve always felt dirty talking about the past. Will I ever be able to forgive myself for what I’ve done?”
The answer to his question was a resounding no. Forgiveness from God was one thing, but forgiving yourself is far more difficult. He put on his cap and walked into the living room. Lilly had refilled her cup with more coffee.
“You’re ready to go,” Lilly asked. Konan nodded.
“Yep, let’s do this.”
Konan decided to drive his truck into work, so he and Lilly piled in and headed for the station. It was time to find answers concerning the murder of Ana Marie and to see what role her brother played in it.
The desk sergeant nodded at the pair of detectives when they walked in. She jerked a thumb in the direction of the interview room.
“He’s already gone to be interviewed,” she said while smacking on her gum. Lilly walked to the counter and cocked her head inquisitively.
“Who came and got him?”
“Jesus,” Lilly muttered. Konan had walked out as soon as he heard that Timothy Fredericks was taken. He walked behind the glass and noticed the video cameras were off. The sound was off as well. Tia Mathers sat at the table with Timothy Fredericks and his attorney. They all appeared to be having a great time, it definitely didn’t appear to be an interview with a suspect. Konan banged on the glass. Tia whipped around and stared at it. Konan could feel the hatred through the two-way glass. Tia excused herself and walked out into the hallway. It took less than twenty seconds for her to enter the room.
“What, detective? Who do you think you are?”
“What was your plan Chief? Were you waiting for them to fall into your charm and then trip ‘em up? It didn’t look like an interview to me.”
“What are you implying, detective?”
“I’m not implying anything…well, nothing but you are ineffective in interviewing suspects.”
“Ate your Wheaties this morning, did you?”
“Why would the Chief of Police show up this early and interfere with a case that she assigned to two detectives? Are you kin to the suspect? Did you get paid to brief them on what we would question them about? Hmm…?”
Tia’s eyes narrowed and her nostrils flared. Thin blue veins stretched across her forehead. Konan winked at her. Tia said nothing, but her eyes expressed the hatred she had in her heart for Konan.
“See, I think you don’t want this case solved. You came in here this morning to sabotage us. I understand why you would come after me, but Lilly…that I don’t understand.”
“You’re on thin ice, Konan.”
“So are you, Chief.”
The door opened and Lilly walked in. Her gaze fell upon Konan and Tia. Chief Mathers shoved past Lilly and walked away, Konan shrugged.
“What is going on here,” she asked.
“She probably hasn’t had her coffee yet.”
“Well, shall we get started?”
“Yeah, for all the good it’ll do.” Together, they walked into the interview room.
“Hiya, Timothy. I’m going to put these cuffs on you. Policy and what not,” Konan said as he shackled Timothy Fredericks to the table. Lilly stared at him and shook her head.
“Detective Konan, this is my attorney Linda Trueheart.”
“Hi,” Konan said as he stretched out his hand, Linda shook it. She gave Konan a small smile and looked at the table.
“This is my partner, Lilly Thompson. She was busy yesterday and couldn’t be here.”
“A pleasure,” Timothy said to her. Lilly sipped her coffee and met Timothy’s eyes.
“So, you lawyered up yesterday before we could get started. So, we’ll try again.”
“Sure,” Timothy said smugly.
“How did you feel when your mother told you that she was pregnant with Ana Marie?”
“I didn’t. Do you have siblings, detective? Did you feel any emotion when their presence was announced?”
“I’m an only child, besides we’re not here to talk about me.”
“Did you love Ana Marie,” Lilly asked.
“I did. She was my sister.”
“There was a huge age gap between the two of you. Did you have a hard time with the attention being focused more on her than on you?”
“No. I was going out with friends, hitting up parties, getting ready to go to college.”
“So, you’re going to culinary school in Tennessee. Why so far from home?”
“Mom and Hank thought I should get out and see something different.”
“Hank? You mean your dad.”
“Hmm. What’s your relationship like with your parents?”
Konan pulled out pictures of Ana Marie that was from the scene of the crime. He laid them out in front of Timothy. The kid never looked away, rather he picked them up and studied them. Lilly looked at Konan. Her partner watched Timothy. Timothy traced the lines of his sister’s face with his finger. A small smiled played on his mouth.
“You know, we’ve figured out what type of weapon was used to kill Ana Marie.”
“Oh,” Timothy said.
“Yep, it was a chef’s knife. Not a very good one I’m afraid. Just some cheap piece of crap from the low-end of the spectrum.” Timothy’s head jerked up right when Konan described the weapon.
“A knife is a knife, detective. It’s got one job, to cut.”
“Sure, I get that. However, a cheap carbon steel blade doesn’t cut as well as a Damascus blade.”
“I’m assuming a chef would want to have the best tools for the job. Right? Unless…cheap is all they could afford. I would imagine their peers would give them a hard time for having such a crappy toolbox.”
Timothy leaned forward and whispered in a barely controlled rage, “who cares?”
“I think you did. You were an only child until Ana Marie came along. Money that should have went to your college expenses now went back into the home to care for your sister. The pressure of school, from your peers and instructors, all of it was too much. You snapped and stabbed your sister to death.”
“Yeah, I stabbed the little idiot,” Timothy shouted as he lunged to his feet. “She was a parasite, a waste of space. She took my dream and I took her life!” Timothy leaned over Ana Marie’s picture, slobber dripped onto it. “I’m not sorry! You hear me? I’m not sorry you’re dead! I wish I could kill you again!”
The public defender scooted back, her eyes wide at her client’s confession. Konan sat back and watched the show. Tia Mathers, her rage barely contained, watched from the observation room. “Say what you want to about Konan, he knows how to get in their heads.” Lilly waved in two officers who took Timothy Hendricks back to holding. She sat at the table with Konan, her hands trembled from the emotion that she felt.
“How could he do that, Konan. Look at this perfect face. How could he kill her?”
“Life has no intrinsic value anymore, Lilly. People no longer respect each other. She was an obstacle to his dream, so he removed her.”
“Oh God,” Lilly said. “I think I’m going to be sick.” Lilly got up and ran out of the room.
Konan sat in the interview room and tried to get a handle on his emotions. The door squeaked open, and Tia sat down at the table.
“Good job, detective.”
“How did you know?”
“Know what, Chief?”
“How did you know that he was angry about her being born? The rage he felt when he couldn’t have the best tools for his new career etc.”
“I was an only child, Chief. If I had a brother or sister a few months before I set out into the world, I would have been angry too. It just made sense to follow the thread to where it led.”
“Okay. Well, wrap it up. Good job.”
Konan nodded and gathered up the photos. He placed them neatly in the file and walked out of the room. Lilly was at their desk when he walked up.
“Are you okay? How do you feel?”
“I’m okay. I didn’t expect all that hatred to be spewed out.”
“Yeah. We need to call his folks.”
“Yeah. God, I can’t imagine what they are going to feel.”
“Let me knock out this report, and we’ll go see them.”
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